The hospital story
Well, we actually came home on Friday, but I haven't had time to write much of an update. I'm sorry about that. Many, many thanks to each of you who prayed for C. and for us.
On Tuesday, I was in the city with E., having escorted her to her arts and crafts class. When I left the house, C. was in perfectly fine condition. The worst anyone could have said was that she had a (very mild) runny nose. A couple of hours later, Krakovian called me on the cell phone to tell me that C. was in bad shape--coughing a croupy cough and having trouble breathing, also sounding as if she had a sore throat. As E. and I rode the bus home, I knew I'd be dealing with a sick baby for the evening.
As soon as I walked in the door, I located the nebulizer and albuterol and gave C. a breathing treatment. Normally, this would make a dramatic improvement in her condition, but it literally seemed to have no effect at all. As soon as we finished that, I made a steam-tent of the shower, and kept her there for ten minutes or so, but that had no effect either. She was fighting for every breath, turning livid with the effort.
It was around 7pm, and I knew we'd never make it through the night, so we called our pediatrician to see where we should take her, and headed for a pediatric hospital not far from our house. We had to sit in the waiting room for an hour before we could see a doctor. The whole time, C.'s breathing was ragged and loud. Her temperature was rising, and she fell asleep in my arms. I just knew they were going to want to admit her, and sure enough, the doctor took one look at her, still in my arms, and said she'd have to stay.
After making us wait so long, they were in a hurry to start treatment, so a nurse hustled us upstairs to the infants' ward, where C. was given another breathing treatment via nebulizer, and they prepared an IV for her. After the treatment, they gave her a bed in a room that contained ten cribs in total, at least half of which were occupied. The lights were all out, and there were several mothers in the room, spending the night with their babies. One mother was having a terrible time trying to get her one year old son settled. He cried and cried and wailed every time he was disturbed. Unfortunately, we were a disturbance.
The nurse was very concerned because C.'s breathing did not really improve after the treatment. The same young doctor who had seen her in the first place came in to see her again and ordered oxygen. They turned on a dim light so they could see what they were doing, and the nurse came continually to see if C.'s breathing improved. The young doctor was not satisfied and called the main pediatrician on duty that night, and she came to see C. herself. She ordered hydrocortisone as well as another breathing treatment (C. would have a total of three before the night was over, as well as another dose of hydrocortisone), and the nurse was back and forth administering the treatments.
All the while, the little boy wailed and wailed, and his mother grew more and more vocal in her complaints about the disturbance. In the end, C. was moved downstairs to the intensive care room, where she was the only patient. Her condition remained much the same all night. They treated her fever with paracetamol (tylenol), and she was hooked up to the IV, a pulse/ox monitor, oxygen with a mask, and also a steam/mist hose. It was a LONG night, and I got very little sleep.
I thought she was never going to improve, but she finally slept for a couple of hours in the very early morning, and woke up around 8am, ready to eat. Her fever was gone, and she both devoured her breakfast and drank from a cup, indicating that her throat was less irritated. She continued to improve after that, but I knew they wouldn't let her come home that day.
We stayed in the intensive care the whole time C. was in the hospital, and I have to say--it was pretty nice that way. There was a children's ward across the hall from us, with 8 or 10 children in it (one room), and the moms had to sleep on the floor if they stayed overnight. I had to stay with C.--she doesn't understand Polish well, and doesn't speak much at all, even in English. I could never leave her alone there. It was much quieter and more peaceful for us in the IC unit.
After that first night, C. didn't get much care at all--just the regular administration of medication, which I gave her myself when they brought it. On Thursday morning, I told the doctor we wanted to go home, although I knew she probably wouldn't let us. Sure enough, she said no, but suggested that we could perhaps go home the next day. That was actually what I was hoping for/expecting, so I pressed the point and said firmly that we wanted to go home before the weekend (or we'd be stuck until Monday, for sure), and that I could take care of C. just as well at home as I was taking care of her there. I insisted that she did not have to be 100% percent well in order to be well enough to leave the hospital. (And yes, they do often keep kids in the hospital until they are completely recovered!)
As it turns out, C. did not actually have pneumonia, though she was in danger of it, and to some extent, still is. Her congenital laryngomalacia simply made a bad cold (which three others in our family have had) extremely dangerous. Her weak throat was inflamed, and allowed congestion to reach her chest very easily. In any case, they let her come home on Friday, although her release papers stated that she was discharged "at her parents' request" and "in good condition."
We have a strong antibiotic, two kinds of medicine to use with the nebulizer, and another liqued syrup to administer, as well as a "pro-biotic" to offset the side-effects of the antibiotic. Stll, C. and I are much happier to be at home, and I'm overjoyed to sleep in a real bed instead of the examination table in the IC unit (although I'm grateful they let me use it--most parents had to use the floor).
Thanks again for praying for us,