Thankful for Sunsets and Small Town Hospitals

Thanksgiving at the lake…

Thanksgiving at the lake

This Canadian Thanksgiving, my husband and I packed up our four year old Olivia, our dog, AJ, and headed to my mom’s cabin in the Cariboo of BC. For the first time ever, our nine year old son opted to stay home for the long weekend so he could attend a sleepover at his best friend’s house. (Fortunately, Susan was able to have him stay with her for the rest of the weekend.)

The weather was incredible and every day and night we got to enjoy this unbelievable view. Pretty darn hard to not be thankful in such a beautiful place!

Olivia came down with a bad croup cough on Sunday, but I wasn’t worried. Neither of my kids have ever required medical intervention with their croup. That night, when her cough woke her up, Olivia and I had a midnight cuddle out on the deck breathing in the cool air to try and help her breathe. And I thought that would be the extent of our croup remedies.

But this morning, about twenty minutes in to our six hour drive home, Olivia threw up all over herself, her booster seat, etc. Lovely. Cleaning up vomit with hand sanitizing gel and kleenex, and stripping off your preschooler’s puke-soaked clothes on the side of the road is definitely a low point in parenting.

When we got back on the road, Olivia was pale and weak, fading in and out of a restless sleep. Her breathing sounded bad and I started to get more concerned. Soon, the wheezing was serious and she was crying that she couldn’t breathe. I could see her sucking in for air that wasn’t reaching her lungs.

We were on a country highway, one hour from the nearest city. Phil tried to searched his phone to locate a hospital but our connection was too weak. So I phoned Susan for her to Google as we continued to drive. There was a very small “town” about ten minutes away and we hoped they could direct us to a hospital.

As soon as we pulled into the cafe/gas station, I ran in and asked the cashier where the nearest hospital was. Miraculously, there was a small hospital in a nearby town ten minutes off the highway!

At this point, I was not picky about what kind of a facility we would take. I was straight up scared.

But this small town hospital was even better than a crammed city hospital. We walked in and spoke to the doctor right at the triage station. We were immediately taken into a room, Olivia was assessed and receiving treatment within ten minutes of arriving. It was fantastic.

Thank you small town hospital for being there when we needed you — when driving an hour with our wheezing, breathless daughter was unbearable.


Sure, a tiny hospital can only treat simple cases. In fact, a helicopter arrived while we were there to transport another emergency patient to the city hospital.

But today, that hospital in the middle of nowhere was perfect for us. It was there and they had everything we needed — Ventolin, prednisone, epinephrine and a very kind nurse.

Yes, I am thankful this year for sunsets and small town hospitals and my little girl, breathing.

P.S. Has your child ever had to have emergency treatment for asthma or croup? How close is your nearest hospital? Where have you had to seek medical help when on vacation?

Written by Janice Croze, co-founder of 5 Minutes for Mom.
Wanna chat? Find me at: @5minutesformom, @janicecroze and


  1. says

    I glad to hear that you were able to get the assistance you needed where and when you needed it. So many small towns are losing their hospitals… I worry about the people in those communities.

    I have to say that when you say that the service was better than in a big city hospital, I have to timidly raise a hand. If you’re daughter was in respiratory distress (which by the sounds of it she could well have been), then she would have been rushed in due to her triage.

    Many hospital have the ABCDE triage method which is: Airway, Breathing, Circulation, Disability, Exposure. This means that those with most life threatening issues will be seen before those with less deadly medical problems.

    With four children of my own, I have made my fair share of hospital visits. Currently my nearest hospital is within a 5 minute drive. I used to live 30 minutes away from a hospital, but with severe food allergies in the family, I like the fact that we live much closer to a hospital now.

    • says

      Oh yes – I realize that Olivia would have been triaged! It was just nice to have a peaceful, small hospital after all the crammed ERs I have been in over the years!

  2. Selene M. says

    My husband developed signs of Lyme’s Disease 2 weeks after a tick bite and we sought help at the Palacios, TX Community Hospital. We were seen immediately, and the service was great. These are the type of places you hope you never need, but thank God they are there!

