Another Day, Another Dollar

Monkey’s fever still hasn’t broken. It goes down when she takes Tylenol or Motrin, which I figure is a good sign. She also seems much better today, less lethargic. Nothing else is bothering her — no sore throat, no puking. But she is not eligible to return to daycare until she is fever-free for 24 hours with no meds.

My in-laws have a day filled with doctors appointments and errands, so I am home with her. She is singing through what I had hoped would be nap time.

Due to the incredible downpours yesterday, the girls slept overnight at my in-laws house. After I took Bun down to day care, I returned to find a restless Monkey. She was actually bored with television, which I took as another good sign. I brought her home, bathed her, and we played a few games together.

First up: Colorforms. We built houses, and a city skyline, and a man holding a bunch of balloons. It was pretty fun, actually.

Once we cleaned that up, we broke out the board games. Monkey hates Chutes & Ladders, but she insists on playing it. She loses interest about halfway through — and if she’s losing, even sooner. (Note to self: Teach Monkey old saw about winning, losing, and how you play the game.) True to form, she wanted to bail and play something else when I was winning, but I held firm (and tried not to sound too exasperated) as I explained we would either quit playing games altogether or we would finish Chutes & Ladders and then play something else.

She went on to win that game (yes, I let her — she can only learn so many lessons in one day), plus Candy Land and Hi-Ho Cherry-O — pretty much the Triple Crown of children’s board games. She ate a fantastic lunch; then we played what Monkey calls the Match Game (i.e. Memory). I’m pretty sure I ran away with that one, but we didn’t count cards at the end.

This afternoon will be for coloring and other arts & crafts. Maybe we’ll watch some TV after dinner, but I’m hoping not to have to turn it on before then.

All I am really hoping is that the fever breaks. She is clearly feeling better, and there are no indications that the illness is a return of strep. If she’s still running a temperature tomorrow, though, someone will have to take her to the doctor to definitively rule it out.

Wonder who that will be?

Tuesday: FAIL

So I had to bolt to pick my feverish, puking Monkey up from Day School yesterday. I am praying that she is not reinfected with strep, and that it’s just the flu. Yeah, “just” the flu.

If anyone mentions pigs, there will be blood.

Also: WTF is up with my children? They spend more time sick than well these days, or so it seems.

If anyone mentions feeding them meat — as my FIL did last night — there will be blood.

To top off the night, I ran out with my FIL to deal with his nephew’s car, which was pretty much sitting in the middle of an on ramp on Route 60. It had stopped running (the oil was all over the road, so something must have cracked or leaked) and he simply took the keys out of the car and made the five mile trek home. I felt bad for everyone involved, but I watched some hockey highlights on my phone (for free) while we waited for AAA, and my FIL had me home by 10:15. It is exhausting, sometimes, family.

Bun is just fine, but I’m sure she will be sick by the weekend. She woke up crying at 2:30 a.m.; I figured she was either feverish or ready to throw up. But she was neither. Maybe it was just a bad dream. After I brought her in bed with us, she went right back to sleep.

That child is a bed hog — er, bed pirate. Yeah, pirate.

Anyway, Bun is off to Day School again; Monkey will spend the day at my in-laws, no doubt in front of the giant screen TV all day. Which, I guess there are worse ways to spend sick time.

Adaptive Biology

Before I had children, the idea of changing diapers and cleaning up vomit made me, literally, gag. Even the actual changing of diapers the few times I babysat an infant made me throw up in my mouth a little. I didn’t baby sit very much.

Somehow when it’s your own kid, though, these things don’t even make you blink. Vomit, diarrhea, snot, drool — you name it. If it’s flowing out of Bun or Monkey, it doesn’t turn my stomach. (Blood is the exception to the rule. Blood on your baby pushes the panic button.)

This is very curious to me, but I’m sure there’s some biological explanation. After all if our children revolted us with their basic bodily functions, it would be difficult to care for them. So much for the perpetuation of the species.

And it’s a good thing too, because Bun threw up spectacularly Wednesday night. I knew something was up when she didn’t even touch her dinner. Although she seemed just fine playing, she started crying when I tried to bathe her. And then as I was drying her off, she puked.

I caught most of the first wave in her towel, and got her to the toilet. As I was giving her another bath, she puked a little in the tub, too.

Poor Bun.

Her temperature was 102.2, so fingers crossed I gave her a little water and a dose of ibuprophen. She kept that all down and slept through the night.

