Jax’s First Emergency Room Visit

Last night sucked! But it could have been worse. On Wednesday, Jax woke up with cold: runny nose, watery eyes, a little cough, sneezing, etc. I thought for a second it might be seasonal allergies! We gave him an Albuterol nebulizer treatment before bed and he slept like a rock.

But on Thursday afternoon, Jax started wheezing. Not alot, but every once in a while, I would hear the tell tale “whistle” as he exhaled. As you know, any sign of wheezing or breathing difficulty is a huge red flag for Jax because of his history with Chronic Lung Disease.

We went into see his pediatrician and at 4:00, they did another neb treatment. They sent us on our way with instructions for regular neb treatments (every 4 hours) and a follow-up appointment on Saturday morning.

By 7:00, Jax was ready for another neb. I could tell because he was starting to wheeze again. Then, by 9:00, he was ready for another. That’s when I knew the Albuterol was not doing enough to open his airways. We left right away for the Children’s Hospital Emergency Room!

We have been trained to recognize the signs of respiratory distress: wheezing, retracting lungs, increased respiration rate. Jax was showing all of these signs; I knew I made the right decision. But the whole drive there, I kept thinking “is this serious enough for the ER?” YES! YES! YES! I’m a first time mom. But I need to be more confident in my “gut!”

It’s scary, you know, driving your kid to the ER!

I’m so glad I decided to make the 45 minute drive to St Paul! It’s just a better place for kids! (During his last sickness and wheezing episode, we went to Urgent Care in Burnsville because it was convenient. But they don’t know kids. They especially don’t know mirco-preemies!) I will never take him anywhere else!

In the ER, he received another “suped up” neb treatment and had a lot of blood drawn for blood work, a RSV test, and blood gas levels. I still don’t know the lab results. They also did a chest X-ray where they found an indication of…


He got an IV injection of antibiotics and they monitored his oxygen rates while he slept for a while. They were on the fence about keeping us overnight. They asked if I was comfortable taking him home and I said yes (by then, it was 3am, so I couldn’t see the point of staying). I know how to give his neb treatments (he hates them!) and I know how to recognize the signs of trouble. Plus, I was tired! Maybe I should have let them admit him…what would you have done?

Today, so far, he’s doing ok. This morning he got a steroid neb treatment to help keep his airways open. We will give the Albuterol neb treatment every 4 hours. He was also prescribed an oral steroid that we will start tonight.

In the NICU, Jax got a lot of steroids (at least 5 rounds that I can remember). And now I need to do more research on the long term effect of steroid use in babies! Any other parents out there have thoughts / resources about this? Did your babies receive steroids? How many times? Have you noticed any long-term effects?

Today, if he needs a neb treatment more than every 4 hours, we’ll be right back in the ER!

What’s scary to me is that Jax’s cold turned into possible pneumonia within two days. Things can turn very quickly for a baby with Chronic Lung Disease. His lungs are still not fully formed. It’s obvious that a “regular” sickness is much more than just “regular” for Jax. Is it time again for stricter lock-down?

Big Boy
Big Boy
Such a tough little dude! He had a smile for everyone, even though he didn't feel good.
Such a tough little dude! He had a smile for everyone, even though he didn’t feel good.
Resting and breathing easy...
Resting and breathing easy…