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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I can’t believe it’s already Tuesday! The last few days have been a blur of fevers, medicine, puke buckets and doctors. We ended up taking both boys to the Urgent Care Clinic on Saturday. They both had high fevers through the day. Zach was so miserable – he was practically comatose. All he could do was lie around and even when he was awake he couldn’t open his eyes all the way. It was scary. Matthew complained that his ears hurt and we saw Zach tugging on his ear. We figured that at the least they had ear infections and we needed to get them in to see the doctor.

Matthew has double ear infections and Bronchitis. Zachary has one ear infection and was having difficulty breathing. His poor little tummy and ribs are constantly working hard and he just can’t seem to get a deep breath. On Saturday, the doctor had us give him an inhaler and told us that if his fever wasn’t down and he wasn’t drastically better on Sunday morning, then we’d need to bring him in right away. Thankfully, Zach woke up feverless and was actually playing a little bit. He’d have a burst of energy, rip around and then collapse in exhaustion. He was definitely a heck of a lot better though.

We brought the kiddos to stay with my dad and brother Chris while Mike, my mom and I went Christmas Caroling at a nursing home in Seattle with some friends from Engaged Encounter. Yeah, try getting through O Holy Night, knowing your kids are sick at home and there’s a little old lady holding your hand, looking at you with tears in her eyes. Right after that heapy-weepy moment, we started walking down the hall but stopped when the door to a room opened; the family was literally gathered around the person in the bed – as in saying goodbye. We’re singing Silent Night and I’m trying to not even look in the room. Yeah, just a little emotional. I felt terrible about abandoning the boys (all the while knowing they were fine and in perfectly capable hands), but it was great to get to go Caroling.

By the time we got the boys home, however, Zachary did not seem quite so fine. His temperature was back up to 101 and he was breathing pretty hard. We called the nurse and she had us count how many breaths he took in a minute. 44. She informed us, “Well, OK. He should be fine through the night, but if it gets up to 50-60 a minute and he looks anxious, then you’ll need to get him to Emergency at Children’s Hospital.” Very reassuring (actually, not really). Monday morning, Zach’s temperature was back down but he was still breathing pretty quickly. I took him back to the doctor (a different one at our office). The nurse counted his breaths and came up with 52. Right, so that was in that “get him to the hospital” range. But all they did (maybe it’s all they could do) was give him an extra couple of pumps of the inhaler. They also gave him a dose of steroids to bring down the potential fever and help with the whole breathing situation. The steroids have made him miserable – no fever miserableness now, just a different kind – he’s really irritable, shaky and jittery.

I left the doctor feeling frustrated. I still don’t understand what exactly the problem is because all we’ve done is treat the symptoms (which I know is important, but still…). I feel like I’ve gotten mixed messages. The nurse says if he gets that high, he needs to go to the hospital. So, he is that high at the doctor’s office and they ask if we have a history of Asthma in the family. Does that mean he has Asthma (or they’re just checking)? They tell me to give him more pumps of the inhaler, and if that doesn’t seem to work then bring him back for more steroids because it’s obviously not working. But, I’m confused. What is the problem?! Why are we going to keep pumping the same miserable drug into him if it didn’t work the first time? The doc told me that once I think the inhaler is working we can start tapering off, but, “Oh,” she says, “you probably won’t know if it’s working or ready to be tapered down…” Huh?!

In conclusion, I’m listening to my Mommy-Gut (or maybe just being a paranoid Mom), and I’m bringing him back in today to see our actual pediatrician, Dr. Benda who we know and love. I just want a doctor – one that we really trust and who knows us – to explain what is going on and what exactly the plan is and how long we’ll likely stick with this plan. I don’t even mind if all I get is, “well, we don’t actually know what is going on, why he’s having difficulty breathing or what the plan is.” As long as I get some more communication and that they aren’t just jumping to temporarily treat the symptom without knowing what the problem is.

When I called yesterday to schedule to see Dr. Benda today and had to explain to the Appointment desk chica why I wanted to be seen AGAIN, after going through my shpeal, she says, “Oh. So, you’re not hearing the answers that you want?” Yeah, OK, so maybe she does think that I’m one of THOSE or maybe I AM one of THOSE paranoid parental units. But I’d like some answers and not just what sounds like a temporary fix. Am I just being defensive or does this make sense?

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