My dear, sweet Peanut,
Poor kid, you just can’t seem to catch a break. You’ve been sick with something or other for what feels like about two months. Now it’s three things at once. You woke up from your nap a little before 5 p.m. Monday with a funky cough that sounded like a seal barking, and when you inhaled, it sounded hoarse and windy. Daddy was worried it might be pertussis, called “whooping cough” because of the way the cough sounds. But it sounded like “barks,” not “whoops,” so we called the doctor’s after-hours line. The doctor listened to you over the phone and identified it as croup. He said we could wait to bring you in during office hours if we were comfortable enough, or we could take you to an urgent care center. We opted for the latter.
I packed plenty of diapers, snacks, milk and some books to help keep you occupied for what I expected to be a long wait. But we seemed to be the only people there, as the staff immediately jumped up to take care of you as soon as we walked in the door. You weren’t happy about the little lead they wrapped around your big toe to check your pulse, and you really started to fuss when the nurse put the thermometer under your arm and held it there. You might have been frightened or confused by the strange people, surroundings and instruments, but you settled down pretty quickly once I held you in my lap. I’m sure it didn’t help that you were already feeling pretty lousy.
As soon as they finished your initial workup, I took care of the paperwork and they brought us back to see the doctor. She told me she had been listening to you while the nurses took your vitals (though we hadn’t seen her yet), and she’d already drawn up the medicine for croup. She still did the full examination, though, and found that you have an ear infection, too. Daddy and I had noticed some gunk in your eyes again, and the doctor confirmed you also have pinkeye. Rather than the bacterial conjunctivitis you had a couple weeks ago, though, she thinks this is a viral form related to the croup and ear infection. It’s common for kids to have the virus spread around like that since those areas are all connected.
We left the urgent care center less than an hour after we’d arrived; I don’t think we’ve even gotten out of the regular doctor’s office that fast! The doctor gave you a mini rubber duck as a prize for being such a good boy. You were quite pleased with it, but I took the cake when I put it on top of your head after I put you in the car. It hadn’t occurred to me before I did it that you could see yourself in the mirror. You flashed a big smile, and when you moved and it fell off, you promptly picked it up and put it right back up there. I was very surprised by your deft fine motor skills!
You kept playing with the duck for a little while, but once we started driving again, your tired little body took over and you fell asleep. I picked up the prescription to treat the ear infection and pinkeye; after we got home, I popped your infant seat into the big stroller and took you for a 15-minute walk since the doctor informed me cold air could help relieve croup inflammation. You woke up for the last five minutes of our walk, but once back in the house, I gave you the prescription medicine, put your bedtime diaper on, gave you a bottle and rocked you to sleep.
Now it’s time for me to lay down next to you and sleep, too. But before I do, I am thankful for many things tonight: that your Daddy was attentive and identified a problem that needed attention, that our doctor has an after-hours on-call physician and there is an urgent care center (the E.R. used to be the only option if the doctor’s office was closed), that the doctors were able to quickly diagnose and treat your illnesses and recommend ways we could make you more comfortable at home, that we even have easy access to doctors and medicines when many people don’t, that our double stroller has an attachment for your car seat so I didn’t have to wake you up to transfer you, and that you were able to receive skilled medical care before these illnesses grew very serious. Finally, I am thankful that you are still able to receive a little breast milk each day through the generosity of donor moms and a network of special women who have helped me find them. Your immune system has been getting a workout since Munchkin started preschool, but the breast milk gives it a boost and we expect you to grow stronger for having been exposed to all these bugs. Sleep well, little one. I’ll be watching over you.