The Bravest Kid in the World Award goes to 3-year-old Brady this weekend. After an asthma attack came on crazy-quick Thursday night, Jeff and I tag-teamed breathing treatments until we could get him to the doctor early Friday morning. They treated and released him but things just didn't seem to improve.
Friday afternoon, we decided to take him to the ER (where this photo is from) after his breathing remained labored with no improvement. Good thing we did because his oxygen levels were down and he needed medication and oxygen immediately and continuously.
Now, we're no strangers to asthma. We've had plenty of experience with it -- including a scare last year when the pediatrician called 9-1-1 because our little B-Man was in respiratory distress. So we weren't overly concerned -- at least no more than we usually are. But I wasn't ready for nurse Mary to say "you've got a sick little dude, he needs to be in the ICU."
Too tired to panic, I listened carefully when she said it was best this way because Brady would get constant care. My mind drifted as I thought back to last March when our then 2-year-old had NO intentions of wearing an oxygen mask or have anyone come within five feet of him. I remember so vividly holding the oxygen over his face all night long until it was back in the normal range and then trying to lie down for the few minutes I had before it would drop again. I would have to then shut off the beeping machine and resume my oxygen-holding position while blocking my body from any kicks or blows my strong toddler would send my way.
ICU is nothing like that.
While I had the same struggle with the strong, fighting preschooler (my poor Bubbakins had to be sedated in order to help him rest. But you know what? He still kept fighting! Three nurses standing over him were baffled, saying they would've been knocked out themselves in seconds), there came a time in the middle of the night when the nurses finally intervened, telling me they would come in and replace the mask each time he pulled if off and I should get rest. In fact, one nurse demanded I lie down. Since I had only been getting sleep a few minutes at a time for the past two nights, I had no fight left in me and actually listened. I got two glorious hours on the hospital cot. For a minute I thought I had been transported to the Four Seasons.
Ok, maybe the sleep wasn't that good.
But the service in this place is pretty amazing. I've had my shares of hospital stays in my day -- waiting for someone to come in to help or trying to get sleep with random people coming in through the night has always been the norm. But here in the ICU? First of all, I don't have to monitor the IV or oxygen. The technology is state of the art. The place is spotless and the nurses are phenomenal. The offers of coffee 24-hours a day and just the attitude and patience of the men and women who work here is astounding. I had no experience with this hospital before but I will definitely make the drive here should we ever need it. Even the ER was an incredibly amazing experience, considering how difficult it was.
But most of all, I think I've been able to keep it together because of the people we have around us. Jeff has been completely in control, getting items from home and making sure Jacob and Lucy are settled. My sister Ellen has been in my shoes -- herself and with kids -- and knows exactly what to say. Michelle and Traci took Jacob and Lucy yesterday on a moment's notice and stayed until the wee hours, and my friend (and sister in law) Pam jumped on a plane from Northern CA to help us throughout the weekend. Never mind the emails and calls from family and friends and all the offers of help -- thank you! It's a reminder of how lucky we are and that our biggest success in life is the quality of people around us.
So why am I blogging from the ICU? Well, I ask myself the same question. But with no ability to reach out to others via phone -- not allowed in the room and I don't want to leave Brady -- this is my way of processing it all.
Besides, if I have to watch Cars for the 1,212,902th time... they may have to medicate me too.