Emily "Emma" Whitehead :: My Journey Fighting Leukemia » My journey fighting childhood cancer.

Christmas in the Hospital

If you follow Emily’s Facebook page you know that Emily spent Christmas in the hospital. The Wednesday before Christmas she had an appointment with Dr. Powell. During the day she was feeling fine but later that day developed a cough. Her ANC was low – that plus a few other blood work values suggested a possible viral infection. Sure enough, over the next few days her cough got worse, she developed a runny/stuffy nose and sore throat. On Friday, she had less energy which continued into Saturday. Saturday we were making Christmas cookies when I hugged her and noticed she was warm. Her temperature was around 100 but climbed to over 101 within an hour so we went to the ER. She initially tested negative for both strep and the flu. Her counts were still low and she had belly pain, so Dr. Powell admitted her to Mt. Nittany for the night. The next morning she spiked a temp of 102.9 and started feeling worse. She was transferred to Hershey Medical Center by ambulance (just as a precaution and so they could continue giving her IV fluids) and she was there until Thursday. At HMC she tested positive for Influenza type A and RSV! Two viruses at once. She was feeling pretty sick the first few days and her fever stayed between 101-102. Since she had the flu she was isolated in her room so the virus didn’t spread to others.

We discovered that thinking about being in the hospital for Christmas is worse than actually being there for Christmas. Once we realized we weren’t going to be home we made the best of it. I mean really, we already had the best gift of all – Emily! Our Christmas Eve and Christmas were still filled with joy and happiness because we were together, which is all that really mattered. We also had visitors from our Penn State THON family! On Christmas Eve, Chelsea came to visit and brought lots of treats. On Christmas, Angela and Kelsey, Kelsey’s mom, and Kelsey’s friend came to visit (Kelsey and Angela danced 46 hours for Emily at THON last year). They brought things for Emily to make a gingerbread house. Santa made it to the hospital and brought a few of Emily’s gifts for her to open Christmas morning, including the gift she wanted most – a purple guitar!

While we were at the hospital, Tom and I had a chance to tour the new Children’s hospital at Hershey Medical Center that opens on January 13th. It is amazing! It will help so many other pediatric patients and families and we’re happy that they have such a great new facility (although we hope to spend as little time there as possible!).

Emily was discharged Thursday late afternoon. She seemed to feel OK the rest of Thursday but then today spent much of the time in bed; however, this evening she has more energy and is running around and playing.

1. Decorated Emily’s hospital room for Christmas
2. Emily and Chelsea on Christmas Eve
3. Emily making a gingerbread house on Christmas
4. There actually is a gingerbread house under under all that candy!
5. Emily and her purple guitar
5. Music therapist Tina helping Emily tune her new guitar

  • Larry D Green - Little Ray of Sunshine (Emily)

    Merry Christmas to you and your Mom and Dad and family.Glad to hear you are filling better.Bet it was fun making a gingerbread house. After looking at the picture of the gingerbread house you are a Good cooker just like Gramie Sandy. And that picture of your new purple guitar is really Cool. Santa bought my granddaughter Claire who is 9 years old, a guitar with a purple carrying case not as Cool as the purple one you received.Did you get a lot of snow at your house ,we got about 6/8 inches in Erie sure did make it alot easier for Santa to get all his toys to the all children. Best wishes to you and M&D- 2013 will be better yearReplyCancel

  • karen - sorry to hear that Emily / Emma 🙂 had another hospital stay but very happy that she is back home and that you all made the most of the stay. she sure is a well loved little girl. gotta say, i loved all the pictures and loved how her jammies matched the guitar but the picture that made me smile the most is the gingerbread house. i think she has a future in decorating. 🙂ReplyCancel

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