A Rough Week

3:23 PM

What does it take to transform this super cute, happy, smiling (NEWLY 2 YEAR OLD!) into the picture you see below??

A really nasty case of CROUP.
That's what.

My poor little baby started running a fever last Thursday night and woke up on Friday with a barking seal cough to go along with his fever. It was unmistakably croup. His voice was also hoarse, which happens as the vocal chords get inflamed.  He was mostly fine all during the day, but that night, things got interesting. His fever would not go away. 101 - 102. Kyle and I were up every hour on the hour during the night checking his fever, making sure his breathing was ok and giving him Tylenol and Motrin. I somehow managed to keep my 6am long run Saturday morning with my running group (10.5 miles this week), which was not as hard as it sounds because I was pretty much awake when my alarm went off at 5:15 anyway. 

I came home to find his fever had still not improved and he was noticeably looking bad. Super pale with red-rimmed eyes, his breathing didn't sound good to me and he was obviously sick. 
I ended up taking him to an urgent care clinic where they agreed it was croup, and gave him a steroid shot.  And since he was retracting pretty noticeably with each breath and had stridor (which is the sound you hear when the breathing gets really difficult - almost like air being sucked in over a row of pipes...for some reason I picture wind blowing over a plowed field - wind over furrows), they sent me to the ER of Children's Hospital. Now somehow, THAT I was not expecting. 

Given the large amount of family members living around me, you'd think it would be easy to find childcare for my other 3 children, but it was not.  My parents were in Knoxville, TN for the Razorback game and we couldn't locate any of my siblings. We ended up getting Chad and Melissa to watch them for us, and I am so grateful for them. My kids had a fantastic day/evening with them and I didn't worry about them at all. Meanwhile, poor Wyeth had undoubtedly the worst day of his life.

When we arrived at the ER it was deserted and we were rushed back.
Nurses and doctors descended upon us and quickly assessed that Wyeth was pretty sick. (Later, several confided that they just knew he was going to be admitted). They diagnosed croup, but wanted to run lots of tests to rule out other causes. I think his fever was low enough that they didn't suspect meningitis (there have been several cases of that going around), so thankfully no lumbar punctures were on their list. Praise God for that!!

They sent for a breathing treatment right away, as there was a noticeable stridor in his breathing and his chest was sucking in hard with each breath. They also wanted to do a chest x-ray, some bloodwork and catheterize him to rule out a bladder infection.  

From that point on, it was a seriously hard day.
The breathing treatment and x-rays were the easiest things Wyeth dealt with that day.  

Although he did not like it one bit, he was almost too sick to struggle much.
And his breathing noticeably improved afterwards.

The chest x-ray came back clean and so they did another x-ray of his throat to rule out a throat abscess. The problem was that the second x-ray needed to be read by a radiologist to confirm that no CT was needed...which means that he couldn't nurse or eat anything. The radiologists were all swamped. Meanwhile, they quickly cath'd him (which broke my heart into a thousand pieces) and then called in a guy to start an IV on him.

Ya'll - I used to be a nurse. At ACH, in fact, and I love the hospital. I love the nurses. I have so much respect for that place and our time spent there only reinforced that love and respect. But there is nothing that diminishes the pain of watching your baby suffer. And he was so dehydrated by this time that they had to try 3 times to start an IV on him and he was suffering. I was holding his body against me (he was sitting in my lap facing me) so I was able to assist the nurses while comforting Wyeth, but it was gruesome to feel his poor body go rigid with pain while they tried to find a vein. I'm tough and it about made me cry.  His hoarse little cries were GUT WRENCHING! 

One of our nurses was a super nice guy who really liked us and felt like he'd failed us when he couldn't get an IV started. They called the IV team and were able to start one in his hand. Praise God! They got the blood they needed to run some tests on it, and left the IV in. At this point, they all thought we were going to be admitted.

After the x-rays and IV, we were left to wait on the radiology report. This would tell us whether we had to stay for a CT. Wyeth was so exhausted that when they came in to do a second breathing treatment, he remained asleep the whole time. 

It was kind of funny because there were a lot of unknowns about whether we'd have to be admitted. Apparently, they had on the boards that we were going to be, so this poor lady kept coming in to get us to sign all the paperwork, but we had been told that depending on a few factors, we might be going home. So we kept sending her away. 

We were blessed with a fantastic on-call doctor who knows her stuff. She eventually heard back from radiology that there was no throat abscess and we didn't need a CT scan, which meant that Wyeth could try to nurse/eat. She wanted to be sure his breathing was solid enough that he WOULD eat without gagging or having problems. She watched him nurse easily and eat some pudding and finally said we could go home but to return immediately if his breathing took a turn for the worse. We were so relieved. Also, during the day, Wyeth's fever had disappeared. 

We ended up getting home around 11:45pm Saturday night. We slept with one eye on him all night, making sure his breathing stayed good, and watching for fevers. 

He was so much improved on Sunday afternoon that we took him with us to August's first Junior Tennis match. He remained fever free, breathing easily all day.

He even tried to work alongside Kyle Sunday evening.

It was night and day difference. 
He ran a fever on and off later this week and still has a little cough, but viral croup takes some time to work out of your body. As of today, he has been fever free and happy as a clam.
I am thankful for so many things throughout this week that I can't even begin to list them all, but mostly thankful that Wyeth is better.

Interesting tidbit here....over the past week I heard various anecdotes from nurses and friends who noted that blond hair/blue eyed children seem to have worse problems with respiratory issues than brown hair/brown eyed children.  None of my other children (all darker) have ever had any issues with this. I'm not sure the science behind it all, but it's interesting.

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