I felt like a doctor in some TV show, shouting, “Rapid breathing and abdominal pain,” while carrying my 4-year-old daughter into the ER. She would only let me hold her horizontal, like carrying a bride over the threshold, because her tummy hurt too much. She was pale and slightly warm and I was terrified, although you wouldn’t know it as my “calm mom” persona kicked in, telling the nurse in the triage area that Annabella had a normal, run of the mill cold with a cough that morphed into weird quickened breathing and abdominal pain.
The nurse took her vitals…Bella’s heart rate was racing and they would get her in immediately to see the doctor. Suddenly Bella threw up all over me, mostly water and mucus. It was just past 6am and she hadn’t eaten since dinner 12 hours ago. I felt my Inner Mean Girl creeping up slowly running all the worst case scenarios. I felt a chill go up my spine and took a deep breath searching frantically for some sort of connection to my Inner Wisdom. Then I heard and felt the words, “Annabella is going to be just fine.” I prayed my Inner Wisdom was right.
We entered into the examination room and the nurse got more information from us as he started hooking Bella up to machines. How long had she been struggling to breathe? When did the stomach pain start? Did she have a history of asthma? We answered the best we could, with Bella’s sweet little face looking up at us. The doctor came in and felt Bella’s abdomen. It was slightly tender to the touch, especially on the right hand side. Memories flashed back to when I was 10 years old and had an emergency appendectomy. I shuddered at the thought. Would today be the day that I whisk my daughter into an operating room? Ugh.
The doctor announced that she felt that Bella’s stomach was hurting because she was struggling to breathe. She ordered breathing treatments and a chest x-ray, as she felt that Bella could have pneumonia or bronchitis. Bella began her first breathing treatment, her little face covered in an oxygen mask that had holes in it with what looked like smoke coming out. The nurse said, “You get to look like a dragon!”
Then the TV was wheeled into the room with a 1990’s style VCR and lots of VHS tapes to choose from. Bella perked up when we said she could watch however many movies she wanted while the treatments went on. She chose “Aladdin” and settled in for hours of movies. The chest x-ray came back clean and after three breathing treatments, she stopped complaining about her tummy. The doctor’s instinct seemed correct. Phew! No appendix removal.
It was about six hours total of breathing treatments and monitoring before we could bring Bella home, with an inhaler and some medication. It was not the way I had wanted to spend my Saturday…or any day for that matter. But it wasn’t over yet…oh no.