Friday, August 7, 2009

Short of Breath

She was fine when she fell asleep, early, though she was snoring loudly. The snoring wasn't completely unusual though. When she's particularly tired after a long day, she snores. The snores that night may have been a little louder than usual, but I assumed she was just extra exhausted.


I think it was the commotion upstairs that woke her. K has been doing great at school, but when he gets home he's wiped out from following directions all day. I remember M being extremely tired the first few weeks of Kindergarten too. The tiredness manifests in whining and crying and insistence that he is not tired. He doesn't even know what he's saying half the time I don't think. So when he woke D up he was lobbying for a book even though he'd already stayed up later than he should have. He had his heart set on the book and his heart was breaking. The only thing to do at that point is usually give him what he wants in wish form. ("You wish you could read a book! I know! That would be great wouldn't it? But it's bedtime now!") D was up and crying. While I tried to comfort K Man I noticed her breathing. Craig noticed it too.


She was wheezing (but really it was stridor, not wheezing). Her cries sounded hoarse. Her voice reminded me of when I was hospitalized with mono as a teen. The doctor had called my speech "hot potato speech" because my glands were so swollen in my neck that it sounded like I had a hot potato in my mouth. We got K calmed and in bed and took D back downstairs.


Craig and I listened to D with increasing alarm. She cried and seemed to be struggling to get air. The noise came on the inhale though. We tried to look in her throat to see if her tonsils were swollen, but that was a lost cause. I saw her chest heaving. Craig said he didn't like how she sounded. I told him I was taking her to the ER.

I drove with the radio turned down so I could hear her. I didn't know if she would continue to struggle for breath or even stop breathing. She seemed slightly better as we approached the hospital. The surface parking lot for the ER was full so I had to park in the underground ramp. It took several minutes longer for me to reach the ER. D was bright-eyed and still breathing noisily, but seemed happy nonetheless.

We only sat in the waiting room for a minute before we were called to take D's temp, weight, etc., then we were placed in a room.

We saw a total of 3 doctors. It's a teaching hospital, so first up we had the student doctor. He looked about 12 and had a nervous stutter. He was respectful and listened. He was a little clueless.

Then his supervisor, a resident, came in to make his assessment. He was also pleasant (and taken with Ms. D's cuteness) but sort of made me feel that I was an overprotective nervous mother who brought her child in for a common cold. But before he discharged D, he needed the staff doctor to sign off.

Both men had used a stethoscope to listen to D's lungs. She tolerated this for only a few breaths then would grab the end of the stethoscope and try to fling it back at the doctor. I laughed every time. I think I have another girl who knows her own mind and is not going to take anything laying down.

The staff doctor entered and sort of cooed at D. Then he looked at me and remembered himself "Did I introduce myself?" I couldn't remember. "I think I forgot to introduce myself. I got distracted by this cute little one." (I think he was referring to the baby.) By this time we'd been at the ER for 2 hours. D's breathing had steadily improved as we waited for each new doctor. "She sounds great right now," the staff doctor said. So I figured I was going to get another lecture, the gist of which would be that I was overreacting.

But that wasn't the case. He asked me to describe what had happened at home again. He asked when the noise occurred (inhale or exhale or both). He asked if she sounded hoarse. He asked if she'd been coughing (no) if she'd had a cold (no) and if she'd been sick at all recently (no). Even with my "no" responses to these questions the doctor determined she had croup. (Which never occurred to me since she was not coughing.) He said given the fact that she seemed to get better in the car on the way to the ER, and still improved in the cool environment of the ER, and given the fact that the noise occurred on the inhales rather than the exhales (which would indicate asthma) that it was croup. We decided to give her an oral steroid to decrease the swelling in her throat (hence the hoarseness). He said the steroid wouldn't help that night but would help the next night. (and it did)

So. Croup. Without a barking cough. And thank goodness it wasn't something more serious. I can tell you it is a very scary thing when you see your 14-month-old struggling for air. I can also tell you it is a relief to know that she is okay.

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Anonymous said...

Poor Miss D-- Glad she is so much better!!

wheelsonthebus said...

that is terrifying. glad he took the time to talk to you.

kelleysbeads said...

Glad D is ok and that the 3rd doctor came in to sign off on her release. Trips to the ER can be so scary when you don't know what is wrong with your child

I have the same problem with cars as I do with the kids at times....the sypmtoms disappear by the time we get to the shop or dr's office. Then I look the crazy woman. Hate it when that happens!

mayberry said...

Better to overreact and get a lecture than not catch something serious in time! Glad she's doing better.

slouchy said...

so scary. i'm glad she's ok.

for a different kind of girl said...

Scary, indeed. Glad that it wasn't anything more serious. I've never even heard of croup without the cough, either. Hope she's getting her rest now!

Hip Mom's Guide said...

Watching your baby struggle to get air is horrible. I'm so glad it was "only" croup and that you were able to get help quickly. Wow, you're ready for the weekend!

Holly at Tropic of Mom said...

Oh, so scary. I hope she's doing better today?

Too bad doctors don't listen more often to mamas. I mean, what mom is really going to sit in an ER for any length of time over nothing?

Alex Elliot said...

That must have been so scary! How's she doing now?

chelle said...

oh my! Thank goodness for his thoroughness! Big hugs .. croop sucks! Hope she is completely on the mend now.

Shop with Me Mama said...

So glad she is OK! Yes, that would be very scary to see any of your children gasping for breath! Hugs mama! Glad you found out what it was and she is ok. Happy VGNO :)

Karen MEG said...

Glad she's okay, that is very, very scary!

Bloghopping by to say hi...

Marla said...

I am so glad every thing is fine and that you both were persistan and observant enough to go to the ER. Sleep tight and well!

louann said...

Oh my! I would have panicked! I am so glad to hear that she is ok and that it isn't anything major.

Madeline said...

You poor mommy! That is so terrifying. Glad it turned out to just be croup!!

 
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