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Feverbaby

Lorelei was on a destructive tear Wednesday evening. I had rudely awakened her from her late nap, so she had to show me who was really boss in this relationship. As a (sometimes unfortunately) very curious and active almost eighteen-month old, this is a pretty common practice of hers. Books must be removed from shelves and strewn across the dining and living rooms. Toys must be dragged from her room and tossed willy-nilly down the hall. Mommy must be screamed at for no discernible reason…

Wait. That last one is not true.

On the rare occasion that she decides not to nap immediately post-lunch and instead passes out in the late-ish afternoon, I’ve gotten into the habit of letting her sleep for an hour and then rousing her from slumber. I probably shouldn’t, but when she chooses four in the afternoon as nap time I don’t have much choice if I want her to go to bed at a reasonable hour. I do. She gets up at the same time every morning, no matter what time she goes to bed at night. Normally, she is crabby for a ten or twenty minutes but I can distract her with toys or coloring or her favorite movie (right now it’s Tangled). When my usual tactics didn’t work, I knew something was up.

I avoid taking her temperature as much as I possibly can. For one thing, I’m not going to take it unless she a) feels hot to the touch or b) is acting like a complete terror. I usually hold out for both conditions to be met unless she is really, really volcanic hot. Which, just so we’re clear has only happened once before when we were all down with the flu this last Christmas. The other reason I avoid taking her temperature is that it is a huge pain in the B-U-T-T. We started out with an ear thermometer, but Lorelei hated it and wouldn’t let me anywhere near her with it so we got one that’s like a pacifier.

(Spare me the lecture about how she shouldn’t use a pacifier and how it’s the most inaccurate and yadda yadda blah blah blah because I don’t give a fuck. It’s what works for us. I would rather have something – inaccurate as it may be – that she will actually let me use than have nothing at all. Okay? )

She didn’t seem very warm to me but coupled with her fit of destruction, I decided to risk her wrath and approached her cautiously with the thermometer. After a minute, it beeped. 101.6 Not that bad but bad enough, especially since she is never sick unless one of us gets sick first. Truth. See: every time she has ever been sick ever

By yesterday evening, despite my best efforts – including Tylenol, a lukewarm bath and cool clothing – she was still wavering between 101 and 102. After refusing dinner, we called our pediatrician – they have an after-hours urgent care – and they told us to come in. We made it there just before it was closing for the night. Everything was fine in the waiting room. Lorelei seemed happy enough to be running around and clutching her stuffed owl, even though it was past her bed time. The second we opened the door to the examine room, however, she went from sleepy but happy toddler to screaming feverbaby!

She screamed when they tried to take her temperature. She screamed when they weigher her. She screamed when they brought her medicine, even though she gulped it down once I managed to get the syringe past her lips. While we waited for the doctor, I bounced her in my lap and pushed her around the room on the little doctor’s stool. She whimpered pathetically but wouldn’t allow us to put her down. Eventually, I traded places with Brian and she was mostly calm by the time the door opened again. What followed was one of the worst ten minute blocks of my life.

My poor baby girl was very scared. She wouldn’t let Brian set her on the examine table and instead clawed at him and reached for me. I held her tightly, feeling her fevered skin burn my cheek, while the doctor tried to listen to her heartbeat and lungs and check for rashes. Eventually, we had to lay her down. Brian held her feet and I held her arms and I shushed her and told her it was going to be okay over and over and over. I wanted to cry to. It felt like someone was stabbing me in the gut, watching her scream in complete terror and knowing that there was nothing I could do until it was all over.

But eventually, it was over. Diagnosis: hand, foot and mouth disease. Translation: nothing we could do accept give her Tylenol and hope her fever went down.

We trudged home and tucked her into bed. She was up several times in the night screaming. I felt like running away.

By this morning, her fever was gone. She wasn’t her usual active self, preferring to curl up next to me on the couch or curl up on top of a pillow on the living room floor. We watched the Royal Wedding (and that’s a whole other post right there) which I had the forethought to DVR. She would clap whenever there was a lot of cheering and she was enthralled during the hymns. She took a long nap at her normal time this afternoon and she seems almost back to normal. For that, I am glad and I hope that we don’t have to go near a doctor’s office for a very long time.

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In the Waiting Room

Disclaimer: This might fall under the categories of TMI and CHEESY. If that’s not your thing, come back tomorrow for more cute baby pictures.

I’m carrying my small purse, just enough room for my book, a wallet and my phone. On this day, I’m just Kirsten. There is no diaper bag filled with snacks and toys. No crayons, no baby wipes. On this day, I am not a mommy. I’m wedged into the back corner of the elevator, behind the wheelchair and the guy who almost gave me a concussion with his backpack and the elderly couple wheeling an oxygen tank. I ride it to the top and even though I’m alone for the last few floors, I still stand in the corner, trying to make myself smaller.

