A Trip to the ER

The first full week of school, the kids and were unwinding from our day by playing in the backyard.  We were all barefooted in the grass but I was the one that accidentally stepped on a wasp.  Ouch!  My first thought was that I'd stepped on a stick so I moved my foot and stepped down again, digging the stinger down right in between my toes.  I ran inside and sat down on the kitchen floor to see why my foot hurt so bad and that's when I figured out what had happened.  I could not believe how much pain I was in!

Matt was quick on his feet and had my foot coated in baking soda (I think?) and covered in ice within minutes, all while I squirmed on the floor, squawking like a baby bird.  I was hurting pretty bad, but that is not why went to the ER.

After a bit, Matt got me settled on the couch in our bedroom with a pack of ice while he put the kids in the bathtub and handled the bedtime routine.  I could hear the kids playing and splashing at the got cleaned and once, when Matt rinsed them off, I heard Thomas choke and cough.  "Is he ok?!" I called out to Matt who was already patting our boy's back and pulling him out of the tub.  "He's fine, just got some water in his mouth."

The kids gave me loves and Matt tucked them into bed and we turned the lights out on a mostly ordinary day, save for the dang wasp sting.


Fast forward a few hours to the middle of the night - maybe around 4 am? - and Thomas woke up crying and climbed into bed with us.  Poor guy seemed to be stopped up and neither Matt nor I could fall back to sleep listening to his labored breathing.  Both of our minds drifted back to the choking incident in the tub and before I knew it, Matt had his phone out googling secondary drowning - the same thing on my mind.  We agreed that a trip to the ER was required just to put our minds at ease.  Matt and Thomas loaded up in the car while I stayed behind with a sleeping Katie Wynn.

The boys returned home shortly after 6 am with a good report on Thomas.  No such thing as secondary drowning according to the doctors that saw him, but they gave Matt a list of symptoms to watch for it.  By 8 am, everyone was at school and work, as if nothing had ever happened.

It wasn't until after lunch that I received a phone call from the school about Thomas.  When I arrived to pick him up, he was laying down on the cot in the nurse's room.  I explained that he had been at the ER all morning and that he was probably exhausted.  

Back at home, my chair was crowded with not just a sleeping boy, but a snoozing dog too (that's the white ball of fur behind my head).


Thomas took a great nap and rode with me to pick up Katie Wynn from school.  That was around the time his condition worsened.  We pulled back up to our house just minutes before Matt arrived home from work, and Thomas was really struggling to breath.  His chest was caving in on the inhale, one of the symptoms the hospital had told him to watch for.  So we took Katie Wynn to my parents' house and drove as fast as we could back to the ER.  It was probably the longest car ride of my life, sitting beside my little boy who could barely breathe.  He wouldn't keep his eyes open and it scared me to death.

Apparently breathing issues get you fast-tracked through the ER wait list, and with Matt having just been there hours before, getting checked in went very quickly.  Within an hour of pulling up the emergency room doors, Thomas was receiving his first breathing treatment.

When the mask first came on, it scared him to death.


He really did not want to breathe the medicine in through his mouth like instructed, so we facetimed Matt's parents for encouragement.  They did ten counts of deep breaths with Thomas to help get him going.  It actually worked!  I had sent my Mom a picture of him and Katie Wynn was asking a million questions and worried to death about what was happening.  So we facetimed her too so she could see him getting his medicine and she cheered him on like the best big sister.

Thomas was diagnosed with croup with stridor breathing - meaning his airway was constricted causing a very high pitched whistle when he inhaled.  The doctors told us it was like he was breathing through a tiny straw.  This is different from a wheeze as that happens on the exhale.  After his breathing treatment, the doctors checked his check and collarbone to see if they were still being pulled in when he breathed.  They were, so another breathing treatment was ordered.

Thomas did the second breathing treatment like a champ and was really so brave throughout the whole ordeal.  I could tell he was exhausted but he still smiled for my camera! 


Then came the waiting game.  At this hospital, two breathing treatments equals an automatic overnight stay in the hospital.  Most patients that receive two breathing treatments require a third one too, with the stridor returning in the middle of the night.  We sent Matt home to get dinner and clothes while we waited for a room to be ready for us.

We had the sweetest nurse - Madison - that brought Thomas orange popsicles.  She knew the way to his heart!


We were very glad to have our own triage room, complete with a tv, to chill in while waiting for Matt to return and our room to be ready.  


We didn't realize our wait would be so long!  Thomas was so tired, but had also had a steroid so he alternated between almost falling asleep and being bored and antsy.


It was after 9pm when we finally got the news that our room was ready.  Thank goodness!  I love this picture of Thomas and his daddy riding in the wheelchair.  


My baby boy looked so tiny in his new bed!


As soon as we told what felt like 20 different doctors and nurses the events of our last 24 hours, we were finally able to turn out the lights and get some rest.  The best part of the night was that Thomas's breathing stayed steady the whole night and we never needed a third breathing treatment.  Yay!  This meant we would be discharged the next day.

The next morning, Thomas received a visit from Mrs. Sarah Catherine, the children's director from our church!  She brought him Leo the Lion who, like Thomas, is very brave.


It wasn't until the middle of the afternoon that the doctors had finished their rounds and ordered our discharge papers.  We were ready to bust out of there!


And, because I'm sure you are wondering, my foot was still swollen, throbbing, burning, and itching worse than ever before!  I didn't get any sleep that night in the hospital because of my foot and that darn wasp sting.


When we finally got back home that afternoon, it didn't take long before I was right back where this whole adventure started - sitting in my chair with a sleeping boy in my lap.


We are very grateful for the quick attention we received from the emergency staff at the hospital, and for the excellent care our boy received from every nurse, doctor, student, and therapist that came through his room.  We also appreciate both of our parents' help with taking care of Katie Wynn so we had one less worry while with Thomas.  Most of all, we are so glad that our boy bounced back so quickly and while still very scary, just needed a couple of breathing treatments to cure his illness. 

Here's to no more trips to the ER (or wasp stings!) hopefully ever again!