Posts Tagged ‘sick’

What Shigellosis Has Taught Me

photo 4 (6)Nine days ago, Wes woke up with a badly soiled pull-up. I thought it was just a fluke – he never has accidents anymore – and told him to let me know when he had to next go to the bathroom. He said, “ok,” and acted mostly normal while we had breakfast and got ready for school. In the car on the way to school, he complained of stomach pains and kept saying, “I have to go poop” over and over again. I turned the car around and headed back home.

Without being too gross about it all, we spent the majority of that day in the bathroom. Thankfully, he’s potty trained and could go by himself, but I had no idea what this thing was and might have been overly cautious about washing his and my hands and everything else in the bathroom. Thank goodness I was careful.

The next day we went to the pediatrician who ordered a stool culture before any antibiotics or medication would be given. I was sent home with 3 vials, gloves and a toilet seat “hat” collection bucket with a chuckle from the lab nurses. You can imagine the scene there. After FOUR DAYS, we finally got a positive test result confirming Shigella bacteria, or Shigellosis – which is modern-day dysentery.

Since Sunday’s lab result, I’ve talked with the Board of Health, his pediatrician and daycare umpteen times. Antibiotics were finally prescribed after the positive result, and we have to wait until the antibiotics run out (5 days total) until he can go back to school. The difficulty is that it’s now been a week and a half, and his body is fighting this bacteria very well. He’s acting normal and doesn’t even have diarrhea anymore – he hasn’t, actually, since last Friday – four days ago.

Juggling time at home for nearly 2 weeks has been a little workout. Here’s a few things I’ve learned about this experience.

1) If you have a parent in town, thank your lucky stars. And thank THEM. My mom has been a lifesaver, watching Wes many of the days so that Steven and I can work fairly normal schedules. It’s a blessing that she is retired, too. And bonus points for cleaning the inside of the fridge and microwave.

2) Productivity of the work kind is best when the household is asleep. But a great secondary option is to bank on excellent weather and a wireless connection. We’ve spent so many hours outside so that Wes can run off some cooped-up energy while I catch up with email and needed correspondence.

3) A small church family is incredibly supportive. Both Steven and I had obligations early Sunday morning, so we naturally brought Wes with us. We didn’t have a positive test result yet, and I really thought it was just a virus (like his pediatrician also thought) since he was feeling more himself. But, after talking with a few of the leaders, we decided he shouldn’t be around other kids. All of the adults worked around this hiccup and combined classrooms so that he could be in the “quarantine room” and not accidentally infect anyone else. What other church can (and cares enough) to do that for your family? Ok, maybe yours can, too, but I’m grateful for mine!

4) Understanding coworkers makes life easier. I am grateful for the listening ears, flexibility and caring coworkers around me. People genuinely ask about Wes’ health and offer to help – even my coworker who is on maternity leave has offered to stand in as needed! Crazy.

5) You can still have fun when sick. I guess the biggest lesson for me has been to keep each day light and without expectations. Poor Wes truly misses his friends at school and can’t wait to go back. He has been grumpy, bored and irritable on the days where I try to do too much at once. The best remedy? Get on the floor and be goofy with your child. Have a dance party. Bring out toys long forgotten. Snuggle and watch a movie.


Wes has the best little boy humor. He can easily make fun of himself in embarrassing situations, like last week’s crazy bathroom fest. During bedtime stories the other night, he tooted something rancid and giggled at himself for a good 10 minutes.


He’s played with trains for days, and he hasn’t gotten sick of them yet. And occasionally, he’ll grab his camera to take some great, blurry photos of trains.

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One day, we found a grasshopper outside and invited him in for dinner. (We released him before the storm came.)

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The great outdoors heals everything. Especially when it’s sunny and 70 without a cloud in the sky.

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Here’s to 2 more days at home with the best sick kid this side of Indianapolis.

Posted: September 23rd, 2014
Categories: Leah
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First Asthma Attack

Another check box marked off the list – first major asthma attack. Thankfully, it happened while already in the car on the way to the doctor, but it made it all the more frightening. How the heck do you comfort a terrified child while driving?!

