Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Hospital: Redux

Ok, so I'm getting really sick of the hospital. If our Children's Hospital gave frequent flier miles for every visit, I'm pretty sure I could take my whole family some place warm for the rest of the winter.

We've been a bit under the weather these days. Anna had a slight fever one day; Thomas had a fever a day later. I thought we might get lucky and that Henry would escape with just a passing cold or fever, but sadly that was not the case. Saturday we started to see a little congestion with Henry. Nothing serious, just a dry cough now and then. Sunday he was doing a little more dry coughing, but it was still nothing that even hit my radar. By Monday, however, I was hauling him into the clinic to see if that weird wheezing noise was anything I should be concerned about or whether is was a result of a harmless cold--you know the type--a snotty nose draining in the back of the throat or something like that. He'd thrown up a fair bit of phlegm the night before, so I didn't think it was outside the realm of possibility. The doctor listened to his lungs and declared them clear.

To make a long, long story short, by that evening Henry had stopped breathing properly and was restless and wheezing hard. He would try to cry and end with a dry, barking cough which only made him cry harder. I tried all the usual things and then spent a couple of hours dithering about on the advisability of bringing him to the ER. I was reluctant to spend several middle-of-the-night hours in an ER, subjecting Henry to all manner of unpleasantness, only to be told that he was 'fine' and to 'keep an eye on him'. Finally, I decided that I wasn't going to sleep anyway and Henry certainly wasn't getting any rest, so I might as well bring him in and be told that it was 'nothing'.

Nothing, indeed.

I've found that there is something worse than sitting for hours in an ER waiting to be seen by the doctor on call. What's worse is going up to register your baby and getting a whole lot of attention all at once by everyone who's available.

It turns out that croup causes a lot of excitement when small babies have it.

The doctor told me her diagnosis and all I could think was, "Croup? Seriously? Didn't Anne Shirley fix it with some humidity and ipecac?" I thought it was sort of like whooping cough--one of those antique illnesses that no one got anymore. Apparently they do.

We were finally able to come home after 13 hours and a LOT of medical intervention. He was given two doses of a steroid, among other more dramatic things, which is making him a little restless. He still has a wheezy cough, but he is able to breath without too much effort. They predicted that he will be right as rain in about five days, give or take. Despite my own bone-crushing cold and fever, I am still awake, listening to him breath and fuss a bit in his sleep. I am tense, though relieved, that the worst of this illness has passed.

I'm sure there are those of you who know all about this sort of thing and would have handled the whole incident with poise and aplomb. I envy you. This was likely the second most frightening thing that has ever happened in my life and I hope to never, ever have to repeat it. I'm an optimistic person, in general, but this time I am seriously out of sunshine. O.U.T. If Pollyanna were here, I'd push her to the ground and maybe take her lunch money.

Sometimes it seems like I have a long, long life left to live. Sometimes I wish I were already 90 years old. I think that by the time I'm 90 I'll finally be able to catch my breath and relax.


scmom (Barbara) said...

Croup IS scary. All four of mine have had it (probably a dozen times a piece). It seems to run in families and, clearly, you've been lucky until now. Older kids just get that croupy cough, but when babies get it, their throats swell and makes for some mighty scary moments!

I can't tell you how many times I've had to sit on the front porch at 2 a.m. with a sick baby on my lap wrapped in blankets. Or headed out to the ER only to have them sleeping peacefully by the time we got there. Cold night air is the best fix, but it's still scary and for one as little as Henry the ER was a good move. I hope he's better in no time!

Angoraknitter said...

Peter got croup when he was about 22months old. It was scary, but I'd seen it before in the ER...I'm glad the ER visit is behind you now. It should get better from here on out.