An Unexpected Hospital Visit

It started Thursday morning when I had an appointment to check on little Julia. Which turned out to only be a transfer appointment and I am now going on Week 8 in my third trimester without seeing a doctor. Apparently switching health care regions and transferring military bases isn’t the most efficient process. But I finally got an appointment this coming week! The PCS madness is almost over. And we are almost ready for this baby to make her appearance. The night before my appointment, Mitchell started coughing a bit, and by morning he was wheezing. Since we were at the hospital anyway I figured I’d swing by Pediatrics and try to set up Mitchell an appointment. Because talking to the secretary in person is infinitely easier than trying to navigate the automated menu and pressing 3, then 2, then 4, only to get put on hold and disconnected. Can you tell we’re over this whole PCS thing? 

When I opened the door to Pediatrics, much to my delight every chair was filled with an exhausted-looking mom, each with an average of 1-3 kids [mostly crying or coughing] running circles around the room. Can I get a preemptive Tylenol for my impending headache? My heart sunk giving up all hope of getting a same-day appointment. Especially when the secretary started looking at her schedule for Saturday. I held Mitchell over in the corner mentally trying to create a germ-blocking bubble around us, while coating our hands in hand sanitizer. But then an angel dressed as a Corpsman dropped by the front desk and asked what was wrong. I couldn’t thank her enough times for giving us such amazing care in the last few days, but I tried in the last 72 hours. After I mentioned the magical password, “wheezing,” she whisked us to the back. Ahead of the waiting room full of moms and the herd of coughing children. His cough and wheeze and 101.4 temperature were quite the surprise to everyone, given he was running around the hallways high-fiving every willing high-fiver he could find. Long story short, after two nurses, four Corpsman, and two doctors checked him out, they decided he needed a breathing treatment to bring up his low O2 levels. And then another when the first wasn’t as successful as they had hoped. Which was the worst part of the whole process, for me and  Mitchell. He had to be held down for a total of 30 minutes while we put the mask on his face – which he hated – and subsequently broke all the blood vessels around his eyes screaming his little lungs out. Break. My. Heart. 

With his O2 levels still low, the doctor decided to admit him for the night, just for precaution. They wanted to monitor his levels overnight and do some chest X-Rays. They told us he had an ear infection and croup, a pretty awful cough that just needs to run its course. I speculated he may have picked it up from the nursery at church, but I honestly have no idea. So we were escorted across the parking lot to the main hospital, and I made a pitstop at the car to grab our overnight bags. Conveniently packed and ready to go in the car for Baby Day as of a few days ago. By the time we checked into our room for the night, it’d been 10 hours at the hospital. After he chowed down on all of the chicken strips they gave him and two whole bottles of milk, Mitchell was ready to sleep, and he went straight to bed. Only problem was they hooked him up to the O2 monitor and it dropped into the low-to-mid 80’s every time he slept. Every time I woke would jump up about 5 points, but it was still well below normal. After trying to avoid  oxygen for half the night, they decided to give it to him since his levels were still so low. Of course, he hated the oxygen. Though his fever, coughing, and wheezing seemed to disappear on their own overnight, the morning doctor decided to keep him through his afternoon nap so they could monitor his O2 again. Once I hit the 24 hour mark at the hospital with a 17 month old at 37 weeks pregnant, I was 100% exhausted. Steve [who had been in and out of the hospital waiting on us hand and foot, and back to the house taking care of the dogs, while sick with the same symptoms as Mitchell] took over Daddy-duty and I went home for a much-needed shower. And then returned to the hospital where both Steve and I passed out in the hospital bed for a shockingly refreshing nap. Can I just take one of those adjustable beds home for the rest of my pregnancy? Whoever said those things were uncomfortable clearly was still capable of sleeping flat on their back and didn’t have a baby smushing their internal organs. 

After Mitchell woke up from his three hour nap with normal levels, they discharged us! But only after he got a personal visit and get-well wish from a one-star general himself! Who then asked what could possibly be wrong with our perky, laughing, friendly, happy boy. After the general bid him farewell with a high-five [Mitchell’s fave], they sent us away with a follow-up appointment the next day. 

Everything went great at the follow-up appointment, and I was able to thank that first Corpsman yet again for starting our chain of awesome care for Mitchell. He had the royal treatment the entire time he was there. I know there are parents with children in the hospital with far more serious illnesses than Mitchell’s bout with the croup and I pray they find comfort and health this holiday season. For now, we are home with our boy, and so thankful you would never guess he was sick this week. Boy can sure bounce back. Thank you to everyone who texted and messaged and called while he was in the hospital. We’re so lucky we have so many people that love and care about our little boy as much as we do! And I will conclude this post by saying the next time he is in that hospital better be when he is meeting his little sister! We’re officially full term! 

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