It started this morning around 4 a.m. Wes woke up with typical asthma-like symptoms that we usually see when he’s fighting allergies or a cold. We did a neb treatment and both went back to bed. When he woke up again around 7:30, he was worse. I gave him some Zyrtek and tried another treatment, thinking that would hold him over until we arrived at my parents’ lakehouse, where we had planned to spend Good Friday with family for Easter fun.

He didn’t respond well to the treatment and complained, “breathing, breathing, Mama” while I was trying to get things packed and out the door. I told him to wait until I was finished showering and then we could figure out what to do to make him more comfortable. (My original thoughts were to just do another treatment, but I really don’t like to squeeze in more than one within a 2-hour period of time.) Honestly, I didn’t think he was nearly as bad as he was at that time. I figured he’d eventually clear up.

We got into the car, and I saw just how much his chest was heaving. He didn’t act much different, but I could tell he didn’t feel that great. I kept telling myself that we’d just do another treatment as soon as we got to the lake (about an hour’s drive), and he’d be ok. But after I backed out of the neighborhood and onto the road, I saw just how uncomfortable he was. He squirmed and grunted, and I knew it was getting bad, fast. I called Steven and my parents, told them I’d be calling the doctor based on his asthmatic symptoms and would give an update later. Next, I pull over, called the doctor, and told them he 1) hadn’t responded well to his treatment earlier and was now 2) starting to complain about it. They said they’d see me around 10, but I told them I was already in the car and could just go now. They agreed and said they’d fit us in.

I felt better already. At this point, it was just a precautionary “mom-thing.” I redirected to the pediatrician. Wes was starting to get really agitated in the backseat, and I turned around to say, “It’s alright, honey; we’re going to see the doctor to help you breathe.” In the next 30 seconds, my heart raced to unprecedented speeds. He wrinkled his face, started turning blue, choked and then vomited mucus all over himself and carseat. Wailing, shrieking and terror spread all over his face. He couldn’t catch his breath. “MAMA!” (Help.)

This all happened while I was driving. I said silent prayers to let us make it another 5 miles to the pediatrician’s office. I held on to the steering wheel with one hand and grabbed his sweaty palm in my other. I tried with all my might not to show the fear that was overtaking me. The thing that gave me hope was the fact that he was ABLE to wail – so therefore, he could at least breathe somewhat.

The wait in the ped’s office seemed like forever. Wes was terrified and couldn’t calm down; screaming, crying, flailing uncontrollably. The poor people around us probably thought he was demented or I was a horrible mother. Somehow managed to prepay our copay, wait for 10 minutes AND then take his weight before sitting in the patient room for another few minutes of inconsolable crying. The nurse (we love her), hurried through the oxygen level-taking process and quickly got the neb treatment going.

photo (11)Almost instantly, Wes calmed down. It’s like he finally believed me that I was trying to help him. For the previous 45 minutes, he used up all his strength to not only breathe, but also to demonstrate his very real fright. He closed his eyes and took deep breaths from the nebulizer mask. Still short, choppy breaths, but as deep as he could manage. Fell asleep.

It’s at this moment that I thought of Mary, mother of Jesus, on Good Friday. Surely she felt the same hopelessness when she watched her son suffer on the cross at Calvary. She couldn’t open up his lungs, patch his wounds or dry his tears. Surely her heart broke into a million pieces as she heard him cry out and sigh. But unlike Mary, I was able to hold and comfort my son. I was able to see improvement. I nearly lost it in that patient’s room, but I knew he would be okay. We were surrounded by people who would help my son.

What a horrible, tragic day Good Friday is. Our world lost a Savior, a Promised One. Thankfully, we know it’s not the end of the story, but the folks in that present time did not know or expect the glorious rising to come a few days later. This morning, my heart ached not only for Wesley, but for Mary, too, as she mourned the worldly death of her son Jesus.