I got up Thursday and got ready to go to work. Bun started crying, and I went into get her. She seemed a little warm, and she cried for “dinkie, dinkie”, Bun for drink. Dummy me, I gave her some water. I gave her more water. And then she puked all that up, too, at 6:30 a.m.

I thought Dan didn’t start until 1 p.m., but it turns out he had a 9 a.m. patient, so I had to call into work.

Bun insisted on yogurt at 8:30 a.m., and I lost the argument with her. “You’re just going to throw that up,” holds no water with a hungry 2-year-old. Although her fever continued to hover around 100, she did not vomit again the rest of the day. I fed her what I consider ‘sick food’: crackers, soup, buttered noodles. For Bun, she was lethargic, although still energetic enough to play with some toys and try to help me fold laundry. She napped for almost four hours.

She seems to be well on the mend. I have my fingers crossed (again) that I won’t get a call from daycare. And that I won’t be cleaning up more puke this weekend.

Best Intentions

I was going to throw up a post later this morning. It was going to be quick and short and random, mostly about how having to do laundry next door is putting a drag on my evening computer activities (blogging, plurking).

But now, Monkey is crying about how much her ear hurts, and she just threw up a lot of spit — not vomit — on my rug. So I’ll just throw this up now — no pun intended — to still be in compliance with Blog365. And then take her to the doctor.

Incidentally, took Bun to the ENT yesterday. She has fluid in her ears, but no infection. The doctor advised waiting at least three months, and rechecking her ears at that time. Barring infection of course.

More later.

Update: Indeed, Monkey has a raging ear infection in her left ear. No fever, no cold symptoms, and no more volumes of spit on the floor. I got the prescription filled and took her to daycare.

Today’s doctor suggested maybe removing her tonsils and/or adenoids may help with the infections. She said that the effectiveness of tubes is under review — Children’s wants to do another study. She asked if Monkey snores at night, and I said yes, she does. Monkey snores very loudly at night; she gives her daddy a run for his money in the sawing logs department. So it’s something else to look into.

The Internet, of course, has a variety of information and opinions, for and against. I’ll have to do more research, and probably see another specialist. And I wonder what impact this will have on Bun.

I just want the ear infections to end, and I get queasy when I consider all the antibiotics my girls get. I thought that Monkey would have outgrown them by now, but she hasn’t. The only year she missed having infections was from 2 to 3 years old.

Coincidentally, the same year that I was a SAHM. Bring on the mommy guilt!

I am very tired of doing this year after year. And even if Monkey were to outgrow them this year, I would still have another two years to go with Bun. What to do?

Some days, being a mommy is harder than others.

In Case You Were Wondering

In a direct contrast to my last post, this weekend was horrible.

DearDR was sick.

Bun was sick.

And we found evidence of mice in our kitchen.

DearDR simply has a cold, but still, you know what a sick husband is like. I give him a lot of credit for not bugging me, and just sleeping until 2 p.m. on Sunday. As much as I needed him to help with cleaning and disinfecting the kitchen, or taking care of Bun, or playing with the utterly non-diminished-energy-level Monkey, it was better that he was completely unconscious. It helped him and helped me, because I pretty gave into the inevitable, which was to come to terms with this fact:

I am one person, and I can only do so much.

Bun ran a fever from Friday all the way through Sunday. I had already decided I was going to take her to the doctor today. Along with the fever, she had decreased appetite, and couldn’t sleep very well. She was pretty listless.

To top it all off, she had a terrible case of mommy-clingitis. I could not remove that child from my lap.

As much as I wanted to play outside with Monkey and/or clean my invaded kitchen, I pretty much sat around with a hot toddler on my lap for long stretches throughout the weekend. A lot of which we also spent at my in-laws house because no one is allowed to eat in my kitchen until the critters are caught and/or all evidence of their being there is eradicated.

In light of the fact that Bun actually was not running a fever this morning, I pretended all was back to normal. I was late to work, because I did wait to talk to the pediatrician’s office. They said if the fever came back, I should have her seen.

By the time I got to my desk, DCL had called.

Bun’s temperature was 100.5, and she wouldn’t leave DCL’s lap. She has a 5:15 appointment this evening.

Here we go again. I’m tired.

