Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Croup, There It Is

Last Thursday started out like every other Thursday night. We put Dylan to bed around 8:30, watched our NBC lineup (the only night we watch TV regularly) and went to bed around 10:00.

This evening, at 10:51, I was awakened by a horrific scream. This was a different scream from normal, which is the only reason I got out of bed to check on him. Being 6 months old and starting to become more agile, I figured he was caught on something in his crib or in a very awkward position. What I found was completely different.

Dylan was laying on his side and his face was red, so I rolled him on his back. Immediately, I could see that he was really struggling with his breathing. I picked him up and started to pat him on the back and looked to see if he was choking. He wasn’t. He was coughing a lot and was really gasping for breath as if he needed a drink of water. I asked Dana to wake up immediately and call 911. An ambulance was now on their way.

Meanwhile, I was holding on to Dylan for dear life. He had stopped crying, but was still struggling to get air. I tried to put him down on the bed while I put some pants on, but he would have none of it. I later questioned how I got my jeans on while holding him. I never did put on a shirt. I wondered to myself, as if I was a doctor, what could possibly make him breathe so hard when, just two hours ago, he was doing fine.

Shortly thereafter, the ambulance came. They checked him and suggested that we go to the Downtown ER, instead of the closer Baptist South Hospital, where Dylan was born. This definitely startled me and confirmed in my mind that there was a big problem on our hands. I hung on to him all the way to the ambulance, where I dropped him off. Dana took the ride with him and I followed in our car.

Remarkably, I was quite thorough with our packing. I was thinking that we may be there for a while, so I packed accordingly. When we go on trips, I never remember everything, even when we have days to plan. This time around, I was on my game, anticipating any and all needs that we may have in the next couple of days.

It was a long and lonely trip to the hospital. How was Dylan doing? For all I knew, he was in the ambulance fighting for his life. I prayed. A lot. I also cried. A lot. I thought about calling someone, but what would I tell them without freaking them out? Besides, it was past 11pm. If I am going to make a call at that time, I better have more details than what I knew.

When I arrived at the hospital, Dylan was getting some oxygen and was looking much better. My anxiety level dropped. The doctor figured out very quickly that Dylan had croup, or the croup, however you want to call it. He said that they would give him some medication and he would be much better in no time.

After the medication, Dylan started to breathe better. We stayed in the ER until about 3:30am. I stayed with Dylan in his room for the rest of the night. He still was struggling with his breathing for the rest of the night, but at least I knew what to do. Fortunately, it was a relatively cool night in Jacksonville, so taking him into the night air helped.

Total sleep for the night: 51 minutes.

Four days later and he is doing better. We are relieved.

So, all of that for…croup? I, personally, had never heard of it. Evidently, it’s quite common in young children. Due to our lack of knowledge, it was a more terrifying event than it needed to be. Welcome to parenthood. Like everything else with parenting, you just figure it out as you go.

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