Auntie M and Great Aunt Wen came down last weekend to visit with the kids. Jackson was running a little fever but nothing too worry-some. Then, suddenly, after an afternoon of swimming, I started to panic. I was debating on whether to take him to an emergency clinic or to the ER. I called my pediatrician after hours to ask what he thought was best. Jackson was gasping during breaths and had an awful cough. Not just any cough. It sounded as though he was barking. It was deep and left him wheezing afterwards. The pediatrician called as we were getting ready to leave for the after hour emergency clinic. I explained Jackson symptoms and he said to give him fever reducer and pedialyte.
Addison spent the night at Gredda and Pop-Pop’s with her aunts. Jackson came home with us and slept in our bed. I woke around 3am to a burning up baby. We took his temperature and it read 104. The panic set in. I gave him Tylenol and placed a temped compress on his head and back. I timed exactly one hour. I was only giving the fever one hour; it came down.
Sunday came but with not much more ease. He was still wheezing while taking breaths. We said goodbye to Auntie M and Great Aunt Wen and brought both kids home. I made the hubby call work and tell them he was not going to make it in on Monday. Jackson was going to the pediatrician because I knew something was just not right.
Monday morning I called the pediatrician’s office and got right in… I was right. Within minutes of checking in I was rushed back to a private office, away from other kids. Jackson was being checked by a nurse. The pediatrician was pulled out of a patient’s room to listen to Jackson’s breathing. We were immediately sent to the ER. Fantastic, what does my baby have? Did I expose Addison? What the fuck is going on?
We get to the pediatric ER, sign in and wait.
I look around and see sick children, sick children who are in the emergency room with colds. They would most likely be discharged with a note to rest and drink fluids. They were probably sent home from school to a parent, without health insurance, who decided it was necessary to bring their children, with colds, to the ER. Meanwhile, I have to wait with my one year old who is having difficulty breathing. Love the system.
While waiting Addison decides to play; she sits quietly and reads a book. A little boy (about Jackson’s age) came over and pulled her hair. Repeatedly. She sat there, not screaming, just asking if I could make him stop. After the fifth or so time, I turn to the mother and say something. She looks at me and says “no English”. So how do you say “get your fucking sick brat away from my daughter” in Spanish? I have Addison come sit next to us.
Jackson’s name is called. We sit with the triage nurses and go over his symptoms. While they are trying to read his oxygen levels a mother walks in and bitches about how she was here before us. The nurses had me in too much of a panic and worry, I could not even think of what to say to the fatty; although if I were in a clear state of mind it would not have been good. They told her to leave and wait until she was called. We were immediately given a room and within minutes Jackson was given his first of many nebulizer treatments.
Were we told Jackson was going to be admitted for at least one night. A nurse would be in after his x-ray to insert an IV. We are taken to x-ray. Jackson freezes as the machine runs. The look in his eyes said it all; he was terrified. He didn’t move, just barely let out a whimper. Heartbreaking.
We settle back in the room and our nurse walks in… “Oh my god; Willow.” She responds “I remember you. You, the kids and your mom came in with all the bee stings. How is your daughter?"I told her Daddy was taking her to her Gredda’s but she was doing well. Willow was going to be our nurse while in the ER and she would be placing Jackson’s IV. Willow- she is so amazingly calm; she didn’t flinch at Jackson’s screaming, didn’t get frustrated… she made me calm (which if you know me is impossible). She placed Jackson’s IV with one stick.The next test was for H1N1. As you can imagine a q-tip being stuck up a toddler's nose not exactly easy; although it was done with greater ease than the IV.
Hours later we are brought to our room. We settle in and the bed next to us is a four year old girl having seizures. Her aunts were with her. The hubby makes it back and he and I eat one of many shitty fast food dinners. We were told that they would bring me a sleeper chair and they were moving the little girl to another room. 8:30pm, the room is full. The hubby and I are with Jackson and the little girl has two Aunts, one Uncle and both parents with her. 9pm the room is empty… just the hubby and I with Jackson. The little girl’s entire family leaves her. She begins to whimper. The nurse comes in to move her to a new room. She is alone, hugging her pooh bear, eyes wide open, terrified, alone… I hold Jackson close and cry. She is around Addison’s age. The thought of that little girl being alone, in a hospital just broke my heart. I cried; tears dripping down Jackson. My heart broke for her. I was angry.
Tuesday morning our Dr. came in and told us we would be here another night. Jackson has a severe case of croup. He would continue to need nebulizer treatments, steroids and IV fluids. That night Jackson's IV clotted. I called the nurse thinking it needed to be redone. It was midnight and thankfully the hubby was still with us. She came in swaddled Jackson, removed the tape and said she hoped it just needed to be adjusted and flushed. Jackson could barley cry, he had no voice from the croup, was exhausted, and weak. He tried to cry but couldn't, he lost all fight. I cried for him.
A week later, Jackson is doing well. He is still on at home nebulizer treatments five times a day and after playing he sounds awful. His oxygen level is up to 99 percent and he is finally eating and playful.
Wow, what a few scary days. It really is amazing how quickly things can turn.