I Had a Birthday

And didn’t take any pictures of myself. I did, however take some pictures of Robert enjoying one of the scrumptious chocolate covered pieces of fruit that Linsey sent to me for my birthday. Thank you from the three of us, especially Robert!


My birthday was pretty uneventful due to Chris being sick this week. He was complaining about back pain earlier in the week and by Tuesday night he was in a lot of pain and had planned on getting into the doctor on Wednesday. During the night, the pain became unbearable and he was unable to breathe deeply or move very easily, so he decided to go to the emergency room around 1:30 am.

It turns out he has pleurisy, a viral infection of the lining of the lungs that you get following another virus. (He had a virus that he had a really hard time getting over a while back). It’s extremely painful but not cause for worry. Because it’s a virus, it just has to run its course. His pain meds weren’t working very well the first few days, but as of yesterday, he’s doing better. Today he’s just been exhausted and has slept most of the day.

He was up for dinner last night, so I asked to go to Saltgrass for my birthday. It was yummy. And that was the extent of the birthday celebration.

Yesterday

Robert and I went to playgroup yesterday morning at the inflatable play place (we’ve had sooooooo much rain here these last few weeks. It’s been wonderful!) While we were there, I noticed he felt really hot and he started getting a little whiney. It was hard to tell if he was feverish or if it was just from all the running around.

We went to Schlotzky’s with the group and he started acting pretty puny. I got him home and sure enough, he had a fever of 102 :( I just hate it when I unknowingly expose others to our crud. The nice thing was he went straight down for a nap. (He’s been fighting them for a while now.) After picking Clara up from school, he just laid around like this for the rest of the day.

Poor little guy was miserable and he eventually fell asleep early on the couch which NEVER happens. He woke around 2:00 this morning fever-free. I was able to get him back down and he was back up at 4:00, chipper and ready to go! Unfortunately, I was not ready to be up and at ’em. It took some time to get him back down the second time and I had to sleep on his floor. So today, I’ve been the one dragging, letting him watch cartoons so I could slip in a nap on the couch. How did I do this up-multiple-times-each-and-every-night thing for almost a year again?

Sick

Well, Robert’s sick. He made it about a week and a half after coming off the Pulmicort before coming down with something. He started getting a runny nose several days ago and then the night before last he coughed a couple of times so I immediately started the Xopenex and did them (roughly) every four hours. Then last evening he started in with the pitiful sounding barking cough so I started him on Pulmicort too. I now know to start the Pulmicort when his nose starts running and Xopenex as soon as the coughing starts. (As always, these are just notes to myself for future reference.)

I was prepared for an awful night last night and even went to bed early knowing I’d probably be up with him after a few hours. Sure enough, 12:30 rolled around and I heard a few coughs and then he woke up. I did another treatment and then it took a loooong time to get him back down. Thankfully the coughing stopped, he just wasn’t tired, wouldn’t let me lay on his floor and sleep and eventually got up to play. I figured I’d just let him until he got tired. I guess I dozed off and woke up when I heard “Vroom vroom” coming from downstairs. Whoops. He had mozied on down and started playing with his cars in the dark.
Finally around 4:00 I left him in his room to cry, praying that his crying wouldn’t exacerbate his cough. He only cried for a few minutes before falling asleep and his cough never flared up. And then he was awake by 7:00.
He’s been acting fine the whole time, playing, no fever and he just had a slight cough this morning, but I decided to try and get him in to make sure his lungs weren’t infected. I normally wait it out a day or two but with it being Friday, I didn’t want to wait.
Both the doctor and I were amazed that his lungs were clear!! I am elated! The doctor was sure he would hear wheezing and even felt weird sending me away without a steroid and antibiotic. This is the first time he hasn’t needed both, but he felt like he really didn’t need them this time. He also didn’t want me to have to deal with Robert on steroids. For that I am appreciative. Of course, he may get worse, but his coughing is almost non-existent now, he isn’t congested like he was and I’ve heard no more barking. I’m to call the doctor at home this weekend if he goes downhill.
I am so, so excited at the prospect of being able to control his asthma by starting the meds only when he’s sick since during illnesses is the only time he’s ever wheezed. After being on the Xopenex for 24 hours, he was biting and hitting all day yesterday and the fits have started back up. I haven’t missed that stuff. I just pray this keeps it under control and we can avoid the daily maintenance. I guess only time will tell.

