We arrived downtown at about 5:45 a.m. Joey met us there, but when we entered the building we were surprised to be told that only two of us could enter the building. My dad had come in on the ambulance with Riley so they didn't know he was there. The area around Children's is not the best and it was still dark outside. I wasn't okay with sending my mom back to the car by herself. So after walking her back to the car and making sure she was securely tucked away, I went to find Joey and find my boy.
We went straight to the ICU - unfortunately we had to walk right through the middle of the ER waiting area and all the flu contagious people on the way. When we arrived in the ICU, they had just put Riley into a crib. He was alert and interacting. Apparently he was telling the nurses all about how he had thrown up in the car earlier in the night. That's my boy!
ICU has all kinds of rules and we had to gown up and wear masks when in the room with Riley. But his numbers were looking better and he was acting better, so I was encouraged . . . and exhausted. The saddest part for Riley at this point was that he couldn't have anything to eat or drink, and after all of the breathing treatments he was DRY . . . DRY . . . DRY. His pitiful little voice kept coming out of that crib asking everyone who came near him, "Can I have a drink now?" "NOW can I have a drink?" and then in tears, "When can I have a drink?" It wasn't to be for a little while so we got him settled with a movie and more breathing treatments.
Around 8 a.m. Joey and I ran to the Starbucks in the hospital to grab some kind of breakfast. (My poor dad had taken this pregnant daughter of his in search of a Taco Bell around 2 a.m. the morning before and we had not been able to find anything open. I survived on peanuts and lemonade from the vending machine.) Shortly after we came back my parents returned and swapped out with us for a bit, so Joey and I walked to Denny's so HE could have breakfast. Apparently Starbucks doesn't count in his world.
I started crashing during the meal at Denny's, I couldn't hold my head up without propping it in my hands. Joey decided it was time for me to go try to get some sleep while he stayed with Riley for awhile. My parents hadn't slept all night either so about 11 a.m. we headed home. It was the most painful ride as we all tried to keep each other wake in order to make it to their house safely.
After only sleeping about two hours, I awoke with a start as if my brain could no longer be silenced. I had things to worry about . . . a child to watch over . . . issues to address. Unfortunately, my body wasn't cooperating. I forced myself to lay there for another hour before showering and heading back to the hospital.
My little guy had been showered with attention while I slept - his uncle, his Pawpaw Gary and Grandma Kim and my aunt had all come to visit. The ICU waiting room attendant apparently gave us special privileges because Corey was in uniform because he let all of those people wait in the waiting room, but kicked out any other family that had more than two people per patient in the hospital!
I checked on Riley briefly when we got back. They had finally decided he could eat and he had asked for nuggets, fries and ketchup! I made a special trip to Wendy's to get them and he was SO excited when I brought them to his room. He looked more himself if still subdued. He was playing with Hot Wheels and coloring in a coloring book that his guests had brought him while I was gone. I was encouraged, but still so exhausted.
My sister hadn't seen Riley yet, so she and my aunt stayed with him while Gary and Kim took Joey and I to dinner. I couldn't even eat. I did my best to force enough in to keep me from getting sick, but I was really just at the end of myself. I was SO emotionally, physically, and mentally tired.
Back in the ICU room Riley was doing well, so well they wanted to move him down the hall a bit so he didn't disturb the more seriously ill children and families. I even heard one nurse say, "He's not sick enough to be in ICU!" That was fine with me. In the new room, they put him in a 'big boy bed' and he entertained himself by using the bed controls to turn his bed into an everchanging series of "mountains and valleys."
My parents came back for the night around 8 p.m. so Joey and I could go home and sleep in our own beds. I was incredibly greatful for that. I'm not sure how we would have survived without it. I still felt like a truck had run me over the next day, but I didn't quite feel like I was dying.
We got a text from my mom the next morning around 5 a.m. telling us they had moved Riley to a regular room - Thank you, Jesus!