So I get a phone call at 3:58 yesterday afternoon from Jennifer that she is on her way to the pediatrician with the boy. But I can hardly hear her because it seems she’s carting around three elderly emphysematics that are trying to sing row row row your boat in harmony. In rounds. Except that it’s Mateo trying to breathe.

I’m gathering my bag, car keys, and shooting an email to the boss that I’m leaving as I pellet Jennifer with questions, all in an effort to determine if he’s getting enough oxygen: “Is he blue?” No. “Is he red?” Yes. “Did he have a fever?” Low grade. “When did he start doing this?” Immediately upon waking from his nap. “Was the humidifier on?” Yes. “What’s his general disposition?” He’s eating his trail mix as I talk to you, she says.

Apparently, the boy’s stomach is one of his major vital organs.

Fifteen minutes later, I met them at the crosswalk of the medical office building of our pediatrician (conveniently located on the campus of a hospital), breathing was labored, but the singing smokers gone.

His coughing and breathing sounded horrible so it was kinda fun to be that family in the sick waiting room that the other parents are trying to keep their kids away from. The benefit, of course, was that Mateo had both Doodle Sketches to himself.

A quick assessment by the nurse showed barely a fever at 99.6, something I think he had coughed himself into what with all that kinetic energy heating up his body, the one that weighed 28.1 lbs. The doctor came in shortly thereafter and assessed his lungs and throat which were amazingly (but thankfully) clear. For that reason, no antibiotics or breathing treatments were necessary. He said he had croup and gave him an oral steroid (dexmethasone) to open up his airway. As we were getting ready to leave, he started to sound a bit better, but still with the wheezing, which I captured here as he “washes” his hands, in case you want to know what croup sounds like. Turn up the volume. Not only to hear him better, but to hear me ask for confirmation from the nurse that what we’re hearing from him is okay, me in my most professional valley girl dialect. Ugh. This is why I don’t like being on video.

Afterward, we headed home with instructions to turn on a cool mist humidifier in his room, something we’d been doing the last couple nights and naps anyway because both kids have had runny noses since Thursday and cough since Saturday. In addition, we separated them almost immediately after baths last night, lest they start playing, which inevitably leads to chasing, which necessitates running, which requires heavier breathing, which causes coughing, which leads to airway constriction, something we were trying to avoid. Because it was now after clinic hours and dexmethasone is far less expensive at the clinic than the emergency room thank you very much. So off we went, Jennifer with Harper to her room, and me with Mateo to his room, for quiet reading and calmer play.

We braced ourselves for a long night, but they both slept soundly throughout.

Here’s a general description and guidelines for addressing Croup, as laid out by our pediatric clinic. And for my fellow Type A’s out there, a more detailed article on Viral Croup and practical therapeutics written in the American Family Physician Journal.