Well, what was turning into a great holiday season took a turn for the worse. School let out Monday, the girls had their Christmas parties…Michael was finished with work on Thursday. We were greatly getting into the holiday spirit…last minute shopping trips, making food, wrapping presents, watching movies, starry nights, and our last minute trip to take the girls to see Santa…yes we were all getting excited! Saturday we were going to Michael’s parents house because Sarah was coming in town. Our girls spent the night at Mimi’s house so we could go eat at the Kersting’s new house Friday night. I picked them up early Saturday morning and took them home so Addison could nap. Michael was running and when he got home he took EK over to his parent’s so EK could play with her cousins. I let EK skip her afternoon nap and Addison and I came over after her afternoon nap.
I could tell immediately that Ella Kate was not normal, her eyes were dry and itchy…she was being exceptionally clingy to me, which is not normal unless its just the 3 or 4 of us. The night went on and we ate and opened presents and she was about the same. Dry, itchy eyes, she did start sneezing up a storm too. His parents have an exceptionally large long haired cat. Which is one of EK’s biggest triggers. She has no allergies with Antioch, a short haired cat. Ella Kate was suppose to spend the night there, and the mom in me said she probably shouldn’t. But I bit my tongue…I didn’t want his mom upset and crying because I took her home.
I don’t know much about what happened after we left, but she continued to sneeze and complain. They washed her hands and face and said that helped. Mrs. Poole gave her some benadryl around 9:30 and she was pretty upset. They stayed up way late which didn’t help much either.
It’s kinda funny because their cats have always been a concern for me and the main reasons why I haven’t let her spend the night over there. I remember telling my sister last year I should just let her spend the night and we will end up in the ER with a major asthma attack, then maybe everyone will understand how serious her asthma is….
Michael went and picked EK up, but didn’t realize that she was having an attack. They went to Lowe’s and came home and as soon as I laid eyes on her I knew she was in distress. I immediately gave her albuterol and measured her oxygen levels (O2 stats)and they were 90. Dr. Scott told me anything under 92 is bad and to head to the ER. I told EK to go sit and rest and I would check her again.
We decided to make brownie trees for our cookies for Santa, so I threw those in the oven. I then could hear a major wheeze. I took her O2 levels and she was 83…insert crapped my pants here). I gave her three puffs of albuterol and checked her again…85%. A normal person should have 94-100% oxygen levels. I immediately started freaking out on the inside but tried to remain calm. This was at 11:45…I could call the pediatrician at noon to get an appt. I always try and go to the dr. before I go to the ER…because we have a hugely high deductible.
I had trouble getting through on the appointment line and told Michael I was going to take her to the ER…but as soon as I said that they answered. They could see us at 1:50 and I said my daughter is having an asthma attack and I am not sure how bad it is…I told them what happened and they said to come immediately.
I was hauling complete ass, on backroads…because it was all kinds of crazy on Germantown parkway and I wanted to avoid the wolf chase area. Ella Kate was starting to pass out from all the activity and from exhaustion from having slept very little…so I started poking her and singing to her and trying to get her to talk to me. Luckily she stayed up…we got checked in and were sitting in the lobby and I was holding her and counting breaths and I noticed that she turned blue…I took her O2 stats and it was 81%…luckily there was a lady who was watching us and she said what is wrong with her…I said she is having an asthma attack and having trouble breathing and she is blue. She got up and ran through the door and got a nurse. They grabbed us and I ran back with her and then there was a flurry of things…albuterol, oxygen tanks, O2 readers, more abuterol…albuterol with oxygen. We got her up to 92%, then 94%, then 96%…and as soon as they dropped her O2 intake, she wouldn’t stabilize.
The nurse who stayed in the room the whole time with us was a little freaked out and Ella Kate was just a hot mess, she was crying and complaining and kept saying she just wanted to go home. I realized how serious this all was when she turned blue. I started crying too and the nurse came over and prayed for us. I was deeply touched and the Dr. came in and said since she isn’t stabilizing on her own, she would be transferred to the ER by ambulance. She had to keep oxygen on at all times. So I couldn’t drive her.
I asked the nurse if she would sit with EK while I ran out to the car and got her blanket. The waiting room was packed, like people standing everywhere because there was no room. I heard the ambulance arrive when I was running back inside. The ambulance arrived and EK asked if I would sit with her on the gurney. So they strapped us both in and got her switched to a portable oxygen tank and we were wheeled through the lobby and you could immediately see the look of horror on people’s faces when we wheeled by. The ambulance people tried to crack a joke..and said, look Ella Kate your gonna make all the other kids want to ride in an ambulance. Didn’t go over well with the parents.
I always insist on going to Baptist East when we do go to the ER, we went to Lebonheur with her second major asthma attack and I just wasn’t impressed with the asthma wing…you are in a room full of people with just one of those curtains. Baptist East pediatric wing is usually empty. It has been with her first ever asthma attack, Addison’s dehydration last year, and this time. Plus, our friend Anne is usually working…which was the case again. She saw us and ran up to us and gave us a big hug and started telling nurses what to do and what was going on. So that was a huge relief! Anne runs with Michael and Holly a good bit.
While all this was going on, my parents were headed to Arlington to take care of Addison. Michael was packing bags for EK and us. Keys were being found to get the car back to Arlington. My parents were going to bring Addison back to their house and keep her till we got released.