My Sweet Boy

I’ve spent a lot of time talking about Robert’s behavior these last few months. It all started at the beginning of the year. The first couple of months I blamed teething for the awful behavior. And then I just happened across a website where people posted stories about adverse reactions to medication and I typed in pulmicort in toddlers just to see.

The stories I read were describing Robert to a T. Mainly flying into rages at the slightest thing and completely unpredictable behavior and loss of appetite. When I thought about when his fits started and went back and read my blog, it was about 1 to 2 weeks after starting him on the medication.
Some of you may wonder what I’m talking about because you’ve been around him and never witnessed these fits. He tends to do ok when we’re at church or playgroup. A lot of times they happen when I’m putting him in the car, going to a store, in restaurants, when it’s time to come inside, when it’s time to stop playing at a friend’s house, or when you take something away from him. But then again, we can do some of these things and he’s perfectly content. That’s what I mean by unpredictable. There are times that it takes me 5 minutes to get him buckled into his carseat. Or he’ll do it when I’m checking out at the grocery store and just starts thrashing and screaming and I’m getting “the look” from everyone in the store. Those are the times that I just get in buckled in the car and have a good cry because it’s mentally and physically exhausting to deal with one of them.
At his last checkup, I asked the doctor about taking him off of the pulmicort to see how he does. After all, I never intended to put him on a drug for the rest of his life and never attempt to see if he even needed it anymore at some point. When I suggested it, the doctor seemed very hesitant. Yes, Robert has not been sick at all since starting the medicine and for that I am thrilled. But how do we know his problems aren’t seasonal and maybe he just needs to be on drugs certain times of the year? How do we know he hasn’t outgrown the ear infections that seemed to trigger the wheezing? How do we know he needs it if we don’t ever take him off to see?
He was on it twice a day in the beginning and I’m pretty sure he would still be taking it twice a day if I hadn’t asked the doctor if we could try lessening the dose. He assured me that this drug wouldn’t cause the behavior I was describing, but he reluctantly told me that if I wanted to take him off, that summer would be the best time. I wanted to wait until we were back from Pecos because the kids tend to get sick every time we go.
Once we got back, Robert climbed out of his crib, or more accurately, threw himself out and landed with a thud twice. We turned his crib into a toddler bed and we had the worst week ever last week trying to get the child to stay in bed. We were sleep deprived for several days there. Nothing we did worked. Staying in the room next to him, rocking him to sleep, sleeping next to his bed, leaving him in the room, putting him back into bed over 100 times in a matter of 15 minutes, spanking…….. It was awful and we repeated the scenario every time he woke during the night. He was livid. I pulled almost everything out of his room because I knew he’d throw everything out of his drawers and toy bins. I have his dresser anchored to the wall, but he pulled two drawers out and bent the pieces that allow them to slide in in the process. Chris went in one time and the glider was balanced on top of a small toy bin. We have no idea how he managed that. He was in a complete rage. It was awful and we repeated the scenario every time he woke during the night. Friday night was the worst; he woke three different times, the last time screaming from 3-5 am.
I think Thursday or Friday night was the last time I gave him his treatment. Saturday night he went right down and slept through the night, same thing Sunday night and the next two nights. He had a harder time last night, but nothing like last week. He just needed us to stay in there a little while longer.
And lest you think it was just going to happen regardless of stopping the treatment, he also has not thrown one of his terrible uncontrollable fits since then. He’s eating more than 2 bites at every meal. In fact, he’s eating everything on his plate some meals. I don’t remember when he’s eaten this much. He’s smiling more, he’s giving hugs all the time and is sooooo happy. He just runs to Clara and throws his arms around her for a hug. He’s more complacent about sitting and learning things. He’s interacting more, trying to talk a little more and he’s just all around more pleasant to be around. Chris has noticed the difference too. He still has normal 20 month old moments as I would expect, but those I can deal with, and more importantly he can deal with and work through. I can’t tell you how relieved I am to have my sweet child back and to know that it’s the drugs and not him. And it just breaks my heart that he’s been living with this and unable to communicate how it was making him feel.
So now the question is, what do we do if he gets sick next week? I hate the prospect of having to choose a between a sick child and an absolutely unbearable one. I just hope the doctor is willing to work with me and experiment with dosages and treatments because just saying “the drugs make him crazy and we just have to deal with it” is not going to cut it.

