On Christmas Eve, Will woke up with his usual perma-stuffy-nose. He had been sick the weekend before with a high temperature, but it had gone away within a couple of days and the magic of Tylenol and Motrin. He had still had the runny nose, but I wasn't concerned.
I noticed he was hoarse and grabbing at his throat a lot, but he ate breakfast, and was playing with his toys and seemed to be acting okay for the most part. M and I were hustling around, packing to leave for my parents. M was complaining of a sore throat, and I figured he was getting Will's cold.
As M was packing the last bits into the car, I noticed Will was making a funny sound when he took a breath. Almost a groan. I was concerned and listened to the noise for a little while, noticing it was getting worse. I took his temperature and it was 101. I glanced at the clock: 11:30. I knew that his pediatrician's office closed at 1 and I wanted to check in with the nurse really quickly about this strange breathing sound and temperature. After listening to the noise over the phone, the nurse said, "Get here in ten minutes so we can fit you in before the doctor leaves. I don't like the sound of that."
We live 10 minutes away from the office in ideal conditions. Christmas Eve traffic was hardly ideal. It took us almost 20 minutes to get there, and the doctor was literally walking out the door when we checked in, but he stayed to look at Will. His diagnosis? Croup. There isn't much that can be done for croup, but it sounds nasty and makes poor little kiddos feel pretty nasty. And for a first time mom, listening to her baby gasp for breath is scary. Scratch that, I don't care if you are a mom a million times over, it's scary to listen to that stridor.
The doctor said it was fine to go to my parents if they were okay with being exposed to the virus that causes croup. He said that the virus usually only makes children have the croup symptoms, but it can still make adults sick with sinus symptoms. I called my parents and they said to come on down anyway. At that point, Will still seemed to be feeling okay, and we were all packed and ready to go, so we went.
As we drove, Will sounded sicker and sicker. As we drove, M sounded sicker and sicker. By the time we arrived at my parents three hours later, I had two very sick boys on my hands.
My parents helped us unload the car. I had dressed Will in his big brother t-shirt to reveal "Project As If" to my parents. I took his jacket off and my mom said, "I knew it!" My parents were very excited for us, and my mom kept saying, "I knew you were pregnant!" My dad even said to her, "You were right." I guess I am not a good secret keeper!
As the day went on, I felt sick, though in a different way. I had taken 3 doses of my nausea medications and still was feeling awful. So, Christmas Eve was renamed Sickmas Eve. I felt sorry for my poor mom, who had made so much food, and Will had no appetite, M had no appetite, and I had no appetite. My sister and her husband are both recovering from having the H1N1 virus and decided last minute they didn't want any more sick exposure, so they didn't come over for dinner.
That night was a rough one for sleep. M was miserable, Will was miserable. Poor little guy would settle down to sleep and then a series of choking, barking coughs were rouse him. He was obviously scared when he couldn't breathe, so he would cry, which would make the coughing worse, which would scare him, which would make it a vicious cycle.
M was unable to get comfortable, he was achey and congested. He had a fever and couldn't get warm. Trying to sleep in the same bed with him was impossible. His coughs would also wake Will. I was alternating between caring for Will and trying to keep from vomiting.
At a certain point, there isn't much you can do besides just laugh at the situation. I think that's the perspective of 16 months working for me. I knew this was only a temporary situation and that things would look up soon. I was grateful for the pediatrician's visit that morning, since I knew it was croup and not something more serious like pneumonia making it so hard for him to breathe. I wasn't happy that my poor little one was sick, but I knew it was only a matter of time and he would feel better soon.
He was feeling a little better by morning, well enough to manage to eat some cinnamon toast and then ask his grandma for more. My mom was thrilled! She loves to cook, especially for an appreciative audience. We opened presents, M and Will took a nap, and then we had a huge dinner. My mom makes prime rib on Christmas Day and that is one of M's very favorite. I had gotten him some cold medication from the store (I suddenly understood the need for a grocery store to be open on Christmas Day) and he was finally feeling better. Will enjoyed his first taste of prime rib and shoveled in twice baked potato as fast as he could. I actually had enough of an appetite to eat enough to make my mom happy. It was finally a Merry Christmas.
I hope you also had a nice Christmas, though minus the sickness! It will certainly be one that I remember.