Friday, February 13, 2009

Valentines Day to remember

As Valentines Day quickly approaches I am reminded of an unforgettable Feb 14, 2006. Just like this year, Zeus was on a trip. This particular trip was Tampa, Fl. I was all alone with 3 children and a 2 month old nursing infant.

The day would start out like any other weekday. I got the big kids up and dressed for school. Made sure they had their Valentines cards to hand out and pulled up Zero's hair. She loved me to fix her hair. My friend took the kids to school in the car pool we had created. Once I went back to my bedroom Zulu was breathing quite heavily. He had woken up several times during the night crying, the reason I never figured out. I consoled him and obviously let him sleep in my bed with Ziggy, the nursing infant and myself. He seemed to be breathing rather heavily. I tried asking him what was the matter but to a 28 month old little boy, I was speaking Japanese. He did not understand what I was asking. After several attempts to calm him down from what I thought was a crazy dream, I never could get him to stop breathing like he had just run a marathon. It was weird.

So the mom in me kicked in and I called the Dr. and explained that something was wrong and I could not figure it out. They gave me an appt time of 2:30pm. I tried to get something earlier but nothing was available. Thank goodness we are less than 1 Mile from the Dr.'s office. During the entire day he did not eat or drink anything. He laid down in the fetal position the entire day. I was scared to death. I was so sad. Not knowing how to make my child comfortable. Once we walk in all bundled up with baby and gear all in tow they take us back to a room immediately. Doctor "W" takes a look and a listen and she looked up at me in terror. I knew right then that we were in trouble. We are moved to another ambulatory room with lots of lights and lots of space. The pediatric doctor says that we must slow down his breathing, which has not slowed all day. She says he is in respiratory distress. Zulu went from my bed to the couch and was very lethargic by the time we got to the clinic. I had to carry him in. Doctor "W" worked very quickly to get some steroids in him. She gave him one dose and Zulu showed no signs of change.

Now, picture this we are laying on a bed me holding Zulu down and Ziggy being held by many different nurses and techs. Doctor "W," calls in several other more Senior doctors. They come in and do their own checks, heart rate, pulse, yada yada yada. By this time we have been here a couple hours and I am getting very irritated that he is not improving. The doctors decide to give another dose of adult strength steroids. I was told it should kick in within 5 minutes. So we wait. 5, 10, 15 minutes. Nothing ,no change. Zulu is beginning to tire. Doctors decide to check his pulse oxygen again and OMG, it is at 79.

Now if you do not know anything about this I will help you. Pulse OX, as the medical world calls it is the amount of oxygen saturation in the blood supply. You can normally see this when your pulse is taken with one of those monitors they hook to your finger or toe. The Pulse oximeter, that also measures your heart rate. Now normal ranges are from 95-100, sometimes occasionally 90. 79 is dire trouble. The doctors decide to call am ambulance and transfer us to a full pediatric hospital. I am told we do not have much time before he will stop breathing. I ask to use someones phone to call my friend and neighbor. I tell her what is going on and she says she will run over to get the baby who has by this time been in at least 10 different peoples arms. ZIggy is doing well and has only nursed once while in the clinic. She says after she gets the big kids off the bus she will get over there. In the mean time I call my husband and tell him what is going on. I tell him he really needs to get a plane back to D.C.. I tell him we do not have a diagnosis just an effect. Thank goodness my neighbor who is in charge of the others, her husband works in the same unit as mine. He makes a few calls and finally gets them to get my husband on a plane back to D.C. Just not soon enough. He flight is around 7 pm or so.

