Parker has had a rough time the past five days. He started out with what I assume was a stomach bug on Thursday. I was very glad it didn’t hit him until after our packers drove away with all of our belongings. The next day I felt really rough and Parker seemed to be on the mend.
From there I kept expecting things to get better, but Parker’s fever refused to leave. As long as he had Motrin or Tylenol in him, his fever was under control. I could tell it was time for more medicine by looking at his eyes. His fevers make his puppy-dog eyes even more pitiful.
I had my race on Saturday and I completely expected Parker to be feeling better by the end of the day, but he just felt horrible. I knew church was out of the question for Sunday and was getting antsy to see the end of this sickness. He was only happy if one of us was holding him, and he was starting to refuse his brothers’ care. “My mommy’s turn!” he’d say if I asked Hayden to get him of the high chair or refill his cup of water.
He was also unable to sleep well, which always makes the mommy unable to sleep well. Parker has been a thumb-sucker for 18 months… started when we took his paci away at one-year-old. When he got that cut in Venice and we bandaged it up, the habit was forcefully removed. Granted it is by his own choosing that he is still wearing a bandage, but at the same time, he’s unable to comfort himself in this way any longer.
He has always loved his snugglies (diaper cloths used as spit rags from his infant days). Early Thursday morning, when he got sick, he also got his two snugglies dirty. I washed them and tried to give them back to him. He refused to hold them. I gave him new ones that had been packed away in his clothes for travel, but he refused them. He’ll grab onto the edge, snuggle them for a second, but turn away, saying, “I not want my luddlie.”
The poor baby has lost his thumb and snugglie all in one month. To make matters worse, his bed is gone, all of his toys are gone, and his house echos and feels totally unfamiliar, all when he’s the sickest he’s ever been.
He isn’t sleeping well and has been sleeping with us, something we almost never allow. Transition should be fun.
All that to say, when I heard him at 0200 last night I went to him immediatley, only to find him shaking like a leaf. I picked him up, scared that his fever may have gotten too high. In the kitchen I took his temperature and it was only 101.4. He shook the entire time I changed his diaper, and cried that he didn’t want me to. I put him in the bed with me, quite disturbed by his constant shaking. My mind started racing so I got up and googled “febrile seizure.”
When I couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for I called my sister-in-love, Ashley, and asked her what she thought. Being the good nurse she is, she asked me all the right quesitons and deduced that he had probably not had a febrile seizure but was simply shaking from being chilled by the fever. She gave me some things to look for in case he did it again and some circumstances under which I was to get him to the ER. When I got back to the bed I realized his fever had gone up. I checked it again and it was over 104. I immediately dosed him with Motrin (he likes the flavor better and at 0200, I wasn’t up for a fight) and we both went to sleep.
When the clinic opened I called and made an appointment, joking that as soon as Parker woke up he’d be fever-free and I’d look crazy for making the appointment.
Sure enough, he woke up happy, alert, with a very low-grade fever. Even though his fever never went over 101 this morning I kept the appointment, feeling sheepish the whole time. A friend who works at the clinic even walked past us and commented on how well Parker looked. I assured him it was totally ironic… any time I make an appointment for my child, he turns around and gets better beforehand and I end up looking like an over-protective mom who hogs clinic appointments.
When we met with the nurse for vitals everything looked good. The doctor came in and did a few more invasive exams (invasive in the opinion of a two-year-old) and Parker was none-too-pleased. After the exam the doctor ordered four tests: blood work, urine tests, strep culture, and chest x-rays. I have to admit here, I wonderd if the doctor was being overly zealous. I didn’t really know if all these tests were necessary, especially as Parker was seeming better off by the minute. Of course, I went thorugh the interesting steps of applying a urine-catching-bag, letting a medic prick my baby’s finger and squeeze blood out, holding him still while a lab tech took x-rays of his chest, and using the Full Nelson to keep Parker on the exam table while a nurse stuck a foot-long Q-tip down his throat. (Don’t you wish you had been with me today?!?!) I didn’t even mention the torturous removal of the urine-catching bag. Oh, that was rough.
After we completed this rigorous battery of tests we went back to watch more “Nemo” that the secretary had graciously put on for my sweet little guy. We waited until we were called back to hear the results of whatever tests had been analyzed. We both fell asleep in the exam room while watching “Esther” on my iPhone. It had been an exhausting morning. I woke up just before the doctor came back in with the results. Blood work was being sent away for testing, urine looked good, and I don’t even remember if he told me the results of the strep culture. He did tell me that the x-rays revealed that Parker has pneumonia.
Not even for a split second had the possibility of pneumonia crossed my mind. Parker had no coughing; no runny nose; no wheezing; no cold-like symptoms at all. The child vomitted for 12 hours, then ran a high fever for 4 days. Who would have guessed pneumonia?!?
In that moment my concerns that the doctor had been overzealous vanished and I was overwhelmed with gratitude that he had caught something in the exam that prompted him to order the x-rays. I did, however, get fussed at for not bringing him in earlier. I honestly don’t think I can win on this one.
All my experience as a mother says that fever is not enough of a reason to take the child in. I will say that 104 is beyond my realm of comfort, but since I was able to keep it lowered I wanted to wait until I could go to the American doctors rather than fuss with the German ER. Not so much because it’s German, but because it’s an ER. I would have most likely made the same decisions with any of my kids with the symptoms presented to me had I been in the states. I would have, most likely, waited until Monday morning when they could see their regular doctor.
So, there you have it. On November 1st I took Parker into the clinic for bug bites; to confirm that they were not chicken-pox. I was correct… he had bug bites all over him. But upon examination the doctor discovered that he had, and I quote, “a raging ear infection.” And now today, November 19th, I take him in for fever and discover he has pneumonia.
My son: the one who has no presenting symptoms of the illness he actually has.
7 days of antibiotics and he’ll be good-to-go. I’m thankful that he’s going to get better now, and also glad that we’ll get to participte in our Thanksgiving Day plans as scheduled!