The happy ending: James is home, asleep, acting as if nothing happened. Earlier this evening he talked us into a trip to Target AND Sonic. We gave in to everything this evening because this morning was pretty horrific.
Hopefully this will be therapeutic for me so that I can go to sleep and not relive the events over and over again in my brain. I might have to hit the benedryl, or something stronger.
We reported to the surgical center at 7am and James promptly donned a toddler sized hospital gown and socks. The amazing nurse actually got the tranquilizer down his throat and pretty soon he was slurring his words and pretty funny. Due to a divine change of plans, our Bishop (an anesthesiologist) did get assigned to our surgical center AND our surgeon today. It was such a relief to see his face and hand James over to him. They took him in for the surgery at about 8:00 and we went to the waiting area. We sat and tried to read and finally after about 40 minutes they came back and got us.
We went into a "group" recovery room where at any given time there were 2-3 rolling cribs with babies/toddlers waking from anesthesia. As you can imagine, it was NOT a pleasant place to be. James was laying there all peaceful and sleeping. I got a little teary seeing the cotton stuffed in his ears but he was fine so I didn't worry. After about 30 minutes he started to stir a bit and I noticed that his breathing was 'croupy'. I pointed it out to our different nurse and she said it was normal. He started to wake a bit more and he sounded worse--like he was really struggling for air. The alarms for his oxygen saturation started sounding and our nurse tried to pick him up and rouse him but he was totally floppy. She put him back down and was saying his name trying to get him to take a breath--and he was trying-but it wasn't working. His chest was caving in (retracting) and at the same time he was trying to cough and cry but he couldn't really do any of it.
I was starting to freak out a bit and when the nurse told Ben to go out in the hall and find some help I really started to cry. In came another nurse and then another. They opened up the pediatric resuscitation kit and put the oxygen mask on him and were trying to get him to sit up and breathe. Before I knew it our Bishop was there asking what had happened, but no one could really answer. They got him breathing a bit with the oxygen and took him back into the operating area to tend to him. At that point Ben and I were left in the recovery room with the bawling babies wondering what was going on with James.
After a few minutes a nurse came back to tell us that they were giving him steroids and breathing treatments to open up his airways and loosen him up a bit and that he was crying and "doing fine". They brought him back after about 30 minutes and he was just crying and crying with his eyes clamped shut and starting to fight the oxygen mask. Our Bishop/anesthesiologist came in to talk to us and said that what probably happened was that James aspirated some mucus or saliva and that, in combination with James' smaller airway caused the vicious cycle of not being able to take a real breath, cough or cry.
We finally got him calmed down and breathing slower and deeper and eventually we worked our way to a popsicle (which he held onto with all of his might while wiping it all over me) and watching Blue's clues. They kept him there for observation (while we went through several sets of 'recovering' (read:crying, screaming, hysterical toddlers and children) kids ). They finally let us go around noon and told us to "watch him carefully".
We brought him home and he ate lots of Teddy Grahams and drank juice and was acting fine but sounding croupy again. We gave him an albuterol breathing treatment and put him down for a nap. When he woke up he sounded TERRIBLE again and I was ready to march off to the hospital. Ben insisted that we give him a Pulmicort breathing treatment, which we did, and he still sounded bad. We called our surgeon who told us to go to the ER. By the time we registered at the ER James actually sounded just fine. We were a bit embarrassed. We waited to see the triage nurse who confirmed that his oyxgen saturation and breathing were fine and that they were "open 24 hours" should we decide not to use their services at that time. We called everyone back and told them about our change in plans and have been watching him like a hawk.
He has been fine ever since. We gave him another albuterol treatment before we put him to bed and have been checking in on him and listening to him breathe on the monitor. We will follow up with all the appropriate medical professionals in the coming days and we'll also be checking into the possibilities of him having asthma or the nebulous "reactive airway disease". He is just fine now, but seriously, this morning was the most frightening experience I've lived. I wish I could get it out of my brain.