Friday, May 21, 2010

A New Day Brings Clarity

I did not cry once all day. Score one for me.

I took the morning at home (working from home due to sick kid). I logged in to the work computer at 6:30 am. I had Chuckles sitting on my lap typing out my emails. Then, we ate a leisurely breakfast together at the kitchen table. Bobo didn't get up until 7:30. Then we did our morning routine, I dropped Chuckles at school (where everyone was very mellow since they had all been up after bedtime) and came home and called my mom.

Mimi came over for a couple of hours and I joined SitterCity. I called 3 or four nannies on the phone, emailed 7 or 8 more, and posted a job online. I felt (feel) empowered. And if I don't have a nanny by Monday, it's OK. Bobo and I can suffer through another week of day care if it means we get good quality child care at the end of the rainbow. A lot of teachers and aides will be available in a couple of weeks.

I called the pediatrician's office back because Bobo developed sores on his mouth this morning. I had no idea what they are, but the office said it's probably impetigo. A quick google image search confirms. Bobo has impetigo. The good news just keeps coming.

Now, a few posts ago, I declared that sick blogging was boring. I still fundamentally agree that this is true, but I've decided to do it anyway. I'm crazy like that. I laugh in the face of boredom. And I'm a hypocrite. But that's OK. I'm in good company.

So, impetigo. According to Google Health: [Impetigo] is most common in children, particularly those in unhealthy living conditions. Now, I know I have mentioned that my housekeeping skills are not necessarily June Cleaver-y, but squalor is more of a colorfully descriptive word than an accurate description of my domesticity. The kitchen counter is a little sticky in that one spot, but overall, it's not too bad. I wouldn't eat off of the floor (after the 5 second rule expires) but that's mostly because Lisa The Loudest Cat Ever lives here. And the county early intervention people have been visiting this last month (plus we had company at Chuckles's birthday party) so I've been doing Company-Is-Coming Panic Cleaning lately (and I got that new vaccum). So overall, it's not the house.

Bobo has a pretty varied diet, although the quantities of food he eats fluctuate wildly. I am going to guess that his throat has been a little sore for at least the last month (since the pediatrician declared his throat raw at the last few visits and he has had strep throat for probably the last 3 weeks). He drinks 12-16 ounces of formula a day (still in a bottle), so I don't think he's missing out on any key nutrients.

Oh, about that bottle. He only takes it at night and nap. I had Chuckles off of the bottle by this age, but Bobo is not Chuckles. As with so many things with Bobo (like bottles, pacifiers, sleep training, potty training, etc), I keep saying, "We need to wait until he's healthy to do [fill in the blank]." Well, healthy has not been forthcoming.

So, now that we're at a crossroads and a crisis point. And I'm trying to put the pieces together. Let's assume it's all related, OK?

A couple of days after birth, we noticed scabs on Bobo's feet/toes. Is this significant? I don't know.
At 6 weeks old, he started sleeping through the night. That ended at age 3 months and has not been back regularly since then.
At 3.5 months, despite parents and sibling being vaccinated and not attending child care and still being in the baby bucket car seat (so not touching shopping carts or public high chairs), Bobo developed influenza.
At 4.5 months, I went back to work. Then the fun really began. Ear infections, colds, chicken pox, allergic reactions, antibiotics, strep pneumo, ear infections, I weaned, pink eye, ear tubes, a nosebleed that didn't stop and needed to be packed (after a minor fall), more ear infections, more pink eye, strep throat, thrush, impetigo.

So, that is not exactly a picture of health, but it's not exactly a smiley face with Xs for eyes either. So, maybe he's just a sickly kid. Nothing wrong with that. I just keep thinking that if he were healthy, he might be talking. We've spent so much time and energy managing his various illnesses. Maybe we haven't had the energy to play the sound mimic game. I'm tapping a well of undiscovered maternal strength and energy and vowing to manage illness and enjoy playful times as well. I've decided to scale my sleep back from 8 hours per night to 7. I know that sounds luxurious, but it's not like it's continuous hours of sleep.

OMG: this just in: Lisa the Loudest Cat Ever just peed on Mr. Long-Suffering. I guess Lisa is sick and needs to go to the vet. Yay. It's been 48 hours since I visited with a medical professional. I was starting to get jittery. Good thing I tapped that well.

Anyway, where was I? It turns out that our families have been avoiding us because they are all afraid they are going to catch whatever it is that Bobo has as the illness du jour. This is sad. It's very sad. Chuckles has an excellent relationship with his grandparents. And they won't go near Bobo for fear of contracting whatever it is he has on any given day. They don't want to get sick and be unable to visit their other grandchildren. But Chuckles suffers as well because they don't visit with us as a family. (And I personally, think they could visit without getting sick as Chuckles, Mr. Long-Suffering, and I have remained reasonably healthy throughout this and adults are pretty good about washing hands and not touching their eyes/noses/mouths.) We've stopped going places as a family. Chuckles and the parent of choice go to parties and visits and errands. Bobo stays home with the other parent. I didn't really notice it happening. It was gradual enough. But now, it's quite clear. Bobo is usually sick enough that he needs to stay home (to make sure he gets a good nap in his crib). I can't tell you the last time our family went somewhere together and Bobo didn't spend the whole time looking pitiful in my arms. I can't believe I didn't see all of this sooner. Oh, and I know he will be fine some day. Of this, I have no doubt. I'm more up-in-arms because I didn't see it sooner, didn't pull him from day care sooner, and still don't have a nanny lined up. It's the second guessing coupled with the fear of the unknown.

