Saturday, January 25, 2014

Survival

When I take a lengthy break from my blog, its either one of two things.

1. We are too busy having fun. We cram our days full of activities and fall into bed exhausted every night. 1,000 pictures sit on my camera card just waiting for me to dump it.

2. We haven't done anything all week. Same old boring stuff. How many pictures do you need to see of my kids practicing piano, playing Wii, doing homework, Jocelyn wearing Mickey Ears? These weeks my camera just sits unused on the counter.

I'm going to add a third possible explanation to this list.

3. Survival. You know, when great sickness befalls you or your family and you spend every waking minute just trying to survive the day.

I am recovering from number 3 right now.

It actually started when we were in Atlanta for my dad's 70th birthday. Actually, scratch that. It started the week before when my two babysitting kids were sick with a stomach bug. The mom dutifully kept them home because she didn't want to infect us.

But you know how germs work. More often than not, you are actually contagious before you  even feel a single symptom.

I am not a germ-o-phobe. I have a very relaxed view on sickness. Its a matter of life, one that can't be avoided. You can't live in a bubble, after all.

Jocelyn was the first to succumb to the pukes. She threw up 4 times on Saturday. 12 hours of not feeling well and then she was good as new. We stayed at my dad's house while everyone else went to Dave and Buster's. The big kids had a blast, so I heard :)

Jaina was the next one down on Sunday. She threw up before and after our big family pictures. I'm impressed that she was a trooper through it anyway.

Monday is the day we were scheduled to drive home. I just *knew* that Jayce or I would be next. Meanly, I was hoping it would be Jayce so I could at least drive.

Surprisingly enough, neither Jayce nor I came down with that version of the bug. We, um, had some other bathroom issues, but nothing too terrible.

Jocelyn cried almost all the way home in her car seat on Monday night. I thought that it was just the exhaustion of the weekend, but she ended up throwing up in her crib Monday night. Tuesday was supposed to be MOPS for me (Mothers of Preschoolers) but we had to miss, of course. I spent Tuesday doing vacation laundry and cuddling a very whiney Jocelyn, who was also running a low grade fever.

Later on Tuesday, Jaina was playing with Jocelyn by rough housing with her a bit. Jaina kind of flopped her little sister on the couch and immediately Jocelyn started crying. My mom thought Jocelyn had hurt her neck but when she got up, she acted like her back hurt. I started putting two and two together... crying in the car seat, pulling at her diaper, not eating, not drinking well, low grade fever, back pain...

Did Jocelyn have a UTI?

Ugh. The thought of having to watch her be cathed at the doctor's office to get a urine sample immediately made my stomach turn. I had been through that once before when Jaina was a baby and it was torturous for her.

I went to change Jocelyn's diaper Tuesday evening and I decided to check for bruising on her bottom and back just in case Jaina had flopped her on the couch a little *too* hard.

And I found an abscess. Right on her left butt cheek. A big hard red knot.

Oh, those are SO painful. Our family has a history of them, especially Jaina. And, of course, my mind immediately goes to the idea that it could be staph or MRSA, which is what we've had to deal with before.

I have NO idea how she got the abscess or how long its been cooking. She didn't have a bug bite or molluscum spot there. I didn't see a scratch mark or any other break in the skin. Its also in a hard to reach area that is always covered with a diaper. Its January during the Polar Vortex so its not like I'm letting her romp through the grass naked as a jay bird.

I was supposed to have my babysitting kids on Wednesday, but they weren't coming due to Toddler H having dental work done. So I started calling doctor's offices on Wednesday morning at 8:30 AM.

- Jocelyn's family doctor was booked
- My family doctor was booked
- Jocelyn's new pediatrician that she is scheduled to go see on Monday was booked
- My friend Amy's doctor won't take kids under 4

So, urgent care here we come.

I have to say, as far as urgent care centers go, this one was nice. And fast! We were in and out in 1.5 hours. Seriously, I can't even get out of my doctor's office that fast.

The diagnosis was cellulitis. Which is a bacterial infection under the skin that preceeds an abscess or a boil. It turns into an abscess when a pocket of infected pus forms. The doctor could not feel a pocket, so he thought it was too soon to drain. "We've caught this early. Let's put her on a wide spectrum antibiotic and hopefully it will knock it out." He prescribed Bactrim to take orally and Hibicleanse topically to de-colonize her body from the overgrowth of bacteria.

I tried giving Jocelyn her first dose of medication at 3:00 PM after we got home from picking kids up from school. She had to take 15 milliliters. She gagged and spit out the medicine after 2.5 ml. Uh-oh.

So, I called the pharmacist and got permission to put it in milk. I made Jocelyn her first ever cup of chocolate milk (with 15 ml of bactrim hidden inside). She took two sips and then was done.

Hmmm...

So I tried again an hour later in some ice cream. Jocelyn LOVES ice cream. I put it in the Birthday Cake scoop since it was full of lots of flavor and sprinkles. She took one bite and said, "No."

