Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I Am So Tired....

Sometimes, I have to blog to get some things out of my head so that I can move forward and do other things (e.g., work).

So Christopher has pneumonia.  This is our fourth pneumonia in the family. Conor had it once and Bridget had it twice.  He has had a cough since Christmas, but nothing too worrisome; we all have some sort of dust/pollen allergy over here.  Then Sunday night, his cough got a lot worse and he started running a fever.  In our house, viruses start with fever and turn into coughs.  Pneumonia (at least for Bridget) starts with a cough and then turns into a fever.

Conor and Bridget also had substantial lethargy with their pneumonia,which is why when I took Christopher in Monday morning to the doctor with a 99.5 fever and a engaging, funny, ACTIVE disposition, I felt like I was being an overanxious mother.

Nonetheless, the doctor heard the crackling and wheezing in his lungs immediately.  I congratulated Dave and me for being wonderful parents and developing our lay skills at identifying early signs of pneumonia in our children. Indeed, the doctor suggested we only needed to use albuterol on an as needed basis instead of a strict 4 to 6 hour schedule (like we did for Bridget).

I was even more proud of us when Christopher's fever spiked to 102 Monday afternoon.  We were ahead of the curve! He was going to have two good antibiotic treatments before the dreaded Nighttime Fever Spike.  I was expecting this to be an Easy Peasy pneumonia.


We gave him  ibuprofen at 9:30 (easy peasy!) and another albuterol at 10:30 (coughing but under control after the meds) and settled in for sleep.  About 1:30, I woke up next to a burning, wheezing ember of a toddler.  The 103 temperature was especially bothersome because he should have been covered by the ibuprofen. (We are thinking this morning, it  would have been 105 if we hadn't treated earlier in the night).  I dosed him with Tylenol and debated giving him his next albuterol an hour early.  The wheezing, holding his breath at the top, and the coughing up of the lung made Dr. Mom decide to give him his albuterol early.

But then.  It didn't get better.  The fever stayed at 102.5 and the wheezing, struggling breath wasn't going away like it did earlier.  I would like to also point out that what is happening at this point is NOT AT ALL like we experienced with Conor's and Bridget's pneumonia.  Yes, we've had to alternate between tylenol and ibuprofen for high fever before, but the breathing has usually been taken care of by the albuterol.

I started to debate calling the triage nurse.  What could they do at the hospital that I wasn't doing already?  But could I give him more albuterol earlier to help him breathe and sleep.  So I called.  Dave told me this morning that he thought I wanted to take him to the ER. No, I wanted to give him more albuterol.  And, honestly, to make sure Christopher's path wasn't similar to a friend of ours who nearly died last Christmas.  (Yes, Anne, your illness and near death scared us then and scares us now. When a friend's Facebook posts go from "I've got the flu" to "Here is Anne's CaringBridge Page", I think that is the definition of having the bejeesus scared out of you. Pneumonia isn't something to trifle with)

So yes, after the triage nurse had me report what Christopher's ribs looked like as he breathed and to count the number of breaths he was taking per minute, he told  us to Go Directly To the ER.  Do Not Pass Go. Do Not Collect $200.  (Instead, start writing the $200 check)

There was no one in the Presbyterian Main Hembly Children's ER (Shout out for this pediatric ER! Go there!) and the triage nurse and receptionist tag teamed us into the system and to the doctor ASAP.  Christopher's oxygen saturation at this time was about 93%.  As the doctor told us later, 92% is when you start to worry.  Personally, I do not find 93% to be a "Yippee, Hooray" kind of number.

The doc came in poked, prodded, listened, and discussed with us what was going on.  There was some discussion about whether Christopher has asthma because he takes flovent and that we have albuterol hanging around the house.  It took a couple of tries to get him to understand that our (old) dr tested for asthma (no), allergies yes and that's why we use the flovent, The albuterol is leftover from Bridget's pneumonia, and honestly, I think the pediatricians like us having that around the house.

ER Doc prescribed two breathing treatments in the ER and steroids for home use.  The treatments got his oxygen saturation up to 95% (not yippee, but not on the border of freaking out, either).  And then we talked about the steroids.

The ER doc went back to Christopher's initial lung scan from NICU and said he saw a gray spot indicating Respiratory Distress Syndrome.  I pretty strongly said "THAT had never been brought up before" not mad at  him, but bugged that no one mentioned that earlier considering all the lung/respiratory issues both twins had have.  In any case, we got out of ER and arrived home about 5 and went back to bed.  Around 6:30, Bridget started pounding on my head to WAKE UP!!  TIME TO GET UP, MOMMY!

So it looks like Christopher is developing mild asthma, probably related to being a preemie.  We follow up with our doctor on Friday to get more information about this.

Dave is home today so I am supposed to be working on my research papers (one submission due today! another tomorrow!) and prepping my class on Thursday.    I am so emotional that when my co-author just emailed me that the one we're submitting today looks great, I started tearing up.  (I just did it again)  I'm very excited about these two papers; they are part of a new program of research I'm doing and I want them to be good.  But I'm also concerned about my son dying (he's not, but I wasn't convinced last night) and it's a lot to be processing all of this on an incredibly small amount of sleep.

I had to get this out so I could start focus on my other stuff.  It takes some time to write this, but it frees up my brain to focus on other things.

1 comment:

Kim said...

Anita, what a scary night you all had! I'll be praying for sweet Christopher's recovery and for good rest for you! I'm glad to hear the first paper looks so good! Please take care!!!