Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Oh Man

Somehow, I have the energy to blog this morning. I am currently propped up in my (death) bed with a sleeping little girl's head on my lap. I dare not move because she will inevitably wake up, and then I'll have a cranky, sick toddler on my hands. Thank you, iPhone yet again for coming to the rescue.

When I woke up on Saturday morning, I could no longer deny that I was sick, too. I couldn't swallow, my lymph nodes were incredibly swollen, my head was pounding, and I couldn't stop coughing. I spoke to Nathan and he was also feeling worse. Cheryl, my mother in law, was still overrun with pneumonia, and Eliza...

Oh, Eliza.

Eliza was given prednisone for her RSV in addition to albuterol through a nebulizer. She was also prescribed amoxicillin for her double ear infection and two other medications for her cough and fever. Like I mentioned earlier, she has never been sick before and has never received any medication other than Tylenol once or twice. Her body was not prepared for the assortment of medicines we gave her, which became apparent quickly.

Just a few hours after receiving the first dose of her various prescriptions, Eliza started bouncing off the walls. Literally. And yes, I do know how to properly use the word literally. She was running into the walls, kicking them, throwing her body against them, and acting like a crazy child. She ran back and forth for hours and screamed until she vomited and then would start screaming again. She became extremely aggressive and violent and would hit Nathan and me rather than talk to us. She stopped using her words almost entirely and resorted to screeching and growling when she wanted to "say" something. Nathan remarked, "She is more animal than little girl. What is going on?" It was alarming to say the least.

She couldn't fall asleep on Friday, so Nathan stayed up with her and tried holding her and rocking her throughout the night. She would rest for perhaps 30 minutes and wake up screaming. Obviously, we were concerned. It was Saturday, though, and we could not reach the doctor. This behavior continued all day, and I finally texted my friend Lauren, a seasoned mother, about her behavior. She let me know that the prednisone could cause a reaction like this in children and my mother (who is a nurse) confirmed this when we finally spoke. My mother also let me know that albuterol can make children more hyper.

For me, this has been the most stressful part of the "being sick" ordeal. Eliza won't allow us to sleep and runs around screaming all day. She requires constant supervision (obviously) and no one can relax with her worrisome antics. With us all being sick, it has been hard keeping up with her. I feel so awful, knowing that her body must be worn out and that the meds are possibly overloading her system, but I know we cannot stop administering the prednisone. Thankfully, tomorrow is the last day of that prescription. We are also thankful that Eliza has been a champ about taking the medicine.
As if Eliza's erratic behavior wasn't enough of a stressor, the boys began coughing on Saturday night. They were congested and miserable, but we thought they were RSV-free. Once the seal-like bark cough began, my heart sank. Their eyes looked sick, and I could tell they were not feeling well. Not my little boys. Please, not my little babies. I prayed, I cried, I prayed some more, and then I just held them as they coughed throughout the night. They were crying and unable to sleep, and I finally called the emergency room to see if they were equipped to treat infants with RSV. They had me speak to a doctor, who said no treatment was needed for the boys if they were breathing okay and did not have fevers. We were told to just monitor them closely. They just looked so sad.
Yesterday, we all went back to the doctor to be seen. Ezra and Elliott have a slight case of RSV, but it is not serious enough to require hospitalization or treatment at this point. Their lungs sounded good and they are fever-free, so we are counting are blessings. Their coughs are painful to hear and their noses are red, but they are healthy overall. Their pediatrician was impressed they were doing so well after being so thoroughly exposed to RSV, the flu, strep throat, and pneumonia.
She also stressed the importance of continuing to breastfeed, especially while they are this sick. I have no plans on stopping soon, but I have been worried about their nutrition, especially with me being so ill.

I was examined and the doctor confirmed I have strep throat and also a slight case of pneumonia. No wonder I feel so horrible. Yesterday was the worst day for me so far. The lack of sleep combined with the sickness utterly wiped me out. I spent the night throwing up, coughing, trying to breathe, and blowing my nose. I haven't been able to eat for three days now, which concerns me mostly because I worry about what the boys are getting nutritionally speaking. Somehow, my milk supply is amazing (I credit all the Gatorade I have been drinking), but I can tell that the milk is mostly water. Because they feel so awful, they aren't much less hungry these days and seem just fine with what they are getting. Our pediatrician assured us that was normal behavior and that their appetite would return in a few days.

We also made sure to tell Eliza's doctor about her reaction to the albuterol and prednisone. He said the reaction was rare, especially in toddlers, but that he had had a couple of adult patients tell him prednisone made them feel like they were "going to crawl out of their skin." He assumed from the pacing and running around that Eliza was probably experiencing this. The anxiety, combined with the energy boost from the albuterol, made her one feisty little girl. He assured us that she will return to "normal" once we stop administering the prednisone.

Nathan has been amazing throughout this ordeal. Although he has the flu and feels horrible, he has done everything he can in order to make sure I can rest. He held me when I was throwing up and placed cold, wet rags on my forehead when I was burning up with a fever. He has calmed Eliza every night as she screams in her sleep, and he has tended to the babies as much as possible. On Sunday, I could tell he felt awful, and I asked, "How do you have the strength to do this?" I was worn out, and I knew he probably felt just as bad as I did. Without skipping a beat, he said, "God." I love my husband. Fortunately, he is feeling better this morning.

The worst part about this situation has been the overwhelming feeling of helplessness. We cannot ask any of our family members or friends from church to come over and help. We would feel horrible if anyone became sick because of us. Our church family has done their best to help and has dropped off meals the last few days. In addition to feeling helpless, it is has been difficult to remain positive when we are so tired and sick and trying to take care of sick children without any sleep. I have a whole new appreciation for the times my mother stayed awake with me when I was sick and then went to work for a full day. I have a whole new appreciation for motherhood and parenthood in general.

I know that being a parent is the most sacred responsibility I can have as a person. When Ezra and Elliott need their noses cleaned or assistance coughing, they depend on me for this help.  When Eliza comes to me crying, I know I can comfort her. My children cannot feed themselves, change themselves (although Eliza tries), and really are helpless. So, even if I feel awful, there are three little children depending on me for their daily care. It breaks my heart to see them so sick, but I am grateful for the privilege to nurture and provide for them.  I love my children, and I am happy to be their mother. These thoughts are what has gotten me through the past weekend (and a ton of prayers along with tearful conversations with Becca and my mom).

I appreciate all the Facebook messages, texts, prayers, and Draw Something games :) They have lifted my spirits.

Here's to hoping we all start feeling better soon.


  1. I love you! I hope everyone starts feeling better soon. That's awful about how the medicine affects Eliza. :(

  2. Man, you really have had it rough. I love you. I will pray everyone (including you) start feeling better soon!

  3. I tell you what, Celia, with every post, you become more and more of a hero to me. The things that you go through would tear down almost anybody else. You are a champ. Hang in there, sugar. You are doing great!!

  4. Wow. I can't even imagine how you are making it through this. What a mess! I am so sorry. :( You are a strong, awesome mom and this will be over soon. You can do it!!


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