Monday, January 5, 2015

And In Flew Enza

        Kiley returns on Monday. Hooray! It has been two weeks since we were parted for the holidays and I am sure it will not be the same baby who returns. Two weeks is an eternity when it comes to not-yet-one-year-olds. They grow so fast, both physically and in other ways as well. I had intended to take her for the day last Wednesday, just to give her mom a day off and to keep in touch, but she came down with something on Tuesday and was too sick to do anything but lie on the sofa and look miserable. When I went over there she looked so pathetic. All she wanted was for her "Nan" to hold her while she drifted in and out of sleep. She was getting worse so her mom consulted with the pediatrician then took her to the emergency room that evening, and yep, it was the flu. That is alarming to me. Kiley got the flu shot as recommended and so did I. Unfortunately, there is a mutated version of the bug that is on the loose, and it is not prevented by the vaccine that is being administered this year. Yikes! I don't know if what Kiley had was the mutated form or what, but I'm crossing my fingers that I don't come down with it. I was holding her for a couple of hours Tuesday so I was definitely exposed. Still, Tuesday was five days ago so I am hopeful that I am out of the woods.

At the hospital they gave Kiley the appropriate medication, made sure she wasn't dehydrating and sent her home, where she recovered over the next few days. I hope that if I come down with it, that it is as easy as that for me as well, but it probably won't be. Knowing my luck, I'll be sick as a dog for a week and a half and wishing I could just die and get it over with, (Come to think of it, the flu isn't all bad. It's a great way to lose weight.) We adults are not as tough as babies. It's amazing how they can spring back from a serious illness. They are very resilient; at least when we take the appropriate action to deal with whatever afflicts them. The opposite can also be true, however, and things can get real serious real quick with a baby. You have to watch it.

I remember when my youngest was four years old and most of the family came down with a stomach virus. (They say most "stomach viruses" are actually food poisoning, but as the cook in the house I am resisting that scurrilous assertion.) Everyone was throwing up, including me, and it was one night of hell. You've been there. We had all recovered by the next day, however, which is the way these things usually work out, and everything went back to normal -  except for the little one. She was still looking a little rough and wrung out, but otherwise seemed to be on the mend like the rest of us, until that evening. After dinner, which none of us were enthusiastic about, she started throwing up again and looked really bad – lethargic, dark circles under her eyes, eyes all glassy. She was going down hill fast so I rushed her to the emergency room where they slapped an I.V. on her and admitted her to the hospital.

What went through the rest of us in twenty-four hours lasted seven days for her! Seven days in the hospital with nothing going into her that couldn't pass through a needle in her arm, while she begged for a drink to ease her parched throat and cracked lips. Seven days of my husband and I taking turns sleeping overnight in her hospital room with her. Seven days of worry, fear, and self-recrimination.  On the fifth day the folks at the hospital figured it had run its course so they fed her spaghetti. Yes, spaghetti! My pediatrician freaked when he found out. This, not surprisingly, resulted in renewed vomiting and another two days on the I.V. before it was all said and done.

The whole experience made me very wary of illness in small children. Everything can go wrong very quickly with them, especially when it comes to dehydration. When they weigh less than forty pounds it doesn't take too much loss of water to be too much loss of water. When a preschooler is obviously sick I am quick to call the doctor. It's best to nip any trouble right in the bud. If it ends up being a lot of worry over nothing, good! I can still hear my daughter begging for water twenty-eight years later. I don't want any more memories like that.


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