There's so much to say about this little medical adventure we've been having that I think I'm going to start posting about it in themed installments. I'll start out by describing how we got here and what they've been doing to our boy. Then, over the next several posts, I'll fill in the details as I see fit.
April 6 - April 14 . Soren gets sick. He's got a nasty cough and a runny nose. He sleep a lot. He wants to be held all the time. I spend a lot of time with Soren balled up in one arm while I hold Liam in the other. Soren coughs all over everyone. Abe also gets sick and takes a few days off work.
April 12 - April 13 . Liam starts coughing. It's just a little cough, though, and everything else seems fine, so I don't worry about it.
Night time. Liam's starting breathing a little faster and seems uncomfortable. During the night, after his feedings, Abe cuddles the baby and keeps an eye on his breathing. We decide something might be wrong. I have to get a physical done in the morning for my job, so I decide to bring Liam along with me and have the doctor take a look at him. My appointment is scheduled with Dr. James Brook, a rogue doctor who has decided that healthcare these days is going in the wrong direction. He has taken a step back, working to offer "modern medical care with old-time service." He's not our family's usual doc, but Harbor House (my place of employment) likes to work with him.
8:00 AM. Liam seems considerably better in the morning, and I almost feel silly bringing him to the appointment with me. I decide to do it anyway. Dr. Brook completes my physical, declares me whole, and then looks at the baby. After some assessing, he says, "It looks like he's got bronchialitis. Let me prescribe him a steroid (prednisolone) to help open his airways. Keep an eye on his breathing and give me a call--even in the middle of the night-- if it seems bad." I am proud to note that he weighs 12 pounds, 15 ounces—a weight gain of almost 6 pounds since birth.
9:00 AM. I take Liam to work with me, but he's so fussy I can't get anything done. We leave after an hour. My mom watches the boys for me while I take a nap.
6:00 PM. Documentary night! I make Chicken Tortilla soup. It's delicious.
7:00 PM. Liam seems worse. He’s very pale. I wonder if his lips are looking a little purple. Abe and I are unsure whether we should call the doctor or if we're just being Nervous Nelly parents. Nick mentions— not to freak us out or anything—that a baby in Idaho Falls recently died of Whooping Cough. I google Bertessis to see if Liam's symptoms match. They don't. We call our home teacher, Brady Cook, who comes over and assists Abe in giving Liam a priesthood blessing. Abe cries. We both feel better and go to bed shortly thereafter.
9:00 PM. Liam sleeps in the crook of Abe’s arm so that he can keep an eye on him. It’s a rough night. Liam’s breathing hard and blowing bubbles. Abe tells me that at one point in the night, Liam looked up at him with big sad eyes as if to say, “What’s happening, Daddy?” He’s still nursing, though, which we take to be a good sign.
7:00 AM. My baby looks like a corpse. He is very pale, his lips and fingernails are purple, and his eyes are dark and unresponsive. I feed Soren breakfast and call the doctor. He rearranges his schedule to see us immediately. I load up both the children and drive to Idaho Falls. My mind is hazy and I get lost on the way to the doctor’s office. I have to call to get directions even though I was there just yesterday.
8:30 AM. Dr. Brook listens to Liam’s breathing, takes his blood oxygen saturation levels (they’re at 80%-- they should be well over 90%), gives him a dose of Albuterol, and tells me my baby needs to be in the hospital on oxygen. “Take him to the emergency room,” he instructs. Soren has taken out every single toy in the office and scattered pieces everywhere. I frantically try to pick everything up, encouraging him to help (he doesn’t). A lady in the waiting room watches without expression. The doctor asks if I’m new in the area: do I need directions to the hospital? I tell him I’m not and that I should be able to find it. “Just turn right on Holmes,” he says, “Then left on 17th. That will take you to Channing Way. It’s a big brown building. You can't miss it.”
9:00 AM. I call Abe and tell him we’re going to the Emergency Room. He knows immediately (but does not say) that we will end up at Primary Children’s Medical Center. I think we’ll just be in the ER for a few hours, fueling up on oxygen, and then will be on our merry way.
9:15 AM. Liam is surrounded by people in the Emergency Room. He is lying on an adult-sized hospital bed. They hook him up to monitors, hold an oxygen mask over his face for oxygen, take a blood sample from his heel. Someone comes in and takes x-rays. A respiratory therapist shoves a suctioning tube up each nostril and deep into his nasal cavity. A crowd of women poke him in multiple places and finally get an IV inserted in his head, which they wrap with gauze, making him look like he’s got a serious head injury. I quickly learn how to read the monitor that measures his oxygen levels and heart rate. Soren keeps screaming that he wants to play with toys. I dig through my purse and find a little bag of conversation hearts, which I give to him on the condition that he sit on a chair in the corner while he’s eating them. He sits on the chair and eats his candy. He looks very small. Daddy shows up, squeezes Liam’s little hand, and takes Soren into the waiting room.
9:30 AM. Soren pulls his penis out of his diaper and pees all over Abraham.
9:45 AM. Dr. Wells—the young ER doc taking care of my baby—shows me the x-ray of Liam’s lungs. He’s got bilateral pneumonia that has collapsed half of one lung. “This is the worst case of pneumonia I’ve seen all winter,” he tells me. “And it’s April. We’re going to admit him.” I nod, still thinking we’ll somehow be done with all this by evening.