It was the Sunday before last, 2:00am. One of our 10 month old twins had a bad cold. She went to bed around 10pm like usual, but woke up screaming four hours later. She refused a bottle (VERY unusual) and then started breathing funny: Inhale, exhale, then a long pause! I had no idea what that meant, but I did know that I was ready to quit screwing around and take this kid to the Emergency Room.
First Lesson: Nothing Cures A Kid Faster Than The Waiting Room
The entire way to the ER was excruciating. She was in the back seat and all I could see was that she was tired. I couldn't tell if she was still breathing funny or breathing at all for that matter. When we finally arrived at the hospital I took her out of the seat and went into the ER.
She cracked her eyes open when we went inside and saw a bunch of new people. "Yay" she thought and started smiling at the receptionist. The triage nurse (the one who decides where you are in line) saw us moments later. My little girl who was miserable, refusing food, and breathing funny at home started laughing and clapping!
Second Lesson: Laughing Kids Are Last In Line
I still wanted to make sure that everything was ok… I wasn't too tired to remember what had gone on at home. So we waited… and waited… and waited. Nearly three hours later we were finally called in. She had been happily sleeping away on my lap. I had to pee like a racehorse!
Third Lesson: Piece Of Mind Is Worth The Wait
Inside the actual Emergency Room things started moving a little faster. The first thing they determined after about three different people listened to her chest is that she was wheezing (Score one for Dad). They tested for a couple of different possibilities and finally decided that she has Bronchiolitis. Bronchiolitis is an infection of the Bronchioles (the smallest part of the lungs) and can get severe enough to interfere with a Baby's breathing.
The Doctors told me I should have brought her in to get checked out and several warning signs to look for over the next week that would prompt me to bring her in again.
Fourth Lesson: Just Go!
You're not going to get laughed at for bringing your kid in for the sniffles. Emergency Rooms know how to handle the deluge of patients so that the most pressing cases are first in line. There is no need to feel guilty. If nothing is wrong, then great! If something is wrong then you'll be glad you went. Just remember to pee before you go.