Okay, then. Time to break out the big guns and hold her down. Brian was home by this point so he decided to be the one to hold her while I was the one to squirt the medicine down.

Do you know how long it takes for a toddler to swallow 15 ml? I swear it took 5 minutes to get her to swallow all that medication. And she STILL managed to spit some in my eye. (it burns, just in case you were wondering).

We cuddled on the couch afterwards and she fell asleep while I stroked her hair. I transferred her to her crib, where she gagged a bit, but didn't throw up right away. No, that would happen later. I woke up to her crying at midnight. It looks like she was sleeping in dried vomit. Yum! I have no idea how soon she threw up after putting her to bed or if any medicine was absorbed at all.

I tried putting the Bactrim in her yogurt on Thursday morning. Nope, didn't work either. I wanted to cry at this point.

I attempted to force more medicine down. This time, it came back up right away. This is now 5 doses of medicine we've wasted.

Also, I had my babysitting kids on Thursday. One with a fever, who was asleep on my couch at 9:30 AM. And one who had a bad mucousy cough that threw up his bottle all over me.

Yes, that was my life on Thursday. It was very much about survival.

I knew if we did not get medicine in Jocelyn, it was going to turn into an abscess. So I decided to call Urgent Care and let them know she wasn't taking the meds. I was hoping they would just call in a new prescription and that would be the end of it.

Three times I called. Three times I was told that my case was marked "urgent" and a nurse would call me back within the hour.

Do you know what time I received a return phone call? 7:30 PM. While I was en route to taking her back up there. "I think she needs to be seen again, " says the nurse. Well, good. Cause I'll be there in 15 minutes.

I also received a lecture on how to properly restrain a child while giving medicine. I listened politely and reminded her that this was my 3rd child, we had followed the proper procedure, and that I could not force the medicine to stay in my child's stomach. "Oh."

The waiting room was much more crowded this time around, but to my surprise, we were seen almost immediately. The new doctor echoed exactly what the doctor on Wednesday had said. "No pus pocket, too soon to lance and drain, must take oral antibiotic, do you know the proper procedure for restraining a child to take medicine?" UGH! I wanted to scream. Except this doctor was super nice AND super cute. He reminded me of Principal Woods from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Hot :P Actually, the doctor on Wednesday was pretty cute, too. I could get used to going to this place :) (Totally kidding. We haven't gotten the bill yet from Urgent Care.)

I calmly explained that she was vomitting up the medicine and I was there to either receive a shot or get a new prescription. He decided on a new prescription. Keflex this time. I just prayed she would take it.

Thank goodness the pharmacy is open until 9 PM. We barely made it. I love the personalized service our family gets from our local pharmacy.

Jocelyn took the Keflex like a champ. She calls it "bubble gum medicine! bottom better!" It does smell just like amoxicillan.

I kinda thought she'd be magically better by Friday, but the spot continued to look worse. Every time she tripped over a toy and fell down on her bottom, she cried for minutes afterwards. Sitting was not an option. She finagled a way to sit with her legs under her so she wouldn't put pressure on her spot. All of her meals were taken standing up at the coffee table.

Keeping a warm compress on a toddler is next to impossible, so I opted to let her soak in a hot bath several times a day. Based on a friends' recommendation from her child's doctor (her son also gets cellulitis often), I put a 1/4 cup of bleach in the full bath tub. It probably had less than a chlorinated baby pool, but enough to disinfect germs. It really helped.

Jocelyn was standing up in the tub Friday night and fell backwards on her bottom while trying to get a suction cupped toy off the side of the tub wall. Bloody pus immediately started trailing in the water. I scooped her out, wrapped her in a towel, and calmed her down before looking at the spot.

Oh yeah. It was bad. Raised, purple, and leaking from three spots. I squeezed on it a bit and pus poured out. She screamed :(

I yelled for Jayce to go get Brian. He helped keep her calm while I was the "bad guy" and drained the infection from Jocelyn's abscess. That was so hard. I know how much it hurts. I've seen the tears in Jaina's anguished face when her abscesses were drained. But I also knew that the infection HAD to come out. And I also knew that Jocelyn would feel so much better when it was out. Oral medication only helps some in the case of an abscess. Most often, it has to be lanced and drained.

I'm happy to report that the swelling has gone down considerably. The area is still tender, but doesn't hurt her nearly as bad.

We're keeping bactroban ointment on the area and it continues to drain a bit in her diaper. She still can't sit comfortably, but is up and playing today. I don't think she has a fever right now, either.

We've got to get her well. Tomorrow is her big birthday day! How can she go down the slide if she still hurts?

Oh, and I got a call from Jaina's school yesterday. She was having horrible stomach cramping and the explosive D. I picked her up as soon as I got Jayce and rushed her home where she threw up off and on all evening. This stomach virus is much worse than what she dealt with last Sunday, poor girl.

So, its been all about survival this week. But happy to report that we are doing just that.


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