Kids and Meds

Robert had his follow up appointment for his ear infection on Tuesday and he’s finally infection free. The doctor said we could go down to just one treatment a day and we’ll see if continues to be effective at keeping his lungs clear.

I believe Clara’s antihistamine is really doing it’s job as well. She was coughing and had a runny nose for about three weeks and I was fairly certain she had another sinus infection. I just realized a few days ago that she had been symptom free for several days and I just hadn’t noticed. This is the first time in I don’t know how long that she’s not ended up with an infection once her nose started running.
It’s so wonderful to think we may just be getting some control over their allergy and asthma issues. I do wish it didn’t require daily medication, but at least they’re getting some relief now.

Follow Up

Robert had his follow up appointment this morning and he has another ear infection. It’s in only one ear this time and the good news is there was nothing in his chest! So it would seem the meds are working for him since this was the first time there was no wheezing. The bad news is this is his third infection in 2 months so tubes are probably close at hand. The doctor just wasn’t quite ready to give me a referral today. He wants to wait just a bit longer. That’s totally ok with me since I’m a “wait and see” kinda girl. We go back again in two weeks.

Robert Update

I’ve not done a very good job of keeping this blog updated with all of the changes that have been happening these last couple of months, so I’ll do a quick update starting with Robert.

Eating– I weaned Robert a couple of weeks before his birthday. I don’t remember if I mentioned it or not, but I was having frequent migraines during the process of weaning him. We were down to morning and night only and I had intended to do that for a while when someone mentioned the migraines might be so bad because I was weaning and my hormones were all out of whack. So I promptly cut the boy off. I had one more a few days later and have been fine since.
He’s eating very well now finally. He loves beans, meat, green smoothies, and pasta. He doesn’t care for eggs, rice, most bread and most veggies. He’s also lactose intolerant like Clara was. His seems to be a little more severe though. He can’t handle yogurt which Clara never had a problem with. He’s drinking lactose free milk and has rice cheese on occasion. Thankfully he hasn’t shown any signs of food allergies yet.
Sleeping– If someone had told me that Robert would be an awesome sleeper very soon just three months ago, I would’ve laughed in their face. I’m happy to announce that Robert is indeed a wonderful sleeper now! It finally just clicked for him around his birthday. Bedtime is now one of my favorite times that I spend with him. I read a book while he enjoys a cup of milk. Then I brush his teeth, turn off the light and hold him while I sing a song to him. He holds his blanket and just cuddles up close, talking and smiling, and buries his head in his blanket the whole time. I put him in bed, cover him up and turn on his lullaby seahorse, tell him goodnight and walk out of his door with him smiling. Ahhhhhh. So much better than the routine we had going before.
This would be the second child that I nursed to sleep until a year old and yet they still figured out the sleeping on their own thing. So I tend to disagree when I hear people say that if you nurse your newborn to sleep, you’ll have a two year old on your hands that can’t soothe themselves to sleep. Like most things, I think it totally depends on the kid. He goes down at 7:30 and wakes around 7:00-7:30 and rarely wakes during the night. When he does, it’s because his diaper has leaked (which is happening fairly frequently right now) or he’s teething (in which case he gets some Tylenol and goes right back to sleep). I feel so much more rested now.
I transitioned him to one nap a day right around his birthday and that has made a huge difference too. He goes down around noon, or 5 hours after waking and will typically sleep 2-3 hours! No more of these 20 minute naps I endured for his first year. The only time he sleeps less than that is when he’s sick.
Health– I posted back in November when Robert got sick with a really bad ear infection on his birthday. He had a follow-up appointment, which doubled as his one year well check, on December 20th. His ears were clear. We left for Pecos a couple of days later and then the day after Christmas, he started coughing just a little. We started breathing treatments that day. He was getting worse and Chris was starting to feel bad also, so we decided to leave a day early and make the trip home in two days instead of one.
Monday was bad. Robert coughed and cried the entire drive to Kerrville where we stayed the night. He would fall asleep and then cough and wake up 5 minutes later. The poor guy was in a lot of pain. I called the doctor to try and get a prescription or a correct dosage for something OTC, but since pulling all of the cough and cold meds for kids under 2 a couple of years ago, they won’t do that anymore. They said there was nothing they could do for us. Chris was feeling horrible all day too, so I drove with no one to talk to with Robert screaming and coughing.
We bought a humidifier in Kerrville and Robert and Chris both slept really well and woke feeling better. Robert slept a good portion of the drive home so we all had a much more pleasant day. Robert wasn’t feeling too bad the rest of the week, so since it was a holiday week and his doctor was out of the office, I put off making an appointment until the next Tuesday. Yep, double ear infection and wheezing. Antibiotics, steroids and a twice a day daily asthma medicine.
We’ll see how he does on the daily meds for a few months, but if he keeps having these ear infections we’ll be looking at tubes soon. He finished his antibiotics last week and then started coughing a little on Sunday. The cough sounded very “asthma-like” in my opinion. Then Monday his nose was running and he was still coughing. I decided to skip ladies bible class yesterday because he was so snotty on Monday, but he ended up being fine. No runny nose, little to no coughing and has been that way today too. He does have congestion in his chest and could still very well take a turn and end up with an infection, but I’m really hoping that the daily medicine is working for him. He’s supposed to go in for a follow-up appointment next week so we’ll see what the doc says.
I guess that just about covers it for Robert.

