Thursday, February 24, 2011

Sick Boog

The Boog has been sick this week, though he's getting better now, and this experience, like all experiences in parenting, has been a learning experience for Mama. The first thing I learned is that my less-medical-intervention-is-more attitude can sometimes get us into trouble and maybe I don't have everything figured out and my hippy ass can stand to learn some things before I get CPS called on me.

I'll explain. I'm one of those mamas who secretly snickers at the mamas who bring their kids to the pediatrician for every little sniffle. My opinion generally is that either a. you're wasting your time and the doctor's time and paying whatever God-awful amount your particular swindling insurance company charges as a co-pay to hear your child has a cold. Duh. Give the kid some Vicks and chicken soup and get over it, or b. you're about to annoy the doctor so much that s/he's going to prescribe your child unnecessary medication (usually antibiotics) to get rid of you thus flushing your child's system of useful bacteria and contributing to the worldwide problem of super-bugs.

I like to think this attitude is a carefully considered, naturalistic approach to health...but it may be more along the lines of a "there's no crying in baseball"-suck-it-up-survival-of-the-fittest attitude that I almost certainly inherited from my mother who is friggin' tough as nails. Seriously. Don't start a fight with my mom. You can't take her.

Anyway, so when Boog woke up Monday morning with a low fever (100.9) and a weird raspy cough, Dylan (a fellow survival-of-the-fittest fanatic) and I decided we would watch him and see how things went and if he wasn't better by Wednesday morning, I'd call the pediatrician.

So, I watched him. He ate, he drank, he played and read. He seemed fairly normal, except for this awful raspy quality to his breathing. I medicated his fever when it got above 101, and I figured he had a bad cold and he'd ride it out.


Tuesday morning he woke up sounding even worse. He breathed like an elderly lifelong chain smoker. He didn't want to do much other than snuggle his favorite blankie and watch TV. This is when the mommy alarm bells started going off (admittedly a bit late). I looked up his symptoms on dear old Dr. Google and figured that he probably had croup. Ick. I had it as a kid and I still remember how awful it was. I remembered a few home treatments for croup - shower steam, cold misty air, going outside, so I figured I'd take him into the bathroom with me while I took a shower and see if that helped.

It didn't. This is when I called the pediatrician. They were, of course, booked for the day, but after doing imitations of Ry's breathing for the receptionist and the advice nurse (I felt like I was auditioning for the part of Gollem in LOTR), I was able to get them to agree to call me if they had a cancellation, which they did an hour or so later.

When we got to the doctor's office the Boog was, of course, breathing normally. The nurse who I had hassled into getting the appointment for him somewhat crossly took his O2 sats, which were an acceptable 96 and said, "It sounds like an upper respiratory infection to me" (AKA It's a cold, you moron, go buy some chicken soup and never call me again). Luckily, just before the doctor came into the room, Boog started with the Gollem-chain smoker breathing again. The doctor came in with wide eyes and said, "How long has he been breathing like that?" I, somewhat casually, answered, "On and off since yesterday morning,", at which point I received a look that said, "Oh my God, you heartless woman, how could you not have sought medical attention before now?"

He then said, "Well, I'm going to listen to his lungs and look at his ears and throat just to be sure, but he definitely has croup and at this point I'm trying to decide whether to send you to the ER or recommend that Children's just goes ahead and admits him."

Hold up. Admits him? Holy crap! I felt like I had a "Worst Mother Ever" sign blinking in flashing neon above my head for all to see. In the end we didn't end up getting admitted, but we were walked down to the Children's ER by a medical assistant (which the doctor said was a precaution in case the Boog needed medical attention along the way, but which I half-fear was a measure to insure the Boog's heartless mother didn't decide to make him suck it up and drive off with her seriously ill child).

Best Daddy of the Year award goes to Dylan, who I called from the doctor's office and who immediately dropped what he was doing (assisting in a lab) and literally ran over to the Children's ER without bothering to stop at his office for his bike or his stuff.

