Monday, February 25, 2013


As I watched Gavin use a ride-on toy to roll/walk across the room yesterday afternoon, I reflected back on my weekend. And then as he slammed his fingers in the bib drawer for the thousandth time, I sighed and realized I will spend many more weekends in the ER with my little boy.

Friday evening, just before I got home from work, Nate and Laura were eating peanuts. Gavin started choking on something - always breathing the whole time, but definitely choking. The coughing fit passed, but he never quite got over it. When I arrived home a few minutes later, I looked at Gavin and told Nate, "Why does he look like he just got beat up?" He never quite started breathing normally, but we decided that with his ear infections and all the upside-down back whacking, maybe the kid just needed to sleep it off.

But when Gavin still wasn't breathing quite right Saturday morning, we decided it was time to visit the emergency room for the first time since we became parents (except that time I slipped in a hot tub and needed stitches on my chin). I took a shower, backed a day bag, and drove off to the nearest ER.

Note: when dealing with a potential choking, google your area hospitals - some are better equipped than, say, the nearest one.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="225"]20130225-105139.jpg Sleeping through the nebulizer treatment[/caption]

Gavin flashed his happiest, wheeziest smile at the receptionist, and we were quickly admitted to the ER. Apparently though, his wheezing didn't sound like choking. Apparently his wheezing sounded more like a virus. And so started a whirlwind round of the Guessing Game. Both lungs sounded the same - BAD. Initial x-rays should both lungs to be the same size (not choking), but the left a little inflamed (virus). A second round of x-rays showed the right lung didn't compress (sign of choking), but the left lung compressed too much (sign of virus). Which is it?! A nebulizer treatment helped initially, but not enough or for long enough.

The ER doctor was stymied. As were the pediatric residents from "upstairs." The ER doctor was wary of anything more invasive than an x-ray, and didn't even have the equipment to perform a bronchoscopy on an infant anyway. He called Johns Hopkins Pediatric Hospital for a consult. We could keep Gavin where we were overnight to see if he got better (virus), and transfer him to Hopkins if he didn't (choking). OR we could just transfer him to Hopkins so their doctors could get a better opinion of the wheezing.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="225"]20130225-105232.jpg Ambulance ride![/caption]

We transferred hospitals. A quick ambulance ride across town, and the Hopkins doctors were just as stymied. The doctors initially said they wouldn't do the bronchoscopy, preferring to just observe Gavin to see if he improved. But after a consult with the ENT specialists, paired with the sudden onset of the wheezing with the choking incident, they went ahead and performed the bronchoscopy - a camera to see (and grab!) any obstructions in his lungs.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="225"]20130225-105206.jpg Pre-op, chewing on the IV[/caption]

Gavin was put under with general anesthesia at 5:30 pm. They quickly found a peanut blocking one lung, and fluid from a mean virus (bronchiolitis) filling the other. So his poor lungs really were taking a beating. They removed the peanut, and sucked out the fluid. Gavin was released home at 8:30 Sunday morning, with the keepsake peanut in a little tube.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="300"]20130225-105213.jpg Before: see the peanut?[/caption]

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="300"]20130225-105218.jpg After: free and clear![/caption]

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="225"]20130225-105225.jpg The Peanut[/caption]

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="225"]20130225-105201.jpg Post-op recovery[/caption]

So the other day when I asked if Gavin would throw me for any loops in this whole motherhood jungle thing? I was basically tempting fate.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="225"]20130225-105238.jpg Happy to be home![/caption]