She Says… Ill-Timed Illness

Christmas 2012-1

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.

Christmas 2012-2

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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This too shall pass. I know. But damn. This part is HARD.

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13 responses to “She Says… Ill-Timed Illness

  1. RhodeyGirlTests

    Poor guy. I hope he feels better. For the diaper rash strip him naked from the waist down and have him play on a sheet so that his bum gets some air. Our friend’s son had horrible diaper rash from a sickness and it’s the only thing that worked. Good luck.

  2. Hope he feels better. I second the rec. to leave his diaper off as much as possible. On the occasions when a diaper rash has gotten really bad, I’ll switch to cloth until it clears up. Poor baby. :(

  3. Well, I’m sure he loved all of his gifts, except for the Flu :(
    Hope you were all able to find some rest today.

  4. Awwww man, I was so afraid I would see a post like this. I had a feeling when you said earlier that Owen’s stomach started that things could go awry. That’s just awful – all the terrible possible illness symptoms wrapped into one. POOR OWEN! That’s just awful. I’m glad that there was still a big of Christmas excitement looming, but really sorry he was so sick :-(

    P.S. Your Christmas video was awesome (again) and Cameron pretty much “knows” Owen now and is insisting that I show him the video again ;-)

  5. I hope poor little Owen is feeling better soon!

  6. Deep breaths. What’s nice is that as this passes, you will look back, pat yourself on the back, and it all will seem less overwhelming and hard. And kudos to you for getting photos that don’t at all reek of GI/respiratory hell! Wishing you all some better health and rest and predictable days!

  7. Aw, that sounds awful – for everyone! Chest xrays are the WORST. Poor guy. On Ryan’s first Christmas, I gave him some liquid formula (as a “treat”) just as all our friends were arriving; for some reason, it didn’t sit well with him and he proceeded to scream inconsolably for the next four hours (at which point, everyone finally gave up on us and left). I felt really let down about it at the time, but we have laughed about it every year since. I’m glad you did get a few moments of Christmas fun, and I hope he’s back to 100 percent really soon.

  8. Oh, man – poor Owen, and poor Mom and Dad! That sounds ridiculously rough on everyone and especially around the holidays. Hope Owen is more back to himself and you’re all catching up on sleep!

  9. Awwww, poor guy! Maya just got over some super bug virus that gave her cough/respiratory symptoms, compounded with diarrhea–oh and some major teething. She barely ate anything for days, even the BRAT diet, and was seriously bipolar baby. She also wound up with a hideous diaper rash, and is still terrified of diaper changes. We normally use just desitin, but switched to Balmex, which seems to be helping. The doc also suggested cortisone a few times a day to help. I feel soooo badly when we have to change a dirty diaper, because of ow upset she gets.
    I hope Owen feels better soon!

  10. Nicky Chlopecki

    Congrats on the new baby. It is such amazing news. Our daughter also has slight asthma that only flares up when she is sick. Recently our ped gave us Pulmicort to use at the first sign of a cold, in conjunction with the Albuterol, and it has worked wonders. No mother wants to add extra meds in the mix but ever since we started it back in August it has severly cut down on the severity and the length of the asthma symptoms. We start off with twice a day, for 3 to 4 days, at the first sign of a cold and keep her on it once daily after it starts to get better. It has made such a huge difference. Just thought I might mention it in case you want to run it by your ped.
    Best of luck with the pregnancy and I hope Owen feels better soon! Happy New Year.

  11. Oh you poor mama! And being prego on top of all that… Wishing you all a very healthy new year.
    -Dana

  12. @Nicky, Thanks for your comment about Pulmicort! We actually already use that twice daily (we weaned him off of it over the summer per our pulmonologist’s suggestion, but were ready to put him back on it once the fall/winter illnesses hit). It has helped immensely!

  13. Nicky Chlopecki

    Oh good! I am glad, it does make a huge difference. I don’t know what I would do without it. Happy New Year!

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