Saturday, January 15, 2011

Our Exciting Day

It's 9:36 PM right now, and it's been a long day. Last night at about 7:30 PM, our Bible study group was just leaving our house. Our kids really look forward to Fridays because all of our friends come over with all their kids, and a lot of playing and craziness ensues. By the time everyone was leaving, Betsy was holding the Hanburger as we were starting to get ready for bed, and Betsy noticed that Hannah seemed warm. She took her temperature and it came back at 101. We didn't think that much of it (Ferg had been just a little sick during the week). That night, about 2:00 AM, Hannah woke up crying and coughing. Betsy went into her room, and Hannah proceeded to cough/throw up a lot of phlegm. Betsy gave her a nebulizer treatment, and she fell right back to sleep. At about 6:00 AM, Hannah woke up again doing the same thing, except this time her cough was a lot worse. She coughed up a lot of phlegm again. What was happening was she was coughing up a lot of phlegm into her throat which caused her to gag, and she ended up kind of gagging out a lot of gross yellow stuff. It was not a pleasant thing to watch or listen to as it happened.

By 9:00 AM this morning, Beetz and I felt she should be seen, so Betsy took her to an urgent care center. They said she probably had croup, and maybe pneumonia. They prescribed steroids for the croup and an antibiotic for the supposed pneumonia (I say "supposed" because it turns out she doesn't have pneumonia, which makes me wonder why they would prescribe her medicine without knowing what she had).

Anyway, I went to get some things done at the church while the kids were down for nap (1:00 PM). I had quite a bit to do today to get ready for the "big show" on Sunday. Also, we had arranged to buy 1/4 of a cow and I was scheduled to pick up my share of the beef this afternoon. By 1:30, Betsy called me and said she was ready to call 911. Han's breathing had become very irregular and labored. I could actually hear her wheezing in the background as I talked to Betsy on the phone. I told Betsy not call 911 yet, and that I was coming home, and that we could take her to the ER. So I left the beef and started driving home. On my way home, Betsy called me again and said she really thought we should call 911. Hannah's breathing was very labored, and she couldn't seem to get any breath. So we called 911 and the ambulances came right away.

By the time they arrived, Jamie had awoken from his nap. I tried to reassure him by telling him to look at the cool trucks that had come to our house. We just told him that Hannah was sick and needed to see the doctor, which he seemed to be OK with. The paramedics wanted to bring Hannah to the hospital to get her some treatment, and we agreed. As Betsy and Hannah got into the ambulance, I had Jamie look out the window to watch the trucks. At some point, he caught on to the seriousness of the situation, because as Betsy and Han were getting into one of the ambulances, he watched and screamed "Hannah! Hannah Jane!" It was incredibly touching to see how much he cared for his little sister and was concerned for her well-being. What a great big brother.

The hospital confirmed the diagnosis of croup, and added that it was a pretty serious case. Each time they medicated her for the croup her breathing improved, but once the medicine wore off it became labored again. The doctors decided that Hannah needed to stay at the hospital to be monitored. The medication wasn't "sticking," so keeping her in the hospital seemed the smart thing to do.

So that's where she is right now. Betsy is with her at the hospital, and Jamie and I are at home. I was able to tell him that Mom and Han are having a sleepover at the hospital, and he seemed OK with that. I wish we could have taken him to see her, but the hospital doesn't allow visitors under five years old for fear of spreading germs, which is understandable.

Han's cough is still really bad, and she's still gagging on a lot of phlegm. She's pretty uncomfortable. Every time she coughs you can tell she's in a lot of pain. It sounds as if someone has replaced her throat with two pieces of 60 grit sandpaper and they're rubbing together every time she coughs (in fact, when the doctor came into the room for the first time, Han coughed, and she said, "That's a croup cough! Where are my med students? They should be here, because that's a textbook croup cough.")

All in all, it's been an interesting day. I've never had to take one of my kids to the hospital in an emergency situation before. I've never had to watch one of them struggle to breath before. It makes a parent feel powerless, but it turns out that's the perfect place to be.


Kimberly said...

To your last sentence I say a hearty, Amen!

Gillion said...

are you getting better now? Pei Pa Koa ( ) is one of the few Chinese natural cough remedies that have been scientifically studied. it's something like herb plus honey, and it's sweet, thick and black in color. If you have a cough, look for it! It used to be one of my favourite natural cough remedies.

if your cough persists, seek professional help such as traditional Chinese medicine physicians - I have had very good experiences with them.

Joel said...

Thanks for the info. We're all doing a lot better now.