Battling Domino Effect Germs

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!
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About Maggie

I'm a stay-at-home mother of 3 children including a 15-year-old daughter, the Old Soul, and 11-year-old identical twin boys who've been blessed with an extra 21st chromosome (aka: Down Syndrome). I happily spend my time doing all that I can do -- breaking the proverbial box wide open -- to foster my children's development and then sharing what I learn with you through this blog.
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6 Responses to Battling Domino Effect Germs

  1. SLKozul says:

    maggie – sorry to hear this is happening. our best friends down here had a similar thing going on – 5 days each kid and my mom friend was going stir crazy because summer vacation couldn't start until they were all better. They were preemies too, so maybe that may be the connection. Hope the toilet training continues on well and you soon get some rest. prayers for a peaceful night.

  2. heidivee says:

    I am Woman…hear me ROAR. That is what comes to my mind when I think of you. You are amazing. I am so sorry you have been dealing with this. I can't imagine the exhaustion you must be feeling. I am praying you are all on the mend. And way to go on sticking with the potty training despite the runs. Hang in there, hon.

  3. Sharlene T. says:

    My toddler years are long over but I certainly have memories and sympathize. Just got over six weeks of bronchial pneumonia, myself, but that's all I had to care for — myself. You must be exhausted. Give the boys hugs and kisses for me, and I hope everyone is feeling chipper soon.

  4. Beverly says:

    hope they are feeling better

  5. Prerna says:

    Hi Maggie.. New visitor here! I love the honesty, warmth and wit that seeps through your posts. Hoping everyone at your place is feeling better!Thank you for sharing a part of your life with all of us.Blessings

  6. AKW says:

    Been there. Hate it when breathing gets bad. It scares me every time. Hopeing eveyone is on the mend and healthy real soon!

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