I could have named today's post "Xaelen's first ER visit", but that would be false as we've already been to the ER once, when he was about a year old and sounded like he was wheezing.
I could have named today's post "Our first ambulance ride", but that would also be false, as I've had the pleasure of riding in one after I was crushed slightly being in the 1st row of a Morrissey concert when rabid fans rushed the stage. But that's neither here nor there.
Today's post is all about our ordeal last night. Adam has been out of town for weeks now, coming home on weekends and then flying out again to his next destination. I've been managing with the help of my mother in law (god bless her!) and my grandma. Last night it was just X and I in his room and my MIL in her RV outside. I've been sleeping in his room when Adam is out of town. X has had a runny nose for a day or so and a bit of a little cough. Nothing special, I wasn't too worried. I was laying there listening to him sleep when I realized his breathing had changed. It sounded more labored and somewhat wheezy. I wasn't yet worried, just aware that things sounded different.
After about 20 minutes of listening to his breathing get worse and worse, all the sudden he begins to cough. Like a barking dog. Like a seal. Like something he had never coughed like before. And he coughed, and he coughed, and it was getting worse. And his breathing sounded like his entire throat had closed up. He looked red, somewhat sweaty and was crying. But not his usual crying, but rather a choking cry that made me realize things were DEFINETLY not right. I didn't know what was happening, but I'm carrying around my toddler in my arms with him sounding like he was fighting to breath in between bouts of barking coughs.
I ran outside with him in my arms, knocked on MIL's RV and said "Something's not right, I don't know what to do". She agreed he sounded strange. That was enough for me. I had her find my cell phone and dialed 911. I've never done that before. The hold for someone to come on the line was ABSURD! What if something TRULY tragic had happened? Why is there such a delay getting someone on the line? Anyhow. 911 finally answered, patched me through to medical help which arrived minutes later. By now X had mostly calmed down, still breathing funny and coughing, but less dire seeming. 7 Emergency Medical Personell arrived. 3 vehicles. Wow. More than I had expected.
They checked him out, took all his vitals, listened to his breathing and proclaimed he probably has croup. They all recommended he get to the ER and be seen. Do you want us to take you? Or would you rather drive yourself? I asked the lead medic, is one way better than the other? And he states that in his oppinion it is better to have him looked after in the ambulance than to strap him in the car in case he has another coughing fit and needs help breathing. Ok. In that case, let's go in the ambulance. (I don't even want to know what my bill will be. The idea of it makes my head spin.)
The trip in the ambulance was fun for X. He took his Elmo with him and while they administrated his breathing treatment, he would make sure Elmo got some as well. (So thoughtful of him!) We arrived at the ER at Children's Hospital, the wait was minimal and he was seen within minutes of arriving. He did indeed have croup. He was treated with an oral steroid and was released after 20 minutes of being there.
So, lessons learned? I'm not sure 911 was necessary, but on the other hand - you don't mess around when your kid has breathing problems. Breathing is essential to life. You stop breathing = You stop living. I will obviously know for next time that barking babies = croup. But I'm glad I have good health insurance that covers everything under the sun. I'm glad that X is ok. I'm glad we live within 10 minutes of Children's Hospital. And I'm glad that I now know what to do with barking babies.
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