The things that will never make it in the baby books and other musings from a stay at home mom

Thursday, January 26, 2006


Evan was released from the hospital yesterday.

If the fact that he was in the hospital at all seems to come out of left field, well, so did the incident that landed us there. One minute, I was waiting for the cold medicine to kick in and quell his cough so that I could put him down for a nap. The next minute, he was having so much trouble breathing that he couldn't even cough at all. A phone call to my pediatrician's office later, we were off to the ER.

I'm a classic under reactor where my children's health is concerned. It's ironic, given my tendency to over react about virtually everything else, but I simply don't feel the need to run off to the doctor every time my kids get a cough or cold. Why pay a copay and sit in a germy waiting room when you can get an instant consult with Dr. Google free of charge at any hour? Not breathing was scary enough to merit a phone call to my pediatrician, but I was still pretty taken aback when the nurse advised me to take him directly to the hospital. "Really?" I kept asking her. "Because it's his nap time and I'm usually a pretty big stickler when it comes to naps." Apparently, inability to breathe trumps a sleep schedule, because she was very clear. Go. Immediately.

Thank God for the kind of friend who will meet you at the ER and whisk your four year old away on a playdate, because if I'd had to manage Evan's needs and Julia's needs all alone in a tiny ER room all day, I can't imagine what I would have done. Somewhere en route to the hospital, I went from feeling inconvenienced by the situation to feeling downright scared, and it was all I could do to offer basic acknowledgement to Julia's cheerful chatter in the backseat. Yes, it was silly that someone had knocked her tower down at school today. Yes, her friend has a great pair of sunglasses. Was Evan still breathing? I handed Julia off in the hospital parking lot without a backwards glance and raced inside with Evan.

A massive dose of steroids, 5 or 6 Albuterol treatments and a gazillion hours later, the decision was made to admit Evan for the night. He was responding to the treatments, but not for long enough. They wanted to observe him for longer and to offer frequent breathing treatments throughout the night. And so we spent a restless night together, cuddled up on a tiny hospital bed scarcely big enough for one person but somehow just the right size for a sick kid and his protective mother. The doctors and nurses came and went and we both tried unsuccessfully to sleep as we both struggled -- for very different reasons -- to breathe.

By the morning, Evan's breathing looked a lot better and shortly after noon, we were released with a portable nebulizer and boatloads of Albuterol capsules. As I packed the few things that we had with us, my gaze fell to the hospital bracelet the nurse had cut off of his ankle a few minutes before. Should I take it with me as a keepsake, I wondered, a reminder of Evan's first (and hopefully last) hospital stay? I decided to leave it behind. I didn't need a memento from any of what had happened in the past 24 hours. I didn't need anything to remind me of that tight feeling in my chest when I was told to take my child to the ER or the helpless experience of watching him struggle to breathe. I didn't need a reminder of the hours spent waiting and worrying and wondering. This was not a memento occasion.

When we got home, Evan settled back in while I went upstairs to put a few things away. As I unpacked the toiletries that Paul had brought to me the day before, I found a note from Julia on my bathroom counter. Dear Mom, it read. I hope you go come soon home. Love Julia. Smiling, I noted the date on on the corner of the page and slipped it into my bedside table. Apparently, this was a memento occasion after all. Julia's note was the keepsake that I knew I would want to remind me of this day -- not a symbol of Evan's struggle to breathe in that hospital, but a reminder of the breath of fresh air that was waiting for us both when we got home, safe and sound.


At 4:37 PM, Blogger Heather said...

Hoping Evan and Mommy are breathing better today - how scary (but was at least the cuddle time specail?)

Hugs to you!

At 4:57 PM, Blogger Steph said...

I'm so glad to hear that he is back home safe and sound. ((hugs))

At 5:53 PM, Blogger Joy said...

You have me in tears with the keepsake stuff. But OMG! Every mother's worst fear...the ER. I'm so glad to hear Evan is on the mend!

(((HUGS))) to the whole family

At 7:51 PM, Blogger Jennifer said...

Oh my goodness, that is scary stuff. Your return home (and the keepsake note from Julia) gave me goosebumps. I'm glad everyone is back where they belong now. And breathing.

At 8:27 PM, Blogger Suzanne said...

Yikes. So glad you're all back home, breathing well and healthy.

At 9:18 PM, Blogger Kristy said...

Oh. Wow. Hope Evan and Mommy are breathing easier today.

At 10:34 PM, Blogger Liesl said...

Oh my goodness. This is the stuff of nightmares. I'm so glad that Evan is OK. I hope you are, too :)(((HUGS)))

At 6:22 AM, Blogger Susan D. said...

Oh my god. I would have been absolutely terrified. Thanks to the powers that be that Evan pulled through and that you can sit in your safe place and tell us the story. Fingers crossed for no repeat episodes!

At 6:44 AM, Blogger Rosemary said...

This post brought back so many memories and floods of feelings. A handful of trips to the ER over 22 years - and each one is one too many. I'm so glad that Evan is better and you are both breathing easier.

At 7:11 AM, Blogger Dana said...

Wow, how terrifying but I loved Julia's keepsake. Breath of fresh air indeed, how lovely. I'm glad to hear Evan is on the mend.

Iain's had a few episodes of breathing that have put him in the hospital and I, like you, went through similar feelings. As an aside, the first time it happened was after I gave him cough medicine as well. The second time, after cough medicine. I don't give him cough medicine anymore! :-)

Hope this was the last time you have to go through this.

At 8:29 AM, Anonymous Tenille said...

Oh so scary! Hope all is better now!

At 8:39 PM, Blogger Lisa(lildaus) said...

Ohhh, I know that feeling all too well... Emma's had a couple runs to the doctor/ER for breathing issues, too. I'm so glad to hear he's better!!

And Julia's note? Priceless.

At 11:13 PM, Blogger Awesome Mom said...

How scary! I am glad that he is doing better. Oddly enough my Evan had to go into the ER that day also.


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