Stuck in another ‘groundhog day’ only instead of a new day to relive over and over we get to go back to an old one. As if the last 30 days never happened. Liam is back in the hospital. 911 had to be called and Liam and his mother got to ride in an ambulance with the sirens on and everything. The EMT would have shown them all the cool gadgets back there if he wasn’t so busy keeping Liam alive. It was a rough day. But by the afternoon when Liam had calmed down and fallen asleep it wasn’t so bad. Living in a hospital is a lot like riding a bike. It already feels like we never left. It is routine. It is comfortable. It is sad.
Liam was brought to the ICU due to respiratory distress. Chest films show some excess fluid in the lungs making his breathing more labored. He was unable to keep his oxygen saturation up high enough (partly due to the pain he was in because of teething) and both his heart rate and respiratory rates were elevated even as he slept. Karin and I are very well trained on what looks like something that can be treated and home and what constituted a trip to the hospital. We knew what we had to do and were quick to call 911 and get Liam the help he needed. Getting him into the car seat and getting him ready for transport made him more agitated and by the time he was put in the back of the ambulance he was a deep, deep, blue color. Scary, scary stuff; just in time for Halloween. That Liam sure does know how to celebrate a fake holiday. Little prankster, I’ll give you a trick or treat.
We called the ICU unit on the way so they could call the E.R. and have us immediately transferred there. They know us there and are better equipped to deal with Liam’s equipment and diagnosis. He was put on a very big, very fancy ventilator and quickly calmed down. His color returned to normal and within 5 minutes in true Liam fashion he fell asleep in the trauma room as if the whole event had simply bored him to sleep.
We are hashing out exactly what caused this but it doesn’t look to be anything serious. When Liam catches a cold, this is what happens. When Liam catches Pneumonia, this is what happens. When Liam catches seasonal allergies, this is what happens. When Liam is perfectly happy and stable and some tiny little thing gets caught in his throat, THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS. It can be hard to explain to people how a five or six day stay in the Intensive Care Unit can be no big deal but for Karin and I it has become downright ordinary.
Cultures were drawn and sent off to the lab. Regardless of how Liam is doing (he is doing wonderfully right now. Calm, comfortable, and back to normal) we are stuck here until they can be absolutely sure that nothing will grow out. Its been over 24 hours now and nothing has grown yet but we have to give it at least 36 more. H1N1, RSV, Flu A, and Flu B swabs were all sent to the CDC but without a fever or a change in his secretions that diagnosis seems unlikely. We won’t hear about those results for a day or two.
Liam is doing well and surprisingly so are his mother and I. We have dreaded our first visit back knowing it was inevitable but the anticipation, as it always does, proved to be worse than the event itself. It was almost nice to come into the hospital to be greeted by plenty of familiar and friendly faces. People who had already cared for Liam and were knowledgeable of not only his medical history but also how he behaves. It is very tiring to explain Liam’s likes and dislikes to new nurses. What positions help him sleep, what his daily routine consists of and what will really piss him off. This kid’s got a temper you do not want to mess with.
So we’ll muddle through the next few days. Biding our time until real life can start again. Hours spent watching Law & Order reruns on the hospital TV and reading fluffy easy to read novels. Nothing you have to think about, thinking can be too much at times like this.