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Night Adventure

November 09, 2008 by Victoria Strong
Last night was a bit of an adventure. Thankfully, everything is fine and Gwendolyn is okay, but it was all a bit unnerving. It started with Gwendolyn being fussy and seeming uncomfortable almost from the moment we put her to bed. She didn't have much gas when we vented her, but she was squirming and even waking up in cries of pain. This is unusual. I think she is cutting teeth on the top and the painful part of that kicked in last night. Her top gum has been swollen for weeks and she's been drooling like crazy, so that is the likely problem. However, it is always worrisome when she fusses because she does so rarely that we wonder if it is something more. We gave her Motrin and she finally seemed to settle a bit more comfortably around 9:00 pm.

Then Gwendolyn's pulse oximeter that measures her heartrate and the level of oxygen in her blood decided to pack it in at 10:30 pm. We use the pulse-ox as a tool to help monitor Gwendolyn while she's sleeping. And while Gwendolyn is the first alarm bell with cries and looks of distress, the pulse-ox tells us what we are dealing with, how much oxygen she is getting, and how distressed she is feeling. It was critical on the night her lung collapsed in letting us know an ambulance was needed. On a nightly basis, it also helps tell us how deeply she is sleeping and can signal the need for suctioning. So, after trouble shooting for 30 minutes, I woke Bill to tell him and we agreed we would call our equipment company to get a new one in the morning, but to alert the nurse to wake us with the slightest concern. What more could we do? Neither of us was thrilled with this happening at night.

The topper of the night, however, was just as I was explaining the pulse-ox situation to the nurse, suddenly, the power in the entire house went out. Great! We both immediately went into emergency mode: grab flash light quickly, check that Gwendolyn's bi-pap backup battery kicked on, and that she is breathing. All is okay. I was sure it would come back on in a few minutes, but after gathering flashlights from all our just-in-case spots and preparing Gwendolyn's food for the next day in the dark, it still wasn't on. I hated to do it, but I knew the bi-pap battery would only last about 5 hours, so off I went to wake Bill up once again. Poor thing gets so startled when I wake him in the night and just as he was sleepily processing the information, the power turned back on. Whew. Good news. Ten minutes later -- out again. No worries, we have another back up battery, a power inverter in the car, and a generator, don't we? Uh oh, bad news is Bill reminded me we no longer have the generator in our garage because we returned it to our friend and forgot to buy one. Oops! (Guess what Bill is doing right now.) We went through a power outage this summer and are on a priority list with the electric company because of Gwen's breathing machine. The last time this happened we called the electric company and, even though the entire city was still black, our block had full power within 30 minutes. Well, this time, not so lucky. The electric company was apologetic, but had no information. We knew we had some time so decided to call back in an hour if the power wasn't back on. While we waited, Gwendolyn woke up sobbing and wouldn't go back to sleep. I still think it is the teething, but when Gwendolyn cries, she can not breathe and when she is tired, she can not breathe. Plus, she is rarely inconsolable, so now everything was starting to get to me. I reminded myself to take a deep breathe or it only makes things worse when Gwendolyn senses my tension. Finally, after much back rubbing and singing, she fell asleep. But, the power still wasn't on. Bill called the electric company again and again the woman was apologetic, but still had no information. And this time she told us we should start preparing to go to the hospital if our backup power was running low. Super. We ran through how much time we had on the battery, how much time the extra backup battery had, how much gas we had in the car to run the inverter, and decided we still had a few more hours to stay home and hope the power comes back on. We both tossed and turned, got up and checked Gwendolyn and checked in with the nurse, and tossed some more. Finally, at about 2:00 am the power turned back on.

Needless to say, we are all tired, but mostly relieved that it was only a small adventure and not a trip to the hospital night. The generator is literally on its way for a next time. And so, to all our neighbors, we apologize that the next time the power goes out and you all don't even know it yet because it is in the middle of the night, it is going to be loud.

PS
Gwendolyn is definitely teething. Today she wants to chew all the toys she lost interest in months ago. Out came the teething toys I had never even opened -- a scented plastic pizza, Oreo, and brownie...Yum!!!

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