Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Allergy and Asthma Saga Part 2 - When an Emergency Room Really is Just a Room

OK, when we last visited our story, we had just returned from our allergist, and were awaiting the arrival of a nebulizer, and looking into a larger medicine cabinet to store all our new pharmaceuticals.

The nebulizer arrived at 5:30. Unfortunately Conor started going down hill at about 5:00. We gave it a test run before determining there was no way we were going to make it through the night without some sort of intervention, so we might as well use this as an opportunity to check out our local little neighborhood hospital.

Although we live close to San Francisco, we really do live in a small rural town. I had heard about the tiny local little hospital before, and decided to trek up the road and give it a whirl. Needless to say, that was an interesting experience. When we got to the "hospital", I entered in search of the emergency room. I had a barking, hacking heaving child who was screaming and crying, but could not find anyone at all in the hospital. It was deserted. The only place I could find that was open was the hospital chapel, and I figured this was not a good sign. Finally some janitor, security guard sort of person heard us, and walked us over to the emergency room. Here the emergency room really is just a room with three beds, and not much else. Off to one side was a machine, covered in a cloth, with a binder attached that said "Code Blue Manuel"on the cover. I guess if something were to happen to Conor I could read the manual and try and use the machine. Maybe there would be a test. The nice janitor man left us, alone in the "emergency room" and in a few minutes a women entered who was apparently the check in person, the triage room, and the emergency room nurse. She also appeared to be the receptionist and answered all the phone calls. Thankfully the receptionist desk was in the same room with the 3 beds and the code blue manual.

After asking if I had taken Conor outside into the cold air to treat his croup - (lady!! it is not croup, it is asthma, I have been to the allergist we know what it is, and don't you think we walked through the cold air to get into here in the first place). Unfortunately Conor's asthma is a bit unusual, in that he has cough variant asthma, but when it gets bad his small airways get inflamed and make it difficult to breath. Most of the time if you listen to his chest, it is pretty clear, and only the specialists can hear the problems in his lungs. I did not really feel like getting into all this with multi purpose emergency room nurse receptionist women, and assured her we had tried all the croup treatments at home first.

Finally she found the ER doctor. I think he had to go off and call him in from home or something, as it took a while for him to show up, and it was not like there were any other patients around. Anyways, I told him the whole story again, and he said he would recommend an oral steroid, but only if we were not planning on doing the skin test on Monday. Uh no... we decided that breathing was more important then testing whether Conor is allergic to eggs.

So Conor got a dose of oral steroids there, and a prescription for yet another medication to add to our collection. ER doctor then recommended we do an x-ray of Conor's lungs and chest, but informed us it would be over an hour since he would have to call in the x-ray technician, and that might take a while.

Since Conor was stabilized, and doing a bit better, I declined that exciting offer, and we headed home hoping to have a quieter night, and happy to have avoided testing out that code blue binder for ourselves.

There is probably one more part to this fascinating and exciting saga, that will even include what morals I have learned from this story.

(And just as a side note, for more interesting fodder later, this night was also the night our new Au Pair was arriving at our home. Mick was picking her up at the airport at the very moment I was wandering around our local little "hospital" - Good Times)

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