Fever x 6 days, multiply by 3.

Every year, without fail, my kids get sick around the holidays.  Last year was the worst, at least for me. I ended up with what was probably a Norwalk virus on New Year’s Eve. We were with friends, without kids and I ended up in the guest bedroom for the rest of the night while my friends rang in the New Year.

This year, the little one (4 years old), developed a high fever (39.5C or 104.5F) that lasted the better part of 6 days.  Eventually we took him to his doctor for a throat swab but it was negative for strep. Husband got a small dose of it for 2 days and I got a head cold that lasted 3 days.  After a week, the boy’s fever broke and he went back to school, none the worse for wear.

Then his older brother (6.5 years old) came down with a fever.  For another 6 days, my husband (the stay-at-home parent) had to deal with a sick kid who was home from school for a week.

Meanwhile, the eldest, was beside herself.

“How come the boys got to stay home from school?”

“It’s not fair!”

“When will I get sick?  I want to stay home for a week too!”

Well, my dear; be careful what you wish for.

The same day the 6.5 year old’s fever broke, his older sister started shivering and complained of a headache.  Honestly, I thought she was faking it.  But then I felt her forehead.

Here we go again.

On the bright side, she should be just fine for Christmas.  However, I have no idea how husband is going to finish our Christmas shopping with another sick kid at home.

 

A Bad Week.

It’s Saturday night, I think. Honestly this week has been a blur. I feel terrible complaining because I know for a fact there are others struggling with a lot more this time of year (a few of them are my own patients), but I have to say this has been one of the crappiest weeks I can remember.

It started off with me getting some kid of flu/GI virus that decimated me for close to 36 hours, then I get the phone call that my dad is going to the ER and after spending 15 hours at the hospital he gets admitted. I missed seeing a theater performance of Cinderella with my daughter and my aunt that day. (I’m still really bummed about that).  When I got home that night, around 1am I found my husband in bed with shaking chills. He spent the vast majority of Wednesday in bed. Despite exhaustion, I took my older kids to an indoor play center to blow off some steam. Later that night my brother, wife, stepdaughter, and my best friend came over for an already-planned Christmas Eve-eve dinner. Husband and I were exhausted but it was wonderful to have family over and they helped out by wrapping all of our kids’ Christmas  presents.

Christmas eve saw husband going out for last minute gifts, still unwell.  I took one of the kids to see Pappou in the hospital. The kids watched Santa on Norad as he made his way from Morocco to Ireland, we set out milk and cookies for him and the kids went to bed with zero fuss.  Husband and I settled in to watch our annual holiday classic, “Die Hard”, and promptly went to bed around 10pm.

Christmas morning the kids were up early, as expected.  Christmas gifts were opened in a frenzy.  I had planned on taking all the kids to see Pappou in hospital, so after breakfast everyone got ready, except husband who was still not feeling great.  Over the course of the morning, my older son, the 4.5-year-old, started complaining of a tummy ache.  He barely touched the apple juice he got from my mom, nor the donut.  He looked pale and complained even more about his tummy so we left the hospital after a short visit.  The entire car ride home the little guy was moaning.   As soon as we arrived home, he was curled up on the couch with his new Star Wars blanket.  Ten minutes later, he’s running to the bathroom calling for me and threw up.

Merry f*&king Christmas.

We were expected at my brother-in-laws house for Christmas dinner later that evening.  I called my mother-in-law and told her everything. I wasn’t sure we should bring my son so I warned her that he and my husband may be staying home.

As it usually is with stomach flu, once you throw up you start feeling better.  My son seemed to make a pretty fast recovery and I spent the afternoon watching him build Star Wars Lego. The 7-year-0ld was happily entertained with her new Nintendo 2DS from Santa.

Later that afternoon, with the two boys (husband and son) feeling better we piled into the car and headed west to my brother-in-law’s house.  We were going to arrive about 2 hours late, but I had called my mother-in-law to explain.  When we were about 10 minutes away I suddenly remembered that we, well I, had forgotten the dessert.  Among the chaos of the week, I had gone out to buy two pies and ice cream as we were expected to bring dessert.  We found an open Shoppers Drug Mart and were saved.  Cheesecakes and eclairs to the rescue.  (Seriously though, could this week end already?)

Christmas dinner was lovely.  Husband and I ate but neither of us were particularly hungry.  For me it was likely due to the stress of the week, my appetite has been shot. For husband, well, he was still recovering from the illness.  An hour after dinner, my older son started turning pale again and complained of his tummy hurting.  With profound apologies, we piled back into the car and drove home.  Thankfully he wasn’t sick in the car but he did fall asleep and didn’t wake until almost 9am the following morning.

