Sunday, 20 December 2009

Same Old Scene

Originally uploaded by reuvenim
Our special Dylan week started last Monday when we took our favorite two year old to the ear specialist in order to determine his fate over the upcoming holiday season.
It seemed like Dylan's previous set of grommets, installed just a few months ago, have fallen off a while ago. The result was that over the last two months Dylan has had three ear infections and has consumed lots of antibiotics. During his inspection, the specialist identified water Dylan's ear drums, so the sentence was made: Dylan would have his fourth grommet operation on Friday.
The operation went along smoothly, as smooth as an operation on a two year old can go given that you can't really reason with him or have him expect what's coming. So far so good...

Trouble started late that evening after we put Dylan to his night time sleep. He kept on coughing more and more, until - at about midnight - it seemed like the only way to get him to sleep would be to have him in our bed with us after a couple of rounds of Ventolin.
At about 4AM Dylan woke up startled. He was trying to breathe but was obviously unable to take in as much air as he wanted, which caused him to panic, which caused him to try and breathe even more rapidly, which escalated the panic in a positive feedback kind of a way. We tried Ventolin again but it didn't help and Dylan was in too much of a panic to really gain much of it, so after a few minutes we called 000 (the Aussie equivalent of 911) and within minutes the ambulance was at our door.

Originally uploaded by reuvenim
Dylan was still at a panic but was obviously not passing out. The ambulance people decided there's no need to take any chances, especially given Dylan's frenzy prevented them from being able to do a proper exam, so they took him in to the emergency room escorted by Jo. Apparently, Dylan had enjoyed the ambulance ride and had got better during it, so the relaxed crew was telling Jo that it was nice for them to treat a normal family for a change. It seems as if weekend nights, especially this close to Christmas, are commonly reserved for treating violent alcohol related emergencies. Our crew has had itself a rough night before we got along.
The hospital identified Dylan with croup, which is a virus infection affecting the voice box' area. The inflammation causes breathing problems not unlike asthma, hence the similar symptoms, but the regular asthma treatment of Ventolin won't help it. We were discharged within a few hours. Overall, a positive hospital experience, but why do hospitals have to be so depressing, especially the public ones? We all need their services at the most crucial of times, and some further investment to improve their general atmosphere would go a long way in helping rehabilitation. Or are the powers that be afraid that people would like them too much?
There was one funny scene at the hospital. The doctor was trying to stir Dylan into a conversation in order to assess him by asking him about the nationality of his mother, but that didn't get him too far conversation wise. Me, I was very proud to father a two year old that knows the planets of our solar system but doesn't have the faintest idea about the concept of nationality. Our Dylan is truly a child of the world!
Coming home, all of us were tired and Dylan was obviously still very much sick, but it was all manageable. The main thing that annoyed me was the collection of relatives saying "oh, thank god". Thank god for what? For giving an innocent baby the privilege of badly designed ear canals that make him miserable, force him to take operations under full anesthetic twice a year, and then weaken him enough to catch every wandering virus? What a fucked up god this must be.

The next day, today, was much better, although one can never tell what's coming up next and when the next emergency call would be. At the supermarket we got Dylan a toy croquet set with which he had a bit of fun:

Don't be fooled by the easy going appearance. We are living on the edge: seconds after I stopped shooting the video Dylan fell down and bruised his leg, aided by his overall weakness. And tonight already looks like it's party time.


Wicked Little Critta said...

Wow. That's lousy.
Sorry Dylan's been unwell...I hope you guys are able to get to sleep sometime!
Not sure what the hospital told you, but when I was a kiddo (and had numerous experiences with croup) my mother would put me in the bathroom with the door closed and put the shower on to fill the room up with steam. It seemed to work well enough, I don't remember needing a hospital visit...but I don't know what high-tech treatments they have now! Sidenote: it was also kinda fun when I was really little. Then being dragged out of bed in the middle of the night became just annoying.
Good luck.

Moshe Reuveni said...

The latest update is that Dylan is getting better while we obviously caught his bug and are forced to pull along with headaches and blocked noses.

As for the steam treatment:
The info they got us at the hospital, taken from the website of Melbourne's Royal Children's Hospital, says the following-

A note about "steam"
In the past some doctors recommended exposure to mist or "steam" therapy, including the use of vaporisers.
Research evidence now shows this to be of no benefit and it is no longer recommended.

You can have a look at the full info they have on croup at:
In general, I highly recommend their website for the resources it provides on all children diseases. Doctors throughout Melbourne regularly refer to it, too.

Personally, I suspect the steam thing works through the attention you get as you go through the charade. It's the classic placebo effect. It also works because you're at a hotter environment and croup hits you the most when it's cold (thus acting similarly to having a warm drink).
For the record, we didn't use steam this time around. It's pretty warm here anyway.

The treatment we've been giving Dylan is steroids that reduce inflammation. We have them at home because they happen to be the doomsday weapon against asthma, too: they're the red button you press when nothing else works. And work they do!
The main problem with them, other than the obvious side effects of having nasty chemicals in your body, are that these steroids pump Dylan up and make it hard to put him to bed.