The day before her 5th birthday, Kate took a trip to the emergency room because she could not breathe. At the time, the doctor and respiratory therapist said she didn't have asthma, she just had a nasty cold that was causing an inability to breathe. They did a breathing treatment and sent her home with an inhaler. Since then, the inhaler has come out now and again, but infrequently enough that we've misplaced it from time to time.
Over the past week, however, Kate's wheezing has picked up considerably. She's a bit of a drama queen, so when she'd start crying that she was wheezing, we'd give a listen, and if it didn't sound bad, we'd have her do some breathing exercises and send her on her way. She became increasingly dramatic. We rolled our eyes a lot. "Kate! It's past time for bed, go to sleep!"
Who's the a-hole now? Monday night was very rough. Kate did a lot of screaming. Her breathing sounded labored, but not in her chest, she was congested all up in her face. She refused to blow her nose. I mean, really refused. She literally pitched a fit, ran from us, wept...it was a disaster. No one slept much Monday. Tuesday morning we checked her temperature and it was normal, so off to school she went. That lasted about 30 minutes. When Jeremiah went to get her, we were concerned she may have a sinus infection, what with all the stuffiness and claiming she was afraid to blow her nose. The worst thing was, she was driving us crazy. We just wanted her to stop all the whining!
Jeremiah took her to the doctor around noon, and the doctor had her admitted to the ER at Egleston. Her oxygen was around 87%. She spent the next 7 hours doing a multitude of breathing treatments. There was much talk of not letting her go home. Finally, she got her O2 up around 94% and we were set free, after we promised to have her looked at first thing this morning. She slept last night! She had color in her cheeks this morning. I took her to the doctor right at 8:00 and they kindly fit her in. Her oxygen was 89%. They did another breathing treatment. Then, the doctor sent us home, telling me "At this point, we've done here all that we can. Just keep an eye on her today, and if she gets any worse, she needs to go back to the ER."
This has been the most stressful day of motherhood for me to date, including all those days during her first 6 weeks of life when she never stopped wailing. I took her to the chiropractor, because I knew they'd be sure to get everything situated where it belongs, which will help with breathing. But, I thought she looked great this morning, and she was at an oxygen level that would have kept her in the hospital last night. What did "keep an eye on her" mean? I've spent this entire day asking if she's OK, examining her face...is she ashen? Why the circles? Is she just tired or is there no air? Why can't she focus on her homework? What does she mean she's 'dizzy'? Why does her head hurt? Why does her stomach hurt? I am so stressed right now I feel like I might just fall over and stop. Just stop functioning completely.
I suspect her complaints about being dizzy, headachy and stomach-achy are largely related to the alarming intake of steroids she's endured during the last day, but still, those are also things that could be caused by not getting enough air. The medicine has also made her hyper and crazy. The more hyper she gets, the more I panic she's expending too much energy and will get tired and stop breathing. I need a nap, but I'm afraid if I allow myself to doze off for 20 minutes, that's the 20 minutes during which she'll die. So instead, I made cookies. Homemade Oreos, for her class's fall festival tomorrow. I think I made, like, 60 of them. It took awhile, because I kept stopping to make sure Kate felt OK, to try to force fresh vegetables on her and to try to stare at the rise and fall of her chest without her noticing.
I guess we'll send her to school tomorrow. I don't know why tomorrow will be any different, but I do know I'll probably be over-tired, unfocused and mildly grumpy. I just want my kid to be healthy.