Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Evolution of a Cold (as experienced at our house)

If you need a chuckle today.

Tis the season for the common cold virus. These days, it seems like if there is a virus going around that it will make sure to stop by our house on its way through town (probably because we're just such great hosts). This usually happens one of two ways:

  1. My daughter brings something home from one of the germ infested places she frequents: preschool, the children's museum, etc.
  2. My husband brings home some crud that is going around his office. In which case my husband never receives the illness, but just acts as the transportation to our home. Yes, my lucky duck husband who swears that he cannot ever remember a time that he ever had a cold before we were living together. Ha. I have yet to ask his mom about that one.
I'm not sure where our current cold originated from, probably because I wasn't being as careful as I should have been. Having just recovered from the croup in time to celebrate her second birthday, I assumed that we were in the clear for awhile. Wrong.

This is the chronicles of the evolution of our current cold and the deterioration of my sanity. Or, if you prefer, why our house looks like we've been robbed and our refrigerator is empty.

It begins in the wee hours on Monday morning, November 14th. Around 12:30am AJ wakes up crying and immediately informs me that she is "all done" sleeping. This doesn't exactly mesh with my schedule. My husband and I take turns rocking her, reading to her and trying to get her to go back to sleep. She keeps saying something about "no puppy" and we wonder if she's had a nightmare. We hide said stuffed puppy at the bottom of her stuffed animal bin with no luck.

Crap, I think to myself. Tomorrow is a triple whammy of a day, AJ - we need some rest! Normally our stay-at-home schedule allows for nights like this once in awhile. My daughter will always be a priority over laundry and dishes. But it just so happens that the day we have ahead of us includes preschool, my 30 week OB appointment, and AJ's 2 year well visit. Around 3am, my husband lays down with her in the guest room so that I can get some sleep. 

Monday morning rolls around and AJ cries the entire way to preschool, which is really not common. Usually this is the highlight of her week and she cannot wait to get away from me for a few hours. I leave her clinging to her teacher, telling myself that she is tired from our long night. Upon my return, her teacher informs me that after she had a big poop (this is a family blog, I can talk about toddler poop) she felt much better and was back to her normal self. Thank goodness.

We arrive home, and two hours before her well visit as I'm putting her down for a quick nap, I notice that she has spiked a fever. 101.3 F. [Insert parental guilt here... were there signs that I missed in the night? How could I have sent her to school?] I give her Tylenol and remind myself that at least we are going to the doctor in a couple hours already.

AJ already hates the doctor's office. We belong to a pediatric associates practice with about 12 physicians, and in the first two years of her life we came close to seeing them all. Not because we couldn't find one we liked, but because she would scream bloody murder the second she saw a familiar face coming at her for more. In preparation I had spent the last week and a half reading Dora Goes to the Doctor with her at least 1-2 times per day.

The book worked. AJ knew exactly what to expect, and the Tylenol had kicked in so she was bouncing off the walls and full of glee. Then the doctor told me that her throat was inflamed. Yep, she's probably getting a cold virus... will have a fever for 48 hours on and off with scratchy throat and then your typical cold. But I want to do a strep test just to be sure anyways.

Great. A throat culture was definitely not in the book. AJ knew it too. After screaming and gagging on the culture wand, she looked at me like I was the most evil parent on earth. (Of course, don't blame Dora for not covering this important material... it's all your mom's fault!)

Strep test negative. At least I had that. As we were walking to the car I swallowed and realized that my throat was killing me too. Ugh. Thank goodness for Burt's Bees Throat Drops for during my pregnancy, and an endless supply of popsicles for AJ.

I got clearance to send her back to preschool on Wednesday as long as she hadn't had a fever for 24 hours. As of Wednesday morning we were in the clear with sore throats gone and no fevers, so we went about our way. Then Wednesday night the sniffling, sneezing and coughing began to set in. After having sent her back to school that day, I was giving myself the stellar mom of the year award at about this point.

The next few days were pretty lazy. Call me a bad parent, but I'm a firm believer in snuggle times and lots of cartoons and movies being a key to any healing a body needs. We both began barking like dogs - that really annoying, lingers forever, gasping for air type cough that makes people wonder if you're choking to death and they should call 911. The cough still lingers a week later.

I was so over this cold when on Saturday AJ turned into Mr. Hyde. Temper tantrums followed by moments of "needs a hug" followed by not eating followed by crying and crying and fussing and fussing.


cute even when sick
I told my husband that if she was still acting like this on Monday that I was going to take her back to the doctor, but after keeping us up again almost all Saturday night we decided to take her to KidMed (our after hours pediatric care place) on Sunday morning and confirm my suspicions - that like every other cold she'd ever had, this one had brought on an ear infection.

Fast forward a few hours later - we are told by a nurse practitioner that AJ's ears look beautiful and that she is just cranky because she has a cold and is two years old. (Oh yea, this news comes after another throat culture. Fantastic.)

With the weekend gone, my house a terrible mess and not a crumb of food to be found, I was just about at my wits end with this cold virus, when AJ came up to me and said, "watch mommy, I cough" and proceeded to fake cough into her elbow. At least we've learned something this past week, I thought to myself, as a real cough came on and she coughed openly all over my dinner.



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