Through hacking, Alex told me he wasn’t feeling well.
I felt his forehead: no temperature. I asked what was wrong and he simply said, “I’m not feeling vewy well.”
His daycare provider had mentioned that his nose had been running and I could see that it was a little raw from using tissues throughout the day. Even though he wasn’t actively leaking from his nose, he kept sniffling.
The entire night I could hear him in bed, coughing. He would call out for us or cry approximately every 90 minutes. He couldn’t breathe through his nose, so each time he forgot to keep his mouth open he woke up gasping.
In the morning he was tired. But so was I! We had been up for about half of the night, so when he asked to cuddle I didn’t think anything of it. But then he kept cuddling. Alex wanted to go under the blanket and watch a movie. He was calm.
That’s when I knew he was actually sick.
Around 11 in the morning, Alex and I joined Zach in our bed. While Zach and I discussed our plans for the day, Alex fell asleep.
This was weird.
The child who never sleeps. The child who screams when it is time to nap fell asleep, in the bright room, while we were talking.
Zach pointed to his stomach. “Is that normal? Is he just messing with us?”
Alex was breathing hard. All of his accessory muscles were working. He wasn’t wheezing loud enough to hear it without a stethoscope, but he was definitely wheezing. It wasn’t serious; he was pink, getting plenty of oxygen, but I figured we should do something just to be safe.
When this happened last year, it was scary. Very scary. His little chest would puff out when he was exhaling. He was gasping with every breath. This time it wasn’t like that. It wasn’t scary. I attempted to borrow the nebulizer from his daycare provider, but unfortunately they were out of town.
The pediatrician’s office was closed, so the nurse on call told us to head to the emergency room. They couldn’t just get us a nebulizer, and without that we had no way to give him the albuterol he obviously needed.
Six hours at the emergency room later and Alex was running around like a typical three-year old, attempting to get into trouble. An X-ray confirmed that it was not pneumonia, and the medical student learned that you can’t just listen to lung sounds, you have to actually look at the child. He was breathing without a problem, and begging to leave. The emergency room doctor somehow managed to weasel us a nebulizer even though it was the weekend.
We left with a prescription for a three-day course of a steroid and more albuterol to use as needed. Alex got the treat we promised him before we left, and we headed home at the end of a very long, waiting filled, day.
I won’t label it. I can’t accept that Alex may have a chronic illness.
He’s healthy. He runs around, plays with his friends, talks at an alarming pace, eats like the world might end if he doesn’t, and grows like a weed. His eyes are bright; his lungs are clear.
I can’t label it yet. My baby doesn’t have it, he just got sick. Twice.