After last fall/winter/spring cold and flu season I think I became too lackadaisical in my response to sickness in my kids. I'd stopped changing schedules around and it had gotten to the point that I more frequently forget than remembered to forewarn playdate friends. In an effort to help H become social, I enrolled him in preschool last Sept. Little did I know that preschool=cesspool of germs and bacteria. H was well for 1 week from Sept to March, catching everything from stomach viruses to hand foot and mouth. R caught everything from him and had repeated ear infections, chugging antibiotics like milk shots, culminating in ear tubes surgery. I'd gotten so used to them being sick, it didn't faze me anymore.
This past week has restored my respect for the seriousness of illness. At the playdate last Saturday, not only did H and R share toys with L, they were also sharing the flu virus that L's grandparents had brought back with them from their recent trip to Europe. The next day Jenny emailed me that L had come down with a fever of 101 degrees. I thought the boys had escaped it until H started coughing after the swim party. Then came the fever. For two days I battled the fever and coughing with tylenol and motrin, but the third day I couldn't bear to hear him cough up another lung. I broke down and gave him--GASP--cough medicine. I'm sure there are other parents out there that give their kids under 4 cold medicine. My reasoning-H weighs as much and is as tall as any 4 year old.
Whatever the rationalization, the cough medicine seemed to do the trick. H seemed to be on the road to recovery so we didn't change our plans to go visit San Francisco over the weekend. We gallivanted all over town, stopping by Ike's for the killer dirty sauce on the [Name of the Girl I'm Dating] sandwich and La Cumbre for the original Mission burrito. We even made it to the Slanted Door for its famous shaking beef. We walked along the Embarcadero, rode the cable car, and hiked back twice to our hotel in the Financial District from Fisherman's Wharf. All the while, in the back of my head, I couldn't help but remember the saying, "The coldest winter I ever spent is a summer in San Francisco." It was cold. All the locals were wearing long sleeves and jackets. We were walking around in shorts. I had brought light jackets for us, but H didn't want to wear his, probably because it was getting too small. I ignored my mom voice that said H was sick and should not be out and about. I refused to bow to the virus and took the gamble that it would not ruin our vacation.
The virus didn't stop us from eating ourselves across the bay, but it wreaked even greater havoc on our family. R suddenly spiked a fever. We drove back to LA immediately. The next day he started barking like one of the seals we'd seen on Pier 39. And that day being Labor Day, the pediatrician's office was closed. The inescapable trip to the ER. After being poked and prodded for several hours, the ER doctor decided to transfer R to a children's hospital where they specialized in respiratory illnesses. So we went, via ambulance.
Diagnosis: croup. After an entire day spent inhaling oxygen and racemic epinephrine, R was well enough to come home. I knew he had croup before going to the hospital but felt guilty enough for not taking the illness seriously that I made the trip to the ER. I didn't think the hospital could do anything (and usually it can't), but R fell into the 5% of cases that merited hospitalization. And why am I blogging about this now? Shouldn't I be sleeping since I've been up for 36 hours straight? Because I don't want to forget what I've been through these past few days.
Next time, I will take it easy when my kids are sick. It might ruin well laid plans, but will save all of us pain and anguish in the long run. Next time I will ask the mom before a playdate whether her child has been around sick people lately. Next time I will be better. Because it's not their fault they got sick. I'm the mom, I should be looking out for them. Next time I will.