At the ER, they gave the Boog a breathing treatment (a joy for the poor respiratory therapist - note: kids with SPD do NOT react kindly to having things shoved in their faces), attempted to give him a popsicle (which we confiscated because it contained dairy and which was way too cold for the Boog's little SPD mouth to handle), a sippy full of ice water (which we poured into the Boog's own cup when the nurse wasn't looking - leaving the ice - because the Boog flatly refused to drink from the unfamiliar cup and the ice was too cold), and some toy trucks (AKA occupational therapy torture devices). Basically, we let the nurse think she was helping and then employed our own Boog comfort methods (Daddy cuddles, room temperature water, and books) when she left the room.

After a couple of hours, the stridor (scary breathing) was gone and they released us with strict instructions to return if he got bad again. Luckily, it hasn't come to that.

The other thing I learned from this experience is that goshdarnit I should stop expecting my child to behave like other children would in the same situation because he is very, very different. For example, he showed no major signs of distress, even when the stridor was bad. Most other kids would probably panic or at least behave strangely. The Boog was just a little sleepier and a little cuddlier.

Also, at first, I didn't think it could be croup, because the symptoms of croup are supposed to peak at night and the Boog's symptoms were worst in the early afternoons and actually improved as the day went on to the point that he was sleeping comfortably at night. Who the heck knows why he got the ultra-rare daytime croup? The point is that in the future, I need to listen to my gut (which, honestly, was in knots the minute I heard him breathing funny Monday morning), and understand that with the Boog, just because it doesn't walk like a duck or quack like a duck, that doesn't mean it's not a duck.

Yup. Lessons learned. Boog on the mend. All is right with the world again...or getting righter anyway.


  1. I know how you feel! My daughter had a "cold," which showed up on Friday and we rode out over the weekend, because why would you take a kid with a simple cold to the doctor, let alone the ER, right? She was also fairly chipper at first, and then by Sunday was just more cuddly than usual. By Monday morning when we took her in, the ped proclaimed her "a very sick baby," and made what she described as a very close judgment call not to admit her. She had a really bad chest infection and was put on harsh antibiotics and breathing treatments for two weeks. Of course my husband and I thought we were the worst too... Now of course 98% of her little colds show up on Fridays and Saturdays. I second guess every decision I make, too! :(

  2. OH sheesh. Don't be so hard on yourself mama! It does seem like often when I take my kiddos in I'm told to wait it out, so I totally get why you were waiting. Glad he is on the mend!

  3. I'm dealing with something similar with James' allergy to gluten--I am NOT a run to the doctor kind of person either but I've been on the fence about this for days for reasons I won't go into.

    But I TOTALLY understand your reasons for doing what you did and your feelings afterward. But don't feel guilty, it's good you learned something about the Boog and you are NOT a horrid mother, you are a wonderful special mother and that's why you feel guilty at all!

  4. Glad he is doing better! I am sort of the same way, I don't like to bring her to the doctor, but have learned that my gut is usually right (at least so far, not that' is been long). People looked at me so strange when I brought Peanut into the doctor back in January - she was laughing and playing during the day, but a bear a night. and sure enough I was right and she had a double ear infection.. But I have had those moments where I felt like the worst mama ever.

    I put gabby in her car seat and zipped up the outer cover and never buckled her in. we drove a 1/2 hour on the high way and she was just sitting in there. Thank god nothing happened, but we all have those moments! and I agree with Adrienne - you feel guilty because you care, if you didn't you wouldn't have that feeling.

  5. Well.. Boog doesn't so much walk like a duck or quack like a duck either. He likes to make things a little more abstract. :)

    I do the same thing. I broke down ONCE this winter and hauled us all in to the doctor for a sick visit. $45 in co-pays later... we knew we were sick. Yaaaay.

    Glad he;s doing better.

  6. Don't beat yourself up-- I rarely give meds and Hunter's never been to the doctor when he's been sick- (yet). Hope he is back to better now?