Sick Again!?!

This is long and probably terribly uninteresting to most. It’s mainly for my records. A couple of weeks ago, I made an allergist appointment for Clara. I had put off getting her in for a follow-up of her allergy testing she had done last year because we hadn’t met our deductible. The allergist had said to bring her in when she has illnesses that seem to start out as allergies. She’s had plenty of infections this past year, but every time she’s been sick, so has Robert, so it was always easier to take them in to their primary doctor at the same time than to make two separate appointments with two separate doctors.
So several weeks ago she started with a runny nose, like usual. Then a slight cough, then congestion, yada yada yada. It’s always the same and it never goes away on its own. For once Robert wasn’t sick at the same time so off to the allergist we went.
He quickly diagnosed her with a sinus infection which was no great surprise to me. He also wanted to do a CT scan and a breathing test. (Thank goodness we’ve met our deductible.) She did fine on the breathing test with no sign of wheezing. Again, no surprise. She’s never had a bit of trouble with her lungs.
The CT scan on the other hand came back not so great. She actually went back to the room all by herself and did great. I was able to view the pictures on the computer with the doctor soon after the scan. One side of her sinuses was completely plugged. There was no black at all in the picture. He said she had a chronic sinus infection and when I questioned why she never mentions having pain, he said that chronic infections don’t cause pain like acute infections do. Chronic infections cause the runny nose, nasal congestion and cough. It’s probably the cause of her bad breath too. It was weird; when I took her in, her nose wasn’t running, she could breathe fine through her nose, but she still sounded congested. The congestion is way up high in her sinuses.
He wants to try to get control of her allergies and started off by increasing the dose of antihistamine she’s on. He had prescribed it on an as needed basis, but now wants her to take it every day. He also mentioned the possibility of weekly allergy shots. I’m still hesitant to start them because I know that’s not going to go over well. I’m hoping we can try the antihistamine for a while before deciding on the injections.
The CT scan also showed her adenoids being severely infected and swollen and he mentioned having them removed in the future. That was the first time a doctor has ever mentioned anything about her adenoids, so I don’t think I’m quite ready to have them removed. She was prescribed a week of oral steroids and 20 days of antibiotic. She doesn’t seem to have much improvement 11 days later from what I can tell. She also ran a fever from Friday night through Saturday night. I’m not sure if it was from the infection or something unrelated. We go back next week for a follow up and to do another scan.
And now for Robert. His runny nose started up a few days after Clara’s appointment. That Saturday night he coughed once or twice and again Sunday morning so I immediately started his breathing treatments during the day on Sunday. He woke fussy from his nap on Sunday and his nose was worse. On Tuesday, his birthday, he started running a fever. This was also the day Dan and Linda got here.
He was still running a fever on Thanksgiving Day, so we called and cancelled his birthday party that was scheduled for the next morning. The one nice thing about his sickness is he slept really well. He was sleeping through the night and taking long naps, waking happy and playing for a short while each time. He woke fever free on Friday, but aside from that he still didn’t seem any better, so I got him in for an appointment that morning. He has a severe infection in his right ear. The doctor said it was close to rupturing. The other ear was slightly infected and he was also wheezing though not really bad. He said at this point it’s pretty clear that he has asthma.
So he got a shot, an oral steroid, an antibiotic and is still on breathing treatments. These kids are wearing me out! I had Robert on a probiotic before this trying to get his gut back in shape (material for another post) and his diapers were just starting to be manageable. Now he’s blowing out his diapers something awful despite still being on the probiotics. That and the steroid has turned him into a crazy baby. Oy. He’s not sleeping as long now and is just beside himself when he gets upset. I’ll be happy when he’s done with them. Oh, I forgot to mention I have a little cold myself. Nothing too severe, but an annoying little addition to our holiday week nonetheless.

