Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Day My Little Man Was Sick

   Last week, my little man was sick. We had taken him to the urgent care for a cough and a wheeze. We were told it was an upper respiratory infection, given prescriptions for an antibiotic and some cough medicine. The pharmacy was closed by the time we were done so we headed home with plans of filling his medicine the next morning.

   When I woke him up for school the next day, he sounded awful. I could hear him breathing rooms away. He had no voice left. My usually energetic 6 year old didn't want to get up off of the couch. I took his brothers to school, got hubby out the door to work and then settled in for a day of watching movies and kid shows.


   At about noon, we were talking about what he wanted to attempt to eat for lunch. I had given him his medicine a couple hours before and I was hoping he would now feel good enough to finally eat something. 

   He asked for a Lunchable which I don't usually buy. I told him I didn't have one and he got upset. Just the littlest bit upset. No meltdown, no tantrum, just disappointed that he couldn't have what he wanted.

   Then the scariest day of my life began. He started struggling to breathe. He looked at me and tried his best to say "I can't breathe very well."

   I grabbed him, slipped on my shoes and we hurried and jumped in the car. Urgent Care is just down the street. I carried him in from the car. They all remembered me from the night before.

   "He is having a hard time breathing."

   One person ran to get the oxygen monitor to see how he was doing. One person is signing us in. One person ran to get the doc.

   They hurried us back to the room where the doctor was, grabbed a breathing treatment and a steroid and got that going. Then they left the room to wait for it to finish.

   All of a sudden, he started hyperventilating. The look of pure terror came across my little mans face. "I cant breathe!" He was struggling to get any air at all. 

   He started pulling the mask off his face as I run out the door for help. "It's worse!" I yelled. "He can't breathe!"

   Next thing I know the doctor and nurses come running in. They hooked him up to oxygen. The doctor yelled down the hall "Call 911!"

   They got him stabilized and breathing again. There's people everywhere. I'm texting my husband because I wasn't able to call between all of the questions.


   Next thing I know, there's paramedics and firefighters everywhere trying to cram into this small room to check his vitals and ask me questions.

   I'm terrified. I'm doing my best to keep myself together and be strong for my little man. He can't see mommy panicking. I need him to stay calm and breathe.

   They got him loaded up into the ambulance. The medic starts asking me questions while trying to keep things upbeat. He listens to little man's lungs. "It's not an upper respiratory infection, it's croup. It's in the same family as RSV." I knew it was croup. My family has been dealing with such things since my 10 year old was 4 months old. We knew the drill. The drill just never ended up here.

   I called the school that the kids go to and where their grandma also works. I told them we were having a family emergency and I needed grandma to take care of my older two. Make sure she took them home with her. I knew they would be in good hands until I could get back to them.

   The medic was great with my little man. He told him everything that was going on. Taught him about the machine that shows his heartbeat and oxygen levels. He even gave him a little souvenir.


   When we got to the ER, he looked miserable but was sounding a lot better. He no longer needed his oxygen. Things were starting to calm down a bit.

   But then the medicine from the ambulance started to wear off. He sounded awful. He sounded like he was snoring while awake. They gave him another treatment and took some X-Rays of his chest. They needed to make sure it wasn't turning into pneumonia.


   He started feeling a bit better again. He had asked for a pillow and the nurse brought him one along with a special pillowcase someone had made for children that came in. One that he could keep.

   He started messing with me. My little boy was coming back. I was so happy. I was hopeful we would be out of there in no time.


   He had been in the ER for croup before. We were there for a few hours and then we got to go home. This time would be the same, right?


   He was up and moving around again. More than he had all day. He wanted to eat and play and walk as far as he could with a cord hooked to his finger.


   The nurse came in and informed us that the doctor decided we needed to stay overnight for observation. I was crushed. I was so hopeful we would get to go home. Instead, we got to spend hours in the little ER room while we waited for a room in the hospital to open up.

   We finally got moved to a room at about 10. We got little man as comfortable as we could. He was now not only wheezing, he was also whistling when he would breathe out. They brought him another breathing treatment and some steroids. 

   Hubby and I said goodnight and goodbye. We couldn't both stay and hubby had to work the next morning. Grandma offered to keep the older two overnight and take them to school so we would have one less thing to worry about.

   After hubby left and the nurses told me he was done with medicine until 4, I told him it was time for bed. He needed to rest so he could get better. He was out in no time.


   A couple times throughout the night, usually right as I was finally falling asleep, his monitor would beep. I would pop awake, check it, but he would be fine. It kept happening off and on until about 4:30. His monitor started beeping and didn't stop. I sat there for a minute watching it to see what was happening. His oxygen was fine but his heart rate kept dropping and then would go up again.

   I called for the nurse.

   She came in "I lowered the baseline for his heart rate to 45. I'm not going to lower it any more than that, but he's fine. He just has a low resting heart rate. Does he play sports?"

   "No, not really."

   "Wow! His heart is really healthy."

   After that, his monitor would still beep every once in a while. I couldn't sleep. I had worried myself too much to be tired anymore.

   I laid there in the silence that was only broken by the occasional beep. I couldn't hear him wheezing anymore. I could finally relax somewhat.

   It was almost morning. It was a new day. It was going to be great!


   A volunteer came in that morning to ask little man if there was anything he would like to do. She mentioned painting so of course he had to do that.


   "Do you want to play a game?"

   "King of Tokyo!"

   The volunteer looks at me confused, "What is that?"

   So I explain. "It's a board game. They probably don't have it here since it's a hobby game. It's his favorite game to play."

   "I've never heard of it."

   "That's fine. If you have Candyland or something, we can just play that. He likes most games."

   She returned a bit later with Connect 4.

   "Do you know how to play this one?"

   "No, but my mommy can teach me"


   We played games, watched cartoons and movies, and did a lot of snuggling. Every 6 and a half hours they would come in and give him another breathing treatment and more steroids.


   A couple ladies came in and asked if he wanted an owl. Someone had dropped off a bunch of them for the kids. Another hospital keepsake. He kept telling them no, he didn't want one, but I insisted he take one anyway. Once he got it, he snuggled up with it and finally drifted off to sleep.


   The doctor finally managed to make it to our room sometime mid afternoon. She told me she wanted to wait and see how he did at night. Since he had been on medicine every 6 hours and croup gets worse at night, she wanted to wait. She told us we may have to stay another night. She was going to change the medicine to "as needed" and we would go from there.

   My oldest had his very first orchestra concert that night. I asked my parents if they would come hang out with little man so I could run home to shower, eat, go to the concert and grab a few things from home just in case we had to stay another night.

   When I got back to the hospital, I gave him his University of Utah square I made him. The night before was the first time he's slept without it since I gave it to him. He was so excited to have it again and decided it was bedtime.


   Until he was asked if he wanted to play a game. His dad and brothers came back with me to see him. We all needed some time to be together as a family. We played a couple games until the doctor came back in. She said we were free to go. He was doing much better and he should be fine now. I was so happy we all got to leave together.


   The next morning, little man was very happy to be home with his brothers again. They didn't have school that day so he was able to make up for lost time.


   It's times like these when I am so grateful to live close to family. Both of his grandpa's came to visit him in the ER. My mother in law was there to help with the older boys. My mom brought me lunch since the hospital only provides breakfast to those staying with the patient. My parents were able to watch him so I wouldn't miss my oldest son's very first concert. So many friends asked if they could help. They made sure we were able to get kids to and from school. They offered to bring meals so hubby wouldn't have to worry about it. They were there to help lift us up and support us when we needed it most. And for that, I will be forever grateful.

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