Motley Croup

This weekend was an interesting experience. We put the Peanut to bed around nine or so on Saturday night and then spent the next couple of hours basking in the glorious silence…. at least until we heard this harsh barking sound emanating from the baby monitor. Since we couldn’t remember acquiring a sea lion, we figured it was the kid, but we thought nothing of it… until she did it again. And again. And again. At which point we consulted the library of baby books we’ve acquired over the past six months and realized, Hey, maybe she’s got the croup. Oh, and according to everything we’re reading right now, it can be fatal.

I was on the phone with our  health care provider faster than you can say “overreacting first-time parents” and got a nurse on the line.  She asked a series of questions (“Is your baby turning blue?” “No.”  “Is she having trouble breathing?”  “I don’t think so, but I sure as shit am.”  And so on) and suggested that we bring the Peanut to the E.R. of a nearby hospital.  Meanwhile, the Missus was holding the Peanut in the guest bathroom, which was filled with steam from the shower — an anti-croup technique that the books recommended.  It was one in the morning by the time we piled into the car and zipped down to Woodland Hills with our car windows open to let in the cold air (another recommendation of the books).

We checked in to the E.R. and waited.  And waited.  And waited.  I started falling asleep in my chair, at which point the Missus would smack my leg to wake me up.  Later she told me how she wondered how I could possibly sleep at a time like that, to which I replied that (as she knows all too well) I can sleep anywhere, anytime, and besides — we were at the friggin’ hospital.  If something bad was going to happen, at least we were in the right place.

Eventually we were escorted to an examination room, where we waited.  And waited.  And waited.  I didn’t start falling asleep this time, if only because there were no chairs in the room for me to sit in.  Finally, around 3:30 or so — by which point the Peanut was sleepy and slightly crabby but no longer barking — the doctor finally showed up, told us we did the right thing with the shower steam and car windows, and recommended that they administer steroids to open up her bronchial passages.  The nurse entered with a needle and shot up our baby, we paid the hundred bucks for the emergency room visit and headed home.  It was five in the morning by the time our heads finally hit the pillows.

Sunday was naturally a bit of a washout — what with the fact that we spent much of it snoozing and/or walking around in a Romeroesque, sleep-deprived stupor — but at least the Peanut no longer sounded like she had flippers and could balance a beach ball on her nose.  Of course, now she has a terrible cold, which is a bummer but probably won’t involve medical intervention.  Knock wood.

So yeah — we finally had our first emergency trip to the hospital.  God knows it could’ve been much worse and thankfully it wasn’t, but as the Missus put it, “We finally earned our stripes as parents.”  When I told this story to my boss — a father of two — and mentioned what my wife said, he replied, “Well, you earned your first stripe, anyway.  You’ve still got plenty ahead of you.”

Scarily enough, I’m sure he’s right.

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8 Comments on “Motley Croup”

  1. WhatACard Says:

    Aw, poor little peanut! Hope she’s feeling better! We had tons of bouts of croup in our house…I’m so glad we’re past the croup stage with the boys!

  2. WriterDad Says:

    Yeah, I can understand why you’d be happy to get past that stage! At least we know what we’re looking for (and how to deal with it) now… the Peanut’s doing better, though her cold is kinda lingering and her sleep schedule is still all screwed up, which means that OUR sleep schedule is all screwed up. I actually started nodding off in front of my boss a little while ago…

  3. William Says:

    Sorry to hear it man. I gotta tell ya, the hits keep coming all around. We spent last Saturday morning in the ER because of a allergic reaction to either strawberries or cinnamon in our boy’s food. Fortunately it was just a minor swelling around his mouth and all was fine but from that point on a new tooth erupted and a viral throat infection developed. We’ve been dealing with high fever, cough, general misery since. The doctor just prescribed antibiotics so we’re hoping they will help the boy ASAP.

    I’m trying to finish up here with some sort of witty anecdotal conclusion but my brain is like a piece of boiled ham I just can’t put the thoughts together. Maybe next time.

  4. WriterDad Says:

    Good grief, William! Your trials and tribulations make ours sound positively bush league in comparison. Hope the boy feels better soon…

  5. The Last Spartan Says:

    WD, I would tell you that there is nothing scarier than your child having trouble breathing (even if they’re moving air). I blogged about this last year as my then-nine-year-old son woke up with the same thing. Being a doctor, I did the exact thing you described with the steam and the cold air. We actually called 911. The fact is that he could have tired out and stopped breathing at any point.

    The unfortunate thing about ERs these days is that there is so much improper utilization. People who can’t or won’t go to a clinic or primary provider clog up the system for everything from a runny nose to a need for contraception. It makes it that much harder to see the sickest people (who should still be getting in first anyway).

    Glad to hear things calmed down. After your heart rate returns to normal, give that kid an extra big hug. They grow fast.

  6. WriterDad Says:

    Last Spartan — man, that’s scary that that sort of thing can happen to even a nine-year-old. Glad to hear your story ended okay, too. That was actually the first time I’d ever visited an ER, and it was an interesting experience. Maybe because it was the dead of night or maybe it was because it was a suburban hospital, but the place was surprisingly mellow — I was almost (ALMOST) disappointed there were no gurneys flying around the corner and highly photogenic medical personnel shouting, “E.R.” style…

    In any case, hopefully this will be the LAST time I have to visit one.

  7. The Last Spartan Says:

    My hospital is a catholic hospital in a major city. I’ll show you real ER but I doubt the people will be as photogenic. Makes me think I need to blog on that subject a bit. Lots o’ stories.

  8. WriterDad Says:

    You should!


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