One of our big goals for 2014 is to stay out of the emergency room. That might seem like an easy goal, but after the trip when Eva’s ear was bleeding, the spill I took down the stairs (pregnant!) during an ice storm last winter, Calvin’s first trip to the emergency room this summer, and Eva’s infamous teacher-gave-her-peanut-butter allergy visit, I feel like we might have to work hard for this one. Oh, and there’s also the trip I took to the ER last September because I’m an idiot, but I’ll tell you about that one tomorrow.
We added one more E.R. visit to the 2013 roster on Christmas Eve when I had to rush Eva in. Fun fun fun.
Our day started off pretty normal. School was out, so the kids and I had nowhere to go until that evening when we’d be having dinner with family. I had a few gifts to finish up and I had told Eva we’d bake some more gingerbread when she got up, so I was lounging around in my pajamas trying to finish up work while the kids slept. Calvin got up at his usual time, but if I leave him in bed while feeding him he always drifts back to sleep. So, on mornings like this, I can usually get away with working until 8:30 or 9 before Eva wakes up.
On Christmas Eve, Eva slept in. And slept in. At 10, I called Kyle to tell him that she was still asleep and he pointed out that she was getting over a cold (we all were) and probably just needed some sleep. We talked about how awesome it was that I was getting all this free work time. After I hung up, I turned off her sleep sounds and rubbed her back a little, but she stayed asleep. I went and got our forehead thermometer, but she was totally normal so I left her in bed.
At 11:20, I texted him this picture with the note “I think she started to climb out of bed and fell back to sleep.”
At 11:45, I decided enough was enough. She had moved around, but hadn’t actually woken up, which meant that she had been asleep for about fifteen hours. In retrospect, I probably should have woken her up sooner but I really thought she might need the sleep to fight the virus. Never again.
I started off rubbing her back. Nothing. I rubbed harder. Nothing. I turned her over. Her eyes opened a little and then closed. I sat her up. She stayed asleep. At this point, I was yelling in her face to get her to wake up and she was scrunching her eyes, but she wasn’t really opening them. Finally, I carried her into the bathroom and splashed cold water on her face. Her eyes shot open, but they were rolling around like she couldn’t see me. I tried to sit her on the counter, but she wouldn’t sit up and she kept saying, “No thank you no thank you no thank you.”
I was pretty freaked out at this point, so I called Kyle. He had just picked up when she started coughing and then threw up on me. I put her in the dry bathtub, got off the phone with Kyle, and called the pediatrician’s office. At this point, she was quieter but she kept asking where Kyle was so I told the nurse she seemed disoriented and they told me to take her in to the E.R.
I hate that moment. There’s always that weird moment where you realize that there’s an emergency happening and everything gets really surreal. We’ve had that moment more times than I like to remember. On this occasion, I had to leave Eva in the bathtub while I changed my shirt, got Calvin packed up into the car seat, packed a bag, and generally got us together. Then we made the awful drive, Eva in the backseat with no shoes and a blanket to throw up on, and got to the E.R. right as Kyle showed up to meet us outside.
When we got to the hospital, we almost didn’t take her in. Eva was much more coherent, still feverless, and didn’t seem too sick at all beyond her cold. It’s absolutely horrible to admit this, but we had a money discussion in the parking lot of the hospital. See, just the week before we had gotten this bill from an E.R. visit that happened while I was on bed rest during my pregnancy with Calvin.
Kyle had taken Eva down to see my parents and while she was there her lip swelled up. He didn’t know why it was happening and I panicked because I wasn’t there, so I told him to take her to the E.R. They put her in an observation room for three hours before releasing her with no treatment (her lip was fine – random kid fluke) and the whole thing cost us $160 out of pocket. I felt bad when we got the bill, since Kyle probably wouldn’t have taken her without me pushing him and they were trapped in the hospital for no reason.
We took her in on Christmas Eve, because I knew if something was wrong I’d never be able to live with being cheap when Eva needed care. As it was, something was wrong. They noticed that Eva was rapid belly breathing when they examined her and we found out that she was having a hard time getting air. She wasn’t wheezing, but she was working three times harder than she was supposed to be, which made her pulse soar and lowered her oxygen. Knowing that there was no chance of an allergic reaction (she hadn’t eaten anything unusual and it had been 17+ hours since her last meal) they did a chest x-ray to rule out pneumonia and then ended up diagnosing her with a toddler form of asthma. Like this kid doesn’t have enough to worry about.
They gave her a couple of rounds of albuterol, along with some regular oxygen and then they held us forever while they waited for her stats to even out. Apparently, the fact that she slept so much and was hard to wake wasn’t anything more than a side effect of sickness, but now we know to look at her breathing. Eva was completely over it, although she seemed to like the young doctor who took care of her and she was very interested in all of his instruments. Thank you, Doc McStuffins, for making all of those checks less scary!
We were in the E.R. for about five hours, give or take. It was a long stretch of time with two little kids, but Eva was mostly cooperative and Calvin was a little champ. He had a cold as well so I was worried that he’d fuss, but he just hung out and did his Calvin thing. I love this little man.
We went home with an inhaler and luckily we haven’t had to use it since, so this is an E.R. visit with a happy ending. Cross your fingers that they don’t see us for a long time! (Or…you know…ever again…)