Lather, Rinse, Repeat: The Sick Cycle

I didn’t write a lot about what was going on with us last week for two reasons. One was I wanted to get that post about X and The Ex off my plate. It was something I really wanted to write about, and I knew if I got involved in “the daily” I wouldn’t get it done.

Two, I wasn’t having a lot of fun.

Since I have come back to work, the girls have suffered several infections and ailments (some mysterious). I don’t know that the two are connected, although it is hard to dismiss the coincidence. The most stressful part of it (aside from having sick children) is dealing with it long distance.

As a typical example, I will get a phone call from Day Care Lady:

DCL: Monkey/Bun is running a fever.
Me: How high is it?
DCL: Oh, about 100 degrees.
Me: How has she seemed?
DCL: She’s a little fussy. But she ate well. OR: She’s screaming her head off/Telling me her ear really, really hurts. She won’t play/eat/nap.
Me: Should I come get her?
DCL: It’s up to you.

So then I agonize about whether or not I should leave work, and phone the pediatrician’s office in the meantime. If I get an evening appointment, it goes: pick up kids, take Sick Kid and Well Child to doctor’s office where Sick Kid cries and cries while Well Child jumps around and is loud to get the attention that Sick Kid is getting from Mommy and The Doctor, hear Sick Kid has another ear infection (or two), get prescription for antibiotics, leave office, try to get dinner into kids, run to pharmacy to fill prescription, keep kids occupied while prescription is filled (this is why we go to the Target pharmacy), go home, wash/bathe children, get them in pajamas, get medicine into the sick one, get milk and/or cookies into children while they watch a video, read books, sing lullabies, collapse into exhausted heap on couch, drink a beer, go to bed my own self.

One or two days later: Repeat with formerly Well Child as Sick Kid.

My father-in-law has taken Sick Kid on one or two occasions; he was the one on hand the day DearDR had to get to work and we had the paperwork for the medical proxy. Then I am on the phone with him and the doctor, listening to Sick Kid crying in the background. This is stressful for all of its own reasons, including the fact that my FIL — as much as I do love the man — is kind of useless with the kids. He gets them to the pediatrician’s office, and gets them back to DCL, and that’s about it. He doesn’t ask the doctor anything — hence I am sitting at my desk 30 miles away talking on the phone; he doesn’t really listen to the doctor; he doesn’t drop off the prescription to be filled. (He thinks we should get our prescriptions filled at a different, closer, pharmacy. He is not all about the multitasking possibilities of Target.)

It would be much better if Bella were our medical proxy, but Bella has a lot on her plate already. Nanny is not doing very well. (Additionally, my grandmother, up in Erie, is not doing well either.) More details on this in another post.

The most frequent diagnosis has been ear infection. They have each had four in the past five months — on two occasions (if memory serves), both of Bun’s ear have been infected.

The upshot of all of this is that my girls have been referred to an ear-nose-throat (ENT) specialist. I have an appointment at the end of the month.

I am having a lot of regrets about my use of antibiotics. My thinking at the time was simply, “Oh, it’s just an infection. It’ll go away with this medicine.” And, true to form, the infection did go away. For awhile. But then the infection, or another infection, came back. Again, and again, and again. In Monkey’s case, she took a break from the ear infection to get a throat infection.

I wish I had taken the “wait-and-see” approach to the ear infections. As in “wait 48 hours to see if the infection clears up on its own, treating the pain and low-grade fever with ibuprophen and/or acetiminophen”. Many an ear infection will just clear up on its own, according to the literature.

There is a chance, of course, that I would be right back where I am, only having put my children through a couple more days of pain first. So there is no point in beating myself up about it.

But now I keep thinking about facing a man, an expert doctor-type man, who is going to tell me to put tubes in my children’s ears, and saying, “No thank you. They’ll outgrow it.”

I need some ammunition people. I will be doing my own research, of course.

Or, if you or someone you know thinks tubes are the way to go, some encouragement in that direction. DCL says tubes are awesome (her oldest son got them as an infant). My father advises passionately against them.

I should explain here that as an infant and a toddler I had ear infection after ear infection. The last course of treatment my pharmacist parents agreed to was one month of 1 teaspoon of amoxicillin daily. I recall having a couple ear infections as an older child, too, around 5 or 6 years old. But ultimately, I did not get tubes, and I’m fine (my ears are fine, in any case — I’m a bit of a loon, frankly).

Advice welcome; assvice will be submitted for ridicule. Thanks.