This past week, this household has been hit with the plague. Well, maybe that’s an exaggeration but really, it feels very much like the plague. Kids have stayed home from school, various therapies have been cancelled and I have tried my hardest to take a little time away from the house to keep my sanity. It appears my husband is also coming down with it so unfortunately we will all be housebound for the next foreseeable future.
I panicked the other night. My oldest woke up in the middle night screaming. Of course in my state of delirium, I sent my husband in and proceeded to go back to sleep thinking it had just been a bad dream.
A handful of minutes passed and I started to come to the realization that she wasn’t calming down anytime soon. I rolled myself out of bed to go see what all the commotion was about.
It never fails. The kids go to bed seemingly healthy and then wake up in the middle of the night incredibly ill. I felt her forehead trying to rule things out as she was having trouble calming down. She was burning up. I went into Bernadette’s room where the thermometer lives and brought it back into the other room.
Sure enough, high fever. Anxiety bubbled inside of me as I started running through the mental checklist of symptoms and possible solutions. She was past the point of only oils so I opted for some Tylenol. Of course I use oils to start most of the time, but I also know that there is a point when a fever is too high and the most important thing is to get it down. And yes, it was that high.
Eventually, things settled a bit and I moved her into my room so I could keep a close ear out for her that night. David and I tagged team putting everyone back to sleep and starting a load of laundry from an “incident.”
The next few days, she was pretty miserable. I kept a close eye on her fever and stayed in touch with her doctor, providing all the TV entertainment she could possibly want, a comfy place for her to sleep, and peace and quiet from her little sisters.
Thinking we were all in the clear, I started to breathe a little easier. Until last night. Same story, different kid. Bernadette. I had just gotten home from a super fun night out with a friend and had barely walked in the door when I heard her crying. I quickly changed into jammies and headed in. I knew as soon as I got close to her she had a fever.
I quickly picked her up and this time panicked a little more than I did with my oldest. Her health is more fragile than my other girls’ and sickness for her can be really difficult for her body. In fact, anytime she seems remotely sick I do start to worry it’s going to turn into something more. It’s happened to her a few times and with history as my guide to go by, it sometimes makes these situations more worrisome.
Mama bear took over and once again started pulling out all the stops to get her fever to stop rising and to make her more comfortable. David set up the pack n play in our room so we could keep her close by for the night and finally after a couple of hours of continually taking her temperature and googling when to call the doctor for a fever, we all fell asleep.
Morning came, and my heart was relieved to find Bernadette is better spirits. Her fever was down and she was calm, ready to start her day. It is always such a relief when any child seems like they are on the mend.
I went about my business for the day, mindful to keep her away from therapy visits and others she might expose her cold to and kept to a fairly minimal schedule for the day. It’s so important for her little body to get the rest that it needs when battling any sort of sickness.
Later that afternoon, her fever came back full force and this time was much more resistant to my efforts of bringing it down. Her breathing became quick and panic set in through me once again.
Unfortunately there were no available appointments at the doctor’s office for the afternoon. Our pediatrician did get in touch with me through email and was able to remind me of all the things to look out for. She also reminded to me trust my gut. If I thought her breathing looked bad, don’t hesitate to take her into the ER.
My heart sank a bit. We have managed to stay out of the ER this cold and flu season which is a complete miracle in and of itself. I was really hoping this wasn’t going to land us there this time around.
It took awhile to settle her down for the night. I was thrilled when she drank a couple of ounces of coconut water to keep her from getting dehydrated, especially since she was in no mood to eat a majority of the day.
I have certain unspoken rules with her. If at any point I cannot get her to calm her breathing enough to fall asleep, it’s time to take her in. I don’t want her to struggle with her breathing. It’s dangerous for her.
David and I took turns giving her more coconut water and rocking her. She needed mom and dad close by to help soothe her and eventually, she settled into her crib for the night.
I felt relieved. I crawled into bed just before midnight and thanked God for calming her breathing. Her fever was still high but I felt hopeful with rest it would come down. I knew I had an appointment for her in the morning which helped ease my mind.
This morning, she was diagnosed with an ear infection. That surprises me but at the same time it doesn’t. Her ear canals are tiny and it can be common for kids with Down syndrome to get ear infections because their ear canals are so small. Antibiotics were prescribed as well as another list of things to be on the look out for.
I’m thankful we made it through the night without a trip to the ER and that she was able to be seen this morning. This cold and flu season has lasted forever, or so it seems. In the thick of it, I constantly remind myself that God knows. He sees me. He is still in control. He’s got Bernadette in His hands and nothing I do or don’t do will change those facts.