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  • Writer's picture Jana

A Midnight Run to the Emergency Room on Cape Cod. This Wasn't Part of the Plan!

Garin was stricken with bad allergies as soon as we stepped foot in Boston. He had been fine in both New York and Connecticut, so his reaction in Boston seemed out-of-left-field. However, I too started to suffer just hours after we arrived, so I knew there must be something menacing in the air, since I am not one to have allergies very often. I was down for a few days, but started to improve. Garin's allergies, on the other hand, worsened with each day, which most often spells catastrophe for an asthmatic.

You would think as a mom of two asthmatics (Garin and Miles) that I would have come prepared with my rescue inhalers, nebulizers, and countless medications that I have stockpiled at home to deal with such emergencies. Well, think again. There's nothing like learning your lesson the hard way.

As we packed for the trip and I watched the suitcases brimming over with other needed necessities, I told myself that I could just skip the asthma supplies. After all, during COVID, the kids had been home for so long, in their COVID bubble, that neither of the boys had experienced any symptoms even close to an asthma attack in a year and a half. Why should I drag all these unnecessary supplies with us that I will never have any use for, I thought to myself as I made the unfortunate decision to put them back in the cabinet at home.

Hard as I tried, I could not get Garin's allergies under control and with each passing day his cough and ability to breath worsened. Finally on our last day in the Boston area I scheduled a Telehealth appointment with his pediatrician back in Los Angeles (as we stood talking to her on a street corner in the middle of a thunderstorm in one of the seaside towns we were visiting). She prescribed him a rescue inhaler, but not steroids, which turned out to be the fatal mistake. The rescue inhaler was simply too little, too late. During our first night on Cape Cod he deteriorated quickly. His pulse oximeter reading was low and his breathing extremely labored. He had even begun to vomit. With no other option, I set out on the unlit and narrow roads of Cape Cod, in the dark of night, to take him to the hospital. This was definitely not in our carefully procured vacation plan.

There is only one hospital on Cape Cod, which is not ideal. We had just left Boston that same very morning, which is literally saturated with some of the best hospitals in the country. The timing of all this sucked, to put it bluntly. It took us about 35 minutes to get to the hospital.

When we pulled. up, I was so relieved that we had made it. The emergency room was brand new, huge and state-of-the-art. They took us almost immediately and the staff could not have been kinder or more competent. We were so grateful for the excellent care we received.

Day thirteen....

This was our nurse, who was explaining to Garin the process of how an IV works. Only Garin would want a full explanation and demonstration before the procedure. Even in his weakened state, he was riveted by all the details of her explanation and filled with questions for this patient nurse. Once she was able to get his IV hooked up, they gave him fluids and anti-nausea medication (since he had been vomiting), as well steroids to treat his asthma. He also received a chest x-ray to make sure he didn't have pneumonia, since his cough was so deep.

The respiratory therapist then came in and gave him a triple breathing treatment to try to knock out the asthma attack. It worked!

By the time all the treatments were complete, Garin was feeling much better so they gave him the green light to be be released. Alleluia!

We left the hospital around 3:30 AM and had to make the same long, dark journey back home. Garin helped me navigate our way back using WAZE (the car we were driving didn't have GPS). I was so relieved when we pulled into Joanne's driveway in one piece! The silver lining in all of this was that Garin and I made a great team handling this unexpected crisis. I was proud of us both and also grateful that we had Joanne at home to stay my other three kids.

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