Every year so far, Eddie has had pneumonia. The first time, I was concerned about him, took him to see the doctor, found out he had pneumonia, got a prescription, end of story. The second time, he'd been having a little bit of a rough time breathing, but he wasn't acting sick and I had a newborn, so I didn't really worry about it. We just gave him albuterol treatments and were hoping it would work itself out. (It frequently does.) We took William to see the doctor for a check-up and the nurse noticed Eddie's breathing. She checked his oxygen and it was a little low, so the doctor listened to his lungs and told me he had pneumonia. We got a prescription, end of story.
This time, a storm came rolling in. Eddie always has a hard time breathing when there's a storm. The humidity seems to bother him. So, the normal asthma flare up happened. He also got a fever. It was off and on and he still didn't have any other symptoms. I didn't want to take him to the doctor for nothing, kids get fevers all the time and I thought I knew why his asthma was acting up. On Monday, he seemed a lot better. Tuesday morning, his fever came back and he started complaining that he couldn't breathe. I listened to him and his breathing sounded fine (you would think I would know what other signs to look for by now), he wasn't wheezing or breathing all that fast. However, I figured it was time to break down and take him to see the doctor.
When I called, I was told that they were completely booked for the day, but that they would have the triage nurse call me. When she called, we went over all his symptoms and she had me stand near him so she could listen to him breathing over the phone. Without seeing him, she caught what I had missed, he was making a little grunting sound as he was breathing. It wasn't every time, but it was enough to mean that he was struggling. The fact that there was no wheeze meant he was too tight to even do that anymore. She told me I needed to take him right to Cardons.
Fortunately, my Mom was not working and on her way home from helping out at the school. It is also fortunate that I know that my mom is wonderful and will always help me out, since I left the house before I was even able to actually ask if she would watch the other kids. But, she did.
Being that it was a breathing issue, we were seen immediately. Not that I love having a child with asthma, but that is the one benefit, no waiting around for your turn to be seen. Your turn is always first. There were nurses and doctors all over the place before I knew it. They even stayed with him for me while I ran back to the truck to get my phone. (Through the whole ordeal, I managed to leave my phone in the truck every single time I went somewhere.)
They immediately sucked out his nose to test for the flu, which was kind of gross, I didn't know that you tested snot to look for the flu. After they were done, they started him on an hour long breathing treatment. He was a trooper. It helped that he got lots of things that he doesn't get at home, like Disney Junior and the iPad.
When that was finished, he went for a chest x-ray to check for pneumonia (which is what I was expecting it to be by this point). He was again a great little patient. The x-ray techs were so impressed with him and they even found him some Spider-Man stickers to match his slippers. When we got back and the respiratory therapist came to check him again, she decided that he needed another breathing treatment. This one lasted about 40 minutes. By the end, he was getting really tired of the whole thing, but he still held it on his face and patiently watch Little Einsteins. Since he wasn't feeling well, he made sure I did all the actions to help the Little Einsteins out.
Jacob came and joined us when he got off work. About that same time, we found out that he did have pneumonia and we would be staying the night at the hospital. We had to stay in the ER for 2 more hours, so they could determine whether to send him to the ICU or to the regular floor. If he had needed another breathing treatment within that 2 hours, we would have to go to the ICU (just so he would be more closely monitored). While we were waiting, the nurses came in to put an IV in his arm to start fluids and antibiotics. I was so impressed with how they put it in. They had a small tube that looked that a shot, but didn't actually have a needle. It used air pressure to shoot the numbing medicine beneath his skin, without breaking the skin at all. The nurses told him it was going to make a rocket noise and had him listen for it. It was pretty loud and he was very impressed. After his hand was numb, one nurse placed her hand on his arm so he couldn't see his hand and proceeded to have a conversation with him about the show he was watching. Meanwhile, the other nurse put the IV without him even noticing. He didn't see it until it was all wrapped up, at which point, he seemed to decide that it looked like a laser gun.
He kept asking questions about what everything was and the nurse had realized by this time that he is a very smart and curious kid. (Several doctors and nurses commented that he is very smart for his age.) So, she went and got a new IV and showed him everything. She told him that it was a straw that she had put in his hand to give him medicine. He thought that was cool.
He also got to learn how to use an inhaler and a spacer, which I am totally in love with. So much easier than the nebulizer! The respiratory therapist even gave him a toy car for doing such a good job.
Then came the endless waiting and answering of the same questions over and over that is involved in a hospital stay. I ran home to feed William and gather the things I would need to for the night while Jacob hung out with Eddie. I got back right as they were getting him settled in his room upstairs (not in the ICU, but the way). We traded shifts and Jacob headed home to get the other kids home to bed.
When they were finally done with everything, it was 10 pm. Since we had left the house at 11 am, the poor kid was starving. Conveniently, there was a small kitchen area outside our room for the patients and their families. It contained the normal stuff that the nurses will bring you, applesauce, jello, juice boxes, etc, with the benefit that I could just grab it for him. I found some macaroni and cheese in the freezer, got it heated up for him and turned the Lorax on. (He'd been asking to watch it all day.)
He consumed his food and happily watched his show. We finally got to go to sleep around midnight. Between the nurse, the doctor and the respiratory therapist, someone was in the room to check on him every hour. Which of course, woke me up every time. I finally gave up on sleeping at 4 and downloaded a Valentine's story to the iPad. It was an easy read and kept me occupied. (I read the whole thing before he woke up at 8:30.) He managed to pretty much sleep through everything and the sleep, combined with all the meds they were giving him, did him a lot of good.
In the morning, he was feeling lots better and was pretty excited to be able to order whatever he wanted and 'have the doctors make him breakfast'. I could not convince him that it wasn't actually the doctors who were cooking his food.
By about 10, he was sick of watching tv, sick of playing with the iPad and sick of laying in bed. He got up and down and climbed all over the chair, but couldn't really go anywhere with his IV and the pulse-oximeter still attached to him. We played with Photobooth on the iPad for a little while, which was fun.
Once we were able to catch the nurse and explained how bored he was, she offered to get someone from their Child Life team to come up. An hour later, she said that she found out that the doctor had already put our discharge papers in, so she was going to take care of that so we could just go home. Of course, it is never that simple. There was something wrong with the label on the inhaler he'd been using, so the doctor had to write him a new prescription. (Mom's thought process: Really? It's a children's hospital. You couldn't have grabbed a toy for him to play with during this never ending wait?!)
Three hours later, we were finally released and got to come home (with a whole slew of prescriptions)!
He is feeling lots better now. Really, a day later, you couldn't even tell he'd been sick. I think it took me longer to recover from the whole thing than it took him.
I was so grateful for all the help we got from our family and people in the ward. I don't know how people who are not members of the church survive times like this. My parents watched the kids that first day and came to see Eddie the next day with get well cards and a stuffed monster, which he loves. Grandma Dar called to talk to him on Face Time and he loved showing her his bracelets and car. We had a friend bring us dinner, another friend took Emily for a little while so Jacob could get his homework done, my visiting teacher came to watch the kids while I ran to get his prescriptions and lots of other people checking up on us. While Eddie would have gotten better either way, but all the great people in our lives sure saved my sanity.