Richie looked up, as he was facing the door, another doctor but the same nurse from earlier had walked into the room.
"Hi." The nurse said, "Sorry to wake you up."
"No problem." Richie said, looking at Sarah, noticing she was awake now too.
Both got up from the bed, the doctor and nurse waited patiently for them to join around Daniel's hospital crib.
"Hi, I'm doctor Daniel Smillie." He smiled as if pointing out his surname was perfect for him.
Richie held back a chuckle.
The doctor noticed it anyway. "I know, it's great for the kids, they love it. It creates a little bond." He opened a chart and started reading. "I also love when I share a name with a patient, just hate seeing them so sick." He looked over at Daniel in his crib. When he looked back at Sarah and Richie, he added, "I specialize in lung diseases in newborns and infants, he's in the best care for this. You've already gotten the result of the x-rays. Blood tests just got back and we can confirm it's Pertussis, also known as whooping cough."
Both Sarah and Richie sighed, they had been warned about it but had hoped it wasn't true.
"We'll be starting on antibiotics straightaway."
"How long will he have to stay in the hospital?" Sarah asked worried about her youngest son.
Dr. Smillie sighed. "It depends on how fast he heals but usually it can take up to four weeks, especially when they're this young."
Sarah looked even more worried when she head the diagnosis.
"He'll get better." Dr. Smillie reassured them. "You can always call the nurse when you need them or even have me paged."
After the doctor gave the nurse instructions about the antibiotics, he continued explaining about whooping cough.
"The bacterium, Bordetella pertussis mainly infects the lining of the trachea and bronchi. As soon as Bordetella pertussis reaches the lining of the airways it multiplies, causing an accumulation of mucus. It builds up and that's why he coughs so badly, to try to expel it. The coughing becomes more intense because there is so much mucus. As the inflammation of the airways gets worse, they swell up and become narrower, which makes it harder for Daniel to breathe."
Sarah sat down during the entire medical explanation. It was too hard to hear how sick her little boy was. At barely six months old, this wasn't where he should be.
Richie moved closer to Sarah, stroking her back as the doctor took a look at Daniel.
"Look who just woke up." He said, looking up at Sarah and Richie. "Sleep is a good way for him to get better and you can always put the oxygen mask on if you think he needs it, or call his nurse." He looked back in the crib. "Hi Daniel."
A few seconds later, the nurse returned.
Sarah and Richie watched how they attached an IV to Daniel's cannula.
The doctor frowned when he looked up at them again.
"What's wrong?" Sarah asked immediately.
"He's alright. Six months old, right?"
Sarah nodded. "October 18th last fall."
He frowned again. "Does he usually react when you call his name?"
Sarah's eyes went wide with panic, softly she shook her head. "No."
"What about sounds?" The doctor continued. "Is he making any sounds when you talk to him?"
"No. What are you saying?"
Richie wrapped his arm around his wife, feeling the same way she was.
"Nothing to worry about. It might just be because he's sick and doesn't want to. At about 3 months, he should react to his name and now he should start making sounds so maybe he's just not there yet. They're all different and take a different amount of time to develop."
"You think he can't hear us?"
Dr. Smillie shrugged. "I'm not sure, like I said, he might just not be in the mood. Since he's here, we'll keep an eye on it and if needed, we'll find a hearing specialist. Don't worry more than you have to."
After making sure everything with Daniel was alright, the doctor had to visit another patient. He shook both parent's hand.
"Thanks doctor Smillie." Sarah said.
Richie couldn't help himself and chuckled again.
"Dr. Daniel." The doctor corrected, "We all go by first names here, easier for the children."
"Same for the nurses." The nurse pitched in. "I'll also be his nurse the entire time he's here, along with another nurse, depending on our shifts."
They had left and now Sarah and Richie were sitting in comfortable chairs on each side of Daniel's crib. Their baby boy had gone back to sleep after another coughing spell. He looked fragile in the large bed. A nasal cannula was taped to his cheeks so he had continuous help to breathe. On the back of his tiny hand, was a cannula with IV, wrapped up in a bandage and splint.