Again

Robert is sick yet again. He came down with a 101.7 fever Monday evening right before bed. When he woke during the night, he was burning up even though his temp was a little lower. Nursing him was uncomfortable for me because his hands, feet and mouth were on fire. The fever continued all day yesterday but he was smiling and playful until he got tired.

I dressed him cool last night and only put a light blanket on him. He felt ok when he woke at 12:30, and when he woke at 5:30, his little arms and legs were so cold. I took his temp and it was really low. I brought him to bed with me so I could warm him up and his temp went up just a little. The low temperature worried me, so I did something I’ve never done before. I took the poor guy’s temperature rectally. It was 97.6, so I felt much better.
He’s been mostly fever free all day but has had a low grade one at times. The mystery of the fever was solved when he woke up from his morning nap. Red bumps on his torso. I’m guessing Roseola. And I’m hoping it resolves itself quickly. I’m getting mixed information online. I was always told that once the rash appears, they’re no longer contagious, but I’m seeing some places that say they’re contagious as long as they have the rash which can last for a couple of weeks. I thought you were supposed to go by the “24 hours after the fever subsides” rule. Anyone know the answer to that?

The Best Laid Plans

We should be in Albuquerque right now. We should have had to deal with a squirmy 10 month old on a plane Thursday evening. We should have witnessed hundreds of hot air balloons ascend into the air early Saturday morning. And we should be spending a week of quality time with the grandparents.

Instead, we are having an un-vacation here at home.
Our un-vacation became our plan B when two little people decided to go and get their heads all infected the week before our trip. Clara had a runny nose for a few days and then started coughing at night. Robert also had a slight runny nose, then added a slight cough that turned into a pretty bad cough and nasal congestion the Thursday before last.
I got them both into the doctor the next day, a full week before we were to leave on our trip figuring they’d for sure be well in a week’s time. Clara had a sinus infection and Robert an ear one. Robert was prescribed an oral steroid and breathing treatments every 4 hours to prevent it from moving into his lungs since he’s had bronchitis twice now. They were both on antibiotics and although they seemed to feel ok, their nasal congestion just wasn’t going away and got really bad at night. So on Tuesday morning I got them into the doctor again. They both still had their original infections and Clara also had an ear infection and Robert had both ears infected.
Soooo, the doctor said no flying for us :( Even if they had turned a corner the next day, there would still be fluid in their ears making flying painful and I for one didn’t want to be on an airplane with a 10 month old who was in excruciating pain. We talked about Chris and Clara going, but she wasn’t any better the next day and I didn’t feel right giving my blessing for her to get on the plane with sinus and ear pressure. We also talked about driving, but Chris wanted to do it in one day and I knew I couldn’t handle that long of a drive with a baby who wasn’t feeling well.
In the end, we decided it was best to just stay home and let them get well. It was such a hard decision and I felt terrible that we had to cancel our trip. I was so looking forward to it and Dan and Linda haven’t seen the kids since May they were really disappointed too. These things happen though. Chris still took his vacation time as planned so we’ve been making the best of it and have been having a fun un-vacation these last few days.
Robert has been well these last few days now but Clara’s infection seems to be lingering still. I don’t think she’s hearing well and her nose is still running some but the cough is gone.