Tuesday, October 10, 2006
cold and flu season...already?
Jack is sick. This is nothing we are not quite used to. Jack is often sick, and because he has asthma it is often ugly. There's no such thing as "just a cold" for him, because every virus brings on the asthma attacks. Yesterday morning, I took him for his first hair cut. I noticed when I was pulling his near-30 pounds out of the car seat that he was coughing occasionally and had a bit of a goopy nose. I had a pretty good idea what the rest of the day would bring, but even I was not prepared for how quickly things would progress. By the time we got home from our errands he was in a full-fledged asthma flare, and by evening he was running a high fever. He didn't sleep well at all, which meant that John and I didn't sleep either between calming him *to* sleep and then listening to him breath while he *was* asleep. He started vomiting during the night as well, so we had no hopes of giving him anything for his fever and obvious miserable discomfort. The low point came during a 3am breathing treatment. He has come to detest these. I put it off as long as I could, but as I watched his breathing become more and more rapid, his nostrils beginning to flare as he started grunting with every breath, I knew it was inevitable. The mask on his face scares him. Imagine having trouble breathing and being hot and miserable with fever, and here comes Momma, your source of comfort, to force a smelly plastic mask on your face for an eternal 15 minutes! We have to literally hold him down, which at his size is a 2 person job. He was tired and miserable and screamed in shock and disbelief that we would do such a horrible thing to him. We had no choice. I was a pediatric nurse before Jack was born, and I know only too well what is in store for him if we don't get his breathing under control at home. So I held him in my arms, bracing his hot, sweaty, head between my arm and my shoulder while John held his hands and feet down. I used my other arm to hold the mask to his screaming face and sang his favorite songs in his ear in a useless attempt to soothe him. In the end, it was too much for this tired old Momma at the end of her rope. By the time it was over we were both sobbing. But his breathing improved and I was able to nurse him to sleep. When Jack is sick is when I am most grateful for nursing. He frantically latched on and squenched his eyes tightly shut, nursing desperately between coughs, until his breathing, and mine, finally slowed and he fell back into a restless sleep. We have had to give him treatments all day today, but nothing has been as terrible as that 3am treatment.