So, this has been kind of a downer post, but I'm sorting through my feelings in real time here.

If asked what I need from you, my 3 faithful readers, the answer is I need you to listen and validate my feelings. And if you have any insights, I'll take those too. Stories of how you missed your own child's illness or even stories of how you caught it early and then the kid puked in the waiting room are also good.

Oh, and I still feel very lucky. Very, very lucky. I am acutely aware that if we were in a different economic position, a chronic illness (or speech therapy) could very well bankrupt us (do you have any idea how much unicorns charge for their services?). If we were in a different time, some of these illnesses could have proved fatal to Bobo (if he had even survived birth with the whole placenta previa thing). So, yes, I am going to play the lottery again tomorrow. Somebody's gonna Lotto...might as well be me.


  1. Oh, oh, oh, I missed my son's milk protein-induced enteropathy for two-and-a-half years. Well, I didn't actually miss it, but I kept listening to the pediatrician and ignoring the symptoms (reflux, sleeplessness, diarrhea, gas, and more!) and then finally took him to Children's Hospital and then a pediatric allergist. He's had xrays, countless exams (each more invasive than the last!) and has had blood drawn three times, only to be diagnosed by default with a milk allergy. Then when we went to the (new) pediatrician he crawled under the seat and cried and cried and cried even though we were just there to have them diagnose a sinus infection. I guess I should have mentioned that there would be no needles this time.

    Oh, oh, oh and while I was busy missing the milk allergy, I was also busy missing the fact that he was allergic to the cat. Which explained the constant nose rubbing. And the perpetual dark circles under his eyes.

    So, yeah. It's hard to see the forest for the trees sometimes.

  2. Oh, SarcastiCarrie! This is rough. But don't be so hard on yourself. Honestly, I think I would have thought it was just the normal adjustment to day care problem, too. I mean, we were sick sooo much that first cold/flu season in day care.

    Besides, you were seeing a pediatrician, right? He/she missed it (whatever "it" is), too.

    You've caught it now. You're taking steps to improve things. Chuckles and Bobo are so clearly loved and well cared for, and that is what matters.

    And your family? They should get over it and come visit you.

  3. Oh, and I am most definitely not a doctor, etc., etc.... but I think if Bobo had the truly scary type of immune deficiency, your list of illnesses would be a lot longer and there is no way you would have missed it.

    One of the other blogs I read ( is written by a woman with some sort of immune deficiency. I'm not clear on the details, but she gets sick more than most. She also works and has a kid, and has an active life. I throw that out there in the time-honored internet tradition of "my cousin's best friend had X and was totally OK and so you will be, too". But also to counteract the problem with consulting Dr. Google, which is that you always seem to find the worst case info, and not the most likely case info.

  4. OK, I swear this is my last comment. What is with me tonight? I blame the beer I'm drinking.

    Anyway, about thrush. Was that after the strep throat? Which was treated with antibiotics? Which are known to cause thrush?

  5. I'm sorry that he and your family have been through so much. I can definitely see how it would force a lifestyle change, one that you weren't intending and you don't want to maintain.

    Maybe at this point your pediatrician could refer you to an immunologist or infectious disease specialist. I work at U of C and I think Raoul Wolf would be the right person. It might be worth seeing a specialist BEFORE getting labwork because a lot of people only like interpreting results from their typical lab. Good luck--I hope you find a way to keep Bobo healthier soon!

  6. How can you stop and take stock when it takes everything you have to manage the kids and the medications and the job and the care, etc. every day?

    My kids were terribly sick in day care and it was so *depressing*. And it was still nothing like you're talking about. Well, except the summer there were three different strains of hand foot and mouth disease and I missed six weeks of work.

    It's really hard to have kids being sick all the time. SO HARD. You're doing great and you have a really good attitude.

    Just a thought - my oldest was constantly sick and in the course of her second year, we had a blood test done and they found out she had an IgA deficiency that effectively weakened her immune system because she was missing the first line of defense.

    There's nothing they can do about it. But at least I knew with great certainty that she would always get sick when exposed to something and it wasn't her fault. She's now 4.5 and had a great school year. It's like someone flipped a switch at four. She had ear tubes and is now tonsil- and adenoid-free, but life is grand!

  7. You can do this. Of course you can. And you will and it will all be fine. And about that puking in the waiting room? I have discovered that when your child throws up in the waiting room, you get RIGHT IN to see the doctor - even when you are a walk-in with no appointment! I have never been so happy to see puke before in my life. It ranks in my top 20 great moments of parenting.

  8. Your feelings and sadness are so validated!! I missed my daughter's failure-to-thrive until the pediatrician freaked out at her 9-month visit (a crash n burn in growth after 6 months!). I missed all the clues my sitters would leave like she didn't eat much today, or she only pooed this tiny bit... but because I had so many different sitters and I wasn't the first home to debrief them... well, you know. easy to miss info you don't consistently get. Plus finding out a sitter was force-feeding her ...

    it was a year from hell. So thank god for the ped. who turned on the alarm and the great docs who patiently spent months of trying to figure out the problem (not eating because not pooing because has a rectal deformation. ta dah!)

    all is so much better now. and I know this too shall pass at some point for you. Someone will figure it eventually but you have to stick with it and pray for someone being on the ball.

    You are doing amazing for all you and your family are going through. It WILL get better!