Croup-tacular

We have a sick little girl. 

It all started two weeks ago.  She came down with a case of croup on the Friday night of the Family Day weekend.  Middle of the night she started barking a horrible cough and I went running into her room.  She was crying and I could hear stridor (gasping) as she cried.  I immediately went into the bathroom and put on the hot shower.  We sat in the steam for 20 mins.  She stopped crying and the stridor went away but the cough was no better.

I then remembered my friend Amy and her little guy having croup.  She said they took him outside as it was cold.  This winter is crazy cold, surely that could help.  So I bundled her up and took her outside.  Standing out freezing and talking about the full moon her cough eased.  Thank goodness.

The next three nights were exactly the same.  Midnight coughing fit and outside we would go.  Finally on night four she had a good night and the croup left.  We all breathed a sigh of relief and thought the worst was over.

Getting her up the morning after that fourth night, I just didn’t like what I saw in her eyes.  Something still wasn’t right.  Going completely on my gut I called my Dr to see if we could get her in for a check up.  Luckily they had an opening so we got her in that day.

Dr J checked her all out from head to toe.  Fever? No.  Pulling of the ears? No.  Coughing? Only at night, croup cough.  One night cough free.  Did she have any steroid for the cough? No.  We managed it at home.  She listened to her chest and pronounced it okay and took a look in her ears.  Low and behold, an ear infection was raging.

An ear infection? But no fever, pain, pulling or complaint whatsoever!  Going on her gut as well, Dr J believed there must be some correlation to the two events and prescribed antibiotics.

Okay.  So here we are, antibiotics in hand and within 24 hours she is bright eyed and sparkly again.  Yay! Healing.  We were all so relieved.

6 days go by and with 2 doses of the antibiotic remaining I woke up Wednesday morning at 2 am to hear she coughing the highest pitched, scariest cough I have ever heard.

I run again into her room and pick her up.  She is not crying, resting and the stridor (gasping) is palpable.  Stridor at rest = hospital time.  I run her outside into the cold.  There we stand and I call for Matt.  He is half awake and not sure the hospital is the right course of action.  As he stands outside with her I call telehealth On.tari.o, a telephone system that has a nurse ready to give advice.  20 mins of questions later my suspicions are confirmed, it is hospital time.

We bundle her up and get into the car.  The rental apartment is 30 mins from the big city hospital this time of night.  The big city hospital has a pediatric speciality, it is part of the same hospital system that Matt works for.  The same hospital(s) that saved my life and could have saved Ava if we got there in time.  Being that she was not in crisis we decided to go for it.  We took the route closest to the county hospital that way if her condition changed we could simply go there instead.

Luckily we were able to get her into the city hospital easily.  They took us back pretty quickly, hearing the stridor in her chest.  The cold car ride had done her well and her cough had stopped.

They immediately hooked her up to the monitors to see her oxygen levels and they were good.  The Dr came over quickly to do an assessment and kept asking over and over again for us to describe the cough.

High pitched, barking, like a dog or seal, with gasping and pulling along the ribs.

“Well there are many coughs that present similar to croup” he said  “and you could be wrong.  We have not heard her cough.”

At this point my stomach began to sink.  Please, please, believe me!  Something’s not right.  This cough is not right.  I don’t care what it is called, just listen to me.  Why don’t Dr’s ever believe me?

And then he delivered his sucker punch,

“And this is your first kid, so you don’t know.”

Oh hell, no you did not! 

“She is my second child” I snapped.  “My first died in 2011. And I do know.  I am her mother and I am telling you my observations. Call it what you will.  You listen to her chest and tell me.” 

From the corner of the room I feel Matt stand up from the chair, behind me.  His own quiet battle stance. 

4 am, no sleep, in February, in an emergency room for breathing difficulties with our only living child …things are now personal and this Mama bear is DONE with this. 

Me and my girl, resting,

The Dr. apologizes and says he is going to get a second opinion.  Matt comes over and strokes my arm and tells me it will  be okay.  That second opinions are good.  Lillian happily plays with the wire attached to her foot and waves at the nurses.

The second opinion is much like the first.  They are not convinced it is croup and they find the timeline of all of this confusing.  They admit they hear the stridor and prescribe the steroid medication.  They warn us that there are similar things that present like croup and if she worsens at all to bring her immediately back in.  Everyone warms and Dr. Foot in Mouth gives me a warm smile as they discharge us.

Back at home we settle in.  Everyone goes to bed to get an hour or two before the day rises.   Lillian and I spend the day quiet.  I notice a cough during the day now, this time productive.  Maybe the steroid opened things up so she can cough up whatever is bothering her.  And last night, she had a very good night, I think in part to this amazing cough syrup a friend recommended.

How am I just learning about this awesome-ness?

I tried to get her into our family Dr J today, however, she is away.  I am hoping she is now on the mend and the steroid is what we needed to turn a corner.  If not, we may be back to the hospital tonight when the steroid wear’s off.  As it stands right now, she is no worse than she was and the cough syrup is helping. 

What a croup-tacular couple of weeks.  15 days from closing and ready for spring to chase the germs away.  This Mama is nearing the end of her rope.