During one of the neb treatments, Wes opened his eyes, looked right into mine, and said, “That was scary, Mama.” “Oh, I know, honey. I was scared, too, but you’re okay now. You’re getting better.” “Yeah. Thank you, Mama.” Eyes closed again. He relaxed.

Four rounds of neb treatments later, Wes’ pediatrician finally released us. It took over an hour to get him stabilized, and we now have an actual diagnosis of asthma to deal with. More steroids, too. We’ve already gotten lots of use out of our home nebulizer, but it’s now going to be a daily staple and part of our morning routine.

We did go to the lakehouse afterwards, which is another blog post for another time, and ended up completing a similar set of back-to-back neb treatments there before coming home, and did it yet again before bedtime. He’s still wheezing and not fully inhaling, but we’re getting somewhere. The poor kid. He’s handling it like a Champ, and I know his body is working hard to do something we all take for granted. I’m a proud mother, and I’m a thankful mother. He’s going to be alright.

Posted: April 18th, 2014
Categories: Leah
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Comments: 1 Comment.

Two, Spew and the 2-hour Tantrum

photo (6)He’s really a good kid. His teachers tell me, unprompted, that he’s an entertaining and mostly obedient child in their class. And he makes friends much more easily these few months. But I tell you what. He’s definitely TWO.

Because Halloween evening’s weather was the pits, the city moved treat-or-treating to the following night, which was yesterday. Our office closed early both days, so I was excited to spend the afternoon with my buddy. Steven left early yesterday morning for a weekend-long business trip, and I was thinking how fun it’d be to get a Papa Murphy’s pumpkin pizza and pass out candy to the neighbor kids.

I finished some errands before heading to Wes’ preschool. His class was still sleeping, so I waited a few minutes until he woke up to make sure he was good and rested for the evening. “Hi, Mama!” Seriously, he kills me with his over-excitedness to see me out of his ordinary schedule. On the way home we talked about pumpkins and what to eat for dinner. (Usually chicken nuggets is suggested from the back seat.)

Since it was too early to eat when we got home, I thought it would be fun to watch some annoying, kid-friendly Halloween shorts on Netflix. Wes wasn’t interested in any of the crackers or snacks I brought out for him, which I thought was weird. We watched a few minutes of Thomas the Train Spooky Stories, and then, out of the blew, Wes vomited all over the couch. It’s the first time I ever saw him throw up. Ever.

The poor kid was so distraught and confused. I took him to the bathroom to hose him off a little and console him. I cleaned up the couch, and he seemed normal enough, so we watched a few more minutes of Thomas. Mistakenly, I gave him a package of fruit snacks that he quickly gobbled up. Within minutes, there was another watery mess on the floor to clean up. The weird thing was the consistency of the vomit – mostly water. I figured he would soon get dehydrated if this continued, so we packed up to get some Pedialyte, and guess what? I was the mom with a spewing kid in a store isle!

Weirdly enough, we made it through the majority of the evening pretty well. I didn’t know what this kid HAD, so not only was I responsible for a public vomit-mess, I was also the person with lots of candy and no porch lights on. I felt so guilty every time a group of kids came on our porch. I felt like I was hiding from salesmen or Mormon missionaries. And now what do I do with all this chocolate?! Now I realize the enormity of the Halloween candy haul problem. IT WILL GET EATEN.

We hunkered down and watched Dumbo – mainly to distract Wes enough during the 15 minute intervals between small Pedialyte dosages. He was sooooo thirsty and whined for “MORE WATER.” I knew he would guzzle down too much and spew it back up if I let him, so it seemed like a very long movie. All was pretty well until he got up to go to bed… and you can guess. Ugh. #4.

Now here comes the part where I say he’s “definitely two.” See, typcially, Wes is super easy to put down for bed. And he was again last night. He brushed his teeth happily and laid down and repeated all the words of my prayer, as usual. I went back into the living room to eat some candy and actually have dinner (since I felt bad he couldn’t), and enjoyed a little “me” time. But around 10:30, he whined enough for me to check in on him. Instead of going back down, as he usually does, he sat straight up and refused to go back to bed. Maybe it was because Steven wasn’t home, or maybe he just felt awful – or both, really – that for the next TWO HOURS STRAIGHT he screamed, cried, wriggled, and nearly lost his voice in defiance.

