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Flying to Brisbane – Kind of

Today was our travel day. Leaving Cairns on our afternoon flight to Brisbane for our last week of vacation. We got up, packed up and left Clifton Beach for Cairns. The plan was to spend some time in Muddy’s Playground on the Esplanade before having lunch and catching our flight at 2.

The playground was amazing! Spread out over a large area with different activities for the kids.

Our only downside was it started to rain while we were there. But even that was a light warm mist.

We left the playground and Chinese food was requested so we ended up at the mall food court. Surprisingly really yummy and cheap food! Then off to the airport.

I’ll note now that L had coughed a bit yesterday but we didn’t pay much attention to it. R and L have asthma that is activated anytime they get a cold. So we travel with an inhaler. We gave him a few puffs yesterday but he seemed fine. Well he seemed a bit wheezier today so we started him on his inhaler right way in the morning and throughout our time at the playground. By the time we got to the airport he was coughing almost nonstop. I alternated between wearing him or Nana pushing him in a wheelchair just so he wouldn’t exert himself too much.

We go through security after much baggage shuffling. (Tiger Air, ugh) L was really struggling to get enough air now and my mom alarms were going off big time. If we were at home I would have been headed to the doctors but here we are an hour or so from boarding a flight. We have reservations waiting on us, all the cost ramifications. But I asked Nana to try and find out if the airport had any medical services. I was hoping a doctor could check him out and give me some sort of advice. Well next thing I know, while I’m in the ladies room helping L get cleaned up. (He’d choke vomited twice.) I hear a man’s voice say, Police! Then in come two security guards asking about a boy in respiratory distress. Oh geez!

So we leave the ladies room and head over to our terminal. All Ty sees is us surrounded by 3 security guards. They’ve called the paramedics and the airport rescue firemen are on their way as well. Trying to stay calm, hoping we haven’t blown this asthma attack out of proportions but at the same time L is crying, coughing, and really struggling.

The security and firemen really have no medical supplies to help by they stay with us till the paramedics come. They also give L a special fire rescue stuffed bear. So thoughtful! Meanwhile an airport staff member has come over and ensures our luggage is pulled and is watching over our situation.

The paramedics arrive and begin to assess L. His oxygen levels are quite low, so they administer oxygen, albuterol, and a steroid. L shows immediate improvement! They also advise against traveling and want to take him into the Emergency Department. At this point there’s no way I’m arguing with the medical professionals. Do whatever we need to get L breathing easily.

I’m smiling so I don’t freak out!

They continued to give L medicine on the ambulance ride. His breathing eased so much he was finally able to relax and he passed right out in the ambulance. This scared the paramedic a bit. But it made perfect sense to me, since he’d been struggling to breath for hours his body was exhausted.

We went through quite the assessment upon arriving at the Emergency Department. Since it was a small child in respiratory distress he was considered a level 5 trauma. After a bit we were moved to the Pediatric Emergency Department. He started using a handheld albuterol inhaler, they monitored his oxygen levels, was he struggling to breath, how much abdominal breathing he was doing, and he had to go three hours in between treatment before we could be excused.

During this time Ty was getting our luggage, trying to research flight options, find a place to stay for 5 people, and whether or not to rent a car for the day. Thank goodness for our god send airport employee Helen. She gave him her number, said to call when L was cleared to fly and that we had two flight options available to the next day.

Ty got it all sorted and then the rest of the crew joined L and I in the Emergency Department.

After a bit we realized L was going to need to stay late for continued observation. He didn’t meet that first 3 hour deadline. So I sent everyone off to find dinner and sleep. L and I would join them as soon as we could, or they were going to admit him.

After way too much bad TV and games on my phone around 8pm the doctor finally said he’d finally met the 3 hour deadline and his oxygen levels looked good!!! Like all hospitals it was after 9pm before we got out of there. Everyone single staff member we met that day was extremely wonderful and kind!

L and I taxied to our hotel and we threw him into bed so we could get up early in the morning and hopefully catch a flight.

* Few things to note, we do not buy travel insurance, nor do the kids and I have health coverage. So we paid for this stay out of pocket. However, we do maintain credit cards that provide a certain dollar amount for travel emergencies. We will be submitting our hospital stay and our hotel room charge in hopes of reimbursement.

Also, I was the only one that had an international plan on their phone. We put it on one phone so we can text and make limited phone calls if necessary. But with no internet access at the hospital and no real way to communicate between Ty and I that was an additional stress. We ended up just texting and will see how much that costs us when we get home.

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