Homegrown Texan

Born and raised in Texas, I've found the home of my heart and soul in the Pacific Northwest. I love trees, cool weather, and rain. I'm a back to basics kind of gal just trying to raise my family and find a bit of time to slow down in this hectic life.

So, Monday night around 11:30 I woke up to hearing Nathan coughing this barky cough.  "Oh great" I thought to myself, thinking I was in for a long night of listening to him cough while he miraculously slept through the noise.  Then I heard him crying.  "Damn, he must have thrown up again", I thought to myself.  He woke up Sat morning throwing up (climbed in bed with me afterwards...I *thought* something smelled wrong, then ended up throwing up in the kitchen again and *cleaned it up himself*, bless his heart).  I thought he was having a recurrence of that.

So I got up to go check on him.  Jim already had him up and I immediately knew something was very wrong.  He was gasping for air, wheezing, and saying "I can't do it!  I can't do it!".  He never would say what he couldn't do, but it was clear that he couldn't breathe very well at all.  I was a little comforted that he was at least able to talk, so at least he was taking in *some* air.  But it scared the living hell out of me.  He got the croup once about a year ago and it got bad enough that I had to take him to urgent care for breathing treatments, but this was so sudden.  Obviously he needed a doctor, but I was afraid to take him to the ER myself, as I was afraid he would get worse before I could even get him there.

So I called 911.  Funny thing about me in emergencies...my mind feels very clear.  I'm pretty sure I'm handling things pretty sanely.  My voice must not convey that, though, because the 3 times I've been in emergency situations like this (the other 2 being when I started bleeding when pregnant with Nathan), I've had people tell me that I needed to calm down and tell them whatever information they needed.  Which is funny, because I've always been perfectly ready to give that information.  Oh, and my hands shake like mad.  I guess my adrenals must work well. :)  Anyway, after hearing the "calm down" speech from the emergency dispatch, I gave my info and they said a fire truck and ambulance would be on their way.

They were there in the matter of a couple of minutes, I'm sure...we live very close to the fire station.  But multiply however many attempted breaths per minute and it felt like an eternity.

Soon my small living room was filled with...5-6 paramedics?  I'm not really sure.  They started taking oxygen sat readings on Nathan and gave him albuterol with an SVN(?) machine.  It seemed to help a little bit, but he was still laboring.  What a guy, he was such a trooper.  Did everything they asked and didn't freak out.

Within a few minutes they were loading me onto the gurney with Nathan in my lap.  Paranoid person that I am, I was a little concerned that they didn't just strap him down and let me ride in the back (always gotta buckle up!), but I let it go.  They took us to Scottsdale Memorial (or whatever it's called now), which I thought was weird since we nearly passed Banner Desert on the way.  I know Desert has a good NICU; maybe not a good peds department?  I don't know, but I have 2 helicopter bills under my belt from being taken to the wrong hospital initially and having to be transferred, so I wasn't going to argue.  Those helicopter bills aren't cheap (even with good insurance) and Nathan seemed to be breathing well enough that I wasn't worried about the extra few minutes.

They started another albuterol treatment on the way.  He seemed to be responding some, but I knew it wasn't quite doing the trick.  I remembered from his other episode that he had some sort of similar breathing treatment. I knew it wasn't albuterol, but couldn't think of what it was.

They got us into a room in the ER right away.  The place was dead...I didn't see any other patients there.  The ER looked pretty extensive, so there may have been some in other areas, but there were no patients waiting...a new experience for me.  The doctor recommended a treatment of epi (*that's* what he had last time!).  Sure enough, that stuff worked wonders.  I could tell it was helping because Nathan wanted to hold the mask to his face himself.  It was like he wanted to make sure it stayed there!  Within a few minutes he was feeling much better.  Once he was doing better and the epi treatment was done, they gave him an oral steroid which they said would take longer to go into effect, but would last longer (the rest of the night).  They kept him for an hour for observation and then let us go home.

He hasn't had any problems since.  He thinks the whole thing is cool...spent the whole day Tuesday talking about how he got to ride in an ambulance, and how the ambulance "wasn't boring, it was FUN!".   He was such a good kid...did everything they asked him with hardly a whimper (he only whimpered at the *3rd try* at a rectal temp reading, as the thermometer didn't want to kick in and take a reading for whatever reason).  Jim and I were very tired as we didn't get to bed until 4 am.  I took the day off and kept the kids home from school.  They didn't sleep as late as I would think they should have after a night like that.  Nathan ended up napping yesterday afternoon, as did I.

I'm so glad he's ok...it was so scary how quickly this came on.


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