ER {and The Disappearing Symptoms}

“There is nothing so strong or safe in an emergency of life as the simple truth.” Charles Dickens

Adelaide ended up in the emergency room this weekend. She contracted a virus two weeks back, but it seemed pretty mild. Since she is breastfeeding, she has an easier time with sickness. Graham, on the other hand, gets a sniffle and becomes an extra in a 1970s disaster film (including the unnecessary nudity). We thought Adelaide had recovered. She was nursing more frequently, but I suspected teething. Saturday night, she started choking more than usual. Then, she started wheezing. We weren’t going to take any chances, so we packed up and headed to the emergency room. She wheezed, coughed, and choked all the way to the hospital. As soon as we walked through those ER doors, she stopped. She giggled. She cooed. She babbled to everyone we saw.

Do I take her home?

I stopped and prayed. “God, I don’t know what to do. We are here, but I don’t want to look stupid. They will think I am overreacting. Do I take her home?” As soon as my heart uttered it, I knew it was silly to even think it. Even if the nurses and doctors didn’t witness the wheezing, it had happened. Even if they thought I was overreacting, I knew I was doing the right thing. I just needed to tell the truth. I checked in and prepared myself for answering several questions about her disabilities & symptoms…and how I would handle the fact that she looked like she had just won a trip to Disneyland.


Everything checked out fine. Her oxygen stats were perfect. Her temperature was perfect. Her smile was perfect. The RN asked me to repeat  my answers to every.single.question. Adelaide just played, and looked around with her adorably crossed-eyes. Then, we waited for the doctor.

Mama knows best.

As soon as the doctor listened to her lungs, he heard what I had seen. Upper Respiratory Infection. He checked her ears. Double Ear Infection. The ear infections had just started. We caught them early. Adelaide was then placed on “choke alert” and I was reminded that her hypotonia keeps her from being able to expel phlegm and spit-up on her own. (It is similar to having a 3-4 month old with a respiratory infection.) Although we deal with choking on a daily {and nightly} basis, it was nice to have a doctor address it. It reinforced that I was doing the right thing. I wasn’t overreacting. I am the mother of a baby with special needs. Some babies can wait to see the doctor on a weekday, but some babies must visit the ER in the middle of the night…even when the scary symptoms vanish at the door. Adelaide’s disability puts me on high alert, and always will.

“It’s a good thing you came in when you did.”

The doctor’s words were exactly what I needed to hear. I truly believe that God allowed Adelaide to wheeze just long enough for us to take her to the emergency room. She didn’t seem sick, so I don’t know how long she would have suffered with the infections before we ended up in the doctor’s office. When she stopped wheezing, I could have walked away and chalked it up to an allergy. I could have decided to wait until Monday and pay a much lower co-pay. But I didn’t. I walked up to that admissions desk like a brave Mama. I knew  I was doing the right thing. When there are so many unknowns with the cyst, her abilities, and all the visits we have in the next two months, it was amazing to walk out of there knowing I was willing to look like a silly, overreacting Mom. I just needed to tell them the truth.

Adelaide did choke 2 times that first night home, and several times since. I knew exactly what to do. I hate that I don’t even get scared anymore. It shouldn’t be normal to be so accustomed to something like choking that you don’t panic. But, that is our reality. You will often hear Graham say, “Mama, Addie choking. She no breathing.” It is usually a false alarm, but it makes switching the laundry a scary chore. “Choke Alert” has intensified my need for a nap, but Graham has a stuffy nose. Naturally, he is running around in his underwear, crying, and practicing for the remake of The Towering Inferno

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4 thoughts on “ER {and The Disappearing Symptoms}

  1. Julie says:

    Wow! Things sound really scary. I love your honesty about what goes on through your head. I’ve had those feelings, and waited a few days for a Dr visit to find out Mase suffered longer than necessary. Mommy fail.
    Quickest way to get the symptoms to stop: make a trip to the doctor :). Never fails!


  2. […] someday. The truth is that we have both been having a rough couple of weeks. Adelaide had a virus. Then, she had an upper respiratory & double ear infection. I am just tired and weary and actually justified wearing pajama pants to Monday’s PT. […]


  3. […] way. The drainage makes her choke. She aspirates and is at risk for pneumonia and upper respiratory infections. She doesn’t understand how to blow her nose. She can’t take any symptom relievers, […]


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