Boxing Day.   Another trip to the hospital to see my dad.  A relatively uneventful day and I was beginning to think the worst was over when the 2-year-old started screaming.  Husband went to see him and called out – “He threw up.”

OMFG.

That poor little boy emptied his stomach over the course of the next 5 hours.  I slept on a cushion on the floor of his room and he finally stopped dry heaving at 2am.  He was awake at 6:30am as if nothing happened.  Meanwhile husband is curled up in bed, moaning.

Stomach cramps.

What the actual f&#K?

I’m ready for this week, hell, this year, to be over.

Only one person has been spared so far … my daughter.

Pray for me.

 

Waiting. 

Waiting in the ER as a family member is boring and nerve-wracking. Waiting as a family member and a physician, watching your parent wince in pain is excruciating.  

When I arrived he was seated in a wheelchair in the “Green Zone”, where the sprains and strains are waiting. He looked pale and sweaty and his heartrate was about 110. (Normal is 60-80). I found the nurse, explained who I was (daughter, not doctor) told her in medical terms what I had found when I saw him.  She did an ECG (normal except for the fast rate) and moved him into the main ER. And two hours later we are still waiting to see a doctor. He is triaged as “back pain” and so we wait. 

I finally couldn’t take it anymore watching him wince in pain and asked a nurse if we could get him something for pain and moved to a bed.  About twenty minutes later the doctor shows up and my dad is lying down in a bed. He’s still sweaty and in pain. He also says he’s a bit winded and has a bit of chest discomfort. 

The squeaky wheel gets the grease. 

Percocet on board and labs drawn. 

More waiting. 

And the worst of it? I was supposed to be with my daughter and Aunt watching a live production of Cinderella. 

The Kids Are Home!

Day 2 – January Daily Blog Posting Month.

There is nothing like leaving your children with their grandparents for a few days and having a relatively quiet house.  The older two kids spent 3 days at my in-laws this week and despite the fact I still had to wake up with the baby, I slept in every day and felt relatively human again.

No doubt the kids got whatever they wanted – popsicles, freezies, cookies, crackers.  I’m sure there were some healthy choices but let’s face it, what happens at Grandma’s stays at Grandma’s.

So the kids are back today and the reprogramming begins.  Over the past few days, they’ve apparently forgotten how to say “please” and “thank you”. “I want” is back in their vocabulary.  It’s kind of funny, actually.  The same people who, 35 years ago insisted their children have proper manners, have decided its okay that their grandchildren behave like heathens.  Boggles the mind, folks!

Still, time away from parents is a good thing.  I always enjoyed the time I spent with my grandmother precisely because I could do whatever I wanted, eat whatever I wanted and watch as much TV as I wanted.  Good times!

We had planned on taking the kids to the Museum today but it’s bitterly cold out and no one has time for that.  As I write this, the kids are watching Sleeping Beauty for the hundredth time, playing with their Christmas toys.  The house looks like a tornado came through (again!), so I best be signing off for now.

I have some exercising to do!  😉

 

 

Disease doesn’t know it’s the holiday season.

Breaking news!  The Apocalypse didn’t happen!

Ah… just when you thought you’d heard the last from me in 2012.  But alas, I return with some further thoughts – lucky you!

Part of me hates the holiday season.  Why? you may ask.  Well, it seems that disease decides to rear its ugly head during the most inopportune time.

I remember the case of a 50-something year old woman several years ago who came in to the walk-in-clinic I was working at on December 20. She didn’t have a family doctor, in fact, hadn’t seen a doctor in many years.  She was complaining of abdominal pain and fatigue, which she said was new but on further questioning she admitted she hadn’t been feeling well for months.  Her family finally made her come to the clinic because she was looking yellow.  Indeed, she was jaundice and upon examination of her abdomen, I felt a mass near her stomach.   An abdominal ultrasound later that day revealed a large tumor of the pancreas.  Her blood work was very abnormal.  I referred her to the local hospital, where she was admitted and died 2 weeks later.

A few years ago, around December 19, I received a very abnormal prenatal ultrasound report.  The patient was already aware as the result had gone to her OB first, and by the time I called her, she had the amniocentesis which revealed a lethal chromosomal anomaly.  On December 23, she delivered her daughter and spent the rest of the holidays mourning the loss.  A year later, almost to the day, a healthy, bouncing baby boy was born.  (This one kind of had a happy ending, sort of.)

This week, I have had to tell two women that they are going to miscarry.

And now, my thoughts are occupied with a young woman, my age, whom I suspect has thyroid cancer.  I am working my ass off today to get her an appointment with a surgeon, before the end of this year.  Why does this shit go down days before a holiday?!  WHY?!  I don’t want to be responsible for ruining someone’s holiday, or worse yet, starting someone’s New Year with news of cancer?  This is the part of my job that truly sucks.

Why can’t disease wait for January?