Thursday, December 04, 2014

School Days, Part II: Communal Viruses & Perspective

With both of our boys starting school this year we have had what feels like "ALL THE SICK!".

Thankfully, with their dad being at home until early afternoon, we are able to tag-team the sick kids, but I've still had to take a lot of sick time this fall.  They were sick so often, that I started to dread calling my manager to inform her that I needed to leave work early yet again. I could write an entire post on the pressures of being a parent who works outside the home, but that's for another day.

I've had two calls from school for the Mogrunt. The first time I was able to go pick him up straight away. There he was, sitting on a chair in the admin office, looking so small with his backpack tucked behind him. I scooped him up and carried him to the car and deposited him at home with his dad. I felt like a crappy mom for sending him to school in the first place. I hadn't noticed the fever he had in the morning.

The second time I got a call from school, our car was in the garage for maintenance and I wasn't able to get him right away. He had to go to his after school program for an hour before I could pick up the car and then him. Thankfully, our car garage is really great - I let them know that I had a sick kid to pick up and they got my car finished quickly.

He was well for quite a while, but the Bunny, well, he is another story. He started daycare in September, and was sick within a week of being there. I feel like he spent more of September at home than he did in daycare. I've even had to pick him up and bring him to my office so I could complete my workday.

He has had a fever so many times this fall that not only have I lost count, but a few weeks ago, I had enough and took him to the children's hospital in the middle of the night. He had thrown up two nights in a row and his fever was really high.

After sleeping with him in my arms on the cot while waiting for him to pee, we were finally able to send off a sample to be tested. When the doctor came in with the results of a urine test (no infection), she had the standard protocol in hand - The "Treating Fevers in Children" brochure and the dosing for ibuprofen and acetaminphen.

I looked at her and said, "You're here to give me the talk on treating the symptoms, not the fever, right? About how I should watch for lethargy, for signs of dehydration, for febrile seizures, but not to worry about the temperature, right?"

She said yes.

I went on, "I know all those things. I'm the daughter of a pharmacist who worked in the pharmacy for many years. I know it. My kids have been sick more times than I can remember since the beginning of September. I was just done. When his temp hit 40.7C and he threw up twice again last night, I was done. I was done with my kids being sick. I was done with worrying that there was something I had missed and since he can't talk, I was done trying to figure out if he wasn't able to tell me what hurt. So I came here."

The very kind doctor, who was the attending physician (she informed me that the resident I had seen earlier had been sent home as she was sick), very compassionately smiled and said, "I get it. I've been there too. I have three kids and I remember a season like this. Here's the emergency number if you need it. It's the direct line to us in the emergency room."

That was what I needed. After all the yuck, I needed someone to say "I get it." I got the Bunny dressed and we headed out to our car. It was 7:30am. We had been in the hospital since 3am. The sun was rising. It was an incredibly rough day/weekend for all of us, but we managed. Mr. Happy was sick that weekend too. He spent three days in bed with a fever and aching all over.


So, last week, when I woke up at 5:30am to the Mogrunt calling for me, and we did the mad dash to the bathroom, I didn't feel like crying, like running away, the way I had the week before. I remembered that doctor telling me, "You're not alone. This happens sometimes. You'll all get through it."

The Mogrunt has spent a couple afternoons, tucked into a chair across my desk from me, either playing games on the iPad or drawing on the white board. My coworkers have been very kind in a. pretending he's not there, and b. finding treats for him in their office. (Kid's had more chocolate than a kid should really eat, healthy or ill). He's a great kid, but I've really got to work out some alternate care for when he's sick. My SIL has been able to help a couple times, but she isn't always available.

This whole thing, though, it's all about perspective.

The entire time our kids have been sick with colds and fevers this fall, I kept thinking about a childhood friend of mine, L. L's daughter, C, who is just 7 months older than the Mogrunt, has been receiving treatment for leukemia over the last 20 months. When I was worn out and feeling discouraged by yet another fever, I would think about her. C had to delay starting school by a year because of receiving treatment. We saw them at the local children's hospital a couple of times and my friend has been so thankful for the support of her community and in awe of her daughter's spirit. C was finally able to start school this fall, and had managed to steer clear of all the viruses at school until November. As she is still receiving maintenance chemotherapy, her immune system is compromised. A little chest cold had her in hospital for almost a week. C is fine now, back to her routine, but it's a good reminder to have some perspective. C's leukemia, which was caught very early, has responded well to treatment and she should be finished in the spring of 2015, I believe.

This past weekend was the first one since Thanksgiving weekend (October) that we have all been healthy. It was wonderful. We went out. We played. We had a friend over for a visit. We were silly. We had dance parties with the boys wearing the Mogrunt's undies on his head.

I'm just really hoping that they don't get sick over Christmas.

But if they do, it's ok. We'll get through it.

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