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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

My New Archnemesis

Is arch nemesis one word or two?  Anyway, meet my new archenemies:

What's that you ask?  A baby aero chamber and an inhaler.  Let me back up...

Lilly caught a little cold at the end of the week before last.  The little girl of the family that we nanny share with attends pre-school five half-days a week, and as a result, shares a lot germs.  I know sickness happens, especially during this time of year when there is a ton of crap going around anyway, so it's normally no big deal.  Additionally, Lilly still seems to be working on molars and as I have mentioned before, a lot of her teething symptoms are the same as cold symptoms (runny nose, low-grade fever), so it's sometimes hard to tell whether she is actually ill or just teething.  Anyway, last week Lilly developed a cough.  Again, no big deal, it wasn't too bad and she wasn't coughing consistently.  She never really ran a fever and seemed to feel fine so I didn't think much of it.  On Sunday, her cough worsened.  Where as it had been kind of dry and infrequent before, it was more frequent and sounded like it was breaking up.  I assumed this meant her body was trying to flush the cold out and thought it was a good thing.  She coughed a lot during her sleep on Sunday night and when she woke up yesterday morning she sounded pretty bad, so I called the doctor to see whether I should bring her in.

I spoke with the nurse, gave her Lilly's symptoms, etc. and asked her what she thought.  I have no problem taking L to the doctor, but I also hate spending the co-pay and the however long the wait is that day at the doctor for them to say, "it's just a cold, nothing you can do, give her Tylenol every four hours."  In other words, I wanted to make sure I wasn't being neurotic taking her in for no reason.  The nurse told me that a lot of times if babies are teething in addition to a cold (yes), they don't know that they are supposed to cough to clear out all of that fluid, so the drool + drainage from the cold leads to congestion.  She told me to keep an eye on L, and if she started running a high fever or if the cough lasted longer than 10 days to bring her in.  She told me also to pay attention to her appetite (it had decreased some) and to try to get  her to drink water (she did not drink as much as normal and therefore didn't have any super wet diapers yesterday, which is also rare).

Last night was terrible.  The poor child laid in bed for 3 hours wide awake after I put her down because she was coughing so hard she couldn't fall asleep.  Any of you who have been around her for bed time know that that's a rare occurrence - she normally talks to herself for a few minutes and then is out with no problem for the rest of the night.  Last night, I had to go in three times to try to console her.  Finally, on the third time, I took in some more medicine and her water and rocked her for a little while and that did the trick.  She didn't wake up during the night but she coughed all night long, and the cough started to sound worse and worse.  When she woke up this morning, not only was her cough worse, but she had started wheezing terribly when breathing.  

I called the doctor and was able to get Lilly an appointment for first thing this morning, and thank the Lord I did.  Dr. V was not happy with the wheezing at all, and they immediately started running all sorts of tests to monitor L's oxygen levels and check for pneumonia.  All of this, of course, made Mommy super nervous, since pneumonia in babies L's age can be fatal.  They determined that she did not have pneumonia or an ear infection (thank you Lord!).  Essentially, L's cold settled in her lungs and turned into a terrible respiratory infection.  The doctor was shocked with the amount of fluid/the sound of her wheeze that L didn't have an ear infection, too.  The result is that we now have to give Lilly breathing treatments until she's better using this handy contraption:

Did I mention that I hate the aforementioned contraption?  Lilly HATES the breathing treatments.  It took three of us at the doctor to administer the first one:  I pinned her limbs, Carney tried to distract her/helped pin limbs, and the nurse administered the treatment to show us how to do it.  We basically have to put the mask up to L's face, puff the inhaler once, wait for her to take 6 screams/cries breaths, wait one minute, and repeat four times, 5-6 times/day (decreasing as she gets better).  Dr. V told us that the medicine in the inhaler doesn't work on a lot of children as young as Lilly, but they always try it to see, so I am thankful it works for her even though it is hard to administer.  She cries big pitiful crocodile tears the whole time, and right about the time she starts to calm down (during the one-minute break in between puffs), we have to give her another dose.  It is not too hard with 2 people, but I am not looking forward to having to administer it by myself tomorrow night (Dan has a work dinner).  Did I mention that most pharmacies do not carrie aero masks small enough for babies without having to special order?  What a disaster my morning was.

My pitiful girl had a rough day:

But when we got home, Lilly had a birthday present from Aunt Sheila that she is super excited about:

Can't wait to rock this during football season!  Thanks, Auntie Sheils!

Then, her bestie sent her a picture text that made her whole night:

Cutest thing ever?  I think so.

The moral of this story is to trust your instincts.  I'm so glad I didn't wait it out a few more days thinking that the cough was just breaking up.  It's easy to second-guess yourself, at least in my experience.  Lilly honestly did not really even act like she was feeling badly - she just looked pitiful, if that makes sense.  I could tell the cough/wheezing were different this morning, so I took her in, and I'm so glad I did.'s to surviving the next few days of breathing treatments!  Wish me luck tomorrow night when I'm on my own.  Carney had to do it today and said it wasn't easy but she survived, so hopefully I will have the same experience.

Hope your Tuesday was less eventful than ours was!  :-)


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