Inspired by the 31for21 Down Syndrome Blog Challenge and happiness-project.com, I began this blog in pursuit of my own happiness while raising my 3 children -- including identical twins with Down syndrome. On these pages, I endeavor to document the bits and pieces of my life that bring me the most happiness and keep me focused on all the positive stuff going on.
Advocacy, Angels and Random Happy Thoughts. These are the threads of happiness that are inextricably woven through the cloth of my life. Staying focused and writing about these things is what keeps me Walking on the Happy Side of Life. I'd love it if you would "Take A Walk on the Happy Side" with me.
3×3 weeks and counting… That is, 3 KIDS SICK FOR 3 WEEKS AND COUNTING! I know the details may be a little different but… How familiar is this story for those of you with children with special needs (or any kids at all)?
It started with The Boys’ aide at school asking if I’d noticed that the Little Man was “a little congested” during this past week. Yes, of course I noticed! I am his mother and I do attend to every single little noise and nuance of his [and my other 2 children’s] existence… literally! Over the weekend, that little bit of congestion spread to the Big Little Man and, oddly, to me. (That almost NEVER happens… Mama can’t get sick!) Then it became the dreaded “D” word (diarrhea) right in the midst of potty-training. We briefly thought we were dealing with a resurgence of The Boys’ lactose sensitivity issues — that would have been EASY — but alas, it was not to be! The Sarge started his “vacation” (NOT the respite he was hoping for) so together we stayed the course with undies and managed to get through the week — elbow deep at times — with both boys sporting their new Spiderman and Toy Story Fruit-of-the-Loom whitey-tighties. Thursday brought some relief so we confirmed our reservations and braved the wilds of Smith Point Park for a VERY relaxing camp-out with our friends. Our collective congestion improved with the beach air and rest. A tease!
Still a tad choked up but doing better, The Boys went back to school on Monday and Tuesday. All was well in the world, or so I thought, until another Mom stopped me in the lobby on my way in to pick-up The Boys to say 3 children were just taken away vomiting! Ugh! You know that wave of nausea that comes over you when you realize the potential foreshadowing of information like that?
Wednesday was a staff development day at The Boys’ school and I had my last day of Lay Advocacy training so hubby took the helm at home. Those 7 hours of potty-training our still-fragile pooping, mildly-congested and overly-tired twins wiped all 3 of them out. It was an Early to bed though not very restful night…
And, an early to rise morning! Thursday I was up bright and early, ready to get all the kids back into our usual somewhat-unusual routine. I had their lunches packed and ready; all 3 children dressed; one already fed, and two to go! I had a warm bowl of oatmeal in one hand and a spoonful in the other when the Little Guy turned adamantly away saying, “NO!” That’s usually the Big Little Guy’s line so I coaxed him with, “Just take one bite! One bite, that’s all!” Much to my chagrin, he hesitatingly obliged…
… Then proceeded to throw IT and everything else in his stomach up all over the rug as I screamed for the Old Soul to grab a pot, QUICK! Skipping the gory details, the neighbor took the Old Soul to school and by 11:00 AM I was waiting in the Pediatrician’s office with The Boys. And at 12:00 noon I was waiting again, this time at the pharmacy while they mixed up 2 different antibiotic prescriptions for Bronchitis and Sinus Infection for us. My Little Man’s propensity to suffer upper-respiratory consequences proving itself once again while my Big Little Man took another hit in the sinuses… where it hits him every time.
Friday was my “quiet” day… LOL. I spent the day potty training (we’re up to 2x/45 minute intervals) using the GymBoss interval timer in between dispensing various prescription and over-the-counter meds to address the multitude of symptoms that were keeping The Boys from getting any healing sleep. By the time Daddy rolled into the driveway I was desperate to escape… ANYWHERE! So I took the Old Soul and ran to the St. Anthony’s Feast — in the company of my Aunt who’s recently and begrudgingly moved to an Assisted Living facility nearby for a 30-day-trial (and is having a hard time acclimating). At our leisure, we ate burgers and sweet potato french fries topped off with zeppoles. (Like Girl Scout cookies, thankfully these are available ONLY at the feast… to my mind… Please don’t tell me otherwise!) Unfortunately, it was within 15 minutes of our arrival that the Old Soul casually mentioned her sore throat and “exhaustion”. History has taught me that when the Old Soul says she’s exhausted, she’ll be spiking a fever within 24 hours no matter what I do to avert disaster. So I let her go on one ride and promised a follow-up visit barring any health issues.
Saturday morning those health issues reared their ugly heads. My Little Man was still vomiting on and off — though I’ve come to believe it’s probably a function of the high fever, choking cough and excessive mucus — and was averaging a 103.1 fever with ibuprofen every 6 hours and acetaminophen every 4 hours. The Big Little Man was the only one who appeared to be on the uphill climb back to good health with a low-grade fever and mild lingering cough. And our trip back to the Pediatrician on Saturday morning confirmed that the Old Soul had a raging case of strep throat with her temperature rising. Not good!
It’s Sunday. Sarge has worked through the entire weekend. Sometime yesterday I had to implement a written record of medications because I began to lose track of who was getting what and when I could dose again to keep The Little Man’s fever below the hospital-invoking 105.5 (per the Pedi’s instructions). Still hovering around 103 at the outer edges of dosing, he’s mostly sleeping and coughing and running at the nose. He’s not eating but he is, thankfully, still sipping at his apple juice. I’m officially on dehydration — or worse — hospital and/or pneumonia watch as his labored breathing has become progressively worse over the last 3 days. We have 2 days left on his antibiotic. Not looking good for a miracle cure or rapid recovery. My guess is I’ll be back in the Pediatrician’s office again tomorrow to check his breathing and, hopefully, we’re able to avoid a chest x-ray at the ER.
I’ve barely slept in well over 2 weeks… sitting vigil day and night listening to the labored and shallow breathing of my youngest child. Watching his entire abdomen suck in as he gasps for air. The white “spots” on the Old Soul’s tonsils are more like mini cities sprouting up out of nowhere, ringed with white… Never saw anything like it! It’s UGLY though she says it doesn’t hurt much anymore. Not sure if I can send her to school with those lumps still there or not. I ,stupidly I guess, thought they’d start to go away instead of continue to spread once we started the antibiotics! We live and learn, huh? The Big Little Man is good… relatively speaking. He’s still coughing and his nose is occasionally running but he’s fever-free (hear me knocking?). But I’m sure as heck not packing the other two sickies into the mini van tomorrow for a 90-minute round-trip drive to The Boys’ school just to get him there. School will have to wait for them all to be well again…. I’m just not so sure I can ;o(
And, yes, I’m still hacking away myself. It’s no wonder!
For the record, this is not the first time we’ve been taken down as a family with various domino-effect illnesses. But I think this is the first time each of them has had a completely different illness or manifestation. I’m sure it won’t be the last. As a matter of fact, having children with special needs has given a whole new meaning to the concept of germ warfare. I’m sure all you Moms of children with special needs are nodding your heads right now and recalling your own multiple, way-too-long battles — won sometimes at great cost — in the trenches. And, I cannot even imagine the trials and tribulations of medically fragile children… thankfully, mine are not. I don’t know how those mamas, you mamas, do it. My heart breaks for and I applaud you all for the incredible dedication.
Somewhere during the day today, I think we might have collectively taken a turn for the better. We are not “cured” by a long shot… but I have hope that we’ll get back to our version of normal again soon. In the meantime, hope you all are well and laughing at the ridiculousness of this post… because I know you’ve all been there and feel my pain.
And the sun will come up tomorrow!