Posts Tagged ‘
sick day ’
Thursday, June 23rd, 2011
Roy’s back-to-back bouts of illness got me thinking about when I was a sick kid. The drug store was in our small-town mall, just downstairs from the doctor’s office. While we waited for my prescription to be filled, I’d hang out in my beloved magazine aisle. This was one of those rare times that Mom would buy me an issue or two, so I’d make my selections carefully. Tiger Beat usually made the cut, especially if it featured Rob Lowe. Oh, sweet Rob. Is he literally the only teen heartthrob who’s successfully transitioned to adult heartthrob?
Back at home, I’d change into my most comfortable pjs and head straight for the flowered couch with the velvety gold piping. I’d burrow under the orange, white and brown zig-zag knit blanket, head resting on my bed pillow—a simple little piece of nighttime comfort that somehow held extra magic in this totally new environment. It was covered in the coolest Red Riding Hood pillowcase, fresh and ready for the occasion, featuring the wolf on one side and Red herself on the other. I’d occasionally rotate the pillow so each could have some time face-up.
The TV was on, though these were the days before cable and remote controls. Mom or Dad would turn on the most promising channel, and that’s where it would stay. I’d spend the early afternoon hours leafing through Tiger Beat and dozing to soap operas filled with argumentative and impeccably dressed women with really big hair. I loved how they’d slip off one giant clip-on earring before answering the phone.
While I remember being miserable, I also remember feeling cared for and safe. Things were going to be better. Until then, my parents would check on me, give me spoonfuls of pink medicine and glasses of normally forbidden soda on ice, and smooth the blanket, finding all the right places to tuck it in. As Roy grows older and we deal with the inevitable bouts of illness to come, I hope I can work the same type of parental magic and find just the right touches to take the edge off, transforming bad experiences into comforting memories.
Do you remember what made your sick days better? Any reliable tricks you pull out for your kids?
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Thursday, June 9th, 2011
It started two nights ago. Roy woke up in the middle of the night crying, covered in hives. This has happened a couple of times before, so we know the drill. We plied him with Benedryl and waited for it to do its thing.
Problem was, it didn’t do its thing. In fact, the hives got worse and his face and neck began to swell. Before we got in to see the doctor the following afternoon, the nurse told me that if Roy went down for his nap, I should watch him. “Like, sit in the same room and watch him sleep?” I asked. “Yes. Pull up a chair, read a magazine or something, and just monitor his breath every few minutes,” she said.
I only recently broke my habit of sneaking in to Roy’s bedroom each night to rest my hand on his back to confirm its rhythmic, familiar rise and fall. To have a professional not only endorse this behavior but mandate it scared me.
That afternoon, we saw the doctor, who said that Roy’s probably allergic to the amoxicillin he’s been on for about a week now. Treatment: Stop the amoxicillin. Continue with the Benadryl.
So we did our thing, and the hives certainly did theirs. They got bigger. And puffier. By morning, even his scalp was covered in red splotches he couldn’t help but itch, and his feet were so purple and swollen that the poor boy simply could not stand.
And so: Another trip to the doctor’s office, soon followed by baby’s first emergency room visit, a terrifying and heartbreaking milestone that makes you fight back tears like any other, but for all the worst reasons. Roy was a total trooper, wide-eyed and calm and quite patient with the poking and prodding and bringing in of various medical personnel to marvel at the painful welts covering nearly every square inch of his tiny body.
Both trips confirmed the probable cause but brought a new diagnosis: erythema multiforme. Textbook, apparently. The ER doctor led with, “I have bad news. This will probably get worse before it gets better.” I had a hard time picturing “worse” until he described the possibility of it spreading to his mouth or eyes. We’re to head back to the ER if this happens, or if he spikes a fever, or develops other symptoms. We were sent home with prescriptions for another type of histamine and Prednisone, to hopefully lessen the swelling and itching. They say it’ll soon plateau, and then taper off over a couple of weeks. I’m resisting the urge to Google “erythema multiforme” until the tapering starts.
The good news is, even though he still looks awful, little guy seemed to be feeling better tonight. In fact, on our nightly stroller ride, he got out and happily padded around the park in his slippers. (His feet are still too swollen for shoes.) So I’m desperately hoping for tomorrow to be better than today, and reminding myself, as I did last week, that unhappiness is part of the deal. But I sure could use a little happiness pretty soon here to balance these last couple days out.
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Wednesday, June 1st, 2011
I’m home today with a sick little boy. I knew it was no ordinary middle-of-the-night awakening when the panting started. Brief groans and cries = normal. Panting signaled fever. Unfortunately, I was right.
So I scrapped my long list of Things to Accomplish At Work Today and made a doctor’s appointment. Usually, I’d ride it out a bit, but Roy hasn’t been quite himself for a couple of days, so I figured we might as well get in and see if something out of the ordinary was going on. The morning’s fussiness and neediness turned to lethargy and then further degenerated into all-out bawling. He was inconsolable for the half hour leading to the appointment, in the waiting room and during the entire exam. It was easily the longest stretch of time that Roy has cried in all of his 16 months.
His fever was over 104. The doctor suspects strep. So now he’s loaded with Tylenol and antibiotics and sleeping fitfully. But sleeping.
It brings to mind an article my friend Frank wrote for The Rotarian recently called The Pursuit of Unhappiness. “In viewing unhappiness as a problem to be solved, might we not miss what a little sadness has to offer us?” he muses. Then he brings up those stories and studies we all read about that tell us that parents are not as happy as non-parents.
Having two young children myself, I can more or less confirm this is true. And yet, despite all the headaches, sleep deprivation, stained furniture, and general crabbiness, few parents I know regret their decision. One study even found that mothers ages 36 to 44 were less likely to be depressed than their childless peers, even if, at a given point on a given day, they may be less happy. Raising kids isn’t nonstop fun. But eventually (we hope) we’ll be better for it.
Today has been pretty much the opposite of nonstop fun. Still, days like today are part of the deal, and Frank is right: I wouldn’t trade that deal for the world.
I’ll accomplish things tomorrow. Today, I just want my little boy to feel better.
Image © flickr user PinkStock Photos!
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