Well, 4th of July always makes me a little jumpy. Is it possible to have post-traumatic stress disorder from traumatic hospitalizations?!
About 8 years ago, the fun started with #2 son when the neighborhood started to fill up with smoke from a forest fire. He had been outside playing with friends, but we brought him inside and gave him a breathing treatment. Later, he wanted to go out that night and watch fireworks so we reluctantly let him watch a few neighborhood fireworks. The coughing was persistent, so we did another breathing treatment and watched him throughout the night.
The next morning, after giving him another treatment, I went into the kitchen to wash out the nebulizer. When I walked back into the living room, I saw a side view of him laying on the couch-his stomach was sucking in dramatically and his lips were turning blue.
I called my next door neighbor and said "come quick! I need to take #2 to the ER!, watch the other kids!" I put the emergency flashers on my minivan and rushed to the ER. By the time I got there, the engine was smoking. I scooped #2 up and rushed into the ER. They motioned for me to have a seat and I yelled "he's having problems breathing, I need help!" They took one look at him and put the oxygen monitor on his finger. His level was between 79-81. (He should be close to 100) And his respiratory rate was at 77, they said it should be closer to 20. The nurse screamed for help as she wheeled him around the corner to a triage room. Not a good start. They put him on 6 liters of oxygen (adult level) and tried to stabilize him.
He continued to struggle and the doctor asked me what I thought. I said "something's wrong, he just doesn't look right", so they admitted him to the pediatrics floor. I watched as they put a heart monitor on him and thought it was strange that there were so many nurses in the room to get him set up.
Later, the head nurse confided that she took one look at him and thought "please don't crash! please don't crash!" I didn't realize he was in classified as being in ICU, but she said that he was very close to going into cardiac arrest and needing ventilation. It ended up being a very stressful 4 days, and he ended up coming home on oxygen.
The problem with #2 is that he drops hard and fast, even catching ER doctors off guard. We've learned to be more aggressive with his asthma, keeping bottles of prednisone on hand and supplementing that with Decadron injections. Sometimes it's effective at keeping him out of the hospital, other times it doesn't seem to work. It's always a learning curve!
I'm just glad we have insurance and we know enough now to prevent situations like this from happening again.