Archive for October, 2012

These Are Viruses

Last week was a trifecta of baby woe.

Josie’s top left tooth was coming in. I don’t know if all top teeth come in like shark fins, but this one came down at an angle that made me wince to look at it. So when she kvetched and had a fever, we thought teething was the cause. But then the fever went up to 102 degrees and only came down with constant ibuprofen. The day came when the fever decreased on its own but was followed by a nasty rash. The last straw was when she stopped nursing, and eating and drinking — and the rash got nastier. Upon good advice, we went to the children’s hospital ER (it was Sunday), where we discovered she had a virus (Roseola, though they didn’t name it), and, after digging pounds of wax from her ears, the doctor could detect ear infections. That’s right: teething, virus, and ear infection.

More rash than skin!

Josie was all smiles, which made it hard to take her to the hospital. But we didn’t want her getting dehydrated. While we waited for the doctor to see us, the nurse tried to get fluids into her. Our girl is particular, and she was not having any of that purple “grape” Pedialyte. We tried plain water, but she just clamped her lips, turned her head and pushed away with her hands. Finally she nursed a little, which relieved me because I was not about to watch my tiny baby get an IV. Our girl is also very strong (at least in her torso). When the doctor tried to get the wax out, Josie had to be restrained by three adults. All the while she shrieked her dog whistle shriek, which caused ER sliding doors to close and nurses to plug their ears. If that wasn’t enough torture, she had to be held down to get numbing drops in her ears and then again for a catheter — because apparently all Caucasian female children need to be screened for UTIs at every possible moment (???). In the end, we left a little worse for the wear and with a prescription for antibiotics. We struggled two more times that night to get more drops in those ears and then the horrible pink junk in her mouth (and swallowed). Thankfully, she seems to need the drops less and gladly takes the pink crap.

During the week of fever and suffering, we bent a whole lot on the sleep training. She has come back from it pretty nicely but is still waking up a couple of times after midnight and before her early morning feeding. This means I can fall asleep okay, but I can’t fall back to sleep. I try going to bed earlier and earlier, but I’m an adult, damn it; I gotta get past sunset!

Speaking of staying up late… The other night, I took my very old friend (long friendship; she’s only 2 months older than I am) to a concert for her birthday. Natalie Merchant is playing a bunch of concerts with symphony orchestras, and when I saw she was coming to our town, I knew we had to go. We loved listening to her and 10,000 Maniacs in high school. At one point in the show, my bff leaned over and said, “I wonder if we’d even be friends without her music.” Ouch. But really, the show was quite different from what I expected; the songs were largely poems and nursery rhymes she’d adapted and set to pretty music (violins and cellos vs. guitars and drums). But after the orchestra left and just she and her guitarist and pianist remained for the encore, Natalie Merchant got a little goofy. The reason I bring this up is because she too was under the weather. She started singing the ’90s anthem “These Are Days,” which happened to be the song of our high school graduation slideshow (yup, that old). She stopped in the middle of the first note, and said, “Ya know, I didn’t get sick all summer, and after the first day my kid was back in school…” The crowd giggled with understanding. Instead of getting back to the singing, she began listing all the illnesses present in her child’s school, ending with Strep and pointing to her throat. A heckler, trying to be funny or just wanting to hear the song already, called out, “These are viruses!” I don’t think Natalie heard him because without a pause she blurted out, “Hippies, inoculate!” After a millisecond of breath intake among the politically correct Portland audience, the crowd cheered and whooped (yes, Pertussis was one of the viruses mentioned). By the way, I totally stayed awake through the show and the delirious encore.

And now I hear there’s a cold going around. God help us.


(Disclaimer: No men were harmed in the making of this blog.)

The Family

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