Tuesday, January 29, 2008

More Adventures in Pediatrics

Let's start with the good news: Pebbles got weighed at the doctor's office today and the scale said ... you're not going to believe this ... SEVENTEEN POUNDS, ONE OUNCE. The exact same scale that said 14 pounds, 12 ounces less than two weeks ago. Yeah, she was wearing her clothes, but how much could those weigh? Even if the clothes weighed a pound, she'd be up a pound and a half.

But wait a minute. Why were we at the doctor's office? Sigh. Getting more breathing treatments. For Nutmeg.

Sunday, Nutmeg started coming down with another cold. Monday morning, she was coughing hard enough that I kept her home from school, believing and hoping it would be a one-day thing. But Monday afternoon she began to get very tired, and she actually slept from about 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. She woke up crying and coughed so hard that she threw up. All night, her breathing was labored. Even though she had no fever, we were worried.

So this morning at 9:30 a.m. we were back at the doctor having her lungs listened to. She was so tired that she flopped down on the step at the bottom of the exam table before I hoisted her up there.

She wasn't too tired, though, to complain to the doctor that she liked the art in the other exam room better. Our sweet, funny doctor commented that you know you've been sick too much when you can critique and compare the decor in the various exam rooms.

The doctor heard a "crackle" in her lungs, which generally indicates pneumonia. She was surprised and perplexed to hear this since she had checked Nutmeg's lungs two weeks ago and found them clear. And since Nutmeg had completed a full run of antibiotics. Nutmeg's blood oxygen level also registered a little low, like 92, 93%.

Out came the nebulizer for the now familiar "breathing treatment." We had two of them. For one of them, Nutmeg insisted on sitting on my lap, which left Pebbles crawling around the room or clinging to my legs, crying because it was her nap time. Looking back on my day, I'm not exactly surprised that I'm currently numb with fatigue and planning on ditching the dirty dishes on the counter in favor of bed.

The doctor told me to keep Nutmeg home from school until she checked her again on Thursday. Which, yes, means another full week of school is shot. She sent us out with a sheaf of paper: Scrips for a different kind of antibiotic and an albuterol-like inhalant, a note to excuse Nutmeg from a month's worth of swimming lessons so I can get my money back, and a referral for an X-ray at the hospital.

Not in the emergency department, thank the lord.

After treating my sluggish little Nutmeg to some highly unusual spoiling (she wanted an ice cream cone, so I actually cut out of the drive-thru line at Burger King when I found out they don't have one and took her to a McD's drivethru instead), we pulled into ye olde hospital parking lot and ate quietly in the car while the baby slept. Nutmeg kept telling me how tired she was.

But once she stepped into the hospital, she was transformed. She loves talking to people, and we encountered three separate staffers whose job it was to ask questions. She brightened up, perked up, and even began playing and singing songs. Since the baby couldn't come in the X-ray room, Nutmeg went in without me and did just fine. She also wasn't coughing anymore. The radiology tech wondered why we were there.

Nutmeg was fine the rest of the day. She even had an appetite. At around 7 p.m., a home nebulizer machine arrived at our door, courtesy of our HMO. I am supposed to give her treatments every four hours while she is awake, which is not exactly a hit.

So now I have a perky, non-feverish kid, coughing just a little, who is on antibiotics and an inhalant machine, and has been ordered to stay home from school. This all seems a little crazy to me. I guess it's that crackle in the lungs that doctors must take very seriously.

Still, I'm planning on calling in tomorrow and begging for clemency on the school issue. Or maybe just sending her.


Sara said...

It's wonderful to read how Pebbles has gained so much weight! Hooray for food!!

I'd be tempted to send my kid to school, too, if she showed such a marked improvement...

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