Future Health Professional

“Oh no! Mommy! Oh no! He fell down!”

Fortunately, when Alex is playing he uses this super high-pitched voice. I never mistake a serious problem for pretend play, but I still have to react to whatever the pretend problem is: “Who fell down?”

“The man! The wittul fwying man! He fell down and went boom! He’s huwt! Mommy, he needs a doctuh.”

I told Alex to call the doctor so that the little flying man could get some help. We wouldn’t want the little flying man to be seriously injured and not be able to fly around again, after all.

“Otay! I cawed the doctuh. Oh! Da doctuh is here. ::new voice:: Hi, dere. I’m a doctuh. I Doctuh Seuss!

Alex has a cold. Like all people of the male gender, he’s a baby about being sick.

“Mommy, I sick. I need med-cine.”

After feeling his forehead and neck, and recognizing that he could, indeed, use a little medicine, I give it to him.

“Thank you, Mommy. The med-cine made me awww bettuh.”

Later on, he looked at Zach and I: “Umm…maybe I have a fevuh?”

When Zach and I started cracking up, Alex started cracking up too and said, “Nooooo! I don’t have a fevuh. Dat’s siwwy.”

And then again, later that night, as I’m sitting in his room, cuddling before bed, Alex throws one hand up, palm out, against his forehead. The other hand reaches around behind his neck and Alex says, “Mommy? I have a fevuh. I need med-cine.”

At least we never have the how-to-get-a-refusing-toddler-to-take-medicine-without-throttling-them battle. Instead, we have to thank medicine manufacturers for childproof caps and the fact that Alex is a scaredy cat and won’t attempt to climb up high enough to get the medicine that makes him feel awwww bettuh.


The Plague

The Plague came, and good grief I wish the last little lingering fight it has would just leave.

Alex came down with something about three weeks ago: fever, nasty cough, “thwoat huwts!”, constantly running nose. He seemed to recover pretty well, only to come down with another something nasty yesterday.

During his cough, I came down with the same thing. Fever (up to 102.6, high but nothing serious at all), sniffly, hacking up a lung, and busy answering the dreaded question: “Do you have Swine Flu?!”

I don’t actually know the answer to that. It’s possible it was Swine Flu, and it’s possible it was just a flu, and it’s also possible it was just a nasty, nasty, cold that then turned into a sinus infection. (And oh my god sinus infections are awful! This was my first, and it’s still hanging around, though it’s not causing me any pain at this point. Phew!) Regardless, Alex was fine after that illness, and I’m fine. And chances are if you catch it, you’ll be fine.

But here’s the thing: The flu kills people. Every year. Especially babies, young children, the elderly and anyone who has other conditions that put them in a compromised health status. And this current flu? Is hurting otherwise perfectly healthy individuals.

While it may not hurt you, it does hurt others. So if you are telling yourself, “I don’t need to get vaccinated against the flu. I probably won’t get it, and if I do it’s not a big deal!” you are right…kind of. But the thing about immunizations that most people seem to not understand: it’s not only about you. It’s about protecting others.

The more people that don’t get the flu, the more people won’t die from it. By preventing yourself (and your family) from getting it, you are also preventing the people you come in contact with from getting it. By immunizing yourself, you are protecting people who are unable to get vaccinated and who could become deathly ill. You are protecting the people who, for whatever reason, the immunization did not work on.

It’s not only about you, it’s about others. If you have the ability to get vaccinated, you should do it. Or at least think about what not getting vaccinated means: it means you may get sick, which means you may have to take time off of work, pay for medicine, find someone to watch your kids while you are struggling with a fever; it means you will probably get someone else in your life sick; it means you may carry around the illness and give it to someone who couldn’t be protected from it and could end up in the hospital because of it.

