The Second Plight of Croup

I have played the last couple days in my head over and over and am not sure how to start the story. I read back on my last post and feel like I jinxed myself with my own words. ” I have to admit, I have been enjoying this mundane life of ours lately.”

Jack is currently making a slow recover from his second episode of croup. His surgery that was scheduled for this Tuesday is being rescheduled and we are trying to take it easy in the Roettgers’ House this weekend.

During the day on Wednesday, I received a call from Jack’s in-home nurse stating that she thinks Jack had a mild seizure lasting approximately 10 seconds. During these 10 seconds, Jack’s lips turned a purple-blue. Following the possible seizure, he was dazed but calm and reactive and had regained color. He continuously signed that he was ‘all done’. My mom and Jack’s nurse loaded Jack and an oxygen tank into the car and met Matt and I at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Emergency Department. Jack seemed a little sleepy to me but was his old self. He fixated on a baby girl also waiting medical treatment in the waiting room. He gave her his ‘eyes’ and blew her kisses. It was my first view into what I can only imagine will be his tumultuous relationship with women. He does have an eye for nurses (You know what I’m talking about, Shannon and Rachelle from the NICU).

The ED doctor we finally saw thought his episode was not a seizure due to the absence of a postictal state but couldn’t explain the shaking or loss of oxygen saturation. A x-ray taken showed that there was no concern for diaphragmatic reherniation and we were sent on our way. When we arrived home, all our clothes and other belongings were cleaned thoroughly to get the ‘ED flu season funk’ out. Jack finally took a nap.

Thursday started out as any other day. Jack’s second nurse watched him closely and reported that he was doing fine all day. He was attentive, happy, playful, ate well and took great naps. By the time Matt and I arrived home, Jack had managed to find a little mucus in his airway that was rattling around. He received two Albuterol treatments, a hot bath and enjoyed some back taps while watching a couple of night-time cartoons. By the time he went down for the night, his lungs were clear and he had no issues falling asleep. Matt went to play basketball and I went to bed, which is our thursday night ritual.

About 11:45pm, I was awoke from a deep sleep to hear Jack wheezing and gasping from his room next door. I ran in and disconnected his overnight feeding pump. I recognized the wheeze and cough instantly as croup. Any parent of a child who has had croup will say that the cough is unmistakable. Eery even. I picked him up and grabbed my phone to make a hurried call to Matt. This was a two person job so he would have to make it home quick. Luckily, he was already on his way home and would be able to assist me soon. I made my way downstairs with Jack in tow, kicking and gasping, coughing and wheezing. I tried to sit him on the floor while I wrangled the travel oxygen tank but Jack didn’t have the patience or the lung capacity to sit and threw himself lying on the floor. At least he can’t fall from those heights so I continued to fight with the little oxygen tank and its stubborn plastic tubing.

And then there was silence.

I looked at Jack’s face to see closed eyes, a sullen face and the color blue. He was rolling his head from side to side but making only the little noise that his hair makes on the floor play mat. I lost all feeling. I dialed 911 and continued to fight with the oxygen tank but at this point, the plastic tubing was like an intricate gold chain heirloom. Fragile and tangled. And lost.

Armored with my cell phone, t-shirt, pajama pants and absence of socks, I picked Jack up, unlocked the front door and stood on the concrete front porch. I explained to the 911 dispatch that Jack was not breathing, had turned blue and was only giving a little wiggle. He gave me instruction to stay on the front porch in the cold air and keep Jack upright. The cold air would help loosen the inflammation in his airway and the upright position would allow him to cough up any fluid blocking his airway. As I listened to the dispatcher’s instruction, I began to pray that God would take care of Jack. Even if it meant taking care of him in heaven. Jack was getting heavier. I started crying harder and hugging stronger. I was pleading with Jack to keep trying. He needed to start breathing in some cold air. I turned my body to look down the street for any sign of ambulance lights when Jack started to squirm. When I had turned, the porch light shined directly in his face; of which Jack is not a fan. In complete discontent, Jack let out a loud wail and started to cry. Crying meant he was breathing. This would be the second time in my life that hearing Jack cry was music to my ears. I kept the light in his face until I saw a car yield to an ambulance down the street. I recognized the headlights as Matt’s Camry and became unbelievably calm. A crying baby and your husband following an ambulance to your house does wonders for the nerves sometimes.

I filled the EMTs in on the current situation and all about Jack’s medical past. Matt joined Jack in the ambulance where the oxygen worked and I went to get some shoes and a coat on. We were headed to Children’s again.

Once we arrived at Children’s, the night become so much easier. The staff gave Jack a nebulizer treatment and an oral steroid. Like the previous time he had croup, this treatment cleared him up almost immediately.Over the next 5 hour observation period, he became more clear and actually took a little one hour nap as Matt and I continued to watch Disney Channel.

Today, he is working on his third nap but is starting to feel a lot better and even giving some smiles occasionally. The next time Jack is rattle-y, I am cutting out the drama and heading straight to the doctor’s office or ED. My emotional well-being can’t take another occasion with a blue baby.

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11 thoughts on “The Second Plight of Croup

  1. Ughhh….I hate croup Kaytee….This must have been so scary for you. It is that time of year and the hospital is filled with croup and all other upper respiratory infections…..I agree, the next time he even rattles….bring him in….Glad he is doing better….get some rest

    • Thanks Patti. It was scary but at least it wasn’t RSV or the flu. He is slowly getting over it and is being a trooper. You know, his usual self. He gave both Matt and I a 3 hour nap yesterday which we all enjoyed!!

  2. My heart stopped beating reading this post, how scary for you!!!! I’m so sorry this winter isn’t being kind to you or Jack. Prayers for 2013 only getting better and better! I know I was terrified my first winter with Jonah, my CDH’er, and I’m still occasionally amazed that I’ve finally been able to relax a bit. Here’s hoping the distance you’ve traveled in the last year is nothing compared to how far he comes in the upcoming year!

    • Thank you for the prayers and well wishes. Things are starting to look up for 2013. I did just receive a call from the High Risk Clinic that he is eating enough by mouth to start weaning his continuous overnight pump feeds. Things will slowly get back to ‘normal’ and we will move into spring a little healthier, with a little more antibodies and with a little more knowledge.

  3. Wow amazing how our little boys both got similar viruses around the same time in two different countries! Thank God our boys are better. We just got back from the hospital tonight. Phew!

    I’m glad Jack is eating more! That’s my prayer for Timoteo!

    • I read your post today and sent both boys a little prayer. I’ve heard the horrors of RSV but there is a bright side in these situations. They walk away with a few more antibodies for next time.

      And feeding is probably the hardest part at this point. You think that they beat the odds and now they can go on to do anything. But eating is just like anything else they will succeed in. It will take practice and time.

      Take care if your little fighter and give him some extra lovin’.

      Ps. I thought you were in New York? We are in Ohio.

  4. Above this comment box is the question “What do you think”……After frantically and tearfully reading this post, I THINK….. that Jack is a strong, beautiful baby boy, his parents are amazing and that God is watching out for all of you. Love to all.

  5. I told Jack to stay away from girls, they have cooties! All joking aside I’m so proud of the job that you and Matt are doing with Jack.

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