A night at the hospital


Oskar has had a bad cough for a while. I am not sure when it really started, but it might have been even before our trip to Europe in December. We always brushed this away as the  result of going to school where all the other contagious little brats were just spreading their germs to our little angel.
At one point when Oskar had been coughing again like a pit worker, we started to say more often things like this, however:

Oskar: Burharrharr-harrharr-barrharrou…
 I don’t like that cough!

Throughout the last week, the cough had started to get more intense to a point that Oskar woke up at night and occasionally needed help to calm down and be able to fall asleep again. Now just this weekend, the night from Saturday to Sunday was particularly bad. The little guy was coughing really hard and we were all losing sleep. A lot of sleep, mind you.

Sunday morning he was of course tired. We were, too, but that night had been especially exhausting for him and after eating barely anything for breakfast he passed out on his bed.


We still decided to take him to his swim classes, though. This was the first time in weeks he joined and he enjoyed the class and did well.

We were back home for a little while when Lamia noticed Oskar was wheezing. It was a bit unsettling. Despite it likely would not bring much more insights, Lamia took him to our pediatrician while I stayed home to look after Thomas.
An eternity passed until they finally made it through the waiting line and got to the doctor. Then I got a text from Lamia:

Lamia: It’s bad. Really bad. He has to stay in the hospital

I was feeding Thomas when I got this and nearly fell off the chair. While Lamia was trying to convince the doctor that whatever was needed to be done could be done also at home, the recommendation did not change: Oskar had to stay in the hospital and would have to breathe into a nebulizer every few hours.

I cannot really know how this must have appeared to Oskar. I imagine he thought he’d go on a little excursion with Maman. You know: maybe there is a little something for him or so. And then suddenly there was a lot of commotion, he was put onto some weird, humming machine that smoked into his face and then he was taken to a hospital room. No toys. An alien environment. Strangers.

In the meantime I had called Aggie (Sunday’s of course her free day) and asked her whether she could come home and take care of Thomas. She did, which made things so much easier: I could pack a bag with clothes and toys for Oskar and bring it to the hospital without having to take Thomas with me (which would have meant adding a diaper bag, the car seat, a stroller, … ).

I arrived at the hospital to fill in for Lamia who had to go home to express milk (she’s still breast feeding after all). Once I had arrived, I made sure to immediately capture Oskar’s attention, play with him and give him all the care I could to help distract him from what was going on. I did not show it, but I was worried how my little boy would react to a night away from home at a not so much fun place. And it was difficult to keep him smiling when I took him to the lab where they drew some blood from his finger – he sure did not like that…

The plan was now that Lamia spends the night at home with Thomas and I with Oskar at the hospital. So I arranged for a second bed in the room, next to his (to make sure he couldn’t fall out at night and also to be able to look after him more easily).
Lamia came back later, so I had a chance to go back home and get everything I needed for myself during the night and in the morning.

Night came and Oskar and I got ready to sleep.
We brushed our teeth – like every night. I gave him his bath – like every night. I changed him into his pajamas – like every night.

The main difference was that I was sleeping next to him. He was confused about the whole situation, but also reassured that I was there. It had been a long and exhausting day for him, so he fell asleep quickly, closely snuggled to my side.
I tell you something: I did not like that we were in a hospital. But sleeping like this with your kid has a hard to describe beauty to it. Having his little body closeby and his hand securely locked around a finger of mine made me happy. Even under these circumstances. Once he woke up scared at night, but because I was right there to calm him he fell back asleep nearly instantly…
Did I ever sleep next to him before? Well, certainly not a full night: we have separate rooms at home for both Oskar and Thomas and they never sleep in our bed. In other situations, like on vacation, Oskar had been sleeping in baby cots which were standing further away from where we were.

The nurse came with the nebulizer at 10 pm, 1 am, 4 am and 7 am. She turned on the machine and I took the hose and held it under Oskar’s nose while he was sleeping. He hardly moved at 10 pm and 1 am. At 4 am he was a little more aware, but eventually went back to sleep. And at 7 am we were anyhow awake.
So, apart from having to wake up every few hours the night went by pretty well. Oskar had stopped wheezing in the evening already and it seemed like he had a more restful night.

In fact, he was in quite a good mood in the morning…


I was still there when our pediatrician came visiting to check on him. She was quite happy with how things had developed. The results from the blood tests came back and did not show anything worrisome. The diagnosis was that he had a virus induced asthma.

Lamia came a little later as a replacement for me, so I could go home, shower and then head to work. The great news before noon was that the pediatrician agreed we could take Oskar home. Lamia rented a portable nebulizer for the next days so we can continue with the treatment until it is not needed anymore – the frequency was now changed to every 6 hours, which is not as bad as every 3 hours, but still makes our nights again shorter.

Anyway: I am happy Oskar is back home.

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