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Down With The Sickness

Occasionally we receive illness warning notices from preschool via backpack-mail that will read something along the lines of; ‘flushing rotavirus’ or ‘scratch out lice,’ a few weeks ago ‘spot the chicken pox.’ Over the past four or five weeks, we tallied six doctor visits. Super-germs have infected my family.


The first in this latest rash of pediatrician visits happened to be on a ‘daddy day.’ Both Olivia and Hailey were ill. Olivia had a full blown ear infection, her ear-tube was obstructed by dried-up gunk and the excess fluid behind the blockage became infected. The previous evening she howled throughout the night, “my ear!” so I got out the thermal thermometer took her temp, it was a bit high. Then I got out the opti-scope checked her eyes, her nose, her mouth and her ears, “yup it’s her ears.”


Hailey was being checked-out because of a nasty cough she had been rasping for a couple days. Her lungs were good, ears good, throat and nose a bit irritated but no soars so her diagnoses was a bad virus and there was nothing we could do but ‘wait it out’ and let the thing, ‘run it’s course.’ I hate when doctors say that.


By Friday night, Hailey’s body temp hit 103 degrees. I gave her a cool bath and a dose and a half of Motrin which help a bit. Saturday morning I took her back into the doctor’s office. Same prognosis, a virus and possibly a different one. No medicine, no magic pill to make my baby girl all better or to make Kim’s and my anxious frustrations disappear. That night and Sunday day she had been vomiting all over the place. It was bad. Kim couldn’t clean it up fast enough and Mimi (our dog) kept attempting to help with the cleanup angrily repulsing Kim even worse. So I was trying to keep Mimi out of the toxic zones and at the same time hurrying Hailey to the bathroom aiming to consolidate the mess. By the time we would arrive at the bathroom she’d be finished heaving, marking a trail behind her, Mimi whimpering to lop it up, Kim chasing us toting paper towels with a squirt bottle of Clorox Cleanup endeavoring to swiftly sanitize and Olivia wanting to play along too thinking it was some strange game of follow the leader. This happened several times and I’m not even sure what I would have done if we made it to the bathroom in time anyway. The sink? The tub? The toilet? The toilet being the obvious choice however that would contradict the multitude of times I have explained to Hailey not to stick her head in the toilet.


Monday Kim stayed home from work with Hailey and took her to the doctor again. (If you’re counting, we’re up to three doctor visits). Still no real relief, no magic elixir. “Have her drink plenty of fluids and get plenty of rest.” Resting was not a problem; Hailey remained feebly comatose all day as Kim scoured the entire house attempting to take revenge on the microscopic germs. When I got home from work the house smelled of bleach, Clorox and Pine Sol, pleasantly burning my sinus cavities.


Kim’s TLC stopped the vomiting however by Tuesday’s ‘daddy day,’ out of repetition, I taught Hailey a new word, it was grimly humorous watching her expression as I gingerly pulled off her pull-up and she inquisitively inspected the damage, “(dia)rrhea?” My poor baby girl could barley sit down her inflamed diaper-rash was horrible. Olivia was such a good helper, retrieving fresh diapers, soaking cool wash cloths to lay on Hailey’s forehead, checking up on Hailey making sure her drink was full and she was covered up with a blanket. Wednesday I stayed home from work and it was more of the same although Olivia went to school and after we dropped her off, Hailey and I managed to stop at the store re-supplying our sicky essentials of jell-o, chicken broth, crackers and fluids.


Sad and scary to see Hailey so inactive, lethargically laying around barley enough energy to watch the Wiggles or Elmo. I spent the whole day forcing fluids down her, my arm extended, holding a sippy-cup near her head with an extra long straw attached to her mouth, a makeshift Gatorade IV. Thursday it was Kim’s turn to stay home again. Hailey’s health had improved enough for them to take an afternoon stroll around the neighborhood and we felt she was on the rebound.


Friday was a gamble she hadn’t had any loose stuff in a day, no fever for a couple days and her tokus-rash was almost gone so we decided that she was well enough to go to school. Well we were wrong, according to Hailey’s assistant teacher she had two instances of diarrhea, but they didn’t call us. That was somewhat of a let down and a bit irresponsible of the staff at her school. Hailey’s lead teacher was absent that day but still that was no excuse. Not only that, Olivia came home feverish.


Friday night Olivia ended up in our bed again. This time it was the other ear and Kim took her to the doctor first thing Saturday morning. This time they gave her Augmentin for the infection instead of the ineffective amoxicillin which she was prescribed last week. The doctor also instructed Olivia to follow up with our ENT specialist. Could this be something serious please not another surgery? She was actually felling better within a couple days and not complaining at all about her ear, for a princess she is tough.


The following Thursday I picked Olivia up from school early and we went to see the ear-nose-throat specialist. Her office is located within Children’s Hospital and every time we have an appointment there it takes forever. This visit was no exception; three hours elapsed from the time we arrived until the time we left. I think we saw the doctor for all of ten minutes. Both Olivia and Hailey had ear tube surgery when they were about ten months old. Kim and I really like the doctor; she is very personable and came highly recommended. I was expecting the worst. However she said everything looked normal and that the one remaining tube wouldn’t have to be forcibly removed unless it remained intact for another year, the other ear-tube dislodged itself and fell out months ago which was expected. I asked her if I should be concerned that after almost two and a half years Olivia contracted two back-to-back ear infections seemingly out of the blue. The ENT was so reassuring “we’ll just have to wait it out and see what happens.” Why didn’t I go to med school?


Our sixth doctor visit occurred a week ago on ‘daddy day’ and this one was a scheduled two year check-up for Hailey. She did an eye exam, a hearing test, height, weight, twenty developmental questions with our pediatrician (one question she asked if Hailey could jump with both feet leaving the ground all the while she was leaping from the doctor’s metal stepstool landing with olympic gymnast perfection) and a hepatitis shot which Hailey didn’t even flinch on not even a yelp or a tear the nurse commended Hailey for her bravery and I could overhear her bragging to all the other nurses, “she didn’t even cry!” Olivia stayed in the back ground absorbing everything asking endless why questions for every test Hailey had to endure. Olivia and Hailey were so well behaved, must have been all the practice as of late or the promise of the coveted lollypop.


Originally posted on BabyCenter.com 10/26/06

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2 Responses to “Down With The Sickness”

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