I consider myself very lucky – all in all I have healthy children. Sure, they have had their cases of Coxsackie, ear infections, croup, viruses, and colds, but whatever they have come down with has been remedied relatively easily.
Until last week.
As of January 1st we had to change our insurance plan which meant we had to switch pediatricians. I was devastated. I loved my pediatrician. How could I not? He was like 5’1” and he still wore Sambas; I wanted to put him in my pocket. In fact, I loved ALL of the doctors in the practice and from what I hear that’s a rarity. I did my research and I found a new practice that came highly recommended. So when Lady went to sleep Sunday evening with oozing eyes and Man walked into my room Monday morning and stated, “My eye hurts,” (he rarely, if ever, complains of being sick) I figured it was time to take the new doctors for a spin.
I assumed it was pink eye. What else makes your kids’ eyes water, itch, and ooze a crusty pus-like substance? By the time we got to the office, it was pretty clear that that was the case. I met the first doctor in the practice and I liked him a lot. He was great with the kids, kind and patient. Plus, he said if the drops began working quickly Man could likely return to school the following day.
At home I laboriously forced eye drops into the kids’ eyes. They cried and fought and kicked and screamed. I didn’t blame them – I wouldn’t want my mom kneeing me in the chest, holding my arms down and squirting me with liquid fire either. No matter what I tried I kept losing that element of surprise. I mean, hell, I was putting medicine into their eyes for God’s sake. How do you hide and plan a sneak attack with something that is pointed directly at their eyeball??
Day One ends and quickly melds into Day Two. The day that was supposed to be “an extra day of rest, just in case” looks more like the set of Dawn of the Dead.
On Wednesday, Day Three, it seemed that Man was well enough to go back to school. It had snowed the night before, so after a one hour delay I happy danced them into the car and off we went at 10AM. By 11:15 he was back in my car on the way home from school, the other eye now oozing. Apparently you were supposed to treat both eyes even if only one was affected. No one had told me this, but I was getting the sense that this was Parenting 101. Maybe I had been absent that day, maybe I had had pink eye…
I began treating the other eye.
Wednesday afternoon Lady awoke from her nap with that telltale barking cough.
With eyes still oozing we went back to the pediatrician. I met the second doctor in the practice; she was nice, not as great as the first but for a sick visit she was perfectly fine.
At home with oral steroids for croup I dodged left and right as Lady spit dose after dose at me. The bark went away a few hours later. Maybe I had overreacted. It’s not unheard of.
Thursday dawns with hope. Today will be the day they get up and look like they are coming out on the other side of this illness. Maybe we will be able to allow others into the house to play; have actual physical contact with humans that aren’t doctors or family!!! Sadly, this is not so. It appears Man’s pink eye has not cleared up. Lady, though happy, looks like she’s been to a Grateful Dead festival for a week; her eyes are no longer streaming pus but they have definite puffy pink hue to them.
More torture with the drops. I apologize to Man for the pain I have to inflict upon him.
“It’s ok, mommy. I understand.” He sobs. We snuggle and my heart is filled with love and admiration for my sweet Man.
We begin Day Four of our house arrest. They want to play. It’s been the same toys for four days and the natives are getting restless. Mommy might lose her mind.
Friday, Day Five begins with new hope.
It is quickly shattered.
Man wakes up oozing from both eyes; he has a raspy cough and there is fluorescent green snot dried to his nose and cheeks. We go back to the doctor for our third visit of the week. I meet the last doc in the practice. She’s lovely.
As we walk out of the office, I wonder if they think I’m crazy. Are they whispering and rolling their eyes behind my back? New to the practice and I’m showing up every other day. I’m totally that mom.
By the afternoon all is looking well. The drops of death are no longer in the equation (turns out they were irritating the kids eyes rather than ridding them of pink eye). Each child seemed happy and finally on the mend.
Then Lady woke up from her nap.
“My ear, my ear!!’’ she was swatting at it crying. “Hurt, hurt, hurt,” she was wailing.
I can’t call the doctor; I was already there three times this week, only four hours earlier in fact. They are going to think I’m a hypochondriac or worse, that I have Munchausen syndrome*. They’re going to flag our charts and call me “crazy mom!”
I call anyway. It’s 4:30PM on a Friday and they don’t have an appointment until the next day.
I can’t leave her like this, if only for the simply selfish reason that she will be up all night and did I mention that I was sick all week too and if I had to be up for another night I just might have… well, you know.
To Urgent Care we go with double ear infections. Lady has a fever; they give her Advil. It’s 5PM on Friday evening so I ask the only logical question, “Got any wine back there too?”
The doc is not amused.
“I was only joking.” (As far as you’re concerned.)
I am covered in amoxicillin, I smell a bit from all of the running around; I’m sick and I’m tired. I have spent five days at home with my children and I’m climbing the walls. I have never had two kids this sick for so long. I’m tired and if I didn’t see them at all tomorrow it wouldn’t be the worst thing.
But I am lucky.
Lucky that it was just a virus… just an ear infection.
Lucky that they are easily treatable.
Lucky that in a week this will all be a distant memory.
*Just in case a week at home with them wasn’t enough, there have been two snow days this week!