Down syndrome from a father's perspective.

Down With Pneumonia

To go or not to go to the ER, that is the question

Trey_hospital_march_2012 Because Treyton is our fourth child I believe my wife and I are a lot more relaxed when it comes to our kids getting sick; we do not run to the doctor for everything.  However, after Treyton struggled with a fever for several days my wife did take him to his pediatrician.  We found out there that Treyton had his first ever ear-infection as well as a slight case of pneumonia.  This is the classic “catch 22″ for any parent, you feel justified in bringing your child to the doctor because there was something wrong but then again, your kid is sick.

After Treyton’s doctor visit on Thursday we immediately started him on the prescribed antibiotics.  But, by Saturday, things were actually getting worse!  I went into the office very early Saturday morning to get some things done because I wanted to watch at least one game of Bailey’s (our oldest daughter) water-polo tournament.  At about 2 in the afternoon I went home to watch Treyton so my wife could watch Bailey play.  I sat with him on my lap for the next four hours.  The poor little man was whipped.

Leigh Ann and the girls picked up some pizza for supper and brought it home.  That is when we began the debate, should be take him to the ER or not?  We went back and forth and finally rested on a “mother’s intuition” and I drove him to the hospital.  It turns out that this is a story in support of moms with intuition, Treyton’s oxygen levels were in the upper 80′s.  Apparently that is the ticket to the front of the line because we got a room in the ER right away.

The start of a long week

For most kids the Down syndrome diagnosis brings along a lot of medical struggles (a completely unfair reality as far as I am concerned).  But not for Treyton; he has been the exception to the rule.  In fact, Treyton has actually been about our healthiest child yet.  This doesn’t mean that he hasn’t been to a lot of doctor’s appointments because he has.  But like I said earlier, this was his first ear-infection as well as his first serious illness.

I must say that even though I knew that kids with Down syndrome had frequent health issues it must not have sunk into my thick skull.  It has now!  That night and continuing well into Sunday, I was asked about Treyton’s health history by every doctor and nurse that came into our room.  And each time the response was some form of surprise as I told them that he did not have any lingering health issues.  We have been blessed!

The look of terror

During that first night Treyton had, what must have seemed to him, an army of strange faces hovering over him, poking and prodding him, and doing all kinds of strange things to him.  He was in a strange place; he was exhausted and confused.  Each time a nurse or doctor approached Treyton there was a look of terror in his eyes.  That look is something I will not forget; it killed me to see how scared my little man was.  It is times like those when you need to swallow your feelings and keep telling yourself that you have to do what it takes to help your kid get better.  It is not fun but it is a fact of parenthood.

Life on the 7th floor

Currently, Leigh Ann and I are focused on the numbers.  Treyton has now been in the hospital four nights.  We are counting the ounces of liquids he drinks and are making sure that the nurses weigh his diapers to make sure he is staying hydrated.  We are happy to see his oxygen level hit the upper 90′s but hate to see it fall into the 80′s.  He also gets breathing therapy every four hours.

The posse supports Treyton

This has been tough on Treyton but he is a fighter.  The one bright side is that he has had the opportunity to show people the old assumptions about kids with Down syndrome are outdated.  I believe that there are several nurses and doctors that will approach their next patient with Down syndrome differently after having worked with Treyton.

Still, it has been tough been tough on our entire family; it is not natural for us to be a split family unit.  Which is why it is so important to work to get all of the kids together at the hospital.  When that happens even the most mundane thing can become exciting.  Take a look at what happens to an animal shaped balloon when Treyton and his posse are involved.

Treyton is a life changer

When Treyton was born he immediately changed the lives of his parents and his three sisters.  He is an amazing little boy and I know that this is just the beginning of the impact he will have on this world.  Please join him and help change the way that this world perceives individuals with special needs.  We all have a place in this world.

Rob Arnold has been married to his high school sweetheart for almost 19 years. Together they have three daughters and one son. He earned his bachelor's degree in General Business from Grand Valley State University as well as an MBA in Strategic Management from Davenport University. He enjoys reading, hunting, scuba diving, and spending time with his family.