The Highs and Lows of a Mountain Vacation, Chapter Two


About 20 minutes after having the BEST PARTY IN THE WORLD, we (that is, my sister, brother-in -law, hubby and mom) were tired and joyous. I had been giggling so much during the party, my cheek muscles hurt. It was midnight, we were happy but tired. It was time for bed at least that’s what we thought…

But then my sister Denise, heard her 2 1/2 year old son Jon rustling in his bed, coughing and acting listless. She picked him up and tried soothing him. Throughout the day, Jon seemed a little sick. During our party, however, he polished off five cookies without a problem. Now my little nephew was having some trouble breathing.  Denise thought he might have a slight touch of the croup and figured a trip to the doctor’s office tomorrow might be warranted.

Then Jon began to have even more labored breathing. He became more agitated and inconsolable. Denise and JD called their pediatrician’s emergency phone number but by then Jon’s breathing had rapidly worsened. We were all running around trying to figure out what to do. A sense of panic filled the cabin even though we all tried to keep it together. “I think he’s going to have a seizure!” Denise shouted to JD. Denise rushed Jon into the bathroom and we cranked on the hot water to create steam. I ran to the bedroom to get Jon’s beloved stuffed cow and threw it into the bathroom

But nothing was working. Jon’s lips were turning purple. We thought he was going to lose consciousness. Just 30 minutes before, we had been yukking it up and having a blast. Now we were in a frenzy as 911 was called. Here we were in a cabin high atop the Smoky Mountains with no idea where the nearest hospital was with a child who needed urgent medical attention. By the time the ambulance arrived, Jon had calmed down but now his face was pale, he was not reacting even when the paramedics were handling him. They found his oxygen saturation level unacceptable and Jon and Denise were whisked away to the hospital via ambulance. 

It was a long, long night. Repeated steroid injections and breathing treatments finally got Jon stabilized. They thought at one point that he was going to be admitted to the Children’s Hospital in Knoxville. My husband accompanied JD to the hospital while Mom, my boys and I stayed home with baby Josiah who happened to have a fairly restful night, thank you Jesus! It was past 2am before Mom and I got to sleep. Everyone who went to the hospital didn’t sleep. We were all zombies Monday morning. Jon slept for long stretches all through the day but was much better than hours before. Kids are more resilient than grown-ups, that’s for sure. 

Jon will be seeing a pediatric pulmonologist and he was acting his hilarious self on Tuesday when we all returned home. He was getting in trouble, bopping his brother on the head, drinking juice and talking up a storm. You would have never known he had been so sick. Apparently there was a point when his oxygen saturation levels were 50%, which is very poor. Now he’s our full-tilt toddler again! Hallelujah!

There were a few moments of levity at the hospital. Uncle Mark was quite the hit when he put a rubber glove over his head. JD took this picture on his cell phone. 

What a night, huh?

4 thoughts on “The Highs and Lows of a Mountain Vacation, Chapter Two

  1. Well, I guess we officially took the “let’s go the hospital on vacation” thing from you. Seriously, we so appreciate you guys helping us. What a scary, scary night!

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