So, it's been just about the worst few weeks ever.
I should start off by saying that I'm pretty spoiled, health-wise. I can count on one hand the number of times Chris has been sick during our entire marriage. Cole somehow managed to escape with just a single cold and one flu bug until he was three years old. Thanks to my years of teaching tiny germ-filled snot nosed cutie pies, I have an immune system comparable to The Hulk and rarely get sick.
But a couple weeks ago, I got sick. Cold, sneezy, stuffy, etc. Then Chase got sick. Then Chris, who has been battling an awful bronchitis on and off all winter, started hacking up his poor lungs again. Then finally Cole.
No big deal, right? Just colds all around. But I just couldn't get well. Every time I thought I was starting to turn a corner, I'd have to get up a million times in the night for sick babies and wake up the next morning feeling sicker than ever.
Not only could I not kick it, Cole and Chase couldn't either. Fevers off and on for a couple weeks. Last week, it finally hit the wall: Chase was so super sick, with high fevers and coughs all weekend. And Cole was spending so much time coughing, he was throwing up from the cough. I took the boys to the doctor on Tuesday, and Cole was diagnosed with a double ear infection. Not a single complaint from him about his ears - the doctor couldn't believe his ears weren't hurting him. (Cole has a super high pain tolerance.) Wednesday, Cole was doing a bit better and so was Chase... but then Thursday Cole was worse. Laying-on-the-couch-refusing-to-move worse. That night, Chase was up every twenty minutes whimpering and refused to let me put him down AT ALL - so Friday I took him into the doctor and he was ALSO diagnosed with a double ear infection.
Then Saturday arrived. I was looking forward to having a real weekend, full of fun activities to enjoy our sunny beautiful weather - but after Chase's nap, Chris and I noticed he wasn't breathing very well. Lots of strange heaving and grunting while he was trying to breathe. Chris and I took turns holding him in a hot steamy bathroom for about twenty minutes, but that wasn't doing the trick. After a phone call to our pediatrician, we rushed out to the car to go to the ER.
Let me tell you, that was the scariest car ride of my life.
I sat in the back with the boys, stroking Chase's hot little head and trying to stay as calm as possible for his and Cole's sakes. Cole was frightened, and told me several times that he was scared for Chase. I kept watching Chase carefully, trying to make sure he was breathing well enough, but suddenly he started to become disoriented and confused. His eyes started rolling back into his head and he went longer periods of time without taking a breath. We had been on our way to the farther hospital (it has a highly rated pediatric unit), but I yelled up front to Chris (who was breaking more than one speeding law) that we needed to get to the hospital NOW. Just at that moment, Chase projectile-vomited all over himself and me in the backseat, most likely because of his high fever.
The worst - the very worst - part of parenting is the uncertainty. The second-guessing. The should-we-have-done-this? The whole way to the hospital, I was thinking, should we have called an ambulance? He went from being pretty bad to REALLY bad so fast. As a child, you like to think that the adults around you always are in control and always know what the right decision is... but so much of the time I have no idea what to do and I'm just hoping everything turns out right when I make a tough call.
The adrenaline boost from vomiting must have kept Chase from passing out, because he was still listless and super sick when we pulled up to the ER doors, but conscious. I scrambled out as fast as I could with Chase while Chris and Cole parked and checked us in. As soon as the triage nurse took Chase's extraordinarily high temperature, she reassured me that we wouldn't have to wait, we'd be going straight back.
One chest x-ray later, we discovered that Chase had bronchialitist and pneumonia. He was on oxygen for a while, then they recommended he be transferred to the other hospital and observed overnight.
I rode with Chase in the ambulance (although I couldn't ride in back with him) to the other hospital while Chris and Cole followed along behind. The short ride was awful - my poor sick baby, strapped down in the back, crying and wailing pathetically the whole time. My heart breaks when I think of how frightened he must have felt during that trip. I did feel better, however, when we arrived at the hospital and the nurses descended on us like a swarm of well-meaning mother hens. "You just go right in there and pick up your sweet baby, honey! I'll take your bag!" "You're just in there, Room 5, hold your little guy and make yourself comfortable!" "Do you need anything to eat? Here's some water, would you like some coffee too?" They all immediately made us feel so welcomed and comforted in a scary situation - crayons, a coloring book, graham crackers and milk for Cole (who hadn't eaten or napped all day and was trooping along like the rock star he is), food for us, and helpful, positive words about Chase's condition.
One torturous blood draw and antibiotic shot later, Chase was tucked into bed for the night. It was one of the longest nights of my life. Every hour or so, he would wake up crying and frightened, so I would rub his back until he slept again. I obsessively checked his pulse-ox monitor to make sure his stats were fine - it was actually really comforting to see those numbers and not have to do any guessing! I told Chris later that it was worth the night's stay in the hospital for just that reason, our peace of mind.
In the morning, Chris arrived bright and early and bearing Dutch Bros to make sure we were doing ok (Grammy drove over to stay with Cole, which was a HUGE comfort to all of us!). After Chase had a lovely long nap in my arms, the doctor arrived to send us home with a strong antibiotic prescription.
Finally, we are all starting to be well again. It's been a long haul, but I'm so glad to have the stress and worry of the health of my babies off our shoulders. Chase still had a rough couple of days earlier this week - probably mostly because the incredible stress and scariness of the whole experience - but today he seems just about back to his normal, happy little self.
Good health, especially with my children, is something that I've been grateful for every day since they were born. Especially more so now, having gone through this scare, I realize just how much we can take good health for granted, and I never will again.