Yesterday was one of the roughest days in parenting I’ve ever had. I mean, I’m sure there were worse days in those early months when sleep never comes and you rock for hours and barely have time for a shower between feedings and, well, feedings. But you guys? Yesterday was HARD.
And it didn’t have anything to do with the fact that it was Christmas.
Remember that stomach bug from Friday? Yeah. That happened. And although it was relatively minor in terms of puking (once at school and once in our car on the way home from the doctor), it was the first of a series of events that led us to The Hardest Day Ever.
Saturday morning Owen’s stomach was relatively back to normal. He had a little cough and some extra boogers, but I figured just a little cold that was the tail end of the stomach bug. We had an ok day (shot our entire Christmas video, which was no small feat), but by the end of the day I could tell Owen wasn’t feeling well again. He kept mentioning his stomach, but I could see by his watery eyes and thick cough that we were on the verge of his usual asthma-induced respiratory infection as well. By Sunday morning it was full blown. I could hear a wheeze, his airway was constricted, his cough was raspy and wet, and our emergency albuterol inhaler was doing little to help any of those symptoms. I did what I always do in this situation and schlepped us all to the doctor. That won us Owen’s 4th (FOURTH!!!) chest x-ray in his short little life, and a diagnosis of an asthma flare-up likely brought on by the germs the stomach bug let in.
Just in time for Christmas.
We left with a prescription for two medicines — one for a nasty ear infection that had mysteriously popped up between Friday’s doctor’s appointment and Sunday’s, and another sort of emergency treatment (stronger than what we normally give him) for the lung/breathing issues. I hate to dose him up with so many meds, but I felt confident that we really needed them this time. Owen rarely, if ever, acts sick at all, and on Sunday he was at his most pitiful. Just so uncomfortable and sad.
I thought at that point that it couldn’t get any worse. That once he got the first few doses of that medicine, he’d be feeling better immediately.
But I was wrong.
Monday he went downhill. The medicine seemed to help his asthma, but his cough was still really bad and one of the two medicines (or the combination of the two) wreaked havoc on his system. He was stricken with nearly constant diarrhea, his attitude was all over the map (this must be what it’s like to have a schizophrenic child — his emotional state was off the charts in every direction), and he suffered from incredibly uncharacteristic insomnia.
By Christmas the diarrhea was even worse (which I didn’t think was possible), and he was barely eating or drinking because his body was such a mess. His insomnia had caused a sleep debt that was turning him into a maniac, and I wasn’t far behind. Thanks to lots of amazing presents and seeing lots of family, we made it through. Barely.
Thankfully, even amidst the drama of the illness, there were wonderful, happy moments of what Christmas with a two year old should be like (as you can see from these pictures!). The magic of Christmas is a powerful thing.
Today was far better, as we stuck religiously to the BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce and toast, with probiotics added to just about everything for good measure). He started sleeping a little more and we saw glimpses of his happy little personality coming back.
Unfortunately now the diarrhea has given way to the most atrocious diaper rash I’ve ever seen in my life, so even though his stomach is feeling a bit better, he screams in pain whenever we even discuss the idea of a diaper change. It’s so, so sad to know how much it hurts him, but we have to keep applying ointment and rinsing.
This too shall pass. I know. But damn. This part is HARD.