Friday, December 19, 2008

Rum-pa-pum-pum on his drums

I neglected to mention one little detail about Saturday night that happens to be a crucial component of this tale. Around 10:30pm, hours after Alex had gone to bed for the night, our game-playing came to a sudden halt when the sounds of Alex's wailing filtered into the room. This was nothing like the whimpers and groans that he occasionally makes in his sleep, so rather than ignore it like I usually do, I headed to his room to check on him. He was curled up in a ball at the foot of his bed and appeared to be crying in his sleep, so I moved him back up to his pillow, covered him with his blanket, and patted his back until he fell back to sleep. It is so out of the ordinary for him to wake up at night or to really cry out in his sleep, but I determined it was just "one of those things" and tried not to worry about it.

However, Sunday morning, he woke up at the crack of dawn and was crabby, to say the least. Come to think of it, he woke up pretty early the morning before, too. But he occasionally goes through "early wake-up" phases, so again, we ignored the metaphorical red flags and went about our normal routine. He cheered up long enough to open presents and eat a few bites of breakfast, but quickly transformed back into Alex the Beast. Grrr.

We thought a change of scenery and some fresh air might improve his mood, so we decided to go outside to try out his new toys.

And it did help. He was much happier and ran around like he usually does and seemed like he was back to his same old self.

When we got back inside, it was time for Alex's nap. He was tired from getting up early and playing hard, so it was surprise to all of us when he woke up early from his nap, sweating, screaming, and utterly inconsolable. We don't have a pediatrician yet here in Dallas, so after many frustrating phone calls to determine which doctors are covered by our insurance, which are taking new patients, and which are available to see patients on Sundays, we ended up at the emergency room at the local children's hospital. We were told by a referral agency that there were only two kids waiting in the emergency room, so despite the fact that I suspected an ear infection and not a "real" emergency, we decided it was worth going and getting him checked out asap. Indeed there were only a few familes in the waiting room when we got there. The first waiting room that is. Then they shuffled us off to the second waiting room, where no less than fifty families were crammed into a narrow hallway waiting to be seen by too few (or too slow) doctors. It took about five minutes of Alex getting coughed on by sick kids for us to reconsider our decision to bring him. We decided to head home and baby him for the night, then take him to our family doctor the next day.

Meanwhile, poor Chris must have been having sympathy pains because he starting feeling sick Sunday morning, too, and by the time we had left for the hospital, he was in pretty bad shape and was dreading the five hour drive back to Eldo. Now, I don't mean to imply that the Whataburger he ate in lieu of my delicious Christmas feast had anything to do with the sudden onset of his food-poisoning-like symptoms, but let's just say that no one who dined at my table spent half of their day with their head in the toilet...

So Chris and Leah took off while we were gone, and Grammy and Poppa had to leave soonafter. It was a more painful departure than usual considering Alex's condition and all, but we assured them that he would be fine and there wasn't much they could do anyway.

Unfortunately, he wasn't really fine. He woke up around three-thirty the next morning with a fever and was pretty upset, and the only way I was able to get him to sleep was to rock him and then lie down next to him on the guest bed with piles of pillows to keep his head elevated. I took him to see a doctor the next day, who discovered that he has a bad double ear infection and prescribed him and antibiotic. I had suspected as much, but man do I hate that prognosis! He had had a nasty cough for about a week or so, but it wasn't until Sunday that he had shown any other signs of having an infection. I hate that there's nothing I can do until it's too late and he's miserable.

And boy, was he miserable. That's where the "near-nervous breakdown" came into play. Not his, mine. It's unbearable when your child is obviously in pain, and while you do what you can to make him comfortable, sometimes nothing seems to work. I spent the whole week trying to calm him during inconsolable hissy-fits, both of us getting more and more frustrated that we couldn't communicate with each other, and me feeling guilty for not being able to make him feel better. Fortunately, after a few days of antibiotics, we started seeing a marked improvement in his attitude, and while he's still not 100%, he's getting there. I guess I'm just thankful that this all happened between "Christmases", and thankful that it was something as treatable as an ear infection. Now, we just have to make it through a thirteen hour drive to Peoria. And I thought last week was difficult...


sarah rose said...

Sorry to hear that Alex got a double whammy. Hope you have a great trip/time in P-town! Happy Holidays!

Chatter said...

Poor boy! I am so thankful we haven't had to deal with ear infections in our family. If they have them I haven't known. Hope he was feeling better for the holidays. Merry Christmas!