I’ve been offering choices to Wes over the last few months to help him feel like he has a little more control – though he is actually doing something under mine. So for what seemed an hour, I calmly explained that I could see he was upset, but that it was time for bed and why it was important, blah blah and gave him the choice to go to bed 1) in his room or 2) in my bed, with me. I really thought this would be a no-brainer, even though I really didn’t want to give him the option to sleep with me. Instead, this only prolonged his full-blown tantrum. I tried everything. Putting him back into his bed and letting him cry with fingers crossed he would eventually fall asleep (nope, only worsening screams), holding him in bed with me as he tossed and wrangled, letting him throw a fit on my bedroom floor, thinking it would be ok if he fell asleep there (nope), offering more “water,” putting him in time out…

I mean seriously. It was almost 1 a.m., and I considered strapping him into his carseat and driving to my parents’ house. I almost expected to hear a knock on my door from how loud and how LONG he screamed bloody murder. I’ve never seen anything like this from him. Of course I wondered if maybe delirium was possible from dehydration and if I should take him to the ER… everything crossed my mind.

Finally I broke. I looked at Wes and started sobbing. Through tears, I told him I didn’t know how to solve his problem, but that I loved him. And that I was sad and tired. I set him down and walked to my bedroom. He stopped screaming, followed me down the hallway, raised his arms up and snuggled into bed with me.

From toddler kicks and jolts throughout the night, I obviously didn’t sleep well. I cried silently at various times and found myself wishing Steven was home. I wasn’t mad at Wes, but I was upset with myself that I couldn’t resolve the tantrum. But maybe that’s the point?

For as bad as a night it was, I woke up to little pudgy hands tracing the shape of my cheek and touching my nose to a whispered, “beep, beep.” The smile on his face this morning was priceless.

Here’s hoping tonight is a little smoother, but thankfully we had a successful naptime today. You know, I’m learning so much as a parent. It truly is the most challenging thing I’ve ever attempted. I may not be getting straight A’s, but I don’t think I’m failing. At least, based on his loving gestures and our breathy in-bed chats from this morning, Wes doesn’t think so!

Posted: November 2nd, 2013
Categories: Leah
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I know technically Sunday is the beginning of the week, but I’m adopting today into the weekend and saying that tomorrow, Monday, is officially next week. And I’m so ready for it.

This week has been one for the birds.

Monday started just fine, and I actually thought, “we’ve made it almost 3 weeks since Wes was last sick!” I jinxed myself and soon after received a phone call that Wes developed a 102.3 degree fever at daycare and needed to be picked up. As I was driving to get him, I received a text message from Steven that bombs went off at the Boston Marathon finish line. My immediate response was for him to check in with our friend Jonathan, whose sister was running that morning. (Thankfully, she is ok.) We watched the news in horror that evening.

The next morning, Steven’s car didn’t start. (And we JUST spent $$$$ on preventative car maintenance!) It worked out, since I had to keep Wes home with a fever, anyway, for Steven to drive the other car. It’s currently still sitting in his work parking lot after it stalled again later in the week.

After a suuuuuper long day Thursday, we were ready for the end of the week. More terrible reports on the news that evening regarding a fertilizer explosion in a small town in Texas. 15 dead, hundreds wounded and missing. Friday morning we awoke to a buzz of overnight developments regarding the Boston marathon bomber suspects. We caught a little of the updates, then broke for one of Wesley’s last First Steps PT sessions (another post, another time). During physical therapy, Steven became feverish and I knew he had picked up what Wes had earlier in the week. We all cuddled in bed, watching the entire Boston area on lockdown. Scary. So, so awful.

