Wow. It’s been a long couple of nights. And days. And in between – you know, when you can hear the birds start to chirp in the morning and when you watch the sun set in the evening? Yeah, those were long too.
Oooh boy, where to start.
One day earlier this week (I’ve lost track of time) we went for dinner at a friend’s house. Things were good. Franklin was wonderful and Eliza was charming the pants off of everyone. She had diarrhea (which is odd for my little constipated wonder) but she was good.
Then, the next day – something tells me this is a Sunday – we went downtown. She was a little run down and I thought late night = sleepy baby, right? Nevermind that this logic has never worked in the history of babies and tiredness but rather late night = angry, hyper baby.
That night was a mess of crying and coughing and non-stop nursing. Her fever was brought down with acetaminophen and the next day I brought her into a clinic. The doctor (with the bedside manner of a baby talking rig pig) roughly examined her lethargic body and made comments both disapproving of my over-protectiveness and reminding me that one can never be too neurotic with children this age. He concluded that she had a raging ear infection and prescribed an antibiotic that I had never heard of. I try to mention the cough and I mumble something about “What’s it called? Whooping Cough?”
Then all of a sudden we’re playing, Ignore the Mother She Doesn’t Know Anything”. Ah, I forgot about that game. Such Fun.
Two pharmacies later (because this drug was rare) we arrive home with the loot and we try to get on with the day.
Welcome night with coughing that sounds like it would wake up the passed out rugby revelers next door. Poor little Eliza. She sounded horrible and getting her to sleep through nursing wasn’t working. Finally, a mixture of holding her while standing or sitting upright got us through the night.
Next day, pissed off at Dr. Oil Spill and not interested in waiting another day for our own doctor, I decide to take her to the emergency room. She’s having trouble breathing. I’m having trouble breathing because she’s having trouble breathing. On the way to school I remind Franklin of our secret word because I have this feeling that a hospital visit will mean hours (and hours and hours) and if my brother or my friend needs to get him… well, he’s a careful child.
Hours and hours – well, only 2 hours of waiting room time and the rest with tests and x-rays it is decided that she doesn’t have pneumonia. This doctor is cheery and bubbly and hands me a stool sample jar to make sure Eliza doesn’t have any “nasty wasty chuggy bugs inside her.”
We’re off. With a different antibiotic – that I can recognize – and I’m feeling like we didn’t get anywhere except that I got to expose my daughter to radiation. Yay me. Again, same game. Ear Infection! But what about the cough? Oh, I’m sorry – did you not pay attention? We’re playing that Ignore the Mother Game.
Night. What day are we on? Whatever.
Midnight. I’m off to emergency.
Oh, did I mention that this is the day Eliza decides she doesn’t want to nurse? Ever? Forever? After a night of constant nursing she shuts it all down, the music is over and the ugly lights are on. Time to take the breast milk and go home.
So I’m in emergency again. I’m answering the same questions, again. I’m waiting in the same room, again. Except this time I have engorged, rock hard breasts and I’m running a fever. And this time, I have the right term. Croup.
After hearing Eliza cough ONCE and merely over the PHONE my mother (a nurse) says one word, “Croup”.
So, the nurse asks me how much she weighs and I say, “20 lbs and she has Croup”.
The next nurse ask me if she can check her chest, “Sure, and she has Croup”.
The doctor asks me what her temperature was before the acetaminophen and I say 103 degree and she has Croup”.
So we decided it was Croup and once that was all straightened out and she was given something for temporary relief (Croup is a virus that doesn’t really have any medication but humidity and cold, night air), I asked for what I was really, truly in need for – a breast pump. A big, honking, mother of a machine that would help me out with the cold turkey weaning my little Rambo had inflicted upon me.
I mean, she’s sick. She’s in pain. She’s tired. What a time to wean!
The doctor looked at me and repeated, “engorged breasts? Yeeaaah, Idon’tknowanythingaboutthat”. A nearby nurse, who I wish I thanked more fully that night, said to him, “You know how police officers need to experience a taser before they use it in the line of duty? You guys need to experience engorged breasts before you practice medicine”. Then she looked at me and said she’d go up to Labour and Delivery and be right back.
30 minutes later I was walking out with my cheerful baby (at 4 in the morning, wtf child?), my breasts back to normal and six stool sample jars full of my milk in three separate bio hazard bags.