Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Asthma Attack

Sorry it has taken me so long to write about what happened to our family this past Friday.  Needless to say our life has been extremely hectic lately!

So Friday, February 20th started out pretty normal for the Fries Family.  Owen, Lynlee, and I were all at home taking life easy.  Around 10:00 a.m. I noticed Lynlee started coughing, nothing alarming.  I checked her temperature and she had a mild temp of 99 degrees.  So, we laid on the couch together watching Thomas the Train (thanks Michele).  Slowly, she started get fussier and clingier.  Again, nothing out of the norm.  She always reacts that way when she isn't feeling 100%.  So Pat came home for lunch, she just got fussier and her cough became more frequent so he stayed and helped me put her down for a nap at around 1:00 p.m.  

She slept for only an hour which is unusual for Lynlee.  While she was sleeping she didn't cough at all, so I was thinking that nap was exactly what she needed.  She woke up even fussier.  Every time she coughed she cried, which was really often now.  I couldn't get her to stop crying.  My mom came over close to 3:00 p.m. with some of Lynlee's favorite things to make her feel better.  She still cried and didn't respond positively to any of GiGi's surprises.  GiGi started trying to convince me to call the doctor.  So I finally gave in and decided I would call my friend Lindsay who is a Nurse Practitioner.  I left a message on her cell phone and decided to call Pat at work.  I knew I would need him to take Lynlee to see Lindsay, because Owen is still to young to be hanging out at a doctor's office and we had friends bringing us dinner. 

I finally got a hold of Pat and he came home around 4:00 p.m. and took her to Lindsay's office in Fayetteville.  Pat mentioned he was worried about her breathing.  Right when Lindsay saw Lynlee, she immediately took her back and did an up-draft on her which shots albuterol (asthma med) into Lynlee's system through an oxygen type mask.  Lindsay said her blood/oxygen levels were in the 80's and normal levels are 98-100.  Lindsay also noted Lynlee's blue coloring and labored breathing.  Lindsay suggested for Pat to admit her to the hospital.  So both Pat and Lindsay called me and inform me of what was going on. I'm still at home with Owen (who is just 10 days old) and didn't want to go to the hospital with him in case Lynlee had RSV or something that could be harmful to him.  

Once Lynlee was admitted to Washington Regional, they starter her on a continous albuterol treatment.  After Lynlee was on the continious albuterol for about 2 hours a pediatrician came in to check on her progress.  The problem was....she wasn't progressing.  Her blood/oxygen levels were still really low and she was still laboring on every breath she took.  I'm really glad I was at home ignorant to what was going on, because everyone that saw her at this stage was completely frightened.  My mother-in-law informed me that the next step if Lynlee couldn't keep up with that breathing pace, they would of probably put her on a ventalator.  

The pediatrician immediately called Children's Hospital in Little Rock and informed them of Lynlee's situation.  They decided that she would be treated best at Children's plus they told the pediatrician to add some things to her treatment while we waited on the flight crew to get to Washington Regional.  

Talk about one of the hardest phone calls a mother could get.  The pediatrician called me directly.  I'm pretty sure I wasn't able to speak.  The doctor stayed on the phone with me for a fairly long time explaining everything.  While I was on the phone with him, my dad showed up and started helping me pack.  Just for the record, I didn't pack much that was really needed! I could hardly see through my tears much less think through all the thoughts that were going through my head.  Was this really happening? 

I started heading to Little Rock right away, thanks to my dad who tried to grab stuff that he thought Lynlee, Pat, Owen, and I would all need.  Pat stayed with Lynlee and was planning on driving down with his mom once Lynlee got on the helicopter.  It turned out that they flew in an airplane instead of a helicopter, so Pat was able to ride with Lynlee.  Thank the Lord, because I couldn't imagine being 2 1/2 on my first airplane ride with tubes and wires coming out of me.   

So we got to Little Rock and Lynlee was placed in pediatric ICU for 2 days, then moved to a regular room for the 3rd day.  She was on continuous albuterol for at least 36 hours.  That means our 2 1/2 year old little girl had to have an oxygen mask over her face for that long.  Not only that, but the albuterol was like a form of speed for Lynlee.  So here we have our 2 1/2 year old confined to a bed having to keep a mask over her mouth and nose with tons of wires coming out of her body AND she is hyper because of the meds that are CONTINUOUSLY going into her body.  Oh and did I mention the albuterol makes her shake and sweat.  ALSO, when she ate, she scarfed it like she hadn't seen food in 10 days.  It was definitely an experience I never want to go through again.  We could have done some great "say no to drugs" commercials just with Lynlee's behavior.

The final diagnosis was that Lynlee had an acute asthma attack.  Another ignorant moment for me that probably kept me semi-sane.  I thought that "acute" meant small because in Geometry the acute angle is the smallest angle.  Turns out that it means something more like severe! The pediatrician at Washington Regional said for her 1st asthma attack she had about a 10 out of 10.  
They don't really know what triggered the asthma attack.  The consensus was that she had a cold that triggered this one, but it could also be something that she is allergic to.  We are going to get allergy testing for her in the near future to see if we can narrow anything down.  They won't necessarily label Lynlee with asthma because that was her 1st recorded attack, even though it was a doosey.  It's a long-term diagnosis, so they don't always give it to kids.  Now that I know what was going on, I can nail down at least 2 other attacks, which were obviously not as severe.  