Wes typically gets so worn out from PT that he was ready for an early nap. The rest of the morning was spent in feverish fits and breaking news. We finally tore ourselves away from the TV for the afternoon so that Steven could get ample rest. While we did very little on Saturday, I feel like we exhausted ourselves by sickness and national terror, then celebration as the second suspect was brought into custody.

None of us slept well Saturday night, which was the one thing we all needed to get back on our feet. Poor Wes hasn’t been diagnosed yet with asthma or specific allergies, but we have treated his flair ups as such. The best way to alleviate constant coughing from drainage, which then causes wheezing and difficulty of breathing, is to sleep upright in a chair. Needless to say, it’s not very comfortable for either of us. Steven actually spent the night in the basement to try to catch some zzz’s, though his fever kept him from resting regardless.

And today? I purposely left Steven at home while Wes and I went to church followed by lunch out. The hope was that he would be able to finally sleep. Not so. But! At least I got the little guy tired enough to rest for 3 hours this afternoon. It’s now Sunday evening, and I’m ready, so very ready to say goodbye to this week.

My heart and prayers go out to all the families affected in the neighborhoods of West, Texas, Watertown, Cambridge and surrounding Boston areas, and I thank the families of the first responders and police forces for sending their loved ones out to protect the people. And all the volunteers and doctors and nurses treating the wounded. This country may have its hiccups, but there is no shortage of giving people – especially in a time of crisis and emergency.

Cheers to a better week, all.

Posted: April 21st, 2013
Categories: Leah
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Rookie Mom on Professional Sickness

At first it was scary and troubling, then it became so frequent that it was comical. Now I’m dealing with anguish and frustration and just plain old annoyance. Wes woke up with snotty nose #27894589234 of his life yesterday morning, and it’s turned into a full, blown-out cold today.

Okay, sure, it’s not the flu or RSV or pneumonia, or even a fever. But I’m about to throw in the towel. Not even kidding – we have maybe a week of health before something else sets in. Every. Single. Time. We just finished antibiotics for an ear infection. Before that, conjunctivitis. And since August, we’ve dealt with impetigo, croup, asthma and respiratory complications, other ear infections and a whole slew of snot noses.

This kid never had such a bad immune system until he started being around more kids (and germs) at daycare. I love the social interactions and learning experiences he has, don’t get me wrong. But for real? Please tell me it gets better.

What can I do? This child is a toy chewer and touches his face constantly. I do try to keep his hands clean, but I feel like I’m failing here. There’s nothing worse than witnessing a miserable toddler unable to sleep because he can’t breathe. He hates neb treatments, and don’t expect to wipe his nose or suck out any snot without a fight.

I find myself apologizing to Wes on a regular basis. Dark circles are making a permanent home under his eyes. He doesn’t understand why I have to force nasty liquid down his throat or hold a mask over his face, and he just cries and sobs, making my heart break a little more. I just want to snap my fingers and be a magical mom.

I’m sorry, Wes. I’m pretty sure you will eventually grow out of this stage, but it’s hard right now, and I’m hurting, too.

During conjunctivitis week

During conjunctivitis week

Posted: February 2nd, 2013
Categories: Leah
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Exhausted in August

This month. It’s nearly over, thank goodness. I just threw away a handful of CVS receipts and filed away numerous copay receipts. We’ve been surrounded in germs, medicines and green mucous slime since the last time I posted. No joke.

Remember Wes’ impetigo? (I can now say it correctly! Im-peh-tie-go) Yeah, that was bad. And then he picked up a cold from the daycare, which is to be expected. No big whoop. But THEN, one night, Wes started barking like a seal in his sleep. It reminded me too much of his croup episode from last winter and I began to bite my nails. I kept him home from daycare the next day and went in to doctor visit #3. The croup subsided; he wasn’t wheezing, so they weren’t too concerned. But he did have some fluid in his ears. Not infected… yet.

The week went on, he went back to daycare with a junky cough and snotty nose like many kids do. Then the nose drippings started to turn clear over the next several days, and I never knew how happy I would be to see CLEAR MUCOUS! Hoooray! It’s turned into allergies! (Is there a consecutive day limit for kids on Benadryl?)

