Last year for Kate's birthday we did this. This year we were one day early, but we still had the opportunity to enjoy the hospitality of our local ER. Kate has a cold. Sounds pretty innocuous, doesn't it? She's been coughing for a couple days and really, that's her only symptom.
Yesterday we sent her to daycare despite the fact that her cough was accompanied by a wheeze. "She seems fine" we both agreed. Daycare called Jeremiah around 10AM asking if Kate has asthma. "Nope, she's fine, tell her to buck up" is our standard response. Right as I was finishing up for the day I got a call from daycare. "Kate's breathing is extremely rapid and shallow and she can't complete sentences, she's just too out of breath to talk." I didn't panic until they said she wasn't talking. Something is definitely wrong when she stops talking.
There was a line of severe storms moving through our area at that precise moment so I sat in rain-induced traffic for over an hour while I worked my way the 13 miles to daycare. By the time I arrived she was fine. So we headed home where the girls were thrilled to find Grammy Margie awaiting them. Everything seemed so normal; if the amount chatter in our household came across a wiretap we'd have been at a level red terrorist alert.
Then I found Kate lying on the guest bed, ashen gray, unable to get air. Her little chest was heaving rapidly and she couldn't hold her head up. Jeremiah was nearly home, so I called him and told him to be ready to turn right around again. It's a little unsettling to watch one's child not draw breath so I also called 911. They put me on hold. When I finally spoke to someone I explained that we were going to take her in but she can't breathe and should they send a unit? She told me she can't give me advice. It was all so soothing. Then Jeremiah arrived and we left the still road-weary Margie alone with Sarah and no clear info as to what was going on. Welcome to Atlanta!
The extremely nice staff at Eggleston fixed Kate right up with some oral steroids and a breathing treatment. She began immediately to bounce off the walls. We have to give her this stuff for the next two days, should be a hyper good time. She answered all the questions people were asking us (they were about her after all) and she introduced herself to everyone and said "tomorrow is my birthday! I'm going to be 5!" She left with stickers, crayons, coloring pages, a brand new doll and about 20 new friends sometime around 10PM. For someone who couldn't even draw breath a few hours ago, she was certainly able to turn it on at the hospital. I think she might really be a princess, because they treated her like royalty.
As we sat watching her giggle through her breathing treatment Jeremiah lamented the fact we hadn't brought the camera. How could I have forgotten such a thing, I wondered aloud.
Today we are exhausted and somewhat shakey but mostly I'm just thrilled that a pink-cheeked Kate ran around the house this morning in search of birthday gifts. Happy birthday Katherine Louise!