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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Why Croup is Terrifying

Photo: Because she couldnt let brother and sister have all the fun...Bella and I ended up in the ER at 2 am cause she has croup.  Breathing treatments and steroids and 4 hours later she is much better.  She is very chipper this morning. I on the other hand am not. the Dahl kids have been taking turns being sick since August 15th!  You think it was the middle of February around here with the amount of cold medicine, nose blowing, coughing, antibiotics and humidifying we have been doing around here.  Please tell me it's early?!?
 (This is how old Bella was the first time she had croup)

I kid you the month of August we have gone to the doctor 4 times, the urgent care 2 times, 2 trips to the ER, 8 trips to counseling, and 2 OT therapy sessions!  Throw in a little drama with our health insurance (they decided to drop our coverage since they thought Mark didn't work at BNSF anymore...can we say whoops computer glitch).  Trying to get antibiotics for a girl with a double ear infection on a Friday afternoon when the pharmacy tech tells you "sorry your coverage was terminated that will be 49 dollars" the mama bear comes out!!! We've been busy...Sheesh!

(Second time she had croup)

This past week takes the cake though.  I've been preparing a classroom for morning kindergartners, beginning of the year teacher meetings, meet the teacher nights and dealing with sick, irritable children. Then Tuesday evening I had no sooner told Mark, "Bella sounds croupy," and sure enough 1:30am, I am jolted from bed by a gasping for every breath three year old baby girl.  This wasn't my first rodeo with croup.  Bella has actually had it twice before, but I was gripped with the intense panic and fear of my baby struggling to breathe.  She was crying, and trying to vomit and gasping, and I can still hear it in my mind.  TERRIFYING!!! I almost called 911! I began praying out loud as I threw clothes on, and Mark buckled her in her seat.  I remember looking at Mark and asking "Are we going to to make it?"  As always Mr. Steady looks at me and says "yes, you are going to make it.  She will be ok."  Somehow he has this ability to make me believe that I am strong.  He doesn't react, he doesn't panic.  I do enough for us both :)

There is no one on the roads at 1:30am.  NO.ONE.  I drive quickly while glancing in the rear view mirror every five seconds to make sure she is still breathing.  I can hear croupy breath...she has a difficult time speaking to me...but she is with me.  I keep talking to her as calmly as I can..."hey baby...we are going to the doctor...they are going to give you medicine and make you feel all better.  It's going to be ok (reassuring her and me).

We make it to Legacy Salmon Creek ER.  There is no one in the waiting room.  We get our hospital I.D. badges and we wait to be called back.  I am more than a little ticked that no one comes to get us for like 10 minutes.  I feel like screaming "my baby is having a difficult time breathing! Don't you care!" but I hold it together patting her on the back.  We finally make it to the room.  She is running a fever, she is congested, her blood oxygen level is 99 percent so that relaxes me a little.  Her and I are laying on the hospital bed.  She whispers to me, "I sick mom."  "Yes, baby...but the doctor is going to make you feel better," I reply.  The nurse comes in followed by the doctor.  I could have diagnosed her myself.  She has croup.  Yep...I agree.  Someone comes down from the respiratory department and attempts to administer a breathing treatment. face mask for my baby girl, so I hold the plastic tube of vapor as close to her nose and mouth as I can.  He listens to her back and chest during the treatment.  The nurse brings oral steroids and mixes them in apple juice.  Bless.her.heart for knowing how icky they taste.  Bella drinks the apple juice and then they give her a bright red Popsicle.  I don't even care how much Red 40 food dye is in it.  She perks up after the breathing treatment.   The nurse then attaches a pulse oxygen monitor to her big toe and it glows red.  Bella is not too happy about that, but tolerates.

The doctor comes in to check on her and then lets me know there is a two hour observation after steroids are given.  Fabulous!  While I appreciate why they observe for two house I brought nothing to entertain her (since I left in such a hurry) with and those steroids really wired her up.  She was so funny chatting a mile a minute and then there was the 4 trips to the bathroom in 2 hours.  4 times unhooking the oxygen monitor and reattaching it.  4 times they ask where we were off too.  I began to struggle with a bit of anxiety once I knew she was going to be ok.  All the adrenaline, the exhaustion, and being all alone were not a good combination for me.  I really HATE the ER too.  I wished Mark had been there so we could have tackled it as a team, or mom there to talk too and lean on, but I was strong and fought through it.  I prayed a lot.  Around 4am the ER really started to get hopping.  At 5:30am we were given the ok to head home.  I was very glad to leave, and more happy that she was going to be ok, and was no longer struggling to breathe.  After we got home, I moved her toddler bed into our room and she slept there for two nights so I could keep a close eye on her.  I am happy to report she is doing much better and happy :)

No matter how many times I have worked my kiddos through croup it is absolutely terrifying!!! EVERY.SINGLE.TIME!  I feel like a newbie.  It is a virus that settles in the throat in the opening to the wind pipe.  It causes the opening to swell.  The cough sounds like a bark.  It is very distinct.  She caught the cold virus my olders had, and unfortunately turned into croup :(

I actually thought I was going to lose Bella on Tuesday night, and I felt paralyzed for a moment on how to help her.  I could see the fear in her eyes and I hope she didn't see the fear in mine.  So grateful to hold and kiss her.  Thankful for the medical care I could access for her and the power of prayer.  And also knowing that even though I felt "alone" that night, I wasn't.  HE was there with us.

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