Michael got to the ER and they gave EK an IV and hooked her up to oxygen and started giving her breathing treatments. They also gave her magnesium sulfate which acted as a muscle relaxer for her lungs. It took about an hour, during this time she was in and out of sleep. When one has an asthma attack you need to be sitting straight up. So Michael and I took turns holding her head steady and the mask on her face, while she slept.
After she finished her magnesium, a light switch went off and you could tell a huge difference in EK. She was turning a corner. Her color was better, she just looked alive.
They took an x-ray of her chest to check for pneumonia and other spots, and thankfully it was clear!
Holly had called and offered to bring us food. Michael met her and ate first. Ella Kate wasn’t allowed to eat or drink anything because if she had to be operated on. So we took turns eating and they called and said she was being transported via ambulance to the pediatric wing.
My Dad showed up and Holly left and Michael and my dad drove over to the pediatric wing, which is in the same building as the maternity building where both of my kids were born. It was super nice and new! We got in a room and settled down and hung out with Dad. Ella Kate would be on oxygen for some time and she finally let them put the tubes around her ears so she could breath the oxygen from the tube in front of her nose. This took some major convincing…and we told her she would be hands free! She would have breathing treatments every three hours. We were all pooped and I was just exhausted, we turned on the grinch and went to sleep at 9. Well Ella Kate and Michael did. I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep. I climbed in bed with EK and Michael took the couch. I didn’t sleep a wink because of all the activity through the night. I would hold the mask on her face while she slept.
Throughout the night they would slowly wean her off oxygen…and by 5:30 they turned it off. She continued to stabilize on her own…so we were hoping we would get to go home. We met with the Dr. around 10:00 and were given some not very good news. More than likely we would not be going home Christmas Eve. He asked how comfortable I was bringing her home..and I was honest with him…I said this is the quickest she has recovered from an asthma attack. Usually it takes at least a week for full recovery (more on that later). I felt 95% comfortable bringing her home. He said he would be in contact with the nurses throughout the day and would check back in around 4.
After he left, I went out in the hall and completely lost my marbles. No way did I want to spend Christmas Eve in the hospital…not away from Addison. Even though Addison has no idea…it was still in my head. After my quick meltdown, I got my game face on and made preparations as if we weren’t going home.
My dad arrived with a present from my parents for EK. It was her most coveted Christmas present…and American girl doll that looked just like EK! She was so happy! Michael’s parents came up later and I went to the house. We decided to tell EK that Santa toys would be at the house after we were released from the hospital Christmas Day. I got everything ready and set up, took a shower, packed a ridiculous amount of stuff, and left to get food and head back to the hospital. As I was packing I just kept packing more and more…I was thinking I am going to bring all this junk…so we can laugh about it if we did get released that night.
I got back to the hospital and Michael and Ella Kate were asleep in the bed. I got Michael up and he went back home to shower and pack his ridiculous amount of stuff. I ate while EK napped. When she woke up they took out her IV and everything else that was hooked up to machines and she was even more “hands free.” I asked if she would like to shower, and get into her Christmas jammies. I helped her shower and she felt much better. Michael arrived and had brought the Night Before Christmas book just in case.
The Dr. showed back up and assessed her…he said he would feel better if she stayed in the hospital over night, but was impressed with her being off oxygen for almost 12 hours…and that she had showered, was up and running around etc. So he asked us again if we felt comfortable and I said yes…and he said alright, let’s get you home…but with strict instructions.
Holy Moly we were excited! We left around 4:50 and had to stop and get new meds. She was on steroids and would be for 4 days…and they actually switched her off abuterol because she shakes almost violently when she is on it. So no more albuterol for her, the new medicine took her shakes away which helps everyone out!
We went to Walgreens and dropped off the rx and headed to my parents house to let EK eat and get Addison…after Michael got back we packed up and headed home!!!!
My mom had made reindeer cookies and I took one for a cookie for Santa.
It felt so odd to me not going to church and seeing family.
Our typical Christmas Eve goes like this: lunch at my parents, naps, church, then we take the kids home…EK had requested Mac and cheese and hotdogs for her Christmas Eve dinner…we were going to make Christmas tree brownies for HoHo…then get the girls bathed and pj’d and pack them up to go look at Christmas lights. Then after we we put them to bed…Michael and I would grill our Christmas Eve steaks and fixings and crack open a fancy bottle of wine.
Instead we raced home and looked at a couple of Christmas lights, I ran inside and put up Santa stuff. Then we got the girls out, brushed teeth, read the Night Before Christmas, and they went to bed. Michael fired up the grill and we ate our steaks and drank our fancy wine and turned on Christmas Vacation and passed out with ten minutes left…brownies still on the stove in the pan.
Before we left the ER, dr. said she is not to go around long haired cats. Period. This was her first ever asthma attack due to one of her triggers. Which is why she recovered so quickly. All of her asthma attacks have been viral, which I had a glimmer of hope she would grow out of since kids get less sick as they get older. So that slapped us in the face.
I have never been more scared in my entire life, she nearly died in the dr. office. I learned that I should have just called 911 and she would have been better off. I learned that asthma is not a force to be reckoned with.