Friday, May 3, 2013

Almost too late

We were arrogant.  Lucy has always been strong respiratory-wise, often able to clear herself, or recover from chokes with little help from us.  And that arrogance almost got her killed tonight.  Since I feel like I'm never going to sleep again, I may as well type it all out.

Leaving the Sesame Street Live show in Chicago, which she was absolutely enthralled by, it was windy and dark.  Our van was a block away.  We suctioned Lucy and started walking quickly toward the van, coat over most of her head, trying to block the wind.  Noah's back was starting to hurt bending over to shield Lucy, so we switched places.  After a few steps, I noticed that Lucy was doing her "I'm choking" eyebrow wiggle.  The pulse ox stopped reading.  I started suctioning.  When the pulse ox came back on, her O2 was in the 60s, but the bar was red, so we figured it was just getting the reading back, but when it came back to full power, she dropped to 32.

We almost never take bipap on Lucy's stroller.  It doesn't fit well.  Tonight, we had crammed it in next to the suction, and it was hard to get at either.  We made the run back to the van, praying.  I ripped at the suction, trying to get it free from under her stroller, so we could access the bipap.  Suctioned Lucy, prayed.  Noah got the bipap turned on, but I couldn't get the stupid headgear on.  Held the mask to her face.  Eyes open, unresponsive.  Begged her to listen to me.  Noah suctioned.  Lucy started crying.  Yelled at two poor innocent guys sitting on a bench to call 911.  O2 was coming back up.  Noah ran inside to call 911 while I talked to Lucy, trying to get her to calm down and breathe.

The guys came over to ask if they could help, but Noah was already on his way out.  The hotel concierge came out and asked if we needed towels.  Nope.  Ambulance arrived.  By then, Lucy was back in the low 90s, but we elected to take her to the hospital anyway.  This was the first time something like this had happened to Lucy, and it scared the living shit out of me.

I couldn't get her to calm down long enough to try to finagle the bipap headgear, so I held the mask on her face as we loaded her into the ambulance, to warm her up.  She was pale and cold, but her lips were starting to pink up.  Answered a bunch of questions.  I was calm, and ordering people around - felt like I was completely on autopilot.  The EMTs were absolutely amazing, and listened and cooperated with everything, allowing both Noah and I ride in the back with Lucy, so he could suction and I could hold the mask.  Zero egos.  God bless those EMTs.

Made the ride, me singing the whole way, and even got a few smiles out of Lucy.  Checked into the ER, and everyone was wonderful again.  Nurse got her blood drawn and an IV in the first shot.  X-ray while on bipap, which we had by then gotten the headgear on for.  Blood gas came back perfect.  Doctor there called Dr. Schroth, who said that it sounded like everything was in control, and we could leave if we felt comfortable.  Lucy slept almost the whole time, exhausted and traumatized by the ordeal.  Noah had to get a cab back to our van, and come back to get us.  Alone in the room with a sleeping Lucy, I read all the praying for Lucy on Facebook and cried.  Adrenaline was gone.  I can't imagine how scary that was for our girl, to be choking and just have to hope that someone noticed or that her pulse ox would start alarming.

We learned a valuable lesson, and will never take it for granted that Lucy will be okay again.  Just grateful that we didn't pay the ultimate price this time, and that we get a second chance.  When she was being suctioned at dinner, and throughout the Sesame Street show, her suction felt like it may not have been getting the full power, but it was getting stuff out, so we assumed it was because the knob was pushed in, and we made sure the pressure was off the knob when we suctioned her.  That must have let some of her secretions pool in her throat.  When we get into the wind, Lucy starts breathing rapidly, almost hyperventilating.  Normally, she does well enough, and a couple of weeks into the "outside" season, she's over it and does fine.  Tonight, she must have sucked in spit, causing her to choke.  Her secretions were probably thicker from her tantrum before we went out, and more copious from the faulty suctioning (Noah later checked and found that the filter was somehow absorbing some of the pressure.)  Her bipap was still on an 8 second delay, and then stopped reading at a crucial time.  By the time it was alarming, I could clearly see on her face something was direly wrong.

We will definitely be hyper-vigilant from now on.  Lucy is scared to go outside for the time being, but we are hoping that we can ease her back into it, because she loves walks.  She is also seeming to want suctioning much more frequently.  She's obviously been impacted by this episode.

Thank you all for your prayers for Lucy - they were answered tonight.  This is the last picture we have of Lucy on our camera from this evening.  So unbelievably grateful that it's not our last, period.


Anonymous said...

Thinking of you all and sending continued and hugs as did a great job and glad she is stable abd home christina anthony gabbie and gavin

Stephanie Parsley said...

Beautiful girl surrounded by love. Glad to read that she is OK. Blessings.

Anonymous said...

You made it through the scariest of situations with strength and bravery. Lucy is so blessed to have such wonderful and devoted parents. So glad there were people that were willing to help even if they were not needed and professionals who did their jobs in a compassionate way.

tina617 said...

Sooooo glad Lucy is okay and you are all safe and home now. SMA gives us some terrible, terrible moments, but I'm so grateful God knew Lucy needs more time on earth with her mommy, daddy, family and friends. I'm sorry this happened on your Chicago visit, and hope we can see you all again soon. ((((HUGS)))