We went down to Tucson for Valentine's Day/President's Day weekend. We drove home on Monday afternoon, February 16th. That was the day that both Spencer and Elliott got sick. It was just your general, run of the mill cold, but Spencer getting a cold is always precarious because of his asthma.
That first week (plus) was awful because of the 24-7 coughing. If Spencer wasn't coughing, Elliott was. And often it was both of them. We were also setting the alarm to go off in the middle of the night to do albuterol treatments with Spencer. And then Michael got sick. So during the night all three of them were waking me up. I got very little sleep for days and days and days. Just as I had reached my almost insane point Elliott started getting better. But Spencer was getting worse.
On Wednesday the 25th, after 10 days of round the clock albuterol use and a particularly awful night I took Spencer in to see his allergist.
He was started on a 4 day regiment of oral steroids.
The steroids did very little because we continued round the clock albuterol and a week later, on March 4th, we went in for a follow up. They did a breathing treatment with him and it didn't improve his lung function at all, which points to an infection. So he was started on a 10 day course of antibiotics. It took about 4 days to really see a difference, but Spencer has now been albuterol free for 2 days. Thank god.
Elliott had been better for close to a week by the time we had Spencer's second appointment last week and Michael was also doing a lot better. Things were looking better.
Elliott was totally fine last Thursday morning when I left for work. Our sitter said that he started coughing around 2:00 pm and steadily got worse all afternoon. We actually put him to bed at 6:30 that evening because he was so miserable.
At 7:30 he woke up and it was VERY apparent that he was in trouble. Spencer has had croup several times so we know what it sounds like and we knew for sure that Elliott had his first case of croup. But it was much more severe than Spencer's had ever been. Elliott's chest was sucking in towards his ribs and his breathing was incredibly fast, shallow and labored. It was very scary.
So, off we went to a pediatric urgent care.
I walked in the door holding him, they looked at him/listened to him and opened the door to take him back. We never spent a second waiting in the waiting room and were being seen by the doctor within 5 minutes.
They gave him a shot of steroids and started him on a breathing treatment.
He was doing a lot better within about 30 minutes, but they wanted to monitor him for a while before sending him home.
It's a good thing they did because right after I took that picture he rapidly went downhill and the doctor decided he could not go home, but there was nothing more they could do in urgent care. So we were going, via ambulance, to the Emergency Room.
They had given Elliott an otter pop at urgent care during a time that his cough was better. The first thing he did in the ambulance was to cough so hard that he projectile vomited. Three times.
The nice thing about going to the ER via ambulance is that the paramedics do the check in process for you during the ride. We got to go in the special ambulance entrance and talk to the nurse at the special ambulance desk. We were in a room and meeting with the nurse, the respiratory therapist and the doctor within 10 minutes.
They started him on a epinephrine breathing treatment, which is much better at targeting the upper airway.
We had John and Maryellen come over at this point and Maryellen stayed with Spencer so that John could take Michael to get me car and then come meet us at the hospital. He brought a change of clothes for poor vomit covered Elliott.
After the first breathing treatment Elliott had to be monitored for 2 hours. It is hospital policy that if a kid needs a second treatment they have to be admitted. The decision was made around midnight that he was going to be admitted because he needed a second treatment.
They did the second treatment in the ER and Elliott was still going strong watching cartoons while we waited for a room to be ready. At 1:20 am (he had been up since 7:30 am) I thought that he just might be up all night. I was starting to get worried.
But he was so nice and calm watching cartoons and doing so well with the treatments that I didn't want to interrupt him.
Somewhere in there, after the second treatment, radiology came in and took an x-ray of his upper airway. As soon as the two techs walked in the male tech and I immediately recognized each other. I think he is the one that took the x-ray to make sure that Elliott's PICC line was in the right place when he was there with sepsis.
The doctor came into the room to talk to me around 2:10. It was during that conversation that Elliott finally fell asleep.
They had him on humidified air in between treatments.
Gremlins in the ER
Finally, around 3:30 our regular room was ready. He actually slept through the transfer which surprised me. He was definitely beat. Once we were in the regular room the respiratory therapist started a third epinephrine breathing treatment. Elliott was not a fan and it took a team of three to hold him down (me), hold the mask on him (respiratory therapist) and keep him from flailing (nurse). Finally, finally, finally, after 4:00 am I was able to crawl into bed with him. At that point I actually had a lovely conversation with his nurse, whose name was Crimson. I wish I knew her last name because I think we could be friends.
Elliott slept pretty much straight through until 8 am. I pretty much slept about 10 minutes.
He was doing much, much, much better in the morning. He was allowed to take the humidified air mask off whenever he was eating or drinking. I ordered his breakfast around 8:30, but it took an hour to get there, so he had some snacks while we waited.
Elliott didn't get to enjoy the snacks during his last hospital stay, but he was a big fan this time.
Michael got up that morning, got Spencer off to school and came to the hospital to join us. He brought all of Elliott's friends to make him feel better.
And feel better is exactly what happened. A shower and a red popsicle also helped.
We also felt a lot better that the hospital pediatrician for that floor that day was Dr. Shah. Dr. Shah is the pediatrician that saw Elliott in the hospital when he was born AND was his doctor for the last week of his sepsis hospitalization. He also circumcised Elliott. It was like meeting up with an old friend.
But Elliott was not impressed.
After we consulted with Dr. Shah I came home, ate lunch, took a little nap, took a shower, met Spencer at the bus stop, took his 7 year 6 month picture and then went back to the hospital.
I got there about an hour before he got discharged. There was just enough time for a little afternoon snack.
Since the room had been Elliott's home for, oh, 11 hours, I felt like we needed to document it. It basically looked exactly the same as the rooms we were in during the sepsis hospitalization.
The view. We were on the 4th floor.
And then. Just like that. We got to go home. The whole experience was about 4 trillion times less stressful than the sepsis stay.
Except that I ended up getting sick the day after we came home after not having been sick for four years and it's taken days to get back onto a normal schedule for sleeping and general attitude.
But, except for me now, everybody in this house is completely healthy and I am the only person keeping myself up at night.
It sucks. I won't lie. But I will take that over anybody else being sick.
Please. Pretty please. Don't let anybody else get sick.