Last night, I took Cade to the ER. Surprisingly, as a former micro-preemie, this was his first trip to the ER. He had been coughing all week, but I thought it was just congestion. I tried to make an appointment on Friday afternoon at the pediatricain's office, but it was too late and we weren't able to get in. On Sunday, my sister and brother-in-law were watching the kids. When I went to pick them up, they told me that I should maybe take Cade to the ER because he had been coughing non-stop for the last 30 minutes.
As I was questioning whether I should bring him or not, he started back up. He was coughing and gasping for breaths. He doesn't really have a very effective cough because of his paralyzed vocal cord. He was coughing so violently that his face was turning red. I jumped in the car with him and rushed to the ER. Horrible thoughts were racing through my head - not enough oxygen to the brain can cause brain damage, hope it's not RSV, hope it's not pneumonia, this is probably causing damage to his lungs, he needs to be okay, etc., etc., etc. As these horrible thoughts ran through my head, the memories of holding Camdyn's limp body and willing her to breathe on her trip to the ER started popping up again. The whole time Cade is violently coughing, wheezing, and gasping for breath in his car seat.
When we got there, I ran in the doors with Cade. I turned into 'crazy, too long in the NICU mom'. At the registration desk, I began to rattle off, "I don't have time to check-in. He needs to be seen now. We need a pulse ox. You need to check his O2 sats now; he may need oxygen. He's a former 24 week preemie." That's all it took to be seen right away. Those are the magic words "24 week preemie" and you are treated first-class. They really were awesome. They had the pulse ox on in no time. I first saw the sats at 81, and quickly said, "get him some oxygen, put a cannula on him". They told me it takes a minute for the numbers to register. I'm sure they were thinking I was crazy and just needed to calm down. Thankfully, the numbers did go up. His sats were just fine. Then a doctor and the respiratory therapist came in to listen to his lungs. The doctor commented that he sounded like an old smoker which is a pretty accurate description. They gave him a breathing treatment that worked wonders. They followed up with blood work, nose swabs, and a chest x-ray. Fortunately, all the tests came back negative - no RSV and no flu. They think it is an upper respiratory infection, so we are just continuing with the breathing treatments.
I was glad that we were discharged and got to spend the night at home. Wednesday night we spent the night in the dreary nursing home; I didn't want to spend Sunday night in a hospital. I am so relieved that this was nothing serious. We did receive some fantastic news from our ER visit. The doctor, after reading the chest x-ray, said, "The x-rays look surprisingly good. It looks like any kid's normal chest x-ray" meaning not what he would expect of a former 24 week micro-preemie's lungs. Awesome! That news makes me so excited.
Jim asked me what I expected his lungs to look like. I said, "Well, I don't know but not normal". Then I asked him how he seems to forget their background as micro-preemies. He told me that maybe I needed to work on forgetting a little bit more because they are "normal". He might be right, but this mama bear isn't taking any chances after all we've been through. After all, what's another $150 co-pay when you have already spent thousands? I think the saying "better safe than sorry" is a really good rule to live by.
Thank you God that Cade's infection is not serious and that it is not RSV or the flu. Thank you for a normal chest x-ray! I could spend my entire day thanking you for all the gifts you have given us. You are an amazing God. Amen.