Brittany and I visited my family in Birmingham this past weekend. We visited her family in Andalusia a few weeks ago. The trip to Andalusia was the first time Gaines stayed any where overnight (other than a hospital). The trip to Andalusia a few weeks ago went unbelievably smooth...so we figured the trip to Birmingham would be the same. Boy were we wrong.
The trip to Birmingham started just after work on Friday afternoon. Brittany buckled both of the boys in their car seats as I loaded the car with bags, oxygen tanks, concentrators, etc. After getting everything in the car, I went back in to the house to turn on the alarm. After I set the alarm and as I was locking the front door, I heard Brittany yell "Gaines is throwing up". Great.
Brittany took Gaines in to the house to change his clothes and wipe him down while I proceeded to remove the car seat full of throw up from the car. After removing the car seat, I quickly cleaned the upholstery in the car and then switched the car seat from my car and put it into the car that was packed for Birmingham. About that time Brittany emerged from the house with a clean Gaines. We buckled Gaines in and were off to Birmingham...only 20 minutes behind schedule. Crisis averted.
Twenty minutes later we were just north of Montgomery when Reed stated he was hungry. The delay from earlier meant there was no way to make it to Birmingham for dinner so Brittany gave Reed some goldfish crackers. Gaines started to make noise as Reed was eating so my lovely wife thought "Gaines probably wants a goldfish cracker". I couldn't believe it either...she gave Gaines a cracker. And yes, with 70 miles left in our trip Gaines threw up again. In retrospect, we should have seen the signs from God and turned the car around at that very moment. But instead, we wiped Gaines down as best we could and continued our journey.
As soon as we arrived in Birmingham, my mother took Reed from the car while Brittany immediately took Gaines to the bath tub. My brother in law and step father were gracious enough to unload our bags, oxygen tanks, concentrators, etc., while I removed a second car seat full of throw up.
After getting everything in the house I went to make sure all oxygen tanks were properly stored and concentrators were working. As I sorted through all of our stuff, I thought "I wonder where the boys' bag is". I asked my brother in law where they put the big blue duffel bag. And yes, he said "What big blue duffel bag". Unbelievable...we left Gaines and Reed's bag 90 miles away in Montgomery. We had no PJ's, no clothes, no tooth brush, and then it hit me...no SAT monitor for Gaines.
For those of you who don't understand the severity of this situation, let me explain. Gaines tends to move in his sleep and sometimes wiggles the oxygen prongs out of his nose. His SAT monitor measures the oxygen saturation levels (SATS) in his blood. When he wiggles the prongs out of his nose, his SATS drop and when they drop below a certain level his monitor starts beeping. The beeping wakes Brittany and me up and we simply put the prongs back in his nose. Thus, no SAT monitor means no way of knowing if his prongs are in his nose throughout the night. So you see the predicament...we must have a SAT monitor.
We considered everything. We called our home health supplier in Montgomery to see if they had a "sister" company in Birmingham that could loan us a SAT monitor. No such luck. We called home health companies in Birmingham and explained our situation...no luck. We called Children's Hospital in Birmingham and explained the situation. The hospital suggested we call a home health company. Long story short, after various phone calls and various favors we were loaned a SAT monitor from the NICU of Brookwood Hospital.
After the trip to the Brookwood Hospital NICU to get the SAT monitor, I arrived back at my parents house around 10 PM Friday night. We hooked up the SAT monitor and immediately went to bed. We quickly discovered the SAT monitor we were given was extremely sensitive. Every time Gaines rolled over the monitor would lose its "reading" and the alarm would go off. Brittany and I got a terrible nights sleep.
Saturday was a new day and would surely be better, or so we thought. My mother and Brittany went shopping Saturday morning to buy the boys clothes (remember we left their bag in Montgomery). After shopping, we all met for lunch. Of course, we forgot to bring Gaines anything for lunch. Luckily, Brittany found some snacks in the bottom of his bag. Believe it or not, lunch was pleasant.
After lunch we took Reed and Gaines to visit my grandmother. Both boys had a great time...there are finches at my grandmother's nursing home. They loved watching the birds. Soon it was time to go and we took the boys to their cousin's 3-year old birthday party. The party was at a church gym. The kids roller skated and there was a blow up "jumpie". Everybody was having a great time when Gaines threw up. Yes, that's the 3rd of the weekend if you're keeping count. Right in the middle of the birthday party.
Long story short, we finished the birthday party, ate dinner, and were getting the boys ready for bed. After putting Gaines to sleep, I proceeded to hook up the SAT monitor. his SAT's were in the 70's. Not good. Brittany and I quickly tried everything we could think of. We switched his probe, switched the oxygen line, turned up his oxygen. Nothing worked. As a last resort before taking Gaines to a Birmingham hospital, we switched him from his concentrator to an oxygen tank. As soon as Gaines was put on the tank, his SATS were in the high 90's. Of course, a fitting end to a wonderful weekend...Gaines' concentrator was broken.
Luckily we had enough oxygen tanks to make it through Saturday night and to get home on Sunday morning. Once we were home, normalcy began to set in. Thank goodness the weekend was over.
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that both boys were sick all weekend and we are taking them to the doctor first thing Monday morning.