Monday, August 2, 2010

The Croup

I failed to mention that our primary phlebotomist last Monday was sniffing and hacking and coughing and I heard her tell someone on the phone that she was sick but had come into work anyway since everyone else had called in. When we went back to the room, I told her that I had heard her say she was sick and asked that she put a mask on since Collin has low tone and seizures. She assured me that it was just allergies. (Side note: People make me crazy with swearing that every symptom they have is from allergies, no matter what time of year it is. It's some kind of virus denial. Fess up! You're sick!) I said that I was glad to hear that but that if there was ANY chance that it was more than allergies, I wanted a mask on her or Collin or both. She waved off my concern (literally) and started prepping Collin's arm, breathing all over both of us. Maybe I should have pushed it further. In the moment though, I guess I wanted to believe her since she had already coughed on us anyway.

Fast forward to Wednesday, when Collin started getting grouchy and needing to be suctioned in the mornings. Thursday, he started drooling like one of those fountains that punk kids put dish soap in, so I assumed we were dealing with teething. I wasn't feeling great either, but sometimes that just happens when you get exhausted enough. Then 3:00 Friday morning, Kyle and I found ourselves leaping out of bed and running to Collin's room while he coughed and choked on all of the snot and phlegm that had somehow appeared overnight. His fever was very low, but we could tell he didn't feel well, so I took him to the pediatrician the next morning.

The pediatrician concluded that it was a virus of some kind, prescribed Tylenol for irritability, increased fluids to help him heal faster and said to call if anything got worse. By early afternoon, Collin's breathing was sounding hoarse and his cough sounded like a bark and made him retch. I called back and got our diagnosis: croup.

Now, in my mind croup was a throwback to the old days when illnesses were serious enough to have a THE in front of them. It wasn't 'plague', it was 'THE plague'. You didn't get 'croup', you got 'THE croup'. And, according to Anne of Green Gables, the croup requires sending to the next town for the doctor, drinking a bottle of ipecac, and yacking your guts out. Apparently, though, you don't even 'catch' THE croup. It's just a condition that develops in some cases when you have come down with a virus. Your airway gets inflamed, which causes the forced, hoarse breathing and barking cough. The pediatrician put Collin on a short regimen of steroids to help with the inflammation and he was sounding better by that evening. After a weekend of good rest, lots of water, and medicine, our boy is almost as good as new.

Two good things came out of this episode:
1. Collin did not have any seizures throughout the whole ordeal. He was still cutting his premolars, had a fever and a cough and still didn't seize. That's got to be a good sign for the long term.

2. He cried and cried when he felt his worst on Friday. Every time, he woke up from one of his many naps, he cried. When the pediatrician cleaned out his ears to see if he had an ear infection, he screamed his head off until there were snot and tears running down his face. It took a long time to calm him down. It was great.

To follow up on the phlegmy phlebotomist: I called Friday after I realized Collin really was sick and spoke to the lab supervisor, who was extremely helpful and friendly and gave me her direct line, asking me to call and give her an account of my next visit to their lab. You KNOW I'll be using that phone number.


  1. i have noticed the "allergy excuse," but it kills me that someone who works in a HOSPITAL would use it. There were signs up one side and down another in our room at Suburban about the fact that no one with even a sniffle should come anywhere near us. You'd think an employee would pay a bit more attention.

  2. My hospital encourages us to stay home when we are ill, but proceeds to give "occasions" which take a year to remove from your record and if you do call in, the first three days are deducted from sick time. So, while they give lip service to doing the right thing, employees are penalized.

    She should have put on a mask at your request, even for allergies! I would like to be on the inside of how the lab supervisor handles this one!

    I am glad you boy is almost good as new and that no seizures occurred though he felt so lousy.

  3. um, i love that you reference anne of green gables for some of your medical needs...speaking of which, i vote we add that to our movie watching day(s) list! glad collin is on the mend!