Monday, February 6, 2012

2.5 hours with a 2.5 year old in an adult emergency room

And I lived to tell the tale.

Let me start by saying that I'm amazed that we've gone this long without a trip to emergency and honestly, I expected our first visit to be a broken bone, or stitches or other such injuries that happen to rough and tumble fearless toddlers but this was more illness related.

Nathan had a cold. It started out fairly normal and then moved into his chest. No big deal right? But the last time this happened, his lungs didn't recover on their own and 2 months later he was on a inhaler for a couple of weeks. Then he was fine again. This was again a basic cold, no fever, no other aches, a stuffy nose and then through the night, chest congestion. And to be fair, I had it first and was just getting over it, it was a basic cold. Somewhere in the night, his breathing became shallow. This starts out as intentional on his part, when if he breaths normally,  he coughs, so he switches to short breaths, then it becomes the norm.

He was still coughing but in good spirits this morning when I left for work. He ate normally too. But it didn't get better. So I had friends come pick up Corwyn and I took Nathan to emergency.

There is a hospital 5 blocks from my home. It's the one they were born in and the one Nathan spent his first 3 weeks of life outside of me in. It's a good hospital, and while they treat kids, it's not a children's hospital. But that is much further away and I don't drive.  And I was pretty certain we wouldn't be admitted for a stay.  It's also the hospital that serves the downtown and the street people so there is a range of people there. I'm really happy the full moon is tomorrow night.

A friend had been a couple of times with her son and said they had a paediatric room in emergency. We never saw that. We were in the 'regular' fast track area. To be fair, Nathan was his usual perky, talky self when we checked in. His admission form even reads "Cough, looks well". I suspect they thought I was one of "those parents" who panics at the slightest thing. Um, no.

He got frustrated in the second waiting room and I downloaded the first toddler game I could find onto my phone. He was in heaven at this point. They never get mommy's phone because they broke the last one (and a camera and video camera) because they fight over it. He was still in good spirits and I was getting that patronizing look as he happily followed them into the fast track area. The first time he baulked at anything was when they asked him to climb onto a  bed. No way, no how. He sat in a chair. Then the intern came by for more info and I think they actually heard him breathing for the first time. Doctor was fairly fast after that. Nathan immediately pulled up his shirt to show where his chest hurt when the Dr asked what was wrong.  Nathan loves the stethoscope and breathed in/out on command. Since I use an ear thermometer at home, he was quite patient in getting his ears checked. Seriously, you could not have asked for more cooperation.

I mentioned that he said his elbow hurt and the Dr did a quick check. Elbow is fine but he noticed his psoriasis. I gave what info I had (no itch, had since birth etc, etc).

So then they ordered a chest xray. Really? I was worried how he'd react. The tech came, and Nathan took his hand and I followed them down the hall. They explained it to him, he stood still, held his breath on command and loved every second of it (seriously). Then the tech took his hand and walked us back.

Other than regular demands for food (my fault, totally my fault) the only real issue came around the nebulizer they gave him. They couldn't find a paediatric mask so he had the adult size. He hated it. It was supposed to be 10 minutes but he likely got 7 or so of those. An orderly came and helped and kept him a bit amused to make it go faster. I found another game to download. The boy is fast and had no problems doing these puzzles. It was great to watch. I wish there was a safe way for them to use the computer when they are together. He played so much he drained the phone's battery.

Eventually we were discharged. Official diagnosis is bronchiolitis (and asthma but only if he has a chest cold). His lungs are slightly infected as are his ears. He's on a short dose of antibiotics for 5 days and the inhalers for 2 weeks. We're going back to our ped in a couple of weeks to talk about an allergy and overall asthma test.

He also recommended that we give up dairy and wheat to help his skin. I've spent the last month trying to move them off dairy anyway. Corwyn is willing, but with Nathan I'm still trying. I'm going to have to be more consistent in mixing his milk with rice, almond or hemp milk. I have some gluten free cookbooks around so will be spending more time looking at those. I picked up a loaf of wheat free bread tonite. The boy lives on pb sandwiches and yoghurt right now.

We walked home (him in an umbrella stroller, playing with my phone) to get his prescription. He was not happy so I dropped him at home (its less than a block away) and went back to pick the prescription up. They didn't have it in stock. She had called all around to find anyone with it in stock (there is another pharmacy across the street, 2 up the street etc) and only 1 had it. They transferred it and I ran the 5 blocks to pick it up. What a night.

My friend had given him a snack so I forced the antibiotic down his throat with the promise of his 'breathing machine', which he loves, afterwards. I have a video from the first time he was on the inhalers that show how much he likes them. I'll try to find it. He thinks the antibiotic is poison and he's not really far off the mark. We already take a probiotic so that should help.

It was 2 hours past bedtime. They were clearly tired but didn't want to sleep. I still hadn't eaten and was emotionally wiped out.So they fell asleep in the floor with the promise that I would let them come to my bed later (which always happens when they wake up anyway). Nathan wanted to start out in my bed, but since my bed is the sofa and it's still folded up, that is not going to happen. I think I sang Mr Moon 30 times or so. Then at their insistence to continue recited every nursery rhyme I know (and I know a lot) and finally I moved on to some Peter, Paul and Mary. Success at last. I'm writing this up and chowing down on some cheese and almonds. I'll be sleeping soon, or at least in bed, trying to unwind.

I wish I had gotten some pictures of him at the hospital tonite, but he laid claim to my phone. So you have to settle for this one I took after they went to sleep.


Marianne said...


K J and the kids said...

You get mom of the year, for sure.
I hope he's feeling better soon. poor thing.