So last night was fun. Owen got to take his first ride in an ambulance, I rediscovered my inability to stay calm in a crisis, and we all got to spend several hours at the ER watching drunks refuse to get their temperature taken. In a word: Awesome.
Owen has the croup. Unfortunately we didn't realize that when he was doubled over, unable to breathe. Logically I knew he wasn't dying. He was coughing. He wasn't blue. But logic goes out the frakking window when your baby keeps grabbing at his neck and gagging for air. So we did what any parent does with a panic button and no car - we called 9-1-1.
Unfortunately I forgot that when you call 9-1-1, they issue an immediate all-points bulletin. Nothing like having 2 cops, 2 paramedics, and 1 disappointed medical student tromping into your apartment in the middle of the night to give your already panicked child an extra dose of freak. On the plus side, we got to meet the some of the nicest public servants this city has to offer. They immediately diagnosed Owen's distress as the croup, but instead of making us feel like total assholes for wasting their time they were gentle and sympathetic and helpful and kind. (A shout out to NYC's finest EMTs, Bill and Handsome Bald Guy.) Because Owen was still gasping and flailing, they insisted we go to the hospital which is why we spent our Tuesday night parked in front of a saline mist. 3 hours, 1 liquid steroid, and a $75 bottle of Infant Tylenol later, we were home and apparently feeling much better. (The first thing out of Owen's mouth: "Eat! Mmmm! Cake!") Yep. Fine.
If things get alarming again tonight, I now know to put him in a steamy room or go for a walk outside. (Steam and cold open your bronchial tubes, keeping your throat from swelling shut.) I wish I'd known this when I was 26 and without health insurance. I came down with a terrible case of croup but couldn't afford to the pay the doctor fees out of pocket, so I thought I'd just push through. Until I woke up with mold growing on my tongue. Believe me, nothing will get you asking for a loan faster than a moldy tongue. (Thanks, mom and dad!)
Anyway, no school or close contact with kids for a week. I predict large quantities of pudding and Elmo.