Thursday morning I woke up and nursed the baby in my room, just like I normally do.
I heard Solomon wake up about 8:45 and asked Lainey to help him up. Lainey shouted from the other room and said, "Mama... Something is wrong with Solomon!"
And then I heard it.
It was an awful gasping, chugalug sound as he walked down the hall to me.
I touched his head and he was warm to the touch. His eyes didn't look right. His chocolate brown eyes floated around in head.
Eyes have always been my children's "tell."
So I started making phone calls to Brandon. We never talk that early in the morning, but I started dialing.
And I got voicemail over and over. I sent a few texts begging him to call back. I sent out a prayer request on facebook.
I had no idea he was in an important meeting.
I changed Solomon's pajamas and started gathering things together. I knew he couldn't stay home like this.
I finally got through to Brandon and immediately told Brandon he had to come home. NOW. That Solomon was very sick and needed to go in now.
He left everything where it was and told his peer he had to go.
That 16 minute drive felt like an hour. It should have taken about 25 minutes.
I called my friend, Maureen, in the meantime and we debated who should go. Isaiah had never taken a bottle but I usually do most of the medical stuff. We decided to let Brandon take him.
We also debated between two hospitals. One with a pediatric department but further away. One closer but without a pediatric department.
Then a coughing episode started that scared the ever livin' daylights out of me.
I met Brandon in the driveway with Solomon and told him to drive fast but safely and go to the closest hospital. "Keep me posted and take care of my baby."
And I kissed Solomon's head and watched them pull away.
Then I fell apart. I paced, I nursed, I watched the clock. It was torturous!
I sent a few texts and tried calling Brandon and got voicemail. I waited until I couldn't wait anymore and called the nurses station and asked to be transferred to his room.
Brandon told me that Solomon had been given 10 breathing treatments and a shot of epinephrine and was going to be transported by ambulance to the hospital with the pediatric department.
I knew I had to get to him.
I sent some texts to my friend Maureen and she asked if I wanted to go to the hospital. I told her I wanted to go but I felt torn between Isaiah and Solomon. She agreed to come pick up the children and assured me that she could care for Isaiah. I nursed him while I waited for her.
The plan was that she was going to take me to the first hospital and try to catch Brandon before Solomon was transferred across town. If we missed him, she'd take me there.
I walked into the emergency department and it was packed! I stood in a very long, not moving line and panic set in. I was so afraid that they were going to transport Solomon before I got to him.
In a moment of desperation, I called the nurses station again and I started talking really fast explaining that I was Solomon's mother, that I was there but in the ER lobby and needed someone to show me where to go and let me through.
She said she'd be right there.
She came to get me and asked when I had spoken to my husband last. I told her it had been some time.
She stopped me in the hallway and she said she had something to tell me. I told her I could see my husband. He was standing in the hallway and my Solomon was NO.WHERE.IN.SIGHT.
She told me Brandon was standing with the chaplain. I started to freak out. I kept repeating, "No. No no no no no no." She realized where my mind had jumped to, and she said Solomon was fine. She wanted to let me know that Solomon had been intubated and was sedated.
I knew I had to get down the hall to Brandon and I bolted.
Brandon and I held each other and cried for a bit. The chaplain introduced herself and asked if I had any questions. I asked her if I could see Solomon before they transferred him. She went to ask the doctor.
The room was so full of people (head pharmacist, an anesthesiologist, two emergency room docs, two respiratory therapists, two transport men, a traveling NICU nurse, a handful of ER nurses) that I could barely squeeze in to see Solomon. He had wires everywhere and I wasn't sure where to touch. I grabbed his foot and whispered in his ear.
"Mama is here. You are going to be okay. I love you, Solomon Kincaid. You are going to ride on a big truck and we will see you there..."
And then I tried to convince myself that I told him the truth while they finished preparations to transport him.
The emergency room doctors were amazing. They explained that they had a great deal of difficulty intubating him because his airway was so swollen. The anesthesiologist was the one that finally got him intubated. He originally told the ER doctor that there was a "mass" in his throat. So they went back to his xrays and found nothing. Turns out his airway was just that swollen. They had discussed doing an emergency tracheostomy.
He reassured us that we did the right thing by going to the closest hospital even though he needed transported. He told us that most likely Solomon would have lost consciousness if we had tried to go further. He let us know that Solomon had had an allergic reaction in addition to the respiratory distress, but he wasn't sure which medication had caused it because he had so much. He had Benadryl now and would let the recieving hospital know but to be on the lookout. Solomon's flu and rsv swabs were negative. His chest xray was clear. But his trachea was very swollen.
Next thing I knew, we were standing on the corner waiting for the Critical Care Transport Team to arrive with my two year old in the back on the truck.