I was headed to bed last night, fairly late around 1:00 a.m., and as I finished up my nighttime routine, I hear loud sobs and hacking. I threw open the bathroom door to find Izzy, gasping gigantic wrenching sobs. We realized he has croup was having a massive attack.
I turned the shower on full-force and Chris held Izzy in the bathroom while I raced to get the nebulizer set up. Izzy had the croup once before and it was terrifying - but this time was ten times worse. He'd gasp and try to take a breath and his chest would cave in (stridor). In between gasps, he was terrified, crying or coughing that terrible deep barking cough. I was near panic myself at Izzy's state.
I finally worked through my nerves enough to get that stupid nebulizer put together, and we gave Izzy the albuterol treatment. It didn't work. Halfway through, Izzy kept gasping, "Make it stop!" Then, heartbreakingly, "Please help!" I felt so helpless. I told Chris we should just call an ambulance because they could come here and give him the steroid shot to make his chest loosen up. But Chris told me to call my parents and see if one of them or my sister could come over and sit with Sophie and we would taken him ourselves. Actually, first he said he was going to take Izzy by himself. I don't think so. Meanwhile, Izzy is begging us to take him to the hospital. I used to think that him having the words to tell us how bad he felt would be better than guessing, but it was really just heartbreaking.
By this time it's 1:30 a.m. and I call my parents. Then I hurriedly pulled on my clothes and put in my contacts. I grabbed sandals and a robe for Izzy and we headed towards the door. I tell Chris that we can drop Sophie off just as quickly, so as he heads out the door with Izzy, I call mom and dad and to tell them we'll be there in a minute. Mom tells me that Dad is walking out the door, so not to worry about it.
I go outside to tell Chris and I see him and Izzy standing quietly on the driveway. Yep, quietly. The night air was able to accomplish what the shower and the nebulizer couldn't. If we could have thought straight, we would have remembered to try that before we called and woke up mom and dad. We decide to just come back in the house, because there is no treatment for croup other than opening up the airways with that shot, and since his airways had just relaxed, that took care of that. Chris took Izzy on into the house and I waited at the end of the driveway for dad so that he could just turn around and go home without getting out of his truck. Actually, I stood there for a couple of minutes and then heard little scurrying noises (yes, I do think it was my overactive imagination) so I stood at the door until I saw him turn down the driveway.
I run out and tell him what's going on, but rather than get angry and yell at me for overreacting and getting him up in the middle of the night for nothing, I see his face visibly relax when I tell him that the attack is over. Dad has asthma, see, so even though croup is a different sort of attack, he understood both Izzy's fear and my complete terror. He followed me back in the house so he could see Izzy for himself, which I was so grateful for, because I was still undecided whether or not we should go on and take him up to get checked out.
Dad sat down and after a few minutes Izzy crawled up on his lap, put his arms around Dad's neck and laid his head down on his shoulder. Dad kept leaning his head down against Izzy's chest, listening to his breathing, and stroking his back. It was a position that I know I sat in hundreds of times, although I've never had croup.
A while later, Izzy's calm, but still telling us that he's sick and his chest hurts. Chris got up in the attic to get our cool-mist humidifier down, and it's broken. Neither he or dad can get it working again. So Chris ran to Wal-Mart at 2:00 in the morning to buy one. He's a good Daddy too. I kept reading up on the internet about croup and one site said that acetominophen helps the fever to go away as well as somehow helping breathing. I went in and gave Izzy a dose and came back to tell Dad to go on home.
"Nah," he said, "I'll go ahead and stay until Chris gets back." I tried a few more times to convince him, but I was so glad he stayed. I was a nervous wreck and just having him here helped me calm right down. About ten minutes later, Izzy walked back in the living room and laid down with his head on Dad's lap again, and about ten minutes after that, his breathing sounded nearly normal and he was jumping all over the living room and talking 90 miles a minute. He gave dad a full anatomy lessen, telling him that first his heart was hurting, then that dad scratching his back was going to break all of his bones, then finally showing him that dad also has bones in his fingers.
Chris got back here about a quarter to three, got the humidifier all set up and laid down with Izzy, who was in our bed, of course. No way he was sleeping alone after that experience. Dad went home then, after having taken care of us for an hour and half in the middle of the night. I don't know what we'll do when we move and we're without him and mom always around and willing to help out at a moment's notice. Even at 1:30 in the morning. His patience was amazing last night. I just knew he'd be furious with us, but he wasn't at all. He was just a very concerned and loving PaPa. And Daddy.
The rest of the night was uneventful. I got up with Sophie at 3:45 but I hadn't gone back to sleep yet anyhow. She got up for the day a little after 8 and Izzy did too. I got up with them and let Chris sleep. He woke up about a quarter to ten and I made a couple of phone calls and went back to bed and sleep until 1:30. Then he went back to sleep and woke up about 3:30. It's been a wild day.
I asked Izzy a few minutes ago, after he'd taken his nap and was curled with Chris on our bed, "Last night was kind of scary, wasn't it? How did you feel?" He said, and I don't know when he's heard this word, much less how he understands it's proper use, "I felt like I dying." Chris and I just looked at each other and I think both of our hearts stopped for a couple of seconds.
Please send us your vibes that tonight, no one in this house feels like they're dying.