Unexplained Fevers in My Toddler: Pyelonephritis for Caitlyn

At the beginning of February, there was a week when it seemed nearly all the small children we knew were sick. Fevers, coughs, throwing up… the symptoms varied by child, but it seemed like everyone got hit at once.

Starting Monday morning, our Caitlyn (2) had been spiking high fevers (up to 103.8) around the clock. She was just miserable. With all the awful viruses going around, we were just counting our lucky stars that she wasn’t throwing up with that fever and that no one else in the family was “catching” whatever she had.

Every night that week we played musical beds, as Caitlyn wanted to sleep in her bed but would wake up wailing at all hours, which in turn would wake up baby Daniel. Several times, Caitlyn ended up in the pack and play in the basement on the monitor, still sobbing in her sleep. I assumed she had a sore throat since she had close to zero desire to eat anything and just the mention of a drink would bring on a fresh batch of tears.

But days went by and there was no improvement in her fevers or her irritability. I was starting to scratch my head. She still had no runny nose or cough, or any other signs of sickness. I found myself getting a little impatient as her fever would subside for a while and she’d even eat a full meal here or there but she didn’t seem to feel (or act) any better. Scott looked in her ears and got a good look at her throat and confirmed everything looked fine.

She would beg to be held but then squirm to get away as soon as I picked her up or pulled her onto my lap. She’d beg for food but then would usually hardly touch it once in her high chair and cry to get down. She’d ask me to change her diaper but cry during the entire process. She would often just lay down on the floor and fall asleep.

Finally on Friday evening, Scott asked a good friend from church to help him give Caitlyn a priesthood blessing. She sat very peacefully for the blessing, and about 20 minutes afterwards when Scott was at the pharmacy picking up a prescription for me (did I mention I had mastitis?) I was changing Caitlyn’s diaper and suddenly my mind was flooded with a perfect picture of Caitlyn’s symptoms and I knew absolutely what was wrong with her. I texted Scott: “Oh my goodness. I feel awful I didn’t realize this sooner. She has a raging UTI. I’m sure of it.”

After an agonizing 20 minutes coaxing her to drink and get a clean catch of her urine on our training potty, Scott was able to dip her urine right at our bathroom sink. (One of the many benefits of having a husband who’s a doctor!) It was clear right away that she had a bad infection, and it looked like it had even infected her kidneys. We started her on antibiotics that night and breathed a sigh of relief. Things were going to get better.

Things Get Worse

Saturday was the worst day yet for Caitlyn. We understood now that because her kidneys were infected sitting in her hard highchair hurt her back, laying down for a diaper change hurt her back, and even being held on our hips was uncomfortable. So we tried to get her to drink, and just had her sleep on our chests as we laid very still on the couch. I blogged about it previously.

Caitlyn would moan anytime we shifted and her fever remained high. It dipped a bit and she ate a great lunch, and Scott and I thought she was over the worst of it (finally). I’ll mention here that both Scott and Mackenzie had one-day stomach bugs that same day, in addition to Caitlyn’s misery and my lingering mastitis.

We were a pretty sad picture!

The next morning everyone else was feeling better but Caitlyn was back to lethargy, discomfort and high fevers. We had made tentative plans with our neighbors for childcare in case she needed to be taken to the hospital and we were going back and forth on whether it was necessary. Surely those antibiotics would do their magic and she’d turn the corner!

As it turned out, the decision was easy. She started to get pale and shaky after her nap and was acting really strangely. Scott and I just looked at each other and without a word, started hustling Mackenzie next door and Daniel and Caitlyn into the car. We drove straight to Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s emergency room. Scott sped on the way and my job was to keep Caitlyn focused on me and talking. She kept getting a glassy-eyed stare on her face and it was a struggle to keep her alert. Caitlyn’s fever was 104.6 when we checked in.

Breaking this into two parts…


About beanland

Scott is a family practice doctor and Anne is a full-time mother and teacher to three beautiful girls and one boy.
This entry was posted in Life as we know it, Tough Days. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Unexplained Fevers in My Toddler: Pyelonephritis for Caitlyn

  1. Jessica says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about this Anne. I am tired just reading about it. And to think I get all bent out of shape when we get a 24 hour bug. Hope she is recovering.


    • beanland says:

      She’s 100% better, thanks. I didn’t mean to leave anyone in suspense with these posts. As with my entire blog it seems, I’m documenting old news. 🙂


  2. Lonica says:

    Waiting to hear that she gets better… :0)


  3. Pingback: At a glass, darkly | Adventures in Beanland

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