Geez you guys.  I leave for a week and you can’t even keep things in line?

Egypt, Tunisia, Lybia…Wisconsin…

I need to think twice about ducking out from now on.

My youngest was stricken by a severe case of RSV that landed us in the pediatrician’s office on Valentine’s Day. Less than an hour later, satting 88% on high flow O2 and decompensating before our eyes, we were wheeled to the ER.

After repeated interventions and evaluations hospital admission was necessary.  All this was happening while Mrs HM is on a plane home from a family funeral and the elder HMjr has no ride home.

Oh, and then my phone died.

You may have seen a cryptic message on facebook asking someone to check their facebook status ASAP.

I was able to “hack” my way into the computer in the ER that they use to record treatements and sent out a simple message to my out of state emergency contact.

You have one of those, right?  Someone who has a copy of your family’s disaster and evacuation plan?

You have one of those, right? I sent a message that jr was getting admitted, I had jrsr with me and to activate the plan.

A few minutes later the unit clerk came knocking on the door labeled “DROPLET PRECAUTIONS” and handed me a phone. On the other line was my emergency contact, reading from the plan, gathering the information he would relay to other family members. He reassured me everything would be OK, that we were in good hands and that he would take care of everything.  And he did.

Less than an hour later, all parties who needed to know what was going on were notified, jrsr had a ride to a friend’s house and I was clear to spend the next few hours listening to my 2 year old beg to go home in between her 60 breaths per minute.

The pediatrician came in and told me we had 2 options. I told him to make the best decision because my mind was clouded. He responded, “I already called the ambulance, they’re on the way.”

I will elaborate on the state of care available to those who can afford it (or who’s collective bargaining forgoes huge raises in exchange for healthcare benefits) but I want to mention 3 people in particular who I was most afraid of but who did more for that little girl than the rest of the assorted health care team over the next week:

Sonoma AMR’s Critical Care Transfer Unit.

Unfortunately, I recall only Tim’s name. (and that PCR that we are always told the MDs look at was thrown out the night we arrived at the peds unit, the docs I spoke to never saw it.)

The only 2 people to warm their stethoscopes prior to placing them on my daughter were…the Paramedic and the nurse in the CCT ambulance.  I do it all the time without thinking and it almost passed unnoticed until the unit nurse in the hospital did it without warming it and my daughter arched her back and screamed.

The EMT driver slowed the cot and lifted ever so slightly as we crossed thresh holds and the Medic at her head holding the O2 blowby did the same.  With one hand on the mask and the other gently caressing her temple to calm her I’m unsure how he did it.

When we still couldn’t reach Mrs HM on her phone even though she should have landed (my phone was charging in the back) the medic took a moment and checked an app on his phone he reserves for when staffing the aeromedical unit and checked the weather for me.  Then checked her flight status.  All the while the nurse was intently looking at HMjr’s marked retractions and, in his mind I’m sure, already thinking of what to do with me should he decide intubation was necessary.

There is a saying in EMS Education, something along the lines of “You won’t leave this class until I’m comfortable with you treating my own family.”

Well, now these three men are part of my family and are welcome in my home any day for any reason.  They didn’t just give us a ride, they did what they could for a sick kid and her distraught father and it made all the difference in the world.  The little things. Not their mighty tools, their big machines and gadgets, I didn’t even notice their uniforms other than they were in blue. I noticed their tone of voice, their caring looks at my daughter and their absolute dedication to the task at hand.

I’ll be back in the banner soon enough, we’re home now and she’s still weak, so I’ll be back when I’m back, but I’ll see you in Baltimore for sure.


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