Saturday, May 01, 2010

Adventures in Parenting: The Croup

(Also posted on Sidney's page)

Last night, we were so happy to wrap up this crazy week and looking forward to a short Portland road trip to see the family. We had put Sidney down for bed around her usual time (8pm) and though we noticed that when she cried her voice could cut out or would be muted, we assumed she was one of those kids who might get laryngitis when they get sick. Ken did a late run, showered, then went to bed and I settled down to watch Grey's Anatomy on Hulu. At close to Midnight, I pass by Sidney's door and heard muted crying/whimpering and I went in to check on her. Here's where everything goes sideways.

What I saw and heard freaked me out. The child had been crying so her face was completely wet and her right eye that gets all goopy was...well goopy. But she was hot--so incredibly warm in just a onesy and cotton sleep sack that it shocked me and the noise she was making (is now what I have come to know as the seal-like bark of the croup) sounded like having water in her lungs while simultaneously not being able to breathe. I grabbed her and attempted to thump her back to clear the airway which only made her more agitated and made that seal-bark worse. I even flipped her with her head down to the floor, trying to use gravity to clear the airway as I learned in the infant CPR class. At that point, I yelled across the hall "Ken, GET UP!" He stumbled in and I handed her to him as I ran for the phone. She was breathing but it was labored and again that cough was crazy. I spoke to the answering service at our pediatric clinic knowing that I'd be patched to Children's Hospital. But they were slammed last night and the attendant said it could be 30 minutes before they'd call back. I said, "We're not waiting. Where should we go: Ballard Swedish or Childrens ER?" She said either was fine so we chose Ballard for proximity.

Ken gets dressed in 30 seconds, we grab the diaper bag and buckle her into the car seat. We arrive to a practically empty ER and it must have been the serious look, coupled with the power walk, but the admitting folks waved me in and I tossed my ID and insurance cards on the desk. A nurse came right out and we were in a treatment room within a few minutes. First off they took her temperature which was 104 and they gave her Tylenol immediately. They pretty much knew from the sound of that cough that she had Croup and were going to take steps to relax and reduce swelling of the larynx-trachea area. Over the course of three hours, they gave her steroids orally and did a vapor mist of epinephrine. Her temperature came down slightly and the breathing constriction lessened. However when she did get spin up and start crying, the croupy cough and wheezing occurred so they also gave her a dose of Motrin (ibuprofen). It was concerning enough that they wanted us to go over to Children's Hospital to be sure we didn't need to admit her.

So at 3am, we headed over to Children's Hospital ER (and traffic was a breeze). Mainly we were there to have her observed by pediatric specialists and naturally all the meds had kicked in and she showed glimpses of her sweet, non-sick self to the medical staff while reserving the over-tired, sick kid moments for mom & dad. We were released home about 4:30am. At which point, she was soundly asleep and sitting reclined in her carseat so we just placed it in her room and let her be. We all slept to about 9am this morning. Her fever was gone and she mercifully took 5 long naps throughout the day. Ken and I were hearkened back to the newborn days where we got to sleep in 3 hour increments (shudder). I believe the ibuprofen is helping in addition to using a cold vaporizer, slanting her mattress and using saline drops + bulb-syringing her nose. Now I've heard there may be more nights of excitement when it comes to the Croup, so we're sort of waiting to see what happens tonight.

[Incidentally yesterday a massive recall was announced for Children's Tylenol and Motrin, just in time for our needing it. Luckily I was able to locate a generic.]

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