Angel Flight

Almost immediately upon arrival in our room they sent respiratory therapists in to begin therapy, which involved nebulizer treatments and chest beating.  He didn’t seem to mind.

They had prevented me from nursing him because they were afraid he would aspirate the milk and make his pneumonia worse.  I finally got permission to nurse him, and he ate like a pig.

I went to sleep, finally, around 7:00 a.m.  The Geek slept in a bit while Granny kept Mr. Charm, so they got to the hospital a little after noon.

The pediatrician on duty came to see me shortly before the Geek arrived and said that they were watching Mr. Happy closely, that they hoped they could care for him there but that there was a decent chance they would decide to transfer him to the Children’s Hospital in Little Rock.  As he explained, babies that are breathing as fast as Mr. Happy tend to suddenly crash and wind up on ventilators, and if they thought his breathing was not improving it would be safer for him to be at Children’s than at a hospital not specifically geared for kids.

So, we watched and waited.

At 4:00 p.m. the pediatrician came in to see us.  He said he was recommending that we go to Children’s and had called to ask for them to send the helicopter up our way.  It would take until about 8:00 p.m. before they would be ready to take him away.

So the Geek and I raced home, dropped Mr. Charm off at Granny’s again, and started packing.  I called my Mom to tell her what was going on and she volunteered to babysit Mr. Charm.  Suddenly there was a logistics issue on getting Mom to us and us to Little Rock as quickly as possible.  We made a plan before we even made it home.

As we were packing, the heavens opened up.  A lightning, thunder and rain storm hit like we haven’t seen since last year sometime.  As desperately as we needed rain in our area, all the Geek and I could think was “Really?  The night our precious seven week old baby is going to be flying in a helicopter is when we finally get rain and lightning?  UGH!”

So off we went, back to the hospital.  The Geek dropped me off and left immediately to get Mom from the airport.  (And God bless her for dropping everything and running to our rescue like that!)  I sat with Mr. Happy, waiting for the Angel Flight crew to arrive.

There was another baby in the ER that was going to be transported at the same time as Mr. Happy, and they thought the crew would pick that baby up first.  Because of that, and the terrible storms, it was 9:30 p.m. before they whisked him away.  The Geek and Mom just barely missed seeing Mr. Happy strapped into the flight stretcher before they arrived.

Strapping Mr. Happy in for the helicopter ride.

Mr. Happy wasn’t quite sure what was happening to him. Everyone was really great in how they treated him.

All strapped in, ready to go. He’s in a full 5-point harness under the blanket, then the whole travel bed is strapped onto the stretcher. For once, he was taking his pacifier.

We hopped in the car and headed out.

Not long after getting up to highway speed, the rain turned into a deluge.  We slowed to 30 mph and wanted to pull off the road, but couldn’t find anywhere safe to do so.  After driving like that for what seemed like an hour but was probably more like half an hour, we drove through a wall and came out on the other side into a world that had seen no rain at all.  It was uncanny how dry it was after being drenched for so long.

After that, driving was easy and we made good time.  We arrived at Children’s Hospital shortly after midnight, only to learn that we had beat the helicopter to the hospital.  Mr. Happy didn’t arrive for almost 20 minutes after our arrival.

Being woken up upon arrival to our first hopital room at Arkansas Children’s Hospital.

Taking him to the bed for examination.

The Angel Flight crew had a harrowing ordeal trying to get there.  They had barely taken off before having to land in the next town over, probably a 3 minute flight.  Then they took off again, only to be forced to land in another town, which is about 45 minutes away by car.  Finally they decided to call for a ground ambulance and drive to Little Rock, and halfway there a drunk driver rolled his car 7 times in front of them, and they were obligated to stop and help until local paramedics could arrive.  The whole crew reported that Mr. Happy slept through the whole thing.

(continued…)

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