And just like that our little man is back on oxygen, working overtime to keep his o2 levels up (and failing). It’s the first stupid cold of the season. We had a nurse overnight and when I walked in this morning she was just getting ready to wake us – Mikaere’s o2 level was sitting at 89%. Typically it’s at 99% – 100%. 89% is LOW. Lower than I’d like, lower than anyone would like. And you could see it. My baby was struggling to breathe. His breath was fast and shallow, he had a tug and an intercostal pull. He was working overtime to breathe.
We have tanks of o2 sitting in the spare room for moments like this, and I pulled one out, grabbed an o2 mask. It’s been forever since he’s needed o2, and you can tell, because the mask is too tight on his face. He’s outgrown the paediatric baby o2 masks. Regardless, it does the job. I watch with relief as his o2 climbs back up to more normal levels, settling at 96%. In the safe zone. He relaxes a little, he doesn’t have to work as hard. Poor baby has a temperature, and we give him Calpol.
I take pause. Get dressed, say goodbye to our night nurse. Sam and I discuss whether we should go into hospital. He makes coffee and I think about calling our community nurse. His levels are fine on o2, but he hasn’t need o2 in I don’t know how long. He’s clearly got a cold of some kind. If it’s a cold, we probably could manage it just fine at home. We have o2, we have stat monitors and suction machines. He sounds a little rattly, but I’m pretty sure it’s all upper airway.
If I call our community nurse looking for reassurance, she’ll ask us to go into hospital. Go into hospital. Complex needs. Difficult case. Better safe than sorry. Go into hospital. They always tell us to go into hospital ‘just to be safe’. Everyone is scared of taking the chance to say does he really need to go right now? What are the risks? Benefits? It’s all go into hospital, and go now. The risks of being wrong is too high.
But the hospital isn’t safe for us. Mikaere could very well catch something else from the hospital. Something worse. Plus, it’s loud and tiring and disrupts our routine, and I’d really like NOT to spend our Saturday in the A&E.
In saying that… he hasn’t needed o2 in forever.
I make the call anyway, knowing she’ll send us in and alert the paeds registrar for us. Also, on a Saturday morning at 8am, none of the other kids have had a chance to hurt themselves yet. Their parents will just be waking up and they’ll take longer to decide to take their sick kids into the A&E. If we left in the next 15 minutes, we’d make it in just after the shift change when the paediatric A&E is quiet. I mean, if you’re going to go in, might as well time it for non-peak time, right?
Sure enough, our community nurse said to go in. So off we go. We’re on our way into hospital. 🙁