The waiting room is empty when I arrive. Still blinking, my eyes adjusting from the bright corridor and sunlight outside, I approach the check-in slowly. I’m seeing someone new. It wasn’t time for an annual check-up and I had only called the day before. My usual doctor wasn’t available. I don’t like change, but I remembered who I was seeing and gave my name to the receptionist. I had to endure the embarrassment of giving my new address – spelling out the street name and repeating my apartment letter three times – and, oh yeah, I have a new phone number, too. I don’t remember if you allow debit cards for co-pays? I mumble, feeling my face get red.

The appointment went fine. We talked about everything that had been bothering me for the last several months. The intense back pain, the abdominal cramps and my seemingly endless exhaustion. Is it possible you’re pregnant, he asked. I tried not to laugh and just said No. Blood work was  ordered and I was off to get it drawn. Six vials of blood. Then, it was downstairs to radiology.

I’ve only gotten two (maybe three) x-rays in my life (not counting the dentist) and I had no idea what to expect. I imagine my face said WHAAAT? when they asked me if I knew where the pants were kept. I was lead back to a huge cabinet filled with paper pants and hospital gowns.  The receptionist surveyed my outfit and told me I would have to wear those voluminous trousers and take off my bra. Did I want to wear a gown or just keep my shirt on? Oh wait, my shirt had buttons so I didn’t get a choice. I was pointed towards the changing room – a small curtained area behind the front desk – and I stripped down to my underwear. The pants were so huge that they bulged out from my hips like clown pants and the gown wouldn’t stay tied in back.

I sat in an uncomfortable flowered chair and surveyed my feet. The only article of clothing – other than my underwear – that was still mine were the battered sandals that I had bought last summer. Staring up at me was a line of nail polish on my left big toe, the last bit of the pedicure I had given myself three months ago that I hadn’t chipped off. I didn’t have long to contemplate what it could mean – perhaps my chipped polish was a sign of how poorly I have been taking care of myself which was why I was spending my Friday morning in doctors’ offices – before the tech came back to get me.

I have arthritis in my lower back on the right side. I will be spending more time in waiting rooms as I begin a course of physical therapy. Everything else came back normal. No wheat allergy and no thyroid issues were the two highlights of my results. This coming Thursday, I will drag myself out of bed at the ass-crack of dawn and get an abdominal ultrasound . I should probably get the nail polish remover out before then.

Fever and Flu, Fussing and Feuding

Before we went to Ohio for Thanksgiving, our little blue car developed a smell. Whenever we ran the heater – which is a lot since it’s winter, duh – there would be a faint burning odor vaguely reminiscent of maple syrup. Unfortunately, since we noticed the problem literally the day before we were due to leave, we couldn’t do anything about it. Vowing to keep an eye out for signs that the engine was overheating, we went on our way. Since the car was under warranty, if anything went wrong we could take it to a dealer when we got there. Luckily, it was fine and we didn’t take it in until we were safely back in St Louis.

It was a very, very lucky thing. Can you say, massive heating system failure? It was at the dealer for more than two weeks. One of the parts that they needed was sold out at every dealership in the country and when they did get a shipment, the parts were damaged en route and kept breaking when they tried to replace them. Awesome. Finally, last Wednesday, the car was ready to be picked up.

Think that’s the end of the story? HAHAHAHA.

So, last Wednesday, I put Lorelei down for her usual nap and my friend Julie came over to knit. She napped for two hours – a little shorter than usual but not bad – and then woke up for lunch. An hour later and she had reached DEFCON Level 1 crankiness. The warning bells in my head were going crazy. ALERT! ALERT! TODDLER ABOUT TO LOSE HER SHIT! So, I put her back down for another nap. She hasn’t taken two naps during the day in at least a month and certainly not that close together.

Turns out, she was sick. An hour into nap number two, I go into check on her and she felt really hot to the touch. More concerning, she didn’t hardly stir when I felt her head. Usually, the slightest touch will rouse her from a nap. I was supposed to be meeting Brian at the dealership to pick up the car and return the rental but I really didn’t think it was a good idea to try to go anywhere with a sick kid. So, I called him and asked him to come home early and do the car return himself.

HAHAHAHAHAHA.

Oh, he couldn’t come home because he was in a meeting with a coworker. A coworker. Not a donor. It wasn’t even a time sensitive meeting. It could have easily been rescheduled but he “didn’t realize it was such a big deal.” I probably made it into a bigger deal than it was, but I’m going to chalk it up to being pretty much homebound for two weeks and having a cranky toddler. Oh yeah, getting into a ridiculous fight with the husband is always high on my list of things to do.

When he did get home, she was awake and crabby and I had reached the end of my coping abilities. Holy crap, the whining. Somehow, he convinced me to bundle her up and go with him to the dealer and then he proceeded to take the longest possible route to get there. When we arrived, maybe two minutes after they closed, the place was completely dark. So, we had just spent twenty minutes in the car – plus another ten while one of the people from sales tried to find any of the service people – with a cranky sick baby for nothing. Awe. Some.

