Thursday, February 24, 2011

parenthood rite of passage: first late night hospital trip

Last night I experienced my first late night children's hospital visit with Kieran in tow. He had a runny nose all day Wednesday but no other signs of illness - happy, content and his usual self. He went down for bed just fine and then as I was getting ready for bed at midnight I heard him cough - I hadn't heard him cough all day so that was weird and that I'd keep listening. When I laid down I heard him cough again and this time called Josh and we agreed I'd take him to the hospital. I KNEW it was croup right away. That seal-like bark is unlike anything you ever hear in the normal cough/cold spectrum, and I knew that croup could come on suddenly, typically at night. So I asked Josh to help me get him ready to go to the hospital while I got myself ready, and while he was putting on his sweatshirt Kieran was crying, coughing and he started turning purple! Let me tell you, I had a flashback to when he was going through his apnea spells in the NICU and it was NOT fun.

Josh stayed home with sleeping Maia, so I took Kieran in the car alone and I was so scared. I turned off the heat so he could have cold air, which is supposed to help with croup, but it also served as helpful so that I could hear his heavy breathing. I hated that I had to drive alone in the dark after he had turned purple, and I hated even more when I had to get on the highway and couldn't hear his breathing anymore because the car got louder. But we arrived to the hospital and he had fallen asleep. I woke the little guy up and we sat in the ER for about 45 minutes before we were seen. Already I noticed he sounded better, so I think the cool air in the car helped him, but he still had a very barky cough. The intake nurse said "I knew he was croupy the minute he walked in" - he definitely gave it away! We were put into a room in the short stay unit and a doctor came in very quickly after that. Kieran was to get a nebulizer breathing treatment and then an oral steroid. If he responded well to the medicine we would be able to go home after an hour or so. If he got worse, we'd have to stay. I snapped a picture of him with my phone in his purple backless hospital gown after he had the meds (and a late night nursing session.) When Josh saw this picture he thought it was one of baby Maia - maybe the purple threw him off? ;)

After about an hour and a half they sent us home. Kieran's cough sounded better, he was breathing easier and was sleeping peacefully. His lungs were clear and he had no fever so I felt we were fine to go home. They didn't send any meds home, as the oral steroid is supposed to be long-lasting, so at 4AM we got tucked into bed. Sleep didn't last long for either of us, though, as Maia woke up at 7, yeesh!

Today's Kieran been doing really well, which sort of surprises me (but of course thrills me!) He had his monthly RSV shot this morning and the nurse who came to our house thought Kieran's lungs sounded great and he really hasn't had much of a cough today, though when he has it's been slightly mucousy and not croupy. And despite his sickness of the past few days, he's learned to wave goodbye and I think he may have signed "all done" earlier today. He is such a little trooper and I am totally counting my blessings because this is the first time K's ever been sick, and I'm thankful for how mild it's been thus far. Special thanks go out to my grandma today, who took Maia out to the bookstore and to her house for dinner so Kieran and I could get a nap - you are an angel, Grandma!!!

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