Sunday, November 21, 2010

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Taking my child to the ER

Being a mom means not only are there good times, but there are times when you'll be scared. Scared by little things ("Did he remember to look both ways when he crossed the street?" "What if she doesn't make friends in kindergarten?") as well as the big things. Today's guest blogger, Jill from Yeah. Good times., shares with us one of those scary moments. Thank you, Jill, for sharing it with us and reminding us that fear, too, is a natural part of parenting and strangely enough, is part of the "good times".

My second born (whom I call Child 2 or C2) was diagnosed at age 2 with Recurrent Croup, which basically just means that he gets croup a lot. Croup happens when the top of the windpipe gets inflamed and he will get a cough that sounds like a dog barking and when he breathes it makes kind of a whistling sound. Croup is very common, but Recurrent Croup is less so, and every time in his life that he has gotten sick, he has gotten croup. The older he gets the less serious (and scary) it has gotten, but one night, when he was around 3 ½, he went to bed with a cold and woke up in the middle of the night crying. His breathing was labored and loud and he couldn’t do anything except cough weakly and then cry. It was really scary.
Since we have an older child, only one of us could take him to the ER, so hubs stayed home while I quickly threw in my contact lenses and ran with C2 to the car. I was panicking as I strapped him into the car seat, but I tried really hard to stay calm enough to make the trip to the hospital. Once in the car I had to decide to go to the Children’s Hospital, where the pediatrician always tells us to go to in an emergency, or to the regular hospital. I chose the regular hospital because it was about 10 minutes from our house while the Children’s Hospital is about 20.

That was a crazy drive, that 10 minutes to the hospital. It was late, maybe midnight, so the streets were empty, and I drove like HELL to get there, impatiently waiting for traffic lights, sometimes not even bothering to, I didn’t care if I got pulled over; if a cop wanted to stop me, he was damn well going to have to arrest me inside the hospital because there was no way I was stopping for any reason. I kept making C2 talk to me every 15 seconds or so, so that I knew he was still alive and awake. I liked it when he was crying or coughing because I knew it meant he was still breathing; when he stopped is when it was bad, so I kept talking to him and making him answer me.
We got to the hospital and I think I just pulled into the driveway and stopped the car, grabbing him out of the back seat and running through the doors. I’d been to this ER with friends a few times before and every time there it was a horribly long wait and a jam packed waiting room. I was prepared to start screaming at the top of my lungs if they so much as asked me to have a seat; I had a kid who couldn’t breathe, there’s no way you’re making me wait. But the staff just took one look at me; panicked mom wearing pajamas with motionless child over my shoulder, and they knew they had to act fast. We were rushed into a room immediately where they stripped him down and hooked him up to various tubes and machines. He was pale. They gave him oxygen and albuterol and rushed around us setting up machines. I’m not sure if I spoke, at least not for the first 10 minutes or so. I just remember having that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach and thinking “this isn’t real; I’m not really here right now.”
After a little while he started getting his color back and then, suddenly, he was chatting with me and asking questions. It was obvious that he was okay again and everything was going to be fine. I remember being flooded with that feeling of wanting to both laugh and cry hysterically at the same time. I think I laughed. I’m really not sure. I looked at my phone and saw that my husband had been texting me, he had no idea what was going on. I answered that we were okay, things were going to be okay. I’m sure he had the same feeling. I’m not sure which is worse: being the one in the middle of the panic or being the one at home waiting to hear if your child is okay.

But, he was okay and he was going to be okay. We stayed in the hospital for another few hours just to make sure, but he was going to be okay. I think I had that hysterical laughing/crying feeling the whole rest of the time we were there. I actually have it right now, writing this. But he was okay.

After a while he got bored and started making me take pictures of him. I have pictures of the albuterol tube, the O2 monitor that was on his finger, the sheets, his hospital ID bracelet, his feet, all the monitors he was hooked up to and, of course, his nose, which I will share with you.


Big Daddy Autism said...

Adorable smile (and nose).

Man, what an experience. It's at the end of those situations that you just sit back and think how lucky you are to have gotten through this and that nothing else really matters. That feeling of total gratitude should last forever. Unfortunately, many of us soon get caught up in our every day lives and, after a while it fades.

Is this the same child you clobbered with an egg filled frying pan the other day?

tulpen said...

I got all panicky and PTSD'd reading this.

I so know the hysterical laughing/crying deal.

Glad neither of my kids ever had croup.

jillsmo said...

Um. Yeah. This is, in fact, the same child I both hit on the head with a frying pan and spilled ice water all over. He's so lucky to have me as his mom!!!!!

jillsmo said...

This is what I'm talking about, by the way:

Lynn said...

So scary. I've done the ER twice but neither time involved breathing issues. Audrey's had the croup twice and it freaked me out...can't imagine having it recurrently. Poor thing. Stop hitting him over the head with frying pans will you?

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