While we are waiting on the Ambulance, calls are received that traffic in D.C. is very heavy and the Ambulance is 45 minutes out. The doctors are not happy. They go back out and have a conference. They tell me it is going to be too long to wait for the Ambulance and they have decided to call for a helicopter. We immediately are taken to a transport vehicle to take us a few blocks to the helipad. Zulu is fighting to stay with me at this point. I am shaking tremendously, cold and absolutely frightened I might lose my 3rd child. We pull up to the pad just as the copter is landing. Now from the the clinic to copter has been all of 5 minutes. Things are happening so fast I just nod and continue moving. The pilot gets out and comes in to check stats and get an update on the patient, my dying 2 yr old. He tells me whats going to happen and what we are doing and what hospital we are going to. Zulu is still hooked to the monitor and I have a person walking right beside me everywhere I go. Getting out of the vehicle and making that 20 meter walk to the copter was the longest walk I have ever taken. I felt that time was passing me by, like I was standing still. We get into the copter and I have to get on a gurney and they strap me down while holding my precious child fade. One of the Senior doctors comes with us. Up we go, we fly over this majestic city of D.C. with beautiful snow on the ground and dark grey clouds. This gloomy winter day is getting more dreary by the moment. We are in the copter less than 15 minutes from clinic to hospital. We were transported to Walter Reed Army hospital in Northwest D.C. We get in and Zulu suddenly comes to. He asks "where are we?" WOW, he has not uttered a word all day. He has been completely out of it for hours now. His breathing just went back to normal all on its on. A miracle. Now the ER doctors are confused why we were flown here now. They decide to admit him since the senior doctor at the clinic came with me on the flight and insisted there was something serious wrong. So we go through telling the whole story again and then BAM, he goes back into this breathing episode once again. His eyes roll back and he can not talk because he can not catch his breath. The doctors are moving like light speed by this point trying to get an IV in. They fail in the arm and decide it must go in the leg. So lots of extra help and IV is in. He has to have his leg boarded up to keep it straight and keep the IV from coming out. He gets all settled and in a room and we are still at a pulse OX of 80%. Not good. He goes on 100% oxygen. Let me tell you something, I am claustrophobic with those masks. So trying to convince my 2 yr old to wear it was ridiculous. Finally we get a nose adapterfor a baby and he is hooked up just at the nose instead of the whole face mask thingy. Much better. His pulse ox is improving. This still leaves us to what is causing this. Blood is taken, x Rays are taken. Tests after tests are done and still nobody knows. Zeus gets in around 1 am and is driven by his supervisor to the hospital. Then someone reads in Zulu's chart that he tested positive for TB, tuberculosis. Oh No, this sets off a firestorm of rushing and masking and moving. We are moved to a negative air flow room. All nurses and doctors coming in and out wear the silly masks. I try to explain that he has been treated and it was NEVER active TB. They do not understand the complicated situation with this. 4 out of the 6 in my family have tested positive and we have all been treated for the disease with 9 month regimen of daily medication. Weird but back to Zulu. He makes improvements and then falls back again. It is like 2 steps forward and 1 step back. He is treated with antibiotics and is being treated with a nebulizer as well. We are on Day 2 by this point. Doctors are still surprised at what is happening to him. He is stable and responsive and extremely tired. After being taken home by the nice supervisor to get a good nights sleep with our other children on the first night. I get them off to school and get back to the hospital quickly with toys, clothes and baby in tow. Especially since Ziggy is still nursing and I feel like I might pop. Thank goodness for the hospital getting me a breast pump so I could pump while I was there. Zulu is doing better and Daddy did a good job being on night shift after not being there for the worst of it. Doctors think he has had an asthma attack of some sort. WHAT? We never knew he had asthma. It would not be a surprise since Omega has asthma too. Ok well what caused it and how do I prevent this from happening again. The doctors are going to call this Reactive Airway Disease. It is not necessarily asthma but he is too young to give him that diagnosis. RAD is very broad but can be an allergic reaction, hereditary or viral respiratory disease. Whatever it is, this is so scary. After being hospitalized and attached to cables and tubes and having alarms go off every time his pulse Ox falls below 90 he finally gets to go home.

What a great feeling to have him acting normal. Looking normal and finally eating for once. I am so glad all the nurses and doctors at Bolling moved so quickly. They are all so great. Thank you! This is definitely not the Valentines day I had planned but I am so glad Zeus was able to get back and support us while we walk through such uncharted territory. Thanks to everyone for all the prayers. Who would have thought spunky little Zulu would be dealt such amazing situations. He is a strong boy. Tough boy. Very independent boy. Super loving boy. Wildly animated boy. He is my little Zulu and I love every mean or nice bone in his body. I must thank the Lord for blessing me with him and giving me just one more day with him.

I hope this Valentines day is much less active, and less exciting. I hope everyone has a great Valentines Day. Hug your loved ones. Kiss them and tell them how much you love them because we are not promised another day. Blessings to all

Check back soon for more adventures from the Haskins House!!


Sandy Jenney said...

Certainly not a good Valentine memory. Thank goodness he is fine now. Working in a peds office, I know how scary resp. distress can be.

Charisse said...

Goodness!!! That is just horrifying. I was in tears riding this. I felt like I was right there with you feeling everything you were going through. I already read the post about this year's Valentine's Day, so I know it was a tough one. I am just very glad that everything worked out fine and that you have 4 beautiful little children with you today.