Sunday, November 1, 2009

Baby Blues

You awaken to find your 18 month old baby boy hot to the touch. He remains playful, but refuses his ritual breakfast of hot oatmeal. WHAT! This child NEVER turns down food; something has got to be wrong! Temperature: 101.4. Tylenol immediately, followed by Motrin, plenty of popsicles, and shed those one piece PJs. As a nurse and a mother, the nurse flies out the window and mommy kicks in gear. Panic-stricken and feelings of helplessness as your sad-eyed toddler looks to you, whining and wanting you to hold him throughout the day. You fear of letting him sleep, because you know the fever will continue to climb. Taking a tepid washcloth, you place on his neck, only to get a howling scream in return. Throughout the day, Caleb consumed about eight Pedialyte popsicles, snacked on a few goldfish crackers, and continued to run around and be the mischievous and curious little boy he usually is. A call to the pediatrician yeilds being placed on hold, then a message taken and the famous "the nurse will call you back as soon as she gets in." Hours go by, and you continue to give as many popsicles as you can, praying the temperature will not climb. But it does. So, here we go. Every four hours Tylenol, every six hours Motrin. Anything to keep Caleb quiet is all that matters now.

Rushing to Walmart to get more probe covers for the ear thermometer and to purchase more popsicles and Tylenol, and oh, let's throw in the new thermoscan temporal thermometer so I don't have to wake him once he falls asleep. Finally, the temp appears to be under control. The nurse calls, and we play phone tag. When I call back, the office is closed. How about that?

The pediatrician finally calls after I leave another message. He could be teething again, just watch his temp throughout the night. Time for daddy duty. "Check his temp at midnight," I tell my husband, as I crawl into bed. I can finally get some sleep.

Five hours later, when I go check on Caleb, you can fry an egg on his forehead and my thermometer is reading "High". OMG! I pick him up immediately, grab a washcloth and begin to cool him down. The thermometer is now reading 102.5. He gets a dose of tylenol and motrin, I put on some pants and grab some socks. I shake my husband awake and tell him we must go now to the emergency room. In the meantime, Caleb is playing and smiling, not knowing why in the world did mommy and daddy wake me out of my sleep for this. I sit in the backseat of the car next to my little one, praying and holding his hand all the way to the hospital.

Fast forward. In the emergency room, we are seen very quickly. Rectal temp 101.6. Taken to the examination room, Caleb is whining but very alert, grabs the doctor's stethoscope, follows commands. His only ailment is the temp that will not break. Diagnosis: H1N1 flu. Treatment: Tamiflu. There is no test to determine the H1N1 anymore because of the false negatives it gives. Since treatment is the same for the flu, it is given. I run outside of the hospital, leaving my husband with Caleb, to call his pediatrician. I am a nurse; I need to understand that what I am being told is the truth and not just some bull shiggity. His doctor confirms what we are told, and I feel somewhat relieved. Discharge instructions given and we are on our way to the pharmacy at 7:05, after having signed in at 6:07! How amazing is that! God looks out for babies, and we were not about to let anything happen to our precious little boy. We shared the news with close friends and family, and the prayers began pouring up to heaven.

Please be mindful of the germs that are everywhere. Wash your hands when you sneeze into them or blow your nose; if you can't get to soap and water, keep hand sanitizer on hand. Do not touch babies on their faces or hands, unless you are their parent. Wipe down high chairs in restaurants and carry your own seat cover. My oldest son told me of a lady who touched Caleb's face at Famous Dave's where they dined out one evening while I was working. The H1N1 virus can live two to eight hours on an inanimate object. Wipe down grocery carts and keep your hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth as much as possible. I have always been very uneasy about shaking hands with people anyway; not so much as a paranoia as it is a germaphobia. I was once offered a hand to shake by a reputable woman while serving in the Army. She had just sneezed into her hand and offered me that hand to shake. Eww! I got out of that easily, and have had problems with touching other people's hands. Period.

Having a toddler with eczema and food allergies, and now flu, was not making me a happy camper. I wished I could place him in a bubble to keep him away from germs, but such is not life. We must do our best to protect each other and our little ones.

Now go wash your hands!