Tuesday, August 24, 2010

as always, the exception to the rule

Hi. What day is it? Where am I? More importantly... where am I supposed to be?

My boy was in the hospital this weekend. Not to worry, he is home now and recuping. It started last week when he got the same cold that I had and that Maya had before me. For me and Maya, the cold turned into ear infections, 'cause we're special like that. For Austin, it turned into croup. Wait, now I'm getting ahead of myself.

Saturday morning, at the pediatrician's office. Doc says she hears wheezing and says maybe... MAYBE we are looking at asthma. She prescribes an albuterol inhaler and says that if he continues to have difficulty breathing with the use of the inhaler to bring him back to the clinic or go to the Emergency Room. (Insert foreshadowing here.)

Austin wanted me to lay down with him at about 8:30 Saturday night. Before his eyes were even closed, his breath was... I don't know, labored I guess. It was very noisy and he was doing a sort of mini crunch with every inhale. Scary. I called Dan into the room to see and we decided to take him to the hospital. Wait, now I'm over simplifying... we discussed which hospital to go to... decided on the closest (as opposed to the further Kaiser hospital, our HMO)... we started driving and then turned around to go home when he started sounding better... then turned back around when he started sounding worse. In the ER they take us in right away.

Albuterol. Steroids. Some other thing. A water/oxygen thingy. Trying to reduce the swelling that was constricting his airway. More steroids. Heart monitor. Chest X-ray. No pneumonia, but stridor. I had never heard that word before, stridor. Wheezing, no wheezing, wheezing. Each nurse and doctor has a different take on what they hear. This continues for 24 hours... the wheezing/no wheezing debate. Always followed by the question: Does he have a history of wheezing? To which I wanted to respond... YOU PEOPLE CAN'T DECIDE IF HE'S WHEEZING NOW. HOW THE FUCK SHOULD I KNOW???

Transport to Kaiser hospital in an ambulance somewhere around 3:30 AM Sunday, and the doctor there keeps correcting me when I say we went to the pediatrician "today." By this time it was yesterday. Nurses question why the ER didn't put in an IV. Nurses put in an IV after I warn them that he will fight them and he will pull it out. They gang up on him, 3 of them holding him down and 2 of them poking and sticking and finally taping the thing up with some sort of cap so he can't mess with it easily. More steroids.

Meanwhile, Austin has slept through much of the time in the ER, except when he was crying that he wanted to "get out of here," and slept in the ambulance, but damn it if the stupid blood pressure cuff at the hospital didn't push him over the damn edge. Oh, and the respiratory therapist at the ER scared the crap out of the poor kid. The X-ray tech on the other hand was a gem.

At this point I'm up to 24 hours without any sleep and they are still asking questions about his history of asthma and/or croup. Note, about croup, wikipedia says: Hospitalization is rarely required. Yeah, we're special like that.

Again... Does he have a history of wheezing? Why does he have a prescription for albuterol?

I ask them to explain to me (again) the difference between wheezing and stridor. I think maybe I'm beginning to understand BUT FROM ONE DOCTOR/NURSE TO THE NEXT THEY STILL CAN'T DECIDE IF HE IS WHEEZING.

Mind you... important note here: these are not stupid people. They all seem very concerned and want to be sure to use the right treatment and help him feel better. The key issue seems to be that with his upper respiratory system making so much noise, they can't hear his lungs all that well.

So, another dose of steroids. Another breathing treatment. Oh, hay, by the way... there's a play room down the hall. Awesome! Thank you! Play room to bed to TV to play room to bed to TV and so on.

24 hours felt like a week. Maya has been with my parents this whole time. She needs her backpack. Why do you need your backpack? For school. Duh. What day is it?

Dan brings me breakfast. Stays with Austin when I run home to take a shower. Brings me dinner. Falls asleep on the chair in the hospital room. I lay down with Austin in the hospital bed and he falls asleep. Silently.

Beautiful. Silent. Steady breathing.

They send us home in the dark of night. We all pass out. Get up in the morning. Watch TV. Pass out again.

Clean house. Vacuum. Wash sheets. Buy a cool mist humidifier. Sleep through the night. (Him, not me. Freaking full moon kept me up in spite of everything.) But he's home. Resting. When he's not bouncing off the walls.

How was your weekend? What day is it?

.::.

Some forgot-to-mentions:

X-ray did indeed show the steeple sign.

Some poor woman who must have been losing her mind was screaming and yelling the entire time we were in the ER. I was sort of afraid to go into the hallway.

8 comments:

All This Trouble... said...

OH, YUCK! See, the trouble is just as you've said, the people aren't stupid the sounds are just soooooo close. And even here I started to say stridor is more musical and heard more on the outside whereas wheezing is quieter and heard more with a stethoscope on the "inside" but the trouble with that? You can hear them both both ways! Poor you and poor him. I'm just so glad he's better! And I feel ya about the breathing like with Zoe's sleep apnea and enlarged tonsils pushing me right over the precipice. You all rest and get better soon!

Steph(anie) said...

This whole thing renewed my respect for the people who do those jobs well and my gratitude for having very good medical coverage.

All This Trouble... said...

*** We have the frog humidifier. Very cute. And I screamed like that when I WORKED in the ER! That's why I'm just a plain old school nurse now.***

Ms. Moon said...

Oh honey. I'm so sorry. I'm glad he's home and okay.
I know those four-year-long days. I know them too. You'll survive and so will he.

Steph(anie) said...

ATT - Where does the vapor come out from the frog?

Ms. Moon - It was scary and heartbreaking. It's so good to have him home.

Sarcastic Bastard said...

Steph,
So glad you are all back home. Boy, what a weekend. I'm sure it was very scary. My brother used to get croup several times a year. He sounded awful. He outgrew it finally.

Wish I lived closer so I could have helped. Please keep us posted on how Austin is doing and try and get some rest. You must be fried.

Love you lots,

SB

Petit fleur said...

Good LORD!! Sorry for everyone. We have had breathing coughing troubles with harely also. We've been to the ER countless times for what we thought was croup, so that is perfectly normal in my book.

Sigh. It's just plain hard, those nights of trouble breathing that bleed into days. Also sorry about the attack of the Zombie nurses. We had that unfortunate experience also... I almost decked one of ours. bitches have not business working on kiddos.

Happy you're home and everyone is well, aside from delirium. On a side note, I really enjoy your writing! You have a strong voice... and a good one.
Peace,
pf

Bethany said...

oh gosh that sounds so tough and draining. what a great mama you are, a SWEET mama. I'm glad he's okay and you too, rest up and NO KITTENS! (I'm reading backwards).