Thursday, October 25, 2007

Hosptial Reprise, Reprieve

Anytime Z gets the wheeze going on, Egg and I go back and forth trying to decide whether she needs to go to the hospital. For the most part, we don't really consider going to the doctor because that would be but a detour on the way to the hospital. The doctor's office always freaks out when they listen to Z breathe her darth vadar-y breath. On Monday night, Egg came home from school and went in to check on she-who-had-been-sleeping. She was not sleeping. She was sitting up, coughing and wheezing. She just wasn't getting better. So we hemmed and hawed for about 12 minutes. Finally, we decided to just go. The decision is always hard--she has never again been as sick as she was in Feb of '06 when she had RSV and we were in the hospital for 8 days. To be released from the hospital, her oxygen levels had to stay at 93% or above. That's usually where they hover when she's sick now. At the doctor's office, 93% sends them into a tizzy. At the hospital, they're usually OK with the 93% but worry about the way her lungs retract. They think it could get worse and that she could get worn out. She has been sick for 6 weeks, off and on. We too were getting worried about her getting worn out. So on Monday, not knowing where her oxygen levels stood and having been listening to her cough for days and wheeze off and on that day, we went in.
I packed everything we would need for overnight. Contact case. Waterbottles filled. Books. Magaazines. Toothbrush. Z was pretty excited to go. We never leave the house at 9:30! Go? Car? She started jumping and putting on her coat and saying shoes shoes shoes shoes. Go go go go go. So we went.
We were ushered in, more, we think, because of our solid medical insurance than our deeply illing child, but possibly because anything respiratory freaks everyone out. They looked at us like we were a bit weird for bringing her in. The doctor came in and sat down next to Z and asked us why now. Z kept cocking her head to the side to say hi hi hi. As if to say, don't pay attention to them. I'm out after dark. Let's party. The doctor, fully charmed and off-put by such a sicky being in such a good mood, asked us again, why did you bring her in now?

We said that on the condition of getting the predisone, we would bring her in for any wheezing. They seemed to think that was a bit extreme. Her o-sats stood at 93%, sometimes dipping to 90, sometimes up to 95. We were sure we were in for the night. Or the next 8 days.

But the doctor, whom I love now more than butter, said, let's give her a breathing treatment and then I think that will be that.

We tried not to get our hopes up. We also tried to convince Z not to jump up and down on the bed for fear the tape that held the puls-ox monitor to her toes came off and her sats dipped to zero and someone in some nurse's station recorded it and we were going to be locked in for life.

The Respiratory Therapist came in, gave Z a treatment (alubterol0l). Z let her put a a mask over her face. Everyone was amazed Z was wearing the mask for the treatment rather than just using the blow-by method. Z was amazed they had invented something with stretchy-bands that go around over her head and hold a dinosaur-shaped plastic thing to her face. Or she was quite satisfied at all our amazement. Most kids won't do that, said the RT. Never. Said the doctor. The doctor said she'd go order the steroid meds and be right back to listen to Z and we'd be on our way.

She didn't come right back. Right after the breathing treatment, Z sounded great. But an hour went by and her o-sats dropped back to 93, even 92. Egg and I looked at each other. We're staying, we realized. We stare at the o-sats, holding our own breath. We've spent weeks like this, waiting for the o-sats to stabilize. Waiting for the magic number to hold.

The doctor came back, looked at Z with concern. She ordered another breathing treatment.
She'd be back. With admit papers, we assumed.
Less than an hour later she came back. She listened. She said she was going to get the Attending.
Getting the Attending is never good. It's a consultation--a what-to-do-now? A this-is-a-real-emergency. Sound-the-alarms type of thing.
Beth, the attending came in. .
She looked at Z. She looked at us.

OK, then, she said. She looks good. You guys are out of here.

I do think we may have danced a little.

20 minutes later, we were on our way.
Z was excited to go back in the car. At night. In the dark!

We came home and had a party. Z jumped off the coffee table fifteen times, prompting us to ask her to please, not make us go the ER two times in a night. I had a glass of wine. Egg had a beer.
We had this conversation:

There was a headline on one of the news pages. MSN I think, teasing what is the “least attractive city in the country?” Answer: The City of Brotherly Love.

Me: But they have the best sandwich. I’d rather have a perfect sandwich than be beautiful, wouldn’t you?

Egg: No answer.

Me: I know. You’d rather stay beautiful. That’s the problem with us. Beauty vs. true satisfaction.

Egg: It’s gluttony or vanity.

Me: it’s not gluttony. I just want one, not a hundred (thought I have had two Philly Cheese Steaks in a row before).

Egg: Thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s sandwich.

Me: I think you’re mixing your commandments with your deadly sins.

Me: I really want a Philly Cheese Steak now.

We did not rush out for Cheese Steaks. We were in our own beds by one.

It makes going to the hospital seem like it might not be the 5th circle of hell. Maybe only the 4th.


Valerie said...

You guys are SO amazing. You are also beautiful and great sanwich makers

Valerie said...

I miss the Z, she sounds so grown up!

P said...

Z does sound like an expert at this. I love the jumping, but you know if I were there, I would be nervous about the jumping. I love the comments about how you were looking at each other, so much info in just a glance. I love you all and glad she has 95% osat. Go O!!

Dr. Write said...

I like Z's dialog. And the love of being up and in the car, even if it is on the way to the ER.
She's adorable.
I'm glad everyone is well.

Lisa B. said...

so glad z's been given the good to go by the good drs. also, on a narrative basis, your story had me on the edge of my seat (here in the writing center).

Lisa B. said...

Also, I tagged you--see my blog. Sorry--blame the nablopomo madness.