By the next afternoon, I was also completely out of commission, flat on my back with the flu. Lorelei, by the way, was already almost completely better by that point. Thanks to the what-do-I-have-to-say-to-make-you-realize-that-I-really-really-need-you-to-come-home-no-really argument from the day before, I was rescued from trying to care for the little one when all I wanted to do – and all I was capable of doing – was lay in bed under layers of blankets.

And then Brian was taken out by the illness.

The two of us spent most of Christmas Eve either asleep or half asleep on the floor in the baby’s room while she played on and around us. Christmas day was slightly better. Brian is fully recovered, of course. Asshole. I’m getting there although yesterday was not pleasant. My eyes were watering and swollen looking. I could barely open them without being in pain.

Oh yeah, winter is great. Stupid flu season.

Words That End in -itis

…or why I hate doctors strongly dislike having to go to any sort of health care establishment.  (No disrespect to my friends and acquaintances who work in the field, I don’t hate you)

I tend to be sick a lot.  Not really sick and almost never anything serious enough to warrant a trip to the doctor’s office.  I bitch and moan for a few days (or weeks if it’s a sinus infection/being in denial about having allergies), but then I’m over it and I feel better at least for a little while.

Well, just as I was starting to feel recovered from my headaches of doom, I started having stomach pain.  So, I don’t have the best diet in the world.  I try to eat at least somewhat healthfully, but there are times when I really backslide into horrible habits such as getting fast food for dinner or considering a package of Pop Tarts to be a perfectly acceptable lunch.  I thought all the bad eating I had been doing was finally catching up to me – which is technically true – and after a day or two, I would have gotten it out of my system.

No such luck.

I hate going to the doctor because I am worried that they will tell me it’s nothing and then, not only will I not feel better, but I will have wasted money on a copay and my time.  Or worse, they will misdiagnose me.  See: ER doctor who thought I had broken my leg when really I had just sprained the ligaments.  And then there was the ear infection that wasn’t (don’t get me started).

But after five days of feeling stabbing pain, I gave in and let Brian take me to the urgent care.  (Side note: why are urgent cares in St Louis only open between the hours of 9 am and 7 pm?)  Well, after some poking and prodding.  I have a bunch of things wrong with me ending in -itis.  I have gastritis, which as I understand it is an excess of acid in the stomach.  Possibly also duodenitis.  Same thing, different part of the stomach.  And also, there is a problem with my pylorus which makes me feel full after a few bites.  So yeah, my stomach is basically fucked.

Perhaps I should have continued to live in blissful ignorance?  Perhaps not, but man does it suck.

Bitch Bitch Moan Moan

Can I whine for a minute? Of course I can. This is my blog and if you don’t want to read my whining, you don’t have to.

I hate my body. Not that way I look – although there is room for improvement – but the way my body works. I can’t ever seem to catch a break. Every Christmas I get sick. Like really really don’t-wake-me-up-for-five-days-and-maybe-I’ll-be-better sick. It’s usually the flu or something flu-like – or in 2008, an intestinal parasite – but this year I got lucky and just had a very minor cold. Which, unfortunately, I gave to Lorelei. I thought, maybe getting that seasonal flu vaccine was a good idea and maybe I should do it again even though I don’t plan on being pregnant again for a few years. But, no! My body, she hates me. I’ve had a migraine-y type headache for the last couple of weeks; but I didn’t think anything of it because headaches are a common side effect of the medication I’m on and I figured my higher dosage was screwing with my system. Yesterday, I took my nap as per usual and Lorelei actually cooperated and slept for almost two blissful hours but when I woke up, I felt like I had been hit by a bus. I shrugged it off because my friend was coming over and we were going out for milkshakes (how very 1950’s of us) and I thought well maybe it’s just a sleep hangover. Does anyone else get those? Where you actually get a really good nap in but when you wake up you almost feel worse than before you went to sleep.

Where was I?

Oh yes. Felt like I was hit by a bus. Sore all over. My neck hurt. Etc etc. And then the chills came. Oh fun. My favorite part of being sick is the feeling of not being able to get warm enough and then sweating profusely. Fun. I kid you not I was under a down comforter a quilt and an extremely warm throw blanket and I was still freezing. And the shaking. Oh my god. I felt like…well, I felt like I did after giving birth, like a weak thing that could barely move.

On top of all this, Brian left this morning for a five day trip to Cleveland and Pittsburgh. So, feel like dying and husband gone and oh yeah two month old. Two month old who was a serious drama queen and didn’t fall asleep until 11 last night. Kill me now.

Oh. And said two month old spent most of this afternoon freaking out about something although I don’t know what and wouldn’t take an effing nap. Is it Tuesday yet?