Sunday, December 06, 2009

An Open Thank You:

The moment every parent fears most is that their child might stop breathing. I have aged 10 years this weekend.

Friday, when I picked Indy up from school he had a very slight runny nose. At dinner, he was a little cranky and had a very mild cough. By bedtime he was hacking and coughing and we sent him to my bed with a dose of Children' NyQuil. A few hours later, Indy's dad wants to come to bed, too. I need to make room so I roll Indy over and he coughs a moments, then he sits up and can't breathe. His lips turn blue, he gags and hunches over, you can see his mouth and chest fighting for air; he gags up mucus and you hear a rattling breath pulled in... too short, not enough oxygen in it. Chris is running for a phone to call 911 and my little boy is fighting for his life; fighting for a breath to sustain him. Indy breaks free from my arms and stands up, his skin flushing pale. I coral him again, leaning him forward, rubbing his back, telling his to breath like his friend Jace's mom who is almost ready to have her baby. His chest is heaving. You can hear the rattle of a minute amount of air going in, and none coming out. His color worsens, he gags more mucus onto my lap. He gasps trying to copy my Lamaze. I know how men feel, coaching childbirth; "Breathe honey, slow and easy" (I'm giving it my best, non panic, he-he-he-who)... it's such a helplessness.
fire trucks arrive...
Indy is looked over by 6 firefighters. The house feels so small with six big guys and all their gear. They are pros though,who whisk him off into the the ambulance. I grab a pair of long pants and head out to ride along. My husband and my mother in law trailing in the car behind the ambulance, running red lights. A nebulizer treatment is administered in the ambulance, he is breathing so much better now. The paramedic/firefighter who rode in the back with us gave Indy a stuffed fireman dog, wearing a fire department shirt. Indy rewards him a weak "O", and a small "go ducks". The guys wheel Indy into the hospital on a gurney, where the nurses swing into action. Indy gets more breathing meds and the pediatrician is called in from home. Blood is drawn, an IV inserted. It is 1 in the morning. Indy receives oral steroids. She (Dr Perryman, the pediatrician who rushed in from home) checks to be sure that everything possible is being done, and being done right. She checks and double checks. She admits us to the hospital just to be safe. We head for the 3rd floor. Indy was born on that floor, just across the hall from where i toss and turn on a pull out, listening to each ragged inhalation, holding my breath until i hear Indy exhale. We rest. We wake, vitals are checked, more breathing meds administered, breakfast comes and goes. Finally, i hear it. He is breathing clear. We get to eat lunch, bathe, and we learn to feel more secure; that each breath will be followed by another. We get to go home.

So, what happened? What i understand is that Indy picked up a virus that caused croup. Now, i have heard of croup, its a hacking, barking cough. What i did not know is that croup happens when the air passages around the larynx swell. In a small child, those air passages are very small and they can swell closed in a severe case. That is what happened to Indy. I have been given some tips from nurses and pediatricians now on how to deal with the rest of his illness (which should last about 5 days).

I owe so much to the fast responders coming from Tangent Fire Department, who arrived at our home within 2 minutes of the call... it felt like 20 minutes, but the reality was, i could still hear the city siren sounding in the still night air when the trucks rounded the corner into our neighborhood. Those guys reassured a small sick boy, and his distraught mother. Their very presence comforted a frightened father and grandmother (who was spending the night in anticipation of the "great Christmas tree hunt of 09").

He's fine. honestly.

Those men who respond to the call of others in distress in the chill dark of night; those men who risk their lives, every day, to be sure the rest of us are ok... we all owe them more than a thank you. Our lives are in their hands. They are gentle, professional, and caring; they hold us safe both night and day. Yet, too, their lives are in our hands, and we are none too gentle; we take it as our due. Be easier with these men (and women).

Thank a fireman. Thank a paramedic. Thank a nurse.
They held my sons life in their hands, and they delivered.

1 comment:

♥Caroline♥ said... scary!!! I'm so happy that he is doing much better!!! I'm keeping him in my prayers...