Sunday afternoon, Sophia walked into the kitchen, talking as she came. I glanced up from the bowl of yogurt I was stirring to look at her. I was shocked to see that her face was very blue – her lips were deep purple. I vaguely remember moving toward her and meeting her at the end of the counter. She was still talking to me. She had a short, pale pink dress on – and I lifted it up to see the top of her legs. Everything was very blue, an even, solid blue from the roots of her hair to her toes. I told her she needed a treatment, and walked quickly with her toward the school room, where the nebulizer was plugged into the wall. Glenn was coming out of there, looked at her and gasped. I nodded at him and said, “I know, I think she needs a treatment.” He thought she might be cold (the girls had been swimming about 1/2 an hour before), but I had just checked, and found her skin to be normal temperature, and it still was. Her hands were only slightly cooler, as though she had just washed them. She tried to grab Glenn’s hands and swing from them, but he told her to wait till after the treatment. She sat down quietly to draw, and Glenn gave her the treatment. By the time it was finishing, her color was returning. She was pale,but not blue anymore.
She seemed completely normal, and her breathing was not affected. I asked about the pool water – all the girls agreed it was comfortable, no one was at all cold. After their short swim, the girls all came in for showers. Isabella and Sophia took a shower together – they both told me the water was very warm. Isabella looked normal. No one was shivering. At this point, they had all been out of the pool for about 20-30 minutes, in addition to the time for the showers.
We asked about going under water – how long had Sophia held her breath and how many times? Alix and Sophia both said she only tried a few times, and only briefly.
Because she seemed normal, and her color had returned we didn’t feel she needed to go to the ER. If it hadn’t been Sunday, we would have called a doctor then. We were concerned – and confused. We talked about it that evening, trying to make sense of it. Trying to find a logical reason for it. But nothing added up.
It was obviously not due to cold – and the blue of her skin was the bluest I’ve ever seen on a person. Her skin was warm to the touch.
She wasn’t gasping for breath, and showed no respiratory distress – or any distress at all.
I have no idea how long she was blue before I saw her.
I called the pulmonologist Monday morning – but I wasn’t surprised they were out since it was Memorial Day. Meanwhile, Sophia continued as usual, as far as we could tell. I had gone to her room a few times during the night on Sunday and Monday to check on her, but she seemed fine. Her oxygen saturation and heart rate each evening were good.
I talked to the pulmonologist’s nurse on Tuesday morning. I explained everything to her – and she said she would have the doctor call me if she had any questions. After a few hours and no return call, I called the pediatrician’s office. The nurse there knows us well, and said she would talk to the doctor and call me back.
Shortly afterwards, the pulmonologist’s nurse called and said the doctor was very concerned – and thought it was a problem with the Autonomic Nervous System – the system responsible for involuntary responses. If it happens again, we are to take her to the ER so tests can be run.
I talked with our pediatrician soon after and he also told me he thought it was the Autonomic Nervous System. He agreed it was concerning and said he found it very unsettling. His instructions were the same as the pulmonologist – take her to the ER next time.
I talked to Sophia and the kids Tuesday evening and told them that if she (or anyone) turns a different color, they need to come to me right away, or call me if I’m not here. The older 3 kids all know how to give Sophia a breathing treatment if necessary.
We’re thankful for the many blessings surrounding the episode – she wasn’t in pain or afraid, I was able to see her and know something was wrong, and the only thing we could do – the breathing treatment – made a difference.
Maybe it won’t happen again – or maybe it’s God’s way of showing us that something inside her isn’t quite right. He knows, and we trust Him to let us know.