Last Wednesday Devlin was admitted to the PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit) if the CCU (Critical Care Unit) at the Hospital for Sick Children, also known as Sick Kids.
He came home from school with a bit of a fever at lunch time, I gave him Tylenol and he seemed better. Then around 5 he began to have a severe asthma attack so we packed him up to go to the hospital.
We’d done this about 5 times previously, so it seemed like business as usual. I tell you this because about half way to Sick Kids Devlin’s lips turned blue and he was barely moving any air.
We rushed to the hospital, me in the back of the vehicle with Devlin, giving him his ventolin and playing all the tricks I know to help him get air flowing.
When we got to the hospital he was rushed into a resuscitation room and code blue was called. About a million staff of doctors and nurses flooded the room and began to work on my son.
I should have been terrified at this moment, standing alone in a sea of hospital staff, who were yelling at me, well maybe not yelling but talking in loud, rushed tones, telling me to move away from my son and give them room. I stepped back only to be quickly told to come back and hold his hand when he screamed in a panic, flailing all about as the strangers held oxygen masks to his face and examine him and tried to start an IV line in his arm. Many attempts were made, many angry bruises created and he not only bit down on his tongue but he ground it between his molasses so we had to use a bite guard on him. Blood pouring out of his mouth, his wailing screams and nurses trying so hard not to hurt Dev as he tensed, flinched and flailed as they tried to insert the IV line.
I stood there holding Devlin’s hand, speaking to him reassuringly, telling him what a brave strong boy he was, how he must be so scared but not to worry, these people were there to help him and they are all nice, good people.
Dad parked the car and was brought to our room, by then half the staff had left, I guess they were useless in assisting with what was needed.
Dev’s color returned and he was admitted and we say in the ER all night, waiting for a bed in PICU to open up.
It was a long night, holding Dev as he thrashed and fought against the oxygen mask we held on his face, administering drugs that would help open his airways, make his respiratory system stronger and put him in the road to recovery.
This was the single most terrifying moment in my life, at the time I was calm and focused on helping Devlin, but afterward when I had time to relive the moment in my head and remembered the serious nature is those working on my son, I realize just how close we came to tragedy. I still tremble when I think about it.
The rest of the hospital stay is a blur, lack of sleep and stress makes it hard to remember.
I did get to make use of the Ronald McDonald Room at the hospital which is a true haven for parents who can’t leave the hospital but still need a refuge, a place of peace and solitude, where they can sleep for how ever long they need (I managed to catch a couple and they were heavenly), the Ron McD room has a stocked kitchen, a pantry full I’d donated food from Campbell’s soups, and other companies that I regret I can’t remember at the moment. Tea and coffee were available as well as a mountain is reading material and there were 3 TVs with little viewing areas set up for each.
The ‘room’ also had a shower set up for parents who, again, can’t leave the hospital. Three is nothing worse than being such in the hospital for days, or I imagine weeks or more, and not having access to facilities where one can clean themselves.
Also, the ‘room’ also had a couple of washers and dryers, which came in handy when Devlin took it upon himself to pee all over Mommy’s jeans, leaving me with just one other pair of pants to wear. Thank goodness Dad washed mine and Dev’s clothes or I’d have been in big trouble the second time the Bladder Terrorist attacked. There was nothing wrong with my boys ability to drown his diaper, that’s for sure!
Luckily my boy bounced back fast, once he was on the bend it was like we blinked and he was good to go. The doctors are nervous with how fast he recovered and they were talking about keeping Dev in the hospital for days.
No way! Once my boy was good to go home we were ready to leave. I don’t want my boy sitting around a hospital full of germs and sick people so he can pick up something else, because I’m sure he would. Not to mention Dad and I. We aren’t really excited about sitting around a hospital room with a more than bored boy who could very well be at home in comfort and have all the things he loves in hand. His toys, books, videos, music, brother, sister, and dogs.
Nope, we fought with the doctors and bargained and finally we came to terms. If Dev could go longer than 4 hours without treatment, he could be released. The doctors would keep him overnight and reassess in the morning. And as we predicted to the doctors, Devlin made it through the night. He met their criteria and we were out of the hospital by 10 in the morning. Ordeal over? No!
I still have him home with me all week, administering his treatments every few hours which means I’m up a couple times a night with Dev. He’s been home from school all week, and he is the most miserable I’ve ever seen him. The only thing that cheers him up is the thought that Thanksgiving is this weekend.
The thought of all that food makes him giggle and wriggle with excitement.