Yesterday I had to take Squeaker to the ER.
He woke up from his nap, and was coughing a bit. I picked him up and patted his back. A few minutes later he started coughing again. He gagged a bit, and then threw up some mucus. I made a mental note to call the pediatrician for an appointment. Then he started coughing again, and turned purple. I got the bulb syringe and sucked a ton of mucus out of his throat. He was ticked and screaming his head off. I picked up the phone to make an appointment. While I was on the phone, he started coughing/gagging, and turned purple again. I cleared his throat out again, and dialed 911.
The ambulance took 10minutes to get to us. My dad and husband were working on the baby while I was on the phone; using the bulb syringe to try and keep his throat clear. He turned purple a couple more times, but in between he was crying his fool head off. I was trying not to panic, and trying to remind myself that as long as he’s crying, he’s ok.
My dad mentioned that it looked a bit like an allergic reaction, and since he was wearing new clothes that I’d bought from the thrift store, we stripped him naked. His skin was grayish, and looked sort of marbled where all his veins and capillaries were visible. Though he was still crying, and therefore breathing, I started crying on the phone asking what was taking them so long.
The ambulance finally got there. They put an oxygen mask up to his face, and used a suction thing to suck the mucus out of his throat. He started doing much better after that, though he was still coughing a little bit. By the time we got to the highway, he was pink and normal looking again. By the time we got to the hospital, he had calmed down and fallen asleep. It was about an hour from the time I called 911 to the time we arrived at the ER.
At the ER they took x-rays, did an EKG, and kept him on monitors for his heart rate and O2 stats. Everything came back normal. The Dr. said that since there was no swelling or hives she did not think it was an allergic reaction. Since they were keeping him under observation anyway, I put the shirt he was wearing back on him. Better that he have the reaction in the ER than at home. No reaction though, so once again correlation does not equal causality. They don’t know for sure what happened. The Dr. said it sounded like he had something obstructing his airway. But he’s not crawling yet. I couldn’t think of or find anything near him that he could’ve gotten a hold of and choked on. Mr. Bug was napping at the time, so he couldn’t have given Squeaker anything.
I told her that it seemed like he was choking on mucus. She replied that then we have to figure out what caused the mucus since he hasn’t had a cold or anything recently, and that it was much more likely that a foreign body got stuck in his air way.
So we left the ER with a best guess as a diagnoses, and instructions to return if it happened again. It’s very frustrating to not know exactly what happened. We have a follow up with the pediatrician tomorrow, so hopefully he can shed some light on the issue.
I need to get my infant and child CPR certification renewed. I haven’t taken the class in years, and while he was struggling to breath, I was struggling to remember what to do if he stopped breathing. It’s hard to think when you’re also trying not to panic. If I had needed to do it, I do not think I would have done it well. It’s a gaping hole in my required mom knowledge that I intend to fix post haste.
Squeaker is fine now, in fact, he was fine the whole time we were at the hospital. It’s like nothing ever happened. I however, hardly slept from worrying that he would start choking in his sleep. I just hope the pediatrician has some answers for us. I hate not knowing.
Update 3/2/12: Pediatrician thinks it was an allergic reaction, likely from some thing air born such as pollen or animal dander though not necessarily those things. He says he’s big enough now that he likely would have cleared his airway on his own eventually. Squeaker is too young for the allergy tests. So we just need to keep a close eye on him. Hopefully it won’t happen again.