She is still doing albuterol treatments mixed with steroids.  Those will be over in a few days, but she will have to continue to take a steroid in the form of an inhaler indefinitely.  

I appreciate everyone's concerns, prayers, and encouragement.  It was unbelievable knowing the amount of people out there praying for Lynlee.  Praise the Lord that the episode is over and everyone is okay. I'm sure it will take Lynlee some time to get back to 100%, but it is great being home.  We have a follow up appointment tomorrow with our pediatrician.  By the way, Owen was a completely great baby the whole time.  He was raised by a village while we were in Little Rock, because one parent had to be with Lynlee at all times.  Thanks to GiGi, G-Pops, Noni, Aunt Kathy, Brooke, Michele, and Meagan plus all the people back at home offering to help and praying.

Here's a ton of pictures to show you what life was like for us!

This picture was taken at Washington Regional right before the pediatrician saw Lynlee.  This is the moment I'm glad I was not at the hospital.

This is still at Washington Regional.  Poor Pat, this is what the 4 days looked like for Pat.  Between Owen and Lynlee, I bet he is ready to not be sleeping in the hospital "chair/bed."

This is my pitiful baby and her "July bear" in the PICU at Children's.  

Here's a close-up of the mask we had to keep on her for approximately 36 hours straight.

Here is how my dad found Pat and Lynlee in the morning.  She's still in PICU, but she got her mask off in the middle of the night.  Her blood/oxygen level dropped again here, so they had to put oxygen on her.  At least the mask was off!  Later, Pat informed me that around this time Lynlee pulled her IV out.  She had just woken up and had the crazy shakes.  So she started pulling all the stuff off of her.  It turned out okay, because they decided to leave the IV off, which made her mobile!

Starting to feel better wearing Noni's glasses.

Now wearing GiGi's glasses!

This is an awesome thing about Children's Hospital....they have wagons!  When Lynlee was off all her wires and out of PICU, she was able to have a little freedom.  Pat took her on a few wagon rides which she loved.  Notice the blueish stuffed helicopter in her lap.  That was a souvenir she got from the flight crew.

Daddy and Lynlee in front of a waterfall in the hospital.  Did I mention I have the best husband in the world?  He is the strongest, smartest man I know not to mention he's an AMAZING father.  He never let me on that he was I know exactly how worried he really was.  Plus, I had several moments that I couldn't hold myself together and he stayed strong for me and Lynlee.  He was with Lynlee a majority of the time, and I could hardly last an hour with her. It was just so physically and emotionally draining for me to see her like that.  Pat and Lynlee really bonded during that time.  She has already told me that daddy is her best friend not mommy :(.  I seceretly love seeing her being a daddy's girl! 

This is my favorite picture!

They found a play center while they were on one of their wagon rides!  My cousin Brooke, Lynlee, and daddy all painting pretty pictures.

A close up of the future artist!  I can see a future career!

Sorry for the novel...there was a lot to say and I still left a lot of details out!


  1. poor girl! those pictures are pitiful. i can't imagine what you all were going through. glad to hear that she is doing so much better!

  2. I am sooooo glad she is better and every one is back home!

  3. WOW is all I can say! You guys had a wild weekend, especially with a newborn. I'm so glad that Lynlee is feeling better and I hope you guys have been able to get some much needed rest. Hopefully nothing like this will EVER happen again, but just incase, call me if you ever need anything when you're in LR. I can't imagine being in your shoes this weekend and would be glad to do anything to help you out. Take care!!

  4. I'm so glad you are all back home. I know that must have been extremely scary. You are all in my prayers!

  5. Wow! I am so sorry you had to endure all of that and with a little one to tend to. I am glad she is recovering well. Take care of those sweet babies! :)

  6. This post just broke my heart! How scary! I'm so thankful Lynlee is feeling better! I'll be praying this is one time thing for Lynlee. I hope the Fries Family has rest weekend! :)


  7. Poor Lynlee and poor you!! That does not sounds like a fun weekend. I can't imagine emotionally going through that. Please use this weekend to RELAX.


  8. Poor sweet little girl. I love the wagon picture, too. I just love seeing her smile! Tell her that her cousins are going to come play with her tonight. They can't wait.

  9. Hey Sarah! So glad Lynlee is ok and that you got her to the place where she could get what she needed. Your last few comments about Pat made me choke up...just knowing you are well-provided for and cared for and loved by a great man is wonderful. Blessings to you guys!

    Rebecca (Coach Mullikin) :)

  10. I am so thankful that Lynlee is okay! I was sure worried and know you must have been terrified! God is good and takes care of all our needs - isn't that amazing!

    We miss you guys!

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