4:15 a.m., respiratory distress; 6:15, seal bark, but giggly.  3p.m., greater respiratory distress; 5p.m., wolfing down food. Is she or isn’t she? Do I take her or not?

I consulted every person I could think to consult, from our next door neighbor (an RT-turned manager) to the nurses to the hospital itself, to no avail.. Christian even bullied his way (via phone) into the PICU to talk to the nurses who’ve treated her before. Eventually we decided that given her history, it was better to waste the time and the $50 copay and go to urgent care, even if they sent us back home, than be have to get kids up and rush to the ER in the middle of the night. So Alex went to the neighbors for his first sleepover, and the little ones and I went to urgent care. Four hours later, here we are, back on the 7th floor of “Julianna’s hospital.”

Previous hospital stays have begun with an element of stress, panic, and drama–which connotes a certain excitement. This time, when I pushed the double stroller into the elevator, it was with the choking, sensation of walking into an all-too-familiar trap and watching the prison bars are clank shut again.

But the first few hours have been almost absurdly low-key. Down at admissions, she toddled around, exploring the cushions in the waiting froom, the philodendron in the corner (which she called a “tree”). Then we came upstairs, and she sat in the crib, pointing at the bars, the plastic oxygen tent above the crib (not in use, thankfully). She’s wearing a pulsox, but no other leads. No IV. Definitely no tube sticking out of her mouth. She looks quite ho-hum about the whole thing. It’s almost as if she’s resigned herself to the fact that she will pay many visits to this big yellow brick building with a helicopter in front.

And this time, we’re out in front of it, to use our neighbor’s words. I pushed to get her admitted (who’d have ever guessed I would make that kind of turnaround?) so she’ll already be here when and if things go south. And because she’s already had a chest X-ray, they’re ready to start her on antibiotics for pneumonia. If we make it home in two or three days instead of weeks, I’ll consider it an investment well made.


One steroid, one antibiotic, one red-eye flight and two cranky kids later, we are all home. WHEW.