Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A Hospital Stay

Well, I feel sufficiently recovered from last week's drama to write about it! Judah had a stay at Children's Short Stay Unit for severe, recurrent croup. If your child has ever had croup, you know it sounds like they're dying, but usually isn't serious. Most of the time letting them breathe cool, moist air clears it up.

Judah has had croup several times this fall/winter, and except for the first round where we freaked out and took him to the ER, we've been able to treat it at home. But last Monday night when he woke up with the typical barking cough and stridor (a harsh, raspy, whooping, gasping sound when breathing in), not only did the cool, humid night air not help, he actually got worse. At 10pm we woke up Moses and Grace and all piled into our new Honda Odyssey.

The doctor who treated Judah in the ER said he had the worse case of croup she'd seen in the last 50 cases that had come through. He was nebulized with epinephrine and then given a steroid to ease the inflammation of his upper airway.

When the neb wore off an hour later, he relapsed. He was nebbed again. An hour and a half later he relapsed. He was nebbed again.

All this time, Richard was in the van with the two older kids, watching movies. They were so excited at being up in the middle of the night that they stayed awake the entire time!!

We finally were able to go home at 3am Tuesday morning. They warned us that if he relapsed at home, he would have to be admitted.

Tuesday night he relapsed again. I was able to get him stable when he woke up at midnight and 2am, but at 5am we finally had to bring him in again. My brother Caleb graciously came over on his day off to stay with Moses and Grace so Richard could go to work. (Thank you, Caleb!!)

Judah and I had to stay in the ER most of the day because the hospital was full. At 3pm on Wednesday we finally got a room in the SSU and settled in. Because croup is contagious, Judah was quarantined the whole time. That meant that if I had to go to the bathroom or get food, I had to call a nurse to come stay with him. Needless to say, I pretty much never left the room.

Judah did well on Wednesday, and all the nurses and doctors commented on how cheerful, smiley and active he was! Even with all the nebulizing, medicating, poking, prodding and being tied to a pulse oximeter, he was smiling, waving and saying "hi" to everyone. I was definitely thanking God for Judah's easy-going nature. This whole thing would have been much more difficult with a more high-needs child!

Richard brought the kids to visit us that evening. We had dinner together and my parents came to pick up the kids from the hospital later on so Richard and I could watch Lost together. Awww. Too bad it was a rerun.

Judah was great all night and on Thursday morning it looked like we might get to go home. Sure enough, we were discharged around 1pm and finally able to go home! What an exhausting few days it had been! My wonderful parent's stayed with the kids on Thursday so Richard could work (so we could pay the hospital bills!), and my dear soon-to-be sister-in-law Trish brought dinner for us! What a blessing to be so well cared for in times like these!

Judah is getting better every day, and has not relapsed. However, because he has had "recurrent" croup that hasn't responded to normal treatment well, he has to see an ENT (Ear Nose and Throat) doctor on Thursday. He will most likely have to have a tiny scope put down his throat to check his trachea. Possibly he has an abnormally narrow trachea, which would account for the problems he's having. Please pray that we figure out what's wrong and how to treat it! I don't relish the thought of hospital stays every time he gets a cold!

So, this was my first long stay in the hospital with one of my kids, besides after childbirth. Although it got very loooong and boring, (at one point I was reduced to blowing up rubber gloves into balloons to keep Judah happy) there were a couple nice things about our stay.

First, I got to spend more alone, one-on-one time with my youngest child than I have since he was born! It was just me and him, all day, no distractions or interruptions. My life simply revolved around keeping Judah happy, seeing to his needs, and loving on him. It was really sweet! I came away from it feeling a renewed love and affection for my little boy, and treasuring that time we had together, even though there was stress in it.

Also, I got to watch Jon and Kate Plus 8, which I love but never get to watch because we don't have cable. I also learned it's good that we don't have cable because I might end up watching TLC all day.

So there you have it. Our first holpitalization. God was faithful through it all, we survived, friends and family cared for us, and the kids got to watch movies in the van from 11pm to 3am one night.

I'll try to post again after Judah's appointment for an update on his status! Thanks for praying for us!