  3. says

    I am so glad that Livvie got the help that she needed!! I haven’t had to seek emergency care for my kids while on vacation, but when I was single and on a study abroad trip in Mexico, my roommate split her head open and we had to find a hospital for stitches. It was scary and definitely not what we were used to in the States, and she ended up having to have it re-down once we got back to where we were staying…but at least it helped her in the immediate.

  4. says

    I am so thankful Livvie is okay. How scary that must have been. When my 8yo son was born, he had severe asthma and we were always in and out of hospital seeking treatment. Once we were in the mountains and I had to drive about an hour to get him in for a treatment. Although I am thankful my local hospital is just about a 10 minute drive, I can’t say the service is always great.

  5. Lisa says

    My daughter now almost 4 years old gets croup every year! She just had it last week! When she was 5 months old she had croup so bad she was airlifted to a bigger city hospital. We live in a little town in Iowa. The hospital we go to is about 20 minutes away! Now when she gets croup we just take her to the doctor and get predinosone! Glad that you could find a hospital to help your daughter! It is never fun to have a sick child!

  6. says

    Oh my! How scary. Glad to hear she is ok!

    I have never had to deal with hospitals while on vacation. I have had to clean up a vomit filled toddler on the side of the road by myself an hour into a 4hr trip in freezing weather….definitely not fun.

  7. says

    I remember the 1st time one of mine had the croup. I was inexperienced and rushed her to the hospital. Thing was, it was middle of the night, hubby was working night shift and I had a 9 year old, and a 2 month old in addition to the 2 year old with croup! What a mess!
    We were on vacation in PA years ago and our 5 month old was running a fever for several days. We did not have a thermometer with us, and finally asked the hotel manager for a pediatrician recommendation. When we got her there her temp was 105! Talk about guilty mommy syndrome! After a urine culture and bloodwork, it was determined it was just a virus, but still very scary when out of town and away from your own doctors!
    Glad you were able to find a hospital!
    How to stop wasting time

  8. says

    I am so happy to hear that you had wonderful people taking care of your sweet little girl. I hope her health continues to improve. You do have a lot to be thankful for!

  9. says

    It wasn’t for asthma, but my medically complicated child got sick when she was about 2 and we were vacationing 8 hours away from home. We received compassionate, top-notch care when she was admitted to the PICU unit at East Tennessee Children’s hospital for a few days.

    I’m glad you were also able to get good care for your daughter while you were traveling.

  10. says

    So glad you found help right where you needed it for your daughter!

    When my 3 year old son was a baby we traveled to a little bitty town to visit my Husband’s Grandfather over the Christmas Holiday. He became sick the first night we arrived. Coughing terribly and all stopped up. He started running a fever. I was so worried being in a small town not knowing if there was anywhere there I could take him.

    My husband called his aunt and it turns out there was a small children’s hospital right in that little bitty town. We called them up and they got us right in. Turns out my son had an ear infection. They gave him some antibiotics and something to help with his cough and we were all able to relax and enjoy the rest of our vacation!

    I too am thankful for small town hospitality!

  11. says

    My 7 yo son had an allergy-induced asthma attack on Christmas Eve while visiting family 2,000 miles from home. Fortunately a hospital was 10 minutes away and they whisked him right back once the triage nurse saw how much trouble he was having breathing. We’ve always lived within very close distance of a hospital which has always been reassuring. We will also never again travel without his inhaler.

    Oh and I’ve also done the clean up vomit on the side of the road thing, it’s definitely not fun! Sadly that was on the way to the airport and he again vomited all over himself and me while 30,000 feet in the air.

  12. says

    2 years ago we were visiting my in-laws at Christmas and on Christmas night my son had such a high fever we ended up in the ER since it was the only thing open. They just told us to double dose with tylenol and IB profun and gave us a huge bill. I am NOT a fan of having to visit anyone other than my regular doctor. :(

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