I had called our pediatric practice at lunch on Wednesday because the baby (13 months) had been feverish for a few days. He had the most pathetic sounding cough too. He would cough like he was choking. The nurse said to bring him in that afternoon. He woke up from his nap much more chipper, and was not coughing much, so I assumed they would tell me he had a cold and send me home.
But the verdict there was that he still had a fever, he had ear infections in both ears, his lungs sounded terrible, and his oxygen levels were on the lower side. They gave him a nebulizer treatment (always fun to hold a mask on a wriggly 13-month old!) His lungs still sounded terrible and his oxygen levels were still low. So our pediatrician said we needed to go to the local ER, where they could do more to treat his breathing.
I am not a big fan of the ER. I should also point out here that my kid did not seem too sick. He was toddling around the exam room, pulling things out of drawers, trying to eat the lining of the trash can and so forth. But my pediatrician has 6 children and is generally fairly chill, so after conferring with my husband and my brother-in-law (who moonlights as an ER doc) I decided to head over.
Thus began several more hours of holding on to an increasingly tired and hungry toddler. They gave him Tylenol, and eventually antibiotics. And I guess the reason to go over: they used their hospital-grade suction device on his respiratory system and pulled out a ton of gunk. His breathing immediately sounded better and his oxygen levels shot up. Following an official RSV diagnosis, it was time to declare victory and go home, except things are never that simple in the ER. There was, unfortunately, a horrible situation with another child and all the pediatric people needed to deal with that.
So there we sat, as I tried to keep the toddler from crawling off the bed. One can be simultaneously grateful things are not worse, and sad for the family down the hall, while still frustrated with the way things are. I think I was watching the second hand on the clock for a while. I tried to send out calm thought vibrations so my toddler would be calm. We watched TMZ. We watched American Idol. We watched some cooking show that came on after that. Finally around 9:30 he fell asleep. But he had to be woken up again for other things. We got our walking papers a little after 10 p.m. We walked out into a violent lightning storm and torrential rain and across a busy street to a parking garage, because the ER parking lot had been full when we arrived. I drove through flooded streets, but we made it home safely, and fortunately my husband had made me a salad. Less fortunate: the boys were up. My 6-year-old whined that because I was gone so long he had not gotten to go swimming that night. I explained that some times our days do not go as we wish. All we can do is stay calm and know that eventually time will pass. Good stuff, bad stuff. No situation lasts forever.