I've been looking for a way to extricate myself from my self imposed pity party, and Thursday night, it finally happened. Although this wasn't really the way I would have wanted it to go.
A little background, first. LittleG has had a long and colorful history of respiratory issues - lots of snot, lots of coughing, tubes in her ears at 16 months, and a tonsillectomy a year ago. We do preventive antihistamines every night, and I have a respiratory medication plan that we follow when she gets wheezy. I've become more relaxed over the past five years, and have learned that a sniffle is not necessarily indicative of a trip to the doctor. Most times, they tell me she has a virus and there is nothing they can do, so I have adopted a "no doctor till fever" policy that has served us pretty well.
She's been suffering from Texas springtime allergies lately, and I knew she was getting pretty close to the infected stage. I picked her up at school on Thursday, and she was burning hot with fever and very weepy. Mine doesn't just cry for no reason, so when she turned on the waterworks, I knew something was up.
We went to doc-in-the-box in our suburb and I was disappointed to see 11 names on the list in front of ours. When I asked how long our wait was likely to be, the receptionist told me at least an hour. This is the old fashioned wait-in-the-waiting-room-with-everyone-else-in-town-who-is-sick-as-a-dog kind of clinic. If you're not certifiably ill when you walk in, you will be when you walk out, because there is surely someone in that waiting room carrying every contagious disease known to man, and most of them are sneezing in your direction. We high-tailed it out of there and headed home for Plan B - Care Now.
We don't have a Care Now in our city, but there is one about 20 minutes away. I LOVE Care Now because you sign in online and you get a call when you're on deck. You wait at home instead of surrounded by sick people, then drive across town, they whisk you into your own little relatively germ free room, and bang, you see the doctor. Yeah, it's hard to explain to a sick little one why we aren't at the doctor, but if she's eating popsicles, she really doesn't care anyway.
We waited our time at home, drove across town and got right in, gave the nurse the rundown of her symptoms, and I, certified Mom of the Year, say, "I know it's just a sinus infection, but her fever is high and she's out of sorts."
The doctor comes in, checks ears and nose and throat, then listens to LittleG breathe. It's then that it gets a little scary.
The doctor wrinkles up her forehead and raises an eyebrow as she asks LittleG to take another deep breath. Her brow furrows further as she repositions the stethoscope and listens some more, and I get a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.
"Has she been tested for pneumonia," the doctor asked. "Well, no. She hasn't acted sick, hasn't had a fever," I say. "Well, we're doing a chest x-ray," she says.
Off we go to position a squirmy, feverish, overwrought 5-year old in front of the x-ray screen. Lady Luck smiled down upon us and we got two good shots right away, so we only had to go through one round of pictures. The x-ray tech ferried us back to room #3 and we waited for the doctor to come back in.
She came back in with a grim look on her face, and a quick nod confirmed my fears. My sweet baby girl had pneumonia!
Pneumonia these days doesn't mean what it used to mean. It's serious, but it's not "pack your overnight bag, you're staying in the hospital" serious. LittleG had to get a shot of something magic called Rocephin, and we left with four prescriptions and instructions for managing the fever and cough throughout the night. Despite my pleading, those cold hearted bastards would not give me a valium, which I had certainly earned by holding down my thrashing child so they could give her a shot.
After a 30-minute stop at the all night pharmacy (with an accompanying 3 digit bill for medicine), we were off to the house for a super quick dinner and a round of medication. I slept on the blow up mattress on the floor in her room that night, and she was so wiped out that she was asleep before I could get my teeth brushed. She slept very well; I slept fitfully, at best.
We were back there early Friday for a check-up, and while she wasn't 100%, she was a whole lot closer to it than she had been. Saturday, she had bounced almost all the way back, and today, you'd hardly know she had been sick at all.
So I had been desperately seeking a diversion from the drama at the office - something to help clear my mind. I have to say after this weekend, that there are probably not very many things more effective at helping you remember what matters - and what doesn't - than a sick child.
I am so grateful that I was plugged in enough to realize that something was amiss, although my mom diagnosis was totally off base. Thank heavens we have the option of the after hours clinics, and thank the good Lord above that we have health insurance that allows this type of care. I'm looking at a $600 bill, for which I've only paid a $20 co-pay so far. How in the world do families without health insurance ever manage situations like this?
I shudder to think what would have happened if we hadn't had that option available to us, or the financial wherewithal to pull it off. Or, God forbid, if I had still been all wrapped up in whatever has been eating at me the past month.
So my little duck is tucked in her bed right now, breathing fresh oxygen deep into clear lungs, dreaming of happy fairies and princes. And that, my friends, is the silver lining in this cloud......