Yes, I am pro-vaccine. Absolutely, unapologetically, pro-vaccine. It is a choice that each person must make for themselves, and I would neither force a vaccine on someone nor judge them harshly for choosing not to get a vaccine. But this year, with this flu, we are going to see a lot of people die. More than the seasonal flu, and more “healthy” people than usual. Earlier this week, there were multiple people in the ICU (at the hospital I work in) with the H1N1 flu, one of whom was 6 months pregnant and in a coma.

Yesterday, we took Alex to the pediatrician because he was having trouble breathing. The night before, he had a runny nose and a cough. In the morning, he was still coughing, and it’s possible he had a slight fever. By the time he woke up from his nap at daycare, he was wheezing, using his whole body to take in shallow breaths, and was in clear distress. He’s an otherwise healthy kid, but whatever he managed to catch in the last few days? Made him unable to breath. It’s possible it wasn’t a flu, but if it was something that could have been prevented? Well…a sigh is all I have for that.


Getting Our Money’s Worth

This has been an expensive two years for our household.

First, there was the whole pregnancy and labor thing. It’s expensive to have a baby. Especially when it’s a cesarean section. Then, Alex was in the NICU and the Pediatric ICU for days after his birth. Staying in a hospital is expensive.

Then? All of those early-babyhood appointments. Vaccines are expensive.

Next up came the horrifying news that Alex was going to have to have surgery for a hernia. Surgery is expensive.

Then I had the fun opportunity to visit the Emergency Room two months ago because of intense abdominal pain. ER visits and blood tests? Yup! Expensive.

Since then I’ve been back to my primary care physician twice, who last week told me that it probably was not my diagnosed problem of gastritis (finally someone listened to me!). I had an ultrasound, and the next day my doctor called to tell me I have gallstones. Adding up all of those appointments and the ultrasound? Phew! Expensive!

In two weeks I’ll meet with a surgeon and schedule a time to have my gallbladder removed. Yet another surgery will just add to our increasing cost of staying healthy in this family. (Lucky Zach is as healthy as a horse! Although he needs to schedule a physical! Hear that, Zach?)

Needless to say, I am so very, very, thankful that we have health insurance. If we had to pay for all of this out of pocket we would be drowning in debt. The cost of health care is absurd, and it’s no wonder people will refuse to get taken care of when they have no health insurance. It’s no wonder you don’t see people finally getting help until it’s too late. We are lucky. Hopefully one day we won’t just be lucky, we’ll be the norm.

The Illness That Wouldn’t Die

First, Alex got sick. He had a fever, a constantly running nose, and was a very unhappy camper.

Then, Zach got sick. And I was feeling a little under the weather, but nothing terrible. Zach was worse than Alex had been. Delirious, nauseous, and obviously very ill. I thought I had missed most of whatever it was.

Then, I got sick. Really sick. So sick that I couldn’t move without getting more sick, and probably was about to dehydrate myself in a serious manner if I hadn’t been able to keep down some gatorade last night.

Now, I still feel awful. My head is fuzzy, my throat is still sore, coughing makes me gag, and while I can keep some food and drink down, I haven’t been able to eat or drink much without feeling nauseous.

At least I lost a few extra pounds this week.

Climbing UP the slide, naturally

The Plague

It’s official. The plague has swept through our house.

First, Alex was sick for about two weeks. The first few days of the illness included no sleep, constant nose drainage, lots of coughing, and perpetual clinginess. After that he was only mildly clingy and had a nose that wouldn’t stop running.

Next, Zach got ill. He had a fever, a bad cough, and couldn’t breath because of all of the mucous. He was so bad he even had to stay home from work.

Then it hit me. I woke up yesterday feeling like I had an antelope in my throat. The antelope was clearly angering the bird that had appeared the night before. Those bird feathers tickle like crazy, and the antelope just made the bird claustrophobic with his big antlers stabbing into my throat.

Today is slightly better. I have cookies to make for the cookie swap on Saturday, so I must be better in order to do that. I will not miss out on the awesomeness that is the Burgh Moms and what I’m sure will be amazing cookies. Not. Gonna. Happen.

Send angry notes to the antelope and bird, please. Scare them out of my throat.