I’ll admit it… I’m a deadbeat. It’s been almost two weeks since I promised to post here. You see, Lauren and I have this sort of tentative agreement whereby she does most (read: all but a few posts) of the work and I do very little. Ok, so it’s not so much an agreement as me just being lazy and not knowing what to write or feeling like I’m capable, but I digress… Our blog history has been a bit sparse lately and most of you already know part of the reason why. Here’s “the rest of the story….”
A little over a couple weeks ago, on a normal Thursday in the Pyles’ household, the boys were having a snack of crackers and nuts in their playroom. Aunt Ashley was over visiting and all were playing and having a good time. Lane was doing his normal “shove every single morsel into my mouth at once” style of eating when he tipped backwards in his chair and fell onto his back. He coughed a couple of times and then stopped making noise… Lauren was immediately concerned and picked him up. He had stopped breathing and begun turning blue (not just a little blue either, head to toe blue). She sprung into action (like the absolute supermom that she is) and gave him the Heimlich maneuver… only, it didn’t work (note: I guess this thing is no longer called the Heimlich maneuver, but I want to still recognize Dr. Heimlich for his life-saving work). Ashley ran to call 911 & Lauren had the awful realization that an ambulance would never get there in time… his life was literally in her hands. Remembering back to the infant CPR class we learned when the boys were born (and in the NICU), she turned him over onto his stomach on her arm , held him almost upside down and gave him back blows in an attempt to dislodge the obstruction. Finally, after what had to seem like an eternity, he began to cough and vomited up all of his snack and started breathing again. He was terrified and quite upset (naturally) and it took quite a bit of time to settle him down. Lauren was very understandably shaken, so much that she texted me about the incident (note: not at all the text any dad is prepared to receive and certainly phone call worthy). I instantly sent back a text and asked the logical question of why she didn’t pick up the phone and call me… When she replied that she wouldn’t be able to hold it together on the phone and that she was still consoling and snuggling with the now-safe Lane, I knew that this was much more serious than even I had imagined and only later would find out the details of the event.
Lane seemed to be doing pretty well that night when I got home and although I was a little emotional about the event and held him extra tight when I picked him up, I didn’t think much more about it other than how thankful I was to God for watching over my son and how in awe of my wife I was that she saved his life. Cullen was even pretty traumatized by the whole incident and kept repeating various things that happened: “Lane cough… Ashley, towels (to clean up afterwards), etc.” Pretty tough day, but we figured that the worst was over. Even the next day when Lane had a little bit of a wheeze, we called the doctor but didn’t think too much about it.
They wanted to see him immediately, so Lauren took him in and had our pediatrician check him out. He wanted to rule out a foreign body in his airway so he ordered a throat x-ray (negative) and put him on a steroid for any inflammation caused by the event. When he wasn’t better over the Labor Day weekend and his wheeze had gotten more pronounced, we called back and had another appt with a pediatrician. He didn’t like what he heard in Lane’s breathing and referred us to an ENT. We went to that appointment and had to have a laryngoscopy (basically a scope through the nose and into the throat. of a toddler. while not sedated) which was pretty horrific for all involved. That didn’t show anything so a chest x-ray was ordered (also negative) and he put Lane on an antibiotic for a week to clear up any possible infection from the “aspiration event” (we’ve gone from choking to aspiration now for those keeping track).
Needless to say, he didn’t get any better on the antibotic and was just getting more and more miserable (wheezing more pronounced, laboring to breathe, fussy – which is really odd for him, etc.). We called a few days later and got an appt with another ENT, this one a pediatric airway specialist, to examine him and let us know if surgery would be required. Eleven (11!) days after the initial problem, we had the appointment with the specialist who almost immediately told us we were going to have to go in for surgery ASAP. While we knew this was the most likely outcome given that nothing else worked and that he was getting worse, no parent wants to hear that their 2 year old is going to need to have surgery.
sweet boy about to be taken back to the OR
Two days later (lots of breathing treatments in the meantime), we went to the “One Day Surgery Center” (ironic in hindsight) to have a bronchoscopy for Lane to clear out anything that may be in his lungs. We were briefed on the timeframe of the procedure (usually about 20 mins, booked the OR for 45 minutes just in case). They took him back at 8:05am and Lauren and I went to the waiting room. At 8:45 I started to get a little nervous… by 9:00 we were downright scared. A nurse walked by and asked us if we had heard anything. Maybe it was the frantic “no!” in response, but she went right back to the OR to see what was going on. She didn’t come back for another 10 minutes and when she did, all that she said was that Lane was ok and that the doctor would be out to see us soon… That didn’t sit well, but didn’t exactly prepare us for the surgeon coming out and letting us know: it was worse than he had anticipated, there were 3 pieces of almond (one imbedded in the lung tissue); Lane’s left lung was almost swollen shut and we would be heading straight to the PICU for “at least a couple days and possibly a week.” His final words of “We’re not out of the woods yet” still haunt me. We immediately broke down… well, Lauren cried and I held it together for .3 seconds and then started sobbing like a little girl.
After another agonizing hour, Lauren was finally able to go to the recovery area to see Lane and I followed shortly thereafter to find what didn’t look at all like my son. This kid was not only unrecognizably swollen but hysterical – crying, screaming, thrashing about & pulling at all of the leads on his body… a mess. We tried to calm him down, but it was no use… he was as freaked out as we were. Lauren literally had to climb into the hospital crib with him, sobbing, as I held his hand and we went through the entire hospital – finally arriving at the Children’s Hospital PICU.
Realizing that this is already over 1200 words… I think I’ll stop for now & finish the Lane Saga tomorrow with a part II – the PICU.