Sunday, June 7, 2009

Oh croup, they're sick

Dear Universe,

Thank you once again for finding new ways to challenge my sanity and grace. Not only have you blessed me with three kids at once, but you found a way to make them all sick in succession, instead of concurrently, so that at any one point at least 2 were in the 2 worst days of the illness while the third was either descending into it or recovering from it.

It was brilliant inspiration to begin this illness with a high fever for 2 days with no symptoms. Now I have to admit that I have been exceptionally lucky with my children and have not had fevers over 101 degrees in the 15, almost 16 months that they have been alive. So I was woefully unprepared to deal with not only a fever, but a strange one that appeared with no symptoms. I don't know about other parents, but I'd like at least a small clue as to what they are fighting when they are fighting off a virus or infection of some sort. A runny nose, a cough, a pink eye, a hot, red ear that when touched causes your child to bite your finger off, things of that nature.

So, naturally, I finally made those stupid calls to the doctor that other moms make in the early months of their child's infancy. The first one, to ask what the heck a fever without symptoms means, and the second, panicky one, when his fever spiked to 102.4 degrees 30 minutes before his office closed for the day. I know now that 102 point anything is nothing really. I was assured by the doctor that even at 105 degrees they merely want me to call them so they can ask me whether my baby has a stiff neck, purple rash or isn't drinking or peeing. I also know, due to the second call, that asking a doctor to tell you when you should go to the emergency room since his office is closing for the day is worthless as he will give you general, vague answers that leave you dangling over the panic button the rest of the night.

I should be counting my blessings that my kids have been so healthy but instead I feel a little stupid calling about a child who is mildly sick, according to the doctor, while I am in total panic mode due to my ignorance. I'd actually rather have called when I was a 'brand new mother' so I would hear less of the tired patient tone in my doctor's voice due to my hangover from total exhaustion due to caring for 3 infants while pumping, eating and crying simultaneously in between 15 minute sleep breaks.

So I have to say that what I really don't appreciate is how the fever was actually a blessing in disguise because it made that baby sleep like a rock, but I didn't know to appreciate it at the time because I was freaking out. By the time the second child was having 104 fevers in the middle of the night, but sleeping great, kid number one was fully in the throes of the actual illness. Up every hour due to coughing and discomfort of an incurable type. Naturally we can't give 1 year olds cough syrup and the cold air humidifiers in the shape of a pig and a penguin, while cute, seem to do nothing at all to reduce the number of times they need me to get out of my warm bed and come and pat them back to sleep.

Because of your inspired timing, number one was coming off of the fevers and long nights of coughing while numbers 2 and 3 were just ramping up their respiratory symptoms to include not just night waking and coughing, but actual croup like emanations that put the fear of goodness into me. I mean it must have really amused you to watch me hear my daughter bark during dinner today and then watch my brain start mulling over how other parents have had to spend nights alternating between sitting in the bathroom with the shower running and running outside with that same child wrapped in blankets. Doesn't sound like a good night's rest now does it? So, upon hearing that 'seal bark' coming from my daughter's mouth I began to dread that evening. You must have been rolling on the floor when I was sitting in my in-law's bathroom running the faucet and the tub on hot in the dark (because of course the fan and the light were one switch) and realizing that somehow in 3 minutes we had run through all of the reserves of hot water in the tank. My daughter was probably a little bit confused as to why we were sitting in the dark listening to water running, but every new thing is an adventure to a 15 months old, right?

So you can see where I'm coming from right? Tonight we begin the night with 2 children on either day one or day two of the peak coughing and sleeplessness. Which means I have one more night after tonight of misery. Meanwhile, I myself have come down with the same symptoms and regularly wake the kids with my own loud coughs and nose honking. Why is it funny to you to give me 7 nights of misery? Do you really have so little entertainment in your world when there are celebrities making asses of themselves just down the way from me? Or is it that I got too cocky with my healthy children? Was I looking too snottily down my nose at parents with miserable children and not thanking the universe enough for my luck? Was I thinking too highly of my mothering skills and you needed to put me in my place by handing me inconsolable children night after night? Because you did succeed in knocking me down a peg. I had begun to think I was just a calm mother who didn't need to call the doctor very often. But the truth was, I was just a mother with healthy children until last week. Now the doctor dreads my calls just as much as the next mom.

Thanks for that!
Your tired triplet mom

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