December 29, 2012, I wrote on Facebook: I was upstairs folding laundry because the two of them… were downstairs having a coughing contest. (I think whichever ones gets me sick wins a prize.) Makes for a loooooooong weekend.
A few days later, I wrote: Remember that cough I mentioned? That evolved into a trip to the ER, and now pediatric ICU. Kid was having difficulty breathing , may be due to a virus. Fun times. Plus I get to wear a cool gown and mask. Probably gonna be ok in a day or two but maybe no posts for a while.
What happened? Well…
My wife was sick with a head cold and my daughter got one, too, but not from my wife we don’t think. Savvy was fine at swim practice and played with some other kids that day at her grandma’s. None of them were sick or ended up getting sick. But some of the kids’ parents at the pool were discussing this lingering head cold that was going around and one of their kids either currently had it or recently had it. Nobody seemed sick at the time.
Friday afternoon rolls around and the kid has a runny nose and is coughing, but she’s also being fussy, which isn’t really like her. However, if you have a head cold, you might be fussy, so we didn’t pay much attention to it. Also, she hadn’t had a bowel movement in about 24 hours, which is also not like her.
I have never concerned myself so much with another person’s poop. But after a whole day and a half of not pooping, that could make her fussy, too. Gas pains have been known to make her cry, and it will be a long night. Michele and Savvy had gone shopping in the afternoon, and when they returned, Savvy was whiny and asking for her daddy. Nice, but unusual.
Since both my girls aren’t feeling good, I decide to make a special dinner for them. Well, for my wife. The kid is on Spaghettios, a known laxative, until things loosen up. When you don’t feel good, soup is the thing to have. So I make homemade French onion soup, homemade bread, and homemade escargots, which we really like. This is received well. My daughter eats her Spaghettios pretty late, about 8:30 (late for her, anyway) and there’s not much of an issue. She gets some Tylenol for a persistent, on and off low grade fever, and for her general discomfort and sore throat from the coughing, and she falls asleep on the couch next to us as we watch some TV in the warm glow of the Christmas tree lights.
She naps for about an hour, but wakes up really irritated and fussy. She’s coughing more now, and the low fever is back, so we give her some TLC. Michele holds her on her lap.
No good. She relaxes fox a few minutes but them wants down and starts crawling across the couch to me, and she’s really fussing now. Although she’s soon to be 3 and is pretty articulate, she isn’t being so now. I ask her what’s wrong and she won’t tell me. So I ask her where it hurts and she points to her whole chest and neck area. Okay, she’s got a cold and has been coughing; that will make you sore in your chest, back, throat… We’ve been trying our best to get her to drink lots of fluids but if you have a sore throat you don’t wanna drink much. Also, if you’re constipated, fluids are helpful. But she’s resisting. But there was something in her eyes when she crawled over to me that said “help.”
All this time we’ve been keeping the lights low so she could sleep, but now we turn on some bright lights to have a look at her throat and see what’s what. I don’t remember her facial color being off, but her throat was NOT red as far as I could tell. I went upstairs to get a stethoscope and listened to her lungs, and they sounded clear to me. So I’m thinking she’s okay and it’s just a cough. She needs rest and fluids, plus whatever we want to do for the irritations: sore throat spray (cherry flavored), Tylenol, tea…
But her breathing is now somewhat labored. Now, remember, we’re thinking she has a runny nose and a cough, not emphysema; not being able to breathe isn’t occurring to us. At least not to me. Anyway, this goes on for a while and I know there’s an After Hours pediatric center nearby, so I start looking up their number. I call, and they close at 11pm. It’s about 10:45 and they are about 15 minutes away.
“If you get here at 10:59, no problem, they will see you; they will take as long as is needed to treat you,” the receptionist on the phone tells me. “But at 11 o’clock, they lock the doors.”
You know, you can excite your kid if you act excited. You get ramped up, they get ramped up. So if you are dealing with them and their condition, and you act like it’s a crisis, you can freak them out. So I quickly but calmly tell Michele to load the kid into the car and I’m getting my shoes and heading to the after hours pediatric place. I know it’s over by Chick Fil A but can she text me the address so I can put it into my GPS (it’s in a park full of medical offices and I’ll waste time driving around looking for it). She also throws a blanket on the kid and says she’s going to follow in her car momentarily.
It’s cool out, which might feel refreshing but might not help the kid’s breathing. Even though I’m playing it cool my daughter knows something is up. I guess we don’t dash off in the middle of the night at high speeds very often. Clever girl.
I get the text and at a stop light I put it into the GPS.
Arrival time 11:01. No kidding. I tell my wife to call them and tell them that I’m already in the parking lot looking for their location and will they hold the door open for me because the kid is having trouble breathing.
Meanwhile, the kid has picked up on the fact that something is wrong and is now talking to me and asking questions in a calm but measured tone, with a nice gasp for air in between each word: Dad. Gasp. Where. Gasp. Are. Gasp. We. Gasp. Going?
That’ll get you to ignore a few speed limits.
Tune in tomorrow and Tuesday for the rest of the story! “Savvy Stories 2: The TERRIBLE Two’s” is available at Amazon and also at Smashwords at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/355616