Picking up where I left off: while I was on the phone with Dave, the paramedics arrived. I got off the phone and retrieved Cate from the nurse – between the doctor, several nurses, the paramedics and us, the exam room was quite crowded and the whole thing freaked Cate the hell out. The paramedics were so sweet, though, and one of them gave Cate a bunny to help calm her down.
[How cute is that? It didn’t really work, but she seemed to like the bunny later when she was feeling better. And she said, “Unny!” Which, um, ok kiddo, we didn’t know that you knew that word. I guess all those episodes of Bunnytown weren’t totally useless after all.]
I gave one of the nurses my car keys and she went to get Cate’s car seat out of the car so the paramedics could put it in their rig. She also gave me a diet coke to take with me, god bless her. We had run out the door so fast, I hadn’t even had a sip of water or put any make-up on or anything (and those of y’all who know me know that I never leave the house without make-up), and suddenly it looked like we were going to be in for a long day. So I was grateful for the caffeine, and since diet coke is like my favorite beverage in the world, I’m seriously thinking that I need to write her a thank-you note for that.
We got in the ambulance, strapped Cate into her car seat (which was strapped to a gurney), and they set up another albuterol treatment for her (the vaporizer kind where it just kind of blows in her face for several minutes, rather than the inhaler). It must’ve helped, because she was finally comfortable enough to fall asleep, and she stayed conked out until we got to the ER at Children’s Hospital and I had to take her out of the car seat.
The staff there was really great too, and gave Cate this really cute ballerina doll to entertain her.
Again, she didn’t care anything about it. Dolls are so not her thing. I wish someone had just given her a broken cell phone or something with buttons that lit up, because that would’ve helped way more. Oh well, it was really sweet of them to try. They also turned “Teletubbies” on the TV, which at least gave Cate something to stare at, although I don’t know if she was really into it or not. We’ve never watched Teletubbies at home, so it wasn’t familiar and comforting, it was just something to watch. But it definitely helped to keep her from crying quite so much. And I’ve decided that they aren’t nearly as creepy as I once thought they were.
We had our own room in the ER, and I sat in the bed with Cate on my lap. Dave got there about 10 minutes after we did, which made me feel so much better. Dealing with these types of crises are so much easier when there are two of you. Cate was examined by about a dozen different doctors and nurses, and they set her up with more albuterol treatments. She alternated between squirming and crying (which she did a lot) and sleeping. Her oxygen level was up to the mid-90’s by that point, which was much better than it had been earlier, but it would start to drop into the 80’s if I moved the oxygen mask away from her face. But as long as I kept it hovering close to her nose, she seemed to be fine. Once things calmed down a bit, I sent Dave to the cafeteria to get me some food before I passed out.
The nurse took us to get an X-ray of Cate’s chest, to rule out pneumonia. That was pretty horrible, because they had to strap her to a chair and pin her arms over her head to keep her totally still, and she howled through the whole thing. It was awful, but thankfully it didn’t take very long and they got what they needed on the first try.
Since the X-ray showed it definitely wasn’t pneumonia, asthma was the most likely culprit. They told us we were going to have to be admitted overnight. I gave Dave a list of things we were going to need and sent him home to fetch it, since there was no way I could leave Cate.
Btw, our ER room didn’t have a bathroom (of course), so eventually I handed Cate over to Dave so I could go pee. When I left, I took Dave’s cell phone with me and I popped outside to call my parents and tell them what was going on. My mom wasn’t awake yet, so I had to unload all of this info onto my dad. And of course, the day that all of this happened was his birthday. Happy birthday, Dad! Your one & only grandbaby is in the hospital and can’t breathe, and we don’t know what’s wrong yet! My dad is a world-class worrywart, so as you can probably imagine, this was not a great day for him.
At some point I offered Cate some milk, since I at least had enough of a brain to stick a bottle in the insulated pocket of my diaper bag before we left the house. She sucked down about half of it really fast, and started to doze off again. The nurse came back and wanted to give her some decadron, a steroid to help reduce the swelling in her lungs. She said it was cherry flavored and most kids liked it. Hmph. Most kids aren’t my kid, lady. We squirted a tiny bit in her mouth, she gagged, and the medication plus all of the milk she drank came right back up. All over both of us.
Of course, this was before I had sent Dave home to get extra clothes for all of us, so we were just stuck, soaked, and stinky. The nurses found a pair of scrubs for me, and we let Cate hang out in just her diaper for a while. An hour or so later, we were admitted to the medical wing, and the nurses there found some baby scrubs for Cate (which were hilarious and I wish I had gotten a picture of her wearing them, but I brought them home with me, so I may have to get her to model them again at some point).
Up next: the longest night ever.
It’s really sweet that everyone gave Cate so much love (and toys). Someday you’ll have the story to tell her and she’ll still have those dolls and they might even be her favorites by then. I laughed out loud at the Diet Coke– I imagined the nurse hollering “Gurney! Medics! Diet Coke! STAT!”
Ha! Well, she offered me coffee or tea, and I was like “oh no thanks, I only drink Diet Coke.” So she said, “We have those in the fridge too!” She even put it in the diaper bag for me so I’d have it later.
If its any consolation, DH said he had childhood asthma and it hasn’t stopped him. He said he outgrew it by the time he was “in double digits.” It seems to be a lot more common than we think. My younger sister’s three kids all have it and are growing out of it. It doesn’t make it any less scary though!