My husband left on Saturday morning for a several-week-long TDY to Ulaanbataar, Mongolia.
A couple of hours after he left, the kids and I walked down the street and had lunch at Subway (their choice). While there, we heard that some NBA players were supposed to make an appearance just across the way, so we walked over. The boys hung with some friends, playing basketball at a hoop that had been set up for the visitors. Kyra ran around; Ainsley snoozed in her stroller.
The basketball players arrived. Not being an NBA fan, I couldn’t tell you who they were, but I do have pictures to prove it on my phone somewhere. While they were playing with the kids, I heard Ainsley crying in her stroller. I looked in, and she appeared to be choking and shaking. I picked her up and she was very, very warm. I tried to calm her down. I checked her mouth to see if something was stuck in there. After a few minutes, when I couldn’t stop her from gagging and she was appearing more and more distressed, I left my other three kids behind with a neighbor and walked with Ainsley to the clinic, which was just in the next parking lot. I thought maybe they could see if she was choking, or what was going on. The nurse brought us into a room and started to take vitals, but Ainsley got more and more distressed. So the nurse pulled a doctor out of an exam room, where she’d been with another patient. The doctor took a quick look, then left and summoned the head pediatrician. He took one look and called for both an oxygen tank and an ambulance.
They got her settled down. She didn’t appear to be choking on anything. She did have a very high fever, and she was having a lot of trouble breathing even with the oxygen. They thought she might have had a seizure, though it didn’t look quite like one to me. But they said she needed to go via ambulance to the ER for some bloodwork and a chest x-ray. They speculated that she could have aspirated something, or she could have pneumonia.
So I abandoned my kids with one neighbor and my stroller with another, climbed in an ambulance and raced to the ER, where we met another doctor who checked Ainsley over from head-to-toe and couldn’t quite figure it out. The chest x-ray was normal, but she was sounding terribly congested. Her heart was racing and she was just out of it.
They decided to admit her – us – for observation. By now, she was up and cheerfully exploring the ER, though with decidedly scary sounding raspy little breaths.
We spent the night. Lots of doctors checked her out: American, Chinese, European. Noone could agree on whether she’d had a seizure. All agreed that she didn’t have pneumonia. But they determined that she does have bronchitis or some sort of serious upper respiratory infection. She had IV antibiotics and some other stuff last night.
Meanwhile, I couldn’t call Bart in Mongolia, so I was texting him. He was trying to call our Embassy doctor, who was looking for me. Poor Bart had only just landed in Mongolia and was already scrambling to find a way home. I told him to stay put, as she did seem to be improving.
Kyra spent the night with one neighbor, Shay had a sleepover with another and Aidan with a third. A fourth neighbor met me at the hospital this morning and spent the day with Ainsley and me.
We got home late this afternoon, and I’ve been playing catch-up ever since.
At some point, it started to rain and I realized that the kids’ bikes were still parked down the street where we’d left them yesterday. So I loaded them all in the car to drive down and get their bikes – only to discover the car was dead. I actually got the kids into the van, but then couldn’t open the automatic doors to get them out. I had to force the doors open manually.
And of course, because timing is everything, I also discovered that at some point while everyone was out of the house, the garage door had been disabled so it wouldn’t shut or lock. I managed to temporarily fix the door this evening, but what’s up with that? No need for anybody to break into the house; I’d left the front door unlocked and accessible to all when I left the house that morning, long before I climbed in the back of that ambulance.
The ambulance driver, by the way, drove very, very fast.
I’m sure there’s more to add. But for now, I’m dreadfully exhausted. Ainsley seems fine again, but I’m supposed to spend the night “observing” her, which I take to mean I can sleep in her room next to her crib. No way I can stay up all night staring at her.
It’s been a long, long weekend, so that’s all from me for now. I’m off to observe Ainsley – or, more likely, to observe the insides of my eyeballs.
For worried grandparents from coast to coast, and for her daddy in Mongolia: she really is fine now. Really really. But she certainly did scare me yesterday.