Monday, October 18, 2010

The Croup

When I picked Riley up at my in-law's after work this past Thursday, I was greeted by a red-faced, fevered baby ... not the normal running, jumping laughing little girl that I normally see after work.  Sure enough, when we got home I took her temperature and saw 101 degrees.  She definitely wasn't herself and just sat still in a little curled up ball on my lap that evening as we watched cartoons and ate popsicles.  She went to bed really well and slept nearly 13 hours that night.  The next morning the fever had dropped (99 degrees) but through the entire day she had good and bad spots - going from playing and running to hitting rock bottom.  This continued through the day on Saturday as well, but wasn't as drastic.

On Saturday night we kept hearing her cough over the monitor.  I'd watch her and she wasn't seeming to be too disturbed by the cough, but like all babies and children with coughs, it just sounds so pitiful and heartbreaking.  On Sunday she continued the high and low trend, as well as a cough and a hoarse, raspy voice.

Last night - around 11pm - was the worst part.  She had been coughing pretty consistently since she went down at 8pm, but at 11pm she was standing and crying very hard, and coughing - and we couldn't let her continue on.  Making it only the second time in our house, we pulled her in to bed with us.  She continued to cough and squirm, but seemed to be more comforted.  I decided through the night, though, that a trip to our pediatrician was absolutely a must in the morning.

This morning I was able to get a 9:30am appointment and in we went.  After hearing me describe the past four days and hearing Riley's little, scratchy voice, Dr. K immediately stated that he was sure she had Croup.  He said he has seen a lot of kids with it recently and she fit the bill.  I had always heard of croup, but didn't know anything about it.  I quickly learned that it is common and a viral infection where vocal chords swell, resulting in a restricted airway and a hoarse voice. 

I was so surprised when Dr. K suggested leaving her bedroom window open during naps and the night so that the cold air would come into her room and lungs.  That is exactly what I had been trying to avoid all weekend!  He said to also keep her elevated when asleep - either by raising one end of her mattress or by simply holding her in a recliner.  And if she is really having a tough time at night, to wrap a warm blanket around her and go for a walk outside.  If she is really gasping for air, of course, we'll simply head straight to the ER.

He said the second or third nights are normally the peak.  Last night was our second night so either it was the worst, or tonight will be - but at least it sounds like we're rounding the corner.  I hope so.  Poor little thing.

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