A silly pool game sent my daughter to the Hospital!
By: Lacey Grace, mother of two
I contemplated whether or not this was worth posting, and at the end of the day, I am where I am because of something another Dad posted sometime last year. If I can even help save one child, this is worth it for me.
Here it goes ... Elianna was playing in the pool with a “pool noodle” on Saturday, and as many many children do every day, she was blowing in one end and blowing water out the other. By 100% freak accident, Elianna put her mouth to blow out at the same time someone blew in the other end, causing the water to shoot directly down her throat. She threw up immediately but didn’t really have any other notable things happen. (Read more: How Safe are Public Pools?)
Thirty minutes after the “accident” she was totally fine - normal, playing, eating, etc. The next day, even, she was fine. Come Monday she developed a fever. Kids get fevers, this is normal. I didn’t think much. Tuesday, she slept most of the day but still overall looked fine. Sent her to school Wednesday and got a call in the afternoon that her fever was back.
I kept replaying that pool scene in my head and remembered reading a story last year about a Dad in Texas whose son passed away because he went untreated after inhaling a bunch of pool water. I wasn’t going to let that be Elianna.
We went from school to the urgent care, hoping the doctor would say “her lungs sound great, it’s just viral, etc.”. We were there about 10 minutes when the doctor said to get her to the nearest ER as soon as possible. Her heart rate was crazy high, her oxygen was low, and her skin was turning purple which suggested chemical infection.
Went to the nearest ER where they did a chest X-ray and showed inflammation and infection caused by pool chemicals.
Two hours later they transferred her by ambulance to an even larger hospital, so they could monitor her around the clock and have pediatric specialists keep an eye on her. She began treatment in the ambulance on the way over.
LONG STORY SHORT, Elianna has aspiration pneumonia and is now on oxygen and relying on it to breathe. They’ve tried to remove the tubes and give her a chance to breathe on her own, but her levels drop quickly. She’s had her second dose of antibiotic, but we haven’t seen much relief yet.
Her fevers have continued. Her heart rate has lowered so that is the only good news so far. At least two doctors now have told us “Thank God you got her here when you did”. All the major things going wrong are things you would NEVER notice by looking at her.
If your child inhales a bunch of water, and something seems off AT ALL, I encourage you to immediately get help. I wonder if I would have taken her Monday, would she be better off?? And I wonder if I waited longer what would have happened. It’s so scary.
For now, we just pray that the antibiotic takes in quickly, and her lungs can find a way to get rid of the pool chemicals. They will keep us until she’s fever free for 24 hours, her chest X-ray comes back clear, and she can sleep fully through the night without her oxygen levels dropping so drastically. If she requires more than 3 liters of oxygen we will be transferred to Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. We don’t know how long the road will be, but I thank my lucky stars that I read that article about the little boy.
I will find that article and write that Dad a letter, I promise you. I would have never taken her to the urgent care without that and God only knows how this would have ended.