E has been down with a cold since we took him to an indoor playground at Marina Square last weekend. I swear he’s always falling sick the moment he goes to a playground/playgym! On Thursday night, he was pretty much hacking the entire night so all of us didn’t get much sleep.
On Friday, I dropped him off at the in-laws as usual and when I picked him up in the evening, my FIL told me in a concerned tone that we should take him to the doctor’s because he seems to have difficulty breathing. E was still his usual happy and cheerful self except for the violent coughing so I thought that my in-laws were just being paranoid grandparents.
I gave him some medicine from last month’s visit to the doctor, hoping that it will ease his cough for a bit. As we sat down to relax in front of the TV with his favourite cartoon, I noted that his breathing was pretty laboured – observe his tummy.
A warning bell sounded in my head. This can’t be normal breathing, I thought. Also, he was in a restful position, i.e. he wasn’t running around. When the boy got home from work, I expressed my concern. We were in two minds because E was his usual happy self and it being a Friday night, I was concerned that KKH Children’s Emergency department would be a madhouse.
Long story short, for peace of mind (and that niggling concern at the back of my head), I decided that we will head to KKH afterall.
It wasn’t our first visit so we knew exactly what to do: Take a queue number and wait to for triange.
As it turns out, the little man was wheezing and his breathing was laboured. We were given a form to head immediately to “Door 11” which apparently is the place to go for “immediate attention” situations.
We were attended to by a really lovely doctor called Dr Sheila. She was really good with Elliott and kept playing with him, even offering her stereoscope to me so that I can listen to the wheezing. She even called him the “happy wheezer” because he was so happy.
She asked if it sounded like croup and I shared that his cough did not sound like a barking seal, i.e. it was different from his last bout of illness. She eventually diagnosed him as suffering from bronchiolitis (not bronchitis) which is common in young children. It begins as a cold and leads to cough and breathlessness.
He was to be given the nebuliser for 5 minutes to try and open up the airwaves to help him breathe better. I have always heard about the nebuliser but it was my first time seeing and using it. My happy boy went from this:
To this: (Warning: Very loud and distressing crying. Watch at own risk.)
Very heartbreaking, to say the least, when your child is screaming and crying out “Mama….Mama….!” but yet you have to hold him down forcibly because you are trying to make him feel better.
We had to wait around for 30 minutes before letting Dr Sheila check on his condition again. As it turns out, he was still wheezing so he had to do another 2 rounds on the space chamber. Again, he screamed and yelled. On a related note, there were 3 other young children who were in the same room getting the same treatment. This bug is making its rounds!
We were told that if his breathing doesn’t normalise, he will need to be hospitalised. URGH. Thankfully, after the 2 rounds of medication, he was given the all-clear. The poor boy also fell asleep, probably out of sheer exhaustion.
We left with this bag of medication:
…and this subsidised medical bill of $43.40 (on top of $100 consultation fee):
We were also taught how to use the space chamber at home and it was the first time I’ve heard of such a contraption. This is how it looks like, ready to be used:
I’ve stored it in an airtight container so that we can easily use it every 4 hours.
Yes, we have to administer the medicine via this space chamber every 4 hours which means holding down a screeching and crying toddler who is wondering why his parents are doing this to him.
Elliott is alot better now and his cough has almost disappeared. I am glad I listened to my instincts and headed to the hospital instead of waiting till the next morning.
The last time I wrote an entry about KKH was for Croup which starts with the letter C. This time round, it is for Bronchiolitis which starts with the letter B. As my experienced friends tell me, this is all part and parcel of being a parent.
Let’s see how many letters we tick off from the alphabet as we continue on this journey as parents 🙂