Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Change of Plans

I had really been looking forward to my last couple of weeks of unemployment- the time after I accepted a job, but before I start work. I envisioned a mix of chores and fun, getting things crossed of my to do list interspersed with walks on the beach and other things I don't get to do that often these days.

That is not how the last couple of weeks have turned out at all. I took one walk on the beach, on Monday of last week. It was interrupted by a call to come get Petunia from day care because she had a fever. I never saw that fever, but kept her home the next day along with Pumpkin, who did have a fever. Then Petunia went back to day care, but Pumpkin stayed home for another day, having slept in and missed her ride to day care. She was basically fine, but enjoyed another day of being pampered, and I thought- no big deal, I still have next week.

But this week, Petunia has been out all week. She had a fever over the weekend, but seemed to be on the mend on Monday. I was so sure that she'd be going to day care on Tuesday that I packed her milk and lunch. Instead, her fever spiked up overnight, so she stayed home with me. I took her to the doctor, who measured a fever of 103.5 and diagnosed tonsillitis, took a culture for a strep test (which has since come back negative), and recommended that we start her on a course of antibiotics. As the fact that the strep test eventually came back negative might lead you to guess, the antibiotics haven't done much but upset Petunia's tummy. I wish we hadn't started them, but I couldn't get in to see our regular doctor (who knows us and knows that she doesn't have to prescribe antibiotics just to make us feel better), and I'm only human. My baby had a high, high fever and was miserable. A doctor recommended antibiotics, and I decided to listen to my breaking heart not my cautioning head. Oh well. Only 7 more days to go!

With the devastation in Christchurch and the people of Libya being bombed by their own government, I can't really feel that the loss of my planned last week of freedom is such a big deal. There are clearly far worse things than having to sit on the sofa and hold your sweet snuggly sick baby, especially since she obligingly perks up a couple of times a day (always after a dose of acetaminophen kicks in) and plays and smiles, letting us know that it is unlikely that this particular illness is all that serious.

But. I can't help but worry. Petunia has had a high fever for several days. She has been sick a lot since I've been laid off. It is not just my last two weeks that have disappeared into a string of sick days. It was a sizable chunk of my time off. Would we be worrying if we hadn't already been through one health scare with her? I don't know. But she took a five hour nap today. (No, I'm not exaggerating- I held her for that entire time, from 11:30 until 4:30, and for 30 minutes after that, when she was awake, but just wanted to snuggle. And yes, I finally put her down for exactly the reason you'd think.) When she gets sick, she gets sick- not just a runny nose and a little cranky, but a high fever, lethargic, and clearly miserable. And she gets sick A LOT. We're trying to tally it up, and I think we had three illnesses in December, at least two in January, and this is our third or fourth in February, depending on how many illnesses you think the last two weeks have included. That seems excessive, even for the first cold and flu season in day care, particularly when you add in the run of fevers in the fall. Rationally, I know that those were probably a low grade infection and unrelated to this current string... but I can't help but wonder if there isn't something more going on.

Our doctor agrees that something seems hinky, but thinks that we're unlikely to figure out what until Petunia can talk and help us try to identify the problem. She is happy to refer us to an immunology specialist and/or an ear-nose-throat specialist, though, if we want it. I'm taking Petunia in for a follow up on this latest illness tomorrow, and I think I'll ask for that referral to an immunology specialist. Hubby and I are debating whether we need to make any changes in our child care plans- i.e., hire a nanny instead of sending Petunia to day care. I think that the opinion of an expert in immunology might help us. Petunia clearly doesn't have a severe immune deficiency (she's not been sick enough for that), but maybe they can find something else. Or tell us that she's normal, and we should stop worrying. 

So, we're back to worrying, just in time for me to start my new job. Blogging may take a backseat for awhile- or it may be my lifeline that keeps me sane. We'll see how it plays out. But right now, Hubby just pointedly reminded me of the dishes in our sink as he walked by with Petunia, finally asleep. I'd love to write up that post on cookbooks I mention in my last post.... but I think that in the interest of marital harmony, I'd better go do some dishes instead.


  1. So sorry she's sick again. I hope you can find some answers soon and that it's nothing to worry about.

  2. Sending you good thoughts and wishes for a healthy kid and a happy reentry into work life.

  3. Having the immune function tests done was a giant relief (see my entire life from May-June 2010, but really all the way back to February 2010).

    I cannot even tell you how awesome having a nanny has been. At all. I don't think I can do it justice. It's like rainbows of health and wellness after a particularly bad storm. And when there is a case of sniffles, I don't miss work and it doesn't progress into something that sends us to the Urgent Care on Sunday morning.

    Good luck, and I know your stress so keep blogging.

  4. How frustrating (and I do think you're allowed to feel frustrated by things that aren't going right even when there are catastrophes happening elsewhere). That does sound like Petunia's sick way too often, I'd be wanting to get it checked out too.

    I figure having a nanny would be awesome for times when your child is sick...but what do you do when the nanny gets sick? Also, actually finding a nanny was so intimidating that I never actually considered it.

    Have tons of fun at the new job!

  5. As someone who suffers from an immune deficiency, I agree that she needs to get to an immune specialist ASAP.

  6. Anonymous3:56 PM

    Getting into a specialist is certainly a good idea, but I'll add that I had tonsilitis, and a number of other infections, several times a year as a young child. At age 7, I had a tonsilectomy (sp?), and they largely cleared up. I still get upper respiratory infections a couple of times a year, but they're rarely as bad as they god when I was little.

  7. Agree with the recommendation to get Petunia in to see a specialist - it is amazing what well & specifically trained people can detect than generalists often cannot.

    We've done the daycare thing as well as the nanny thing - oddly, my kid never got sick at daycare so I never missed work for that. But ironically both our former and our current nanny were themselves sick a lot, while the kids have generally stayed healthy - and I missed work.

    Child care logistics just suck in general. If you do get a nanny, may I also suggest investing in a nanny cam, and following your state & federal laws about filing payroll taxes on them (I-9 form, pay at least min wage, pay quarterly state unemployment on them, etc.) Well worth the hassle.

  8. I'm really sorry to hear about Petunia being sick again. It's so hard when they're unwell. Please let us know what the specialist says. Will be thinking of you. Kim

  9. Tate had tonsilitis not too long ago and the dr prescribed antibiotics without doing a throat culture. Tate of course refused (puked the minute it touched his tongue) the antibiotics and my NP friend said without a throat culture there was no way to know if it was even a bacterial infection. It cleared up in a few days on it's own. So frustrating. I'm really sorry to hear Petunia is sick again. :(

  10. Quick comment as I'm just having a brain break at work...

    A while ago my husband (who is in immunology speciality
    training) was telling me their threshold for investigation in children varied according to illness type - but in general terms 8 non-specific viral infections in a year or 2 or 3 pneumonias or 8 ear infections in a year was worthy of a closer look. But that you did need to take into account the environment (ie daycare or home).

    So yeah, I'd be asking for a referral.

    Hope it's all ok!


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