Saturday, September 2, 2017

Zelda's Emergency Room Visit

About a week into August, Susie came down with croup. She had a fever, cough (especially at night), raspy voice - but it wasn't too bad. A few days later, Ellie followed suit. She had one day of a high fever and lethargy, and then she was pretty much back to normal. But when Zelda finally caught it a day or two after that - it was bad.

After about the first day, her breathing became noisy. Especially at night, when she was sleeping, you could just *hear* her little body working hard to breathe. It was so concerning that Jason and I moved her mattress into the family room, and I slept on the couch so that I could be close to her and listen to her during the night.

The second night, it was worse. Her breathing was *so* loud and strained. And at some point she coughed, but then couldn't quite catch her breath, and panicked, making it even harder for her to breathe - sort of like an asthma attack. Jason and I were going back and forth on whether I should take her into the emergency room - we couldn't decide.  Finally, he gave her a priesthood blessing, and in it he said that if she needed to go the emergency room, that we would know. Just a minute or so after the blessing, she had another one of those cough/asthma attacks, and it was clear to both of us that she needed to go in.

So Zelda and I went to a nearby free-standing emergency room. (Have you heard of those? They have them here. The one we went to was a "Neighbors Emergency Center.") It was close to midnight, there were few people there, and when I told the receptionist that my daughter was having trouble breathing, they took us right back.

It was a really nice facility, and they even had a patient room specifically decorated for kids - that was the one they took us to. They had Disney characters on the walls, and a little table, and a TV with kids shows playing. They even brought Zelda a little teddy bear (that she absolutely loves, and calls "Cubby," and plays with all the time and treats it like her baby).

They attached a little clip to her finger to see her oxygen levels and her saturation levels were really good. The doctor (who was super, super nice) came in and listened to her breathing and to her lungs. He said that her lungs sounded clear (so no pneumonia), but he recommended a steroid shot to help reduce the inflammation in her upper airways so that she could breathe easier. I said that sounded good, they came in with the shot, gave it to her, and (quite understandably) she freaked out. Jumping around the bed, eyes super wide, hyperventilating, trying to leave the room - it was bad. And since when she was panicking she could barely breathe, her oxygen saturation levels started dropping, all the way down into the seventies, and she started to pass out.

The nurse got the oxygen mask and put it on her. She didn't resist at all, since she was seriously almost passing out at this point. Her oxygen saturation levels came back up to the nineties after a minute. The doctor came in and listened to her again (she had seriously, seriously labored breathing) and commented "She sounds so much worse than when I listened to her a minute ago!" I told him that this was close to what she sounded like at home when she had panicked. He decided that he did want x-rays of her lungs just to absolutely rule out pneumonia, and also recommended putting a medicine through the oxygen mask that would help reduce inflammation in her airway more quickly than the shot. I agreed to both.

After Zelda had the breathing treatment through the oxygen mask for a while and sounded much better, they took the x-rays of her. Her lungs were totally clear, which was great. So, at that point, they just wanted to keep us for observation for a while and make sure that the treatments were taking effect and that she was breathing easily before they sent us home.

So we watched "Max & Ruby" on the TV for like two hours (they kept checking on us, and Zelda's breathing kept getting better and better) until Zelda sounded way better, and until they were and I was comfortable with taking Zelda home. The doctor also sent us home with a prescription for another steroid in case we needed it when the shot wore off in a day and a half.

Zelda's breathing was still louder than normal for the next day, but not too concerning, and she kept getting better and better after that. We're so glad she's all better now, and grateful for the skilled and caring staff at the emergency room.

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