Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Worried Sick -- by Cara

A couple weeks ago, I wrote about my upper respiratory illness and how it always seemed that no matter how sick we Moms are, we still put our own needs aside for the sake of our families, especially our children.
Well, this week is the reverse. Now I have recovered, however my son came down with...well, we really didn’t know what.

My son started to exhibit signs of not feeling well last Saturday night.
My night owl son, who typically falls asleep between 9:30pm - 10:00pm (genetics...not bad parenting), fell asleep at 8:30pm. That was my first clue. The ONLY time my son falls asleep before 9pm is if he is sick or becoming sick.

The next day, Sunday, my son was extremely cranky and whiny. He also didn’t look very well. He had circles under his eyes and looked extremely tired. We had a birthday party to go to that day and my son wanted to go desperately. But throughout the party, he kept coming out of the play area and would plop down next to me and rest his head on my upper arm. I felt his was hot. But it could have been hot from all of the running and jumping he was doing in the party room. It was when he asked when we were going home that I suspected something was wrong. My son NEVER wants to leave a party early. We stayed until the end, but said our thank yous quickly because I really wanted to get home and take my son’s temperature.

I almost fell over when I did take it. 103.3!! I ran to get him some Motrin, but getting it into him was an even bigger challenge. He hates sweet tasting things, so he can’t stand the children’s liquid medicines.

He won’t take pills, even crushed up and put into applesauce. He didn’t want to eat anything. So we just decided to let him sleep and hoped the fever would break soon. My son’s only request was water. Lots of water.

I lined up little water bottles on the table next to his bed, and by morning they were all empty. And this was the scenario, day after day:
lots of sleep or awake and lethargic. Temps ranging from 103-104ish almost around the clock. No eating of food of any kind. Water, water, and more water. An occasional dose of Motrin when his temps were so high he was practically delirious and would take the medicine with minimal fighting. To put it mildly, we were scared out of our skins.

I have a fairly solid medical background, although I am not a physician.
I have real, professional medical books that I combed through. I went to some professional, medical web sites to look for answers. I even consulted a handy iPhone App called Pediatric Symptoms MD which walks you through determining whether your child’s symptoms need immediate attention, call the doctor in the morning symptoms, or wait a day or two and see what happens symptoms. This handy App suggested calling our Pediatrician first thing in the morning.

I was up that night practically every hour on the hour either checking on my son or hearing his weak requests for more water and running to get some for him. The next morning, we bundled our son up, and my husband carried him to the car and then into the physician’s office. Other than extremely high fevers, our son didn’t exhibit any other symptoms whatsoever, which led the doctor to diagnose him a viral fever. He assured us that the fever would break in 2-4 days. They did a rapid Strep test which turned out negative, but the doctor said he would call us the next day if the overnight test came back positive.

The rest of the day was the same...extremely high fevers, hydrating him with only water, and occasionally being successful at getting Motrin into my son.

Concerned friends were calling and e-mailing. Could it be the flu? The Swine flu? An undetected infection? Were we sure it wasn’t Strep? I called the doctor the next day and said there was absolutely no change in my son and if anything, he appeared to be getting worse and looking terribly ill. The doctor told me to bring my son in the next day for another Strep test and a blood test.

We went back the next day. Again a negative Strep test, no true indications of any type of flu. White blood cell count was NORMAL (which blew me can someone’s white blood cell count possibly be normal when their body is fighting something so hard to handle? But, like I said, I’m not a physician). We left with no definitive answers and a little boy who was getting worse by the hour.

Now it was Thursday. Fevers still hadn’t broken and the time frame for a “viral fever” had expired. We called the Pediatrician again. He said if the fevers didn’t come down by the next morning, he wanted him to get a chest x-ray. Then we noticed throughout the day, the fevers dropped to the 102-103 range. We managed to get more Motrin into our son. As the day went on, the fevers dropped even more to the 101-102 range. Our son still looked absolutely awful, but he started moving around. He wanted food. Of course everything he wanted, we didn’t have in the house. My husband ran to the grocery store. Slowly, our son was starting to eat. Fevers were down again to between 99-low 100s! My son hadn’t slept or taken a nap at all that day. But he had a very full belly and his fever seemed to finally be breaking!

By 7pm that same evening, I had to tackle an enormous pile of clean laundry by folding and putting the items away in my bedroom. My son crawled under the covers of my bed and watched me. After 5 minutes, I heard heavy breathing. He had fallen asleep. I finished a little more folding then turned off the lights and let him sleep.

I went to check on him a couple hours later and found him burning hot and drenched in perspiration. His fever was finally breaking! I didn’t want to move him, so when I was ready to fall asleep, I simply crawled under the covers next to him. Throughout the night I slept lightly, feeling his forehead, which felt cooler. And he sensed my presence because he kept snuggling closer to me and even would grab my forearm and clutch it to him like his favorite stuffed animal. He even interlocked his little hand in mine, drawing it close to his body. I was half asleep but gushing with emotion! This little angel needed me, wanted me, cherished me enough that he wanted to draw himself as close to me as possible and hold on tight to whatever part of me he could. All while in a state of sleep and return from the depths of a terrible illness.

I loved sleeping with him that night. In fact, I think we may have more occasional Mommy and son sleep togethers. I know he felt safe, warm, protected, and loved. I was overflowing with love for this child, even though I didn’t sleep very soundly. But the love I did feel from him was tremendous! He is approaching an age where displaying physical affection, especially towards your Mom, can be a little embarrassing.

But feeling the true, uncensored adoration of me, while my son slept, made my heart swell one-thousand-fold!! I felt so relieved that he was finally on the mend! But most importantly, I felt just how much I really mattered to him. And I know I made him feel exactly the same way! I can’t wait for our next sleep together! I can feel my heart swell as I remember him interlocking his little hand with mine, pulling it real close, and sighing himself back to sleep. The two of us, together.

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Blogger Laura Houston said...

This was really sweet. It's funny how in the hard times of parenting these wonderful moments unfold themselves. All of that worry and stress...and then this wonderful little gift at the end. Thanks for sharing. It made my eyes water.

3:44 AM  
Blogger Laura Houston said...

This was really sweet. It's funny how in the hard times of parenting these wonderful moments unfold themselves. All of that worry and stress...and then this wonderful little gift at the end. Thanks for sharing. It made my eyes water.

3:44 AM  

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