Just so all my Beyond Blue readers know, my story has a very happy ending.
Katherine had a severe case of croup, a viral illness or laryngotracheobronchitis (its formal term) that is common in children ages six months to three years. The symptoms of croup are caused by inflammation, swelling and the buildup of mucus in the larynx, trachea (windpipe) and bronchial tubes, and the onset can be sudden. The symptoms are worsened when the child is anxious or agitated, or freaking out like both Katherine and I were.
After a shot of steroids, she was able to breathe easier, and the doctor gave me several suggestions for preventing the bronchial tubes from closing up again. However, he said we absolutely did the right thing by calling 911 since when the symptoms are as severe as in Katherine’s case, it is necessary to facilitate the breathing with an oxygen mask as you intervene with steroids.
I can say, with confidence, that yesterday was the scariest parenting day of my life … more so even than Ash Wednesday of 2004. I probably won’t gripe about my kids for a good two or three days, as I’m feeling incredibly blessed that they’re alive.