Namine woke up at about 1:30 this morning, wheezing and gasping for breath. She started hacking and coughing more because she was panicking, unable to catch her breath. She threw up twice, mostly just mucous from drainage. We did a couple breathing treatments, one to clear the crap out of her airway, and the other was a steroid to reduce any swelling and enable her to breathe easier. We called CHW’s special needs line, and let them know we were bringing Namine in to the ER. We checked her pulseox – 86 and 170. The heart rate was way too high, but we were surprised that her O2 was as good as it was, considering her distress. We left the apartment around 2:00.

The wind was blowing and the snow was coming down hard, making the trip more than a little nerve-wracking. For the first half, Namine was gasping and coughing inbetween cries. I held the portable oxygen tank’s mask over her face, telling her over and over that it would be all right, everything would be all right, Mama and Papa were there, everything would be all right. I told myself I wasn’t lying to her. She can cry, I told myself. If she can cry, she can breathe.

About halfway there, Namine started to calm down. She stopped fighting me, holding the oxygen mask over her face. She looked down at the mask (it was the penguin O2 mask they gave her when they decannulated her) and said “peng!” Well, how about that. A little solace, a friend in the midst of the storm. She turned the mask around to give the penguin a hug and a kiss, and from there on she held the mask in place all on her own.

The admitting process went smoothly, if slowly. Namine was well-behaved and only started to cry once when she saw the nurse. She calmed down pretty quickly when she saw that there were no blood draws involved, though. She sat still for her blood pressure, temperature (which was 97, but we were just outside), and weight (still over 19 pounds!). Then they put us in a room, and we waited. A couple doctors and nurses came in and looked at Namine, but the verdict was straighforward: she may have been coughing before, but she seems okay now. It was determined that Namine has the croup, also known as whooping cough or laryngitis. They gave her another steroid closer to discharge (which, regrettably, wasn’t until nigh on 6:00), which helped some more, but it was just a one-time deal, not a prescription. So if things get pretty bad again tonight, we’ll have to go back.


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