Saturday, February 18, 2012

Emergency Room

What a crazy twenty-four hours it’s been.

My last post was of me and my Patch, driving post-rush-hour to the local Meefeetoe place, grabbing burritos for the wife and I, gettin’ home. I posted whilst eating said burrito.

Well, Patch and Little One went down at 8:15. Little One slept blissfully. Patch did not.

By 9 it seemed evident (to my wife that is, God bless her; I have thick lunkhead ears of stone) that our youngest was not sleeping. A deep, hacking, non-stop cough had developed over the past few days, and came in ferocious-like that evening. My better half got Patch, took a hot shower with her (steam tends to help our little ’uns sleep), rubbed Vick’s on her tiny torso, the works. Nothing helped.

Finally, my wife notifies me she’s taking Patch to the Emergency Room.

This is at 10:30. Feeling guilty and stupid, I let her know I’ll hold the fort back home (how brave of me, but we do have a blissfully sleeping child upstairs). So I stay up until 2:30. The wife and I exchange a few cell calls during that period.

The pre-diagnosis is pre-pneumonia. Rather, first-stage pneumonia. Either that or a nasty viral infection. In goes the IV needle, out goes any ounce of cooperation from my three-year-old. The IV drips antibiotics and steroids into her tiny veins. They keep an oxygen mask on her since her blood oxygenation levels are falling. Nebulizer treatments with albuterol continue, with the respiratory therapist pounding her back afterwards for 3-5 minutes to loosen up the congestion in her tiny lungs.

Little One wakens me the next morning at 7. Reluctantly I get up, feed her and myself, get showered and dressed, run a couple necessary errands with my oldest. We’re at the hospital at 10:30 am, where it’s now my turn to sit with Patch. My wife leaves with Little One to return home for a couple hours of sleep. She’s been up most of the night at the hospital.

My vigil with Patch lasted for a little over ten hours today. And there was never a dull moment. Two more respiratory treatments. Periodic blood pressure and temperature checks. Hospital food. All ensuring that my overtired sleep-deprived toddler remains so. And this results in fighting and tantrums over keeping that O2 mask on her face.

The nurses, as usual, were wonderful. Lots of TLC for my littlest girl. And bonus of bonuses, she actually improved over the course of the day. No more wheezing, though the coughing is still present. Plus her blood levels are staying oxygenated, so by 4 pm no more oxygen mask.

The wife returned at 8 to relieve me. I took Little One home, stopping at the grocery store for a chocolate chip muffin as a treat for her behaving so well since we basically neglected her in favor of her younger sister all day. I’m probably going to crash shortly after I post this. First thing tomorrow morning we’re heading back over to the hospital. With crossed fingers our family GP will have stopped by to give Patch the thumbs-up to come home. The nurses seemed hopeful of this as I left earlier.

A lost weekend in the worse sense of the phrase, though things seem to be looking optimistic at this time of writing.

PS – strange synergistic occurrence: walking with Little One down to the hospital gift shop I noted a rack of about thirty used paperbacks advertised for $1.25 apiece. Scanning – as I must – I find – wow! – Asimov’s Prelude to Foundation, the first book (though not first written) of the master’s classic series that I’ve never read. Since I’ve been raving to everyone I know (well, just the wife, really) how well I enjoyed Asimov’s Bicentennial Man short story anthology, surely this is a sign, no?

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