That brings us to last weekend. I had a scratchy throat on Saturday evening, but nothing too serious. We went to Cincinnati to celebrate our niece’s second birthday after church. The pool party was super fun, but I was feeling really off and my throat started to hurt worse. I noticed in the car on the way home that my throat was turning pretty red, and I just couldn’t get warm. Lo and behold, I had a fever of 101. By the time I woke up on Monday, I had white spots and fever – enter strep throat diagnosis from doctor visit #4. Whatev. With antibiotics, life is good in a few days. So I pick up Wes from daycare and his teachers pointed out his GREEN EYE DISCHARGE that had been oozing out all day long. Uuuuggghhhh.

Doctor visit #5 on Tuesday = ear infection for Wes! And eye drops needed! Also to note that during this week we had been down to one car while the transmission was replaced in the other. Bother.

Steven started showing signs of strep yesterday, but he’s a champ and is fine now. And TODAY, yes, today. I LOST MY VOICE. Sigh.

But the silver lining is that we will all be healthy on our vacation next week. And we will be safe in a newly serviced car. And we couldn’t be more ready for sea spray in our faces! And really, it’s probably good that we’re getting Wes’ immunity built up so well while he’s still little. So, there’s always something to be thankful for.

Posted: August 23rd, 2012
Categories: Leah
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Staph, impetigo and the fungus

The zit that started it all

Somehow Wes contracted a staph infection on his face, more commonly known as impetigo. It started about a week ago, with a small pimple on his left check. Because I’m a moron and left his fingernails longer than they should be, he scratched it and left a nice cut on his face. I’m sure this is where havoc wrecked. Somewhere in the atmosphere, a nasty bacterium latched itself into my poor kid’s body and exploded into boil-like, red patches on his chin, cheeks, under his nose and in his diaper area.

Then the area in his diaper turned into FUNGUS. Ick.

Gross. No one told me I’d have to go to late-night doctor visits, clean out hard, crusty boil juice from a nose or slather athlete’s foot cream (which has a weird, sickeningly sweet smell) over little boy parts when I was pregnant. This isn’t something I ever dreamed of. Poor child. I have to put antibiotic cream all over his face and other nasty lotions on his bottom. He screams until he can’t breathe, and it breaks my heart every time.

And it makes me wonder if I’ll ever let this child out of doors again. (I’m kidding.) Nasty, nasty world out there.

The worst part? He starts daycare this week, but his antibiotics aren’t really doing anything noticeable. I’m gnawing at my fingernails wondering what to do. Isn’t staph that awful stuff that ignores antibiotics? Uggghhh this could be another long week.

Did ya notice that super cute photo? You can see the pimple/boil/staphaggedon, but it looks adorable in all of his One Year Photos found here. (Photo credits to Grace Images and David Ashbaugh)

Posted: August 5th, 2012
Categories: Leah
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Steroids, antibiotics, nebulizers & Tylenol

Happy & wheezy at the doc

These are the drugs being pumped into my 6-month-old’s not-so-little body. What started as a phelmy cough, turned into croup, then Wes started wheezing something terrible, had to work exterior muscles to breathe and his cough was raspy and gross.

Went to the doctor. Came home with a nebulizer & started an every-4-hour treatment to battle the heavy breathing only to go BACK to the doctor today because he was eating poorly & it wasn’t getting any better and got an additional diagnosis: double ear infection!

I’m so thankful for a happy-go-lucky, laid back kid. As long as he’s rested, fed and has entertainment (and around Mom & Dad), he’s peachy keen. He can entertain himself for long stretches at a time. I really don’t know what I would do if he cried inconsolably all day long. In fact, even with these diagnoses, he’s flashed smiles at me, laughed at Steven’s games and flirted with ladies. And then he fusses, of course.

Puppy makes neb treatments tolerable

Hoping tonight he sleeps well because it seems to be key in how the next day progresses. Poor little boy.

Posted: February 7th, 2012
Categories: Leah
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