Thursday, January 10, 2008

Dispatch From the Infirmary

I was right, Nutmeg is on her first-ever course of antibiotics. And I'm stunned by how quickly they worked. I can see now how people make the mistake of ending a course of antibiotics prematurely -- if you saw her today, you'd say she doesn't need them anymore.

Yesterday Nutmeg was sicker than I have ever seen her. She coughed so hard all night that she ended up vomiting several times, and then at one point she woke up screaming with an earache. Her fever in the morning was 104 -- taken externally under her arm! Her breathing was labored. I carried her out to the car to her doctor's appointment, where the doctor listened to her lungs and said she had pneumonia. One of her ears was also infected.

She hadn't wanted to leave the house for the doctor, so I bribed her with a trip to the drive-through Dunkin Donuts. But when we got her usual -- chocolate doughnut with sprinkles -- she only nibbled it. When we got home I put it on her little table and set her in the chair, but she just stared miserably and said, "I'm really tired!" So I carried her to the couch, and there she stayed the rest of the day. Periodically she would wake up and just cry. It was pathetic.

I was a little nervous because when I was exactly Nutmeg's age, I was hospitalized for pneumonia. All my life my family has been telling me how scary it was -- how I struggled for breath, how I was in an oxygen tent. I myself have fleeting memories -- how it felt to have an IV in my arm as I lay in bed, the presents I got, the sound of cartoons playing as I was carried through the hospital hallway to my room.

The doctor told me exactly what to look for to know if Nutmeg was in danger -- abdominal breathing, the skin in the hollow in her throat going in and out like a frog, not talking. Fortunately, that never happened.

Instead, she perked up slightly when my parents arrived to visit that night, and Epu and I went out for dinner and a movie ("Juno," to be blogged about later.)

When we came home Nutmeg and Pebbles were both peacefully sleeping in their room, Pebbles coughing, Nutmeg breathing hard but not really coughing much.

In the middle of the night, as usual, Nutmeg came to our bed quietly and went to sleep. A few hours later, she woke up and asked for more water. She lay awake for awhile, sipping water and chattering, and leaned over to give me a few kisses.

The old Nutmeg was back, just like that. This morning, she seems pretty similar to her old self, except that we're having trouble getting her to eat or drink much.

It's interesting the reaction you get when you say, "pneumonia." I called Nutmeg's teacher yesterday to let her know she wouldn't be back this week, and she gasped and said she'd tell all the kids and Nutmeg would be in their thoughts. Today a mom from school dropped off some pictures some kids drew for her.

Yesterday, Nutmeg would have been too sick to look at the pictures. Today, she was too busy to look at them much. She stashed them in her play freezer and went on with her playing.

So now, far from being alarmed at her condition, I'm back to looking longingly down the block to the school building and waiting for the day I can send her back. She just has to be fever-free for 24 hours. The way she's going, I'm hoping she can go back Monday.

Pebbles, by the way, just has a cold. I had her lungs checked by the doctor today and she doesn't have pneumonia at all. Also, no fever. And she's back to 15 pounds, 10 ounces, her weight before she lost weight with her last cold.


Sara said...

Thank goodness she is feeling better!! I, too, was hospitalized with pneumonia as a kid, twice, so that word always carries with it a bit of nervousness for me as well.

Looking forward to hearing what you thought of "Juno"...Aar and I have been contemplating finding a sitter to see that one.

babyboyg said...

Alex had pneumonia a few weeks before Christmas. I know the reaction you are talking about. His teacher gasped and asked if he was OK, my colleagues also "Oh my! He'll be in our prayers" kind of thing.
And I had the same "staying home sick" experience. The first day was quiet day, he was laying on the couch and sleeping for hours at a time. The next day I couldn't believe I had to take another day off of work to take care of this obviously very WELL child!

Bert said...

Whew! Thank goodness she got better so quickly! She's a little powerhouse. :)

Kori said...

I assumed from this post that our potential playdate/outing for today would have to be postponed---give me a call in the afternoon if you need to chat. :)

Turns out I have an ear infection, so I'm probably not good outing company, anyway.

Hugs to all!