Last night I was wakened around 11 to the sound of N crying and coughing. It wasn't just a normal cough, it was that tell-tale "bark of a seal" cough. My heart sank, even as I fumbled down the stairs, half asleep. Ed, who had been watching basketball, had already gotten N out of bed and into the bathroom where he was standing over the toilet crying, coughing and gagging. After a couple minutes of this, I said that I didn't think he had to throw up, but instead needed to sit down and calm down. N is very excitable, and if he is hurt, he will immediately throw a fit of crying and can NOT be reasoned with. With croup, it is very important to stop the crying, since it further swells the throat and makes breathing even more difficult. Although it took several minutes, he did seem to calm down, and so we thought we would try to put him back into bed. As soon as he lay down there was a panicked look on his face, and he started crying and gasping for air. I gave him some prednisone we had on hand from a previous bout of croup, but since it talkes 6 hours to work, it didn't do anything and he just kept crying and struggling to breathe. Ed picked him up and rushed him outside, but it was a warm night, and it didn't do much. He then tried to hold N up to the open freezer door, but that just freaked him out even more. At this point he was struggling for each breath, rasping in and out. I tried to hold him to me to calm him, and as I rocked back and forth with him in my arms, it became clear that he was getting worse- between his stomach and ribs was a very clear triangle as he sucked the air in. I was very worried that he would stop breathing all together, and we would lose our boy. We called the pediatrician and were advised to get him into the steamy bathroom immediately (something I knew was helpful for croup, but at this point I was thinking we needed to call 911- that it was too late for the steam to help). Ed sat with him while I waited outside with the phone. Half an hour later, several phone calls with the nurse, and an empty water heater, he had calmed down sufficiently so that he wasn't struggling for every breath. But since he was still wheezing, we were told to take him to the ER, as he might have another episode later in the night, and we might as well take him when he was calm. So Ed left with N around midnight, and I settled back into bed where I lay in the dark praying for the next hour and a half until I finally fell into a fitful sleep. They returned around 2:30, and Ed said that N was fine- he was perfectly fine by the time they got to the ER, and Ed had felt a little silly for bringing him in. They took his pulse-ox, made sure he was breathing OK, monitored him for a couple of hours and then sent him home where he slept through the rest of the night. This morning he woke up with a cough, but bright-eyed and full of stories of what happened at the hospital. Yet, he still isn't well. He just got hurt outside, which started another bout of coughing and some raspy breathing. I was able to talk him down and reminded him that he needed to stay calm, or he wouldn't be able to breathe. But I am admittedly worried as we are about to go into the night. I fear that we will be wakened once again with a panicked boy, struggling for his every breath. I just pray that Jesus will be close to him tonight as he sleeps, that his airways will be clear and his breathing easy.
This is not the post I wanted to write on the eve of his 5th birthday- I already had something planned, but I will have to save that for later.