The last time we were in the ER with Lara was about 2.5 years ago – when she had her first real asthma attack. Since then, we have had rescue inhalers everywhere and all the needed supplies for home breathing treatments on demand. Yesterday when she woke up, she was struggling to breathe a little bit, so we did a treatment. When I got home from work last night, she was feverish, coughing, sore throat, headache… very flu like, and it is going around like wildfire here. We ventured down the street to the Urgent Care place, and promptly got diagnosed with the flu. Filled the Tamiflu Rx, another breathing treatment, took the first pill and went to bed.
She got up about 6:45 this morning. Struggling to breathe, unable to talk. You could hear her lungs rattling, and a wheeze in her throat – very strange sound. Told her to use the rescue inhaler, and do a breathing treatment. Gave her the Tamiflu for this morning, and waited. And watched her deteriorate some more. It was quite obvious our home remedies were not working. Time for the ER.
Unfortunately, we are still down to one car for a few more days, so we have been carpooling and rearranging things on the fly to get people where they need to go. I had already called in sick to my boss to stay home with her today, but now I needed the car to get her to the ER, but Britt still needed to go to work and Jake needed a ride to school (we only live 4 blocks from school, but it was 10 degrees outside. TOO COLD!) Poor Lara had to wait while we all got dressed and ready – took Dad to work, dropped Jake at school, and were checking in to the ER at 7:35 (Nana the Wonder Sitter had Finn and Emma).
We were the only people in the waiting room – that was nice. I hoped the wait wasn’t long. Soon after we got checked in, a handful of new patients started streaming in the front door. Luckily, we had beat the rush! We sat about 10 minutes in the lobby (Lara had to wear a mask because of her flu; she hated it) before getting called back to a room, but the charge nurse who brought us back recognized her severe distress and got a breathing treatment started immediately – so by 7:50 we were getting (more) albuterol and atrovent into her system. They listened to her lungs and heard lots of cracking and rumbling. Her oxygen saturations were good – staying at 99 and 100, but her heart rate was very high. After some assessment questions and intake type stuff, we were seeing how the treatment worked and waiting to see the Doctor. He came in about 20 minutes later, and he prescribed oral prednisone steroids, continued observation, and more breathing treatments.
Soon, we got the 2nd breathing treatment – pure albuterol – started about 40 minutes after the first one. It provided no relief what so ever. It was now about 8:45 am. Her O2 was still good, heart rate was better but still high (possibly from meds, and stress…) In fact, I thought this treatment made her worse (so did Lara). She had this horrible grunting/wheezing sound coming from her throat. I said it sounded like Darth Vadar was a 20 year smoker! The doctor came in again and heard that same sound. He listened to her lungs, and they sounded clear! YAY! So, the steroids and previous breathing treatments had done their job. But, he now decided her vocal cords were swollen, and that’s what was causing the noise and the difficult breathing. New breathing treatment ordered, this time with racemic epinephrine (think Epi pen) to combat the swelling. In the meantime, Lara was hungry, and shaky and not doing well at all. It seemed pretty scary that she wasn’t getting any better.
The nurse came in with the new breathing treatment around 9:15. 3-4 minutes in, the noise had stopped! Lara’s color was better. Her eyes were brighter. She didn’t seem to be as distressed anymore! SHE COULD TALK! This was huge – she hadn’t said a word all morning – just used some very bad sign language. YIPPEE! So, soon after the treatment was finished and the doctor assessed her again, we got the all clear. They finished up our registration information, got our discharge paperwork ready, and we were out the door by 10:00! Kinda wish we could have gotten that one sooner! But, all’s well that ends well.
After a quick trip through the McDonald’s driver thru (for her - she wanted pancakes), we got her home and back in bed. Steroids and breathing treatments for the next few days. And of course, she still had the flu! So, we’re trying to fight that off as well! The ER doctor said asthma and the flu DO NOT mix well. That became painfully obvious to us today. YUCK! Poor baby! We know she won’t be back at school until at least Monday!
That was a pretty scary ordeal. I know some of you have done it, and I’ve seen it with 2 of my kids now, but it’s a harrowing feeling to look into your child’s face and see the panic and fear in their eyes when they feel like they can’t breathe and they are suffocating. It was bad when Finn had RSV and was that way, but he’s a baby and his mind can’t really comprehend it all. Lara, now – that’s totally different. Scary.
Thank you for all the prayers, calls, texts, Facebook posts, etc. She is sleeping soundly now. I am trying to decompress. And do some dishes. And laundry. Oh – and I need to start dinner…. A mother’s work is never done…