Friday, January 15, 2010

A long, probably tedious, post about parenting a sick child

(c) 2010 Ms. Huis Herself at

When I was a teen, there was one radio station back home that, like many radio stations, played some semi-dumb or semi-annoying signature songs. One of which was played pretty much every morning and went something like this* (the tune is one of those bugel-y ones, maybe reveille?)

Oh, how I hate to get up in the mor-ning!
Oh, how I'd like to remain in bed!
...blah, blah, blah, something I don't remember...
I hate to get up,
I hate to get up,
I hate to get up in the mor-ning!

and continues on similarly, ending with:
Someday I'm going to murder the bugler,
Someday they're going to find him dead.
And then I'll get that other pup,
The guy who wakes the bugler up,
And spend, the rest of my life in bed.

I bring this up, because it's been running through my mind the last couple of mornings. Penguin has come down with something. Something that is killing our nights. What, I don't exactly know, even after visiting the doctor yesterday, which is something I don't just run and do for any little sniffle.

Not last night, but the night before, Mr. Kluges had put the girls to bed as usual on Wednesday night, since it's my belly dance class/troupe night. I was just about to head to bed myself close to 11, when she was up and sobbing. And burning up. Gave her children's tylenol ASAP, along with the water she was begging for. Mr. Kluges said she'd been up about 45 min earlier, shortly before I got home, asking for water (which she has in a sippy cup in her bed every night anyway), but he hadn't noticed if she'd been feverish.

That was the start of a very long night. I know all you other folks who've had to care for a sick little one know just the kind I mean. Where she wants you to cuddle with her, so you squeeze onto the twin bed alongside her feverish little self, and lie awake, listening to her breathing, pondering if she'd shown ANY signs the day before (I swear she didn't! She was right as rain!), wondering what it could be, imagining the worse (because, of course, that's what your mind does in the middle of the night), and trying to at least doze a little. Worrying when she wakes up and complains about not feeling good, and saying it's her chest when you ask what hurts the most, mentally counting how often you can give her medicine, and then imagining a whole new host of potential diagnoses based on the chest discomfort.

And then she wakes, or fusses, or shifts position, and you're back awake again, mentally inventorying the supply of children's medicine in the house, pondering trying to take her temp again, considering how it's going to impact the next day, figuring out what would be the optimal time of the morning to call the families of the two girls I watch after school, etc. Then she wants to sleep with you in your bed, not hers, so you move over to the queen-size, where you again squeeze onto the itty-bitty sliver that's left after hubby and child have staked their claims. (Eventually I kicked out Mr. Kluges to go sleep in the guest room after waking up with my arm fallen asleep for the 3rd time.) And you repeat the attempted dozing, half-awake worrying, and repeated "how hot is she now hand on the brow" test.

Her temperatre had been 103.9 when I took it about 20 min after giving her the meds, so I called the nurse line and talked to a nurse. I'd been figuring on getting her in to see the doctor in the morning, especially if her temp didn't drop drastically during the night, but wanted a little reasurrance/ideas/advice. Called peds office in the morning, couldn't get in to see our regular doctor, but was able to schedule with a nurse practitioner at 9am, my first choice time, since we could go straight from dropping Pumpkin at school, and there was plenty of time in case things ran long or we had to do extra tests or x-rays or anything.

CNP took a look, said her throat was very red, had she been exposed to anybody who'd been sick, especially anybody with strep. She's exposed to a fair amount of people between nursery at church, family visiting, friends over for playdates, the germs Pumpkin brings home from school... Her throat was swabbed...but the 5 minute strep test came back negative. So CNP sent it off for the 24 test. (No results yet, as I type this at 9:30ish)

We did chest x-rays just to be sure there weren't any problems there, since she'd complained 3 or 4 times in the night about her chest hurting. (Which, awesomely, was actually right in the pediatrician building - no need to run off to a different location. I love our pediatrician tons, and now I also love her building. :) ) Nope, nothing.

So we're sent home with instructions to keep her comfortable, that we can alternate tylenol (acetaminophen) with ibuprofen as needed to keep her fever down, push the fluids, and let her rest. It's a little frustrating (in general, not with CNP & peds office) since she's So. Very. Obviously. NOT WELL, but I guess we can treat the symptoms even if we don't know the diagnosis.

Yesterday day was mixed. Sometimes, especially after a rest, meds, and food, she'd be fine. Then there would be the feverish sobbing breakdowns.

Last night was a scaled-down version of the first night, with a slightly lower fever (why does she spike at 11ish, is what I want to know. 103.1 last night), some actual time of her sleeping in her own bed while I got to sleep in my own bed, no need to push out Mr. Kluges, but also with a meltdown/refusal to take her medicine when she was awake and sobbing at 4am and temp just over 100. Back to sleep, eventually, after finally getting the meds into her, with a brief awakening at 6:30 or so when Pumpkin woke up with a bad dream.

And how's today going? Well, I don't exactly know yet. You see, she's still sleeping. At 9:30 am. I'm very fortunate in that the father of the girl I watch the most offered to bring Pumpkin to school this morning, and when Penguin was still asleep at 8:15, I took him up on the offer so I wouldn't have to wake her. And boy, and I glad I did!

So, off to check on her again, but as I do, I'm sure thinking that
I gotta get up,
I gotta get up,
I gotta get up in the mor-nings!

but I'm wishing a bit that I could
spend, the rest of my life in bed!

*Ok, a little Googling, and little Wikipedia-looking, and I've found out Irving Berlin wrote a musical called, This Is the Army, in which he himself sings that song, called "Oh, How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning."
The hardest blow of all
Is to hear the bugler call--
You gotta get up
You gotta get up
You gotta get up this morning

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