We’ve all been sick and run down in the past week or so. – one after another. First me, then Eli, then Laila, and now Mark! Woo!
Sore throats, cough, fever.
Is it strep?
I dragged buddy to the doc and we each got our throat swabbed. That’s the beauty of having a family physician. Mother-son throat swabs.
You don’t want to mess with strep. Strep, untreated, is no good.
Here’s a list of the crappy bunch of stuff associated with the meddlesome menagerie of bacterial strep infection:
From Mayo Clinic:
Strep bacteria may spread, causing infection in your:
Strep infection may lead to other inflammatory illnesses, including:
Scarlet fever, an illness characterized by a rash
Inflammation of the kidney (poststreptococcal glomerulonephritis)
Rheumatic fever, a serious condition that can affect the heart, joints, nervous system and skin
Researchers are investigating a possible link between strep infection and a rare condition called Pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorder associated with group A streptococci (PANDAS). PANDAS is a term used to describe certain children whose symptoms of neuropsychiatric conditions, such as obsessive compulsive disorder or tic disorders, are exacerbated by strep infection.
It’s possibly stupid, and probably impolite, but as crappy and fever-y as I felt, I kept working. Why would I do such a thing when I have sick days? I powered through because I harbor a fear that my chronically ill kid will need my sick days more than me. What if he’s hospitalized and I have to take one or two weeks off? I have decided that unless I’m spewing, I’m working. From home, from where ever. I am not trying to be anyone’s employee of the year or anyone’s mother of the year. Yeah like I said, I’m just plain afraid I’ll need the time. Eli’s little UK baby friend Minty from the blog Mummy Medic is just his age and had to be hospitalized recently. She’s back home and doing better. Another tot I check in with who is just Eli’s age has had trouble with breathing from birth, much more so than Eli. That little boy, too, has been hospitalized with lung infections. I had Mark ask about that at Eli’s most recent clinic visit – when will this happen to us? How can we prepare? It’s just random, the doc told us. Some children have harder lung issues than others, earlier. Some don’t. Some get them later. Some don’t. The disease is a mystery that unfolds over time. When Eli starts to cough the questions knock around in my head, unanswered, per usual.
So last week was crap! We were all grumpy. Mark and I couldn’t sleep for two nights because we were listening to Eli’s breathing. His cough sounded like hell. The first night, it had a wheeze I’d never heard. A short-lived wheeze, not a labored, ongoing wheeze, or we would have been in the ER.
Making matters worse, Eli woke up and screamed from about midnight to 2 a.m. one night.
I took us both in for a strep test the next day. I was so tired I could barely function.
Good news: both of our tests came back negative. Even as Eli had spots in the back of his throat, indicating possible strep, and a fever, there was no strep.
We determined he was losing his baby mind the night before because he cut incisors. Oh yeah, teething! Forgot about that! Normal things normal mothers flip the frack out about boo hoo hoo.
I guess there is a virus going around that mimics strep. Really, ’cause my whole family already caught some kind of cold that mimicked the flu earlier in the year. These virus or bacteria… mimes, or whatever, can take a mutha !@#$%%^ number. That last imposter cold-flu was like food poisoning plus the flu. Mark had bizarre shooting pain through all his limbs, and anyone who came within 10 feet of us caught the same thing. Lame.
Regarding the latest bout of family illness — for Buddy, it’s meant he’s been knocked around on his vest for 1.5 hours a day for more than a week. I first bumped it up from one hour when I got sick, but before he did. I don’t know. I hoped the shaking would be some kind of preemptive strike on illness. I have no idea if that was the case, but it made me feel better, any way. Then he really did get sick, so we kept up the extra time. He doesn’t like it. You might say he #$%%^&*^ hates it by the last stretch of our night session. He hollered at me on and off all night! I weaseled a neck rub out of Mark as I held Eli on my lap during his vest session. He turned around and tried to hit Mark’s hands off of me. Take that, mommy, my torturer! Does this look like a time to rub your therapeutic massage in my face? He kept yelling at me through the roughly five books it took him to calm down afterward. If I turned the page too slow. “EHHHH!” I gave him water and he threw it on the ground. “Meeeh!”
His cough has improved every day for about the last five. He coughed so little today there is a chance it could be gone tomorrow, and he won’t need antibiotics to stave off a CF-bacteria flare up.
Another relief I forgot to mention – his quarterly swab for alarmingly-named CF bacteria came back negative for anything other than ‘normal flora.’
We’re all on the mend now. Best of all, I didn’t break down and cry this cough. I didn’t have an urgent need to call my relatives unleashing fear and heartache and bla bla bla. OK, well, maybe I thought I did, but when I couldn’t reach any one right away, I gave up. I discovered I didn’t need to emote it all out in the ways I had with previous colds. With Eli’s previous colds, I’ve cried myself to sleep at night. Hearing my son cough has bothered me that much. I hear him cough and I pray to God it’s not going to stick and scar his lungs. That fact he’s got this at all gets to me in those moments. I mean, it pisses me off. Anger crying – not attractive, tragi-comic, and thus, best done out of view of any person. I don’t know why it was better this time around. I don’t know why those thoughts failed to swing by and torture me like they have before. It’s the first time in 1.5 years I can say that I didn’t have at least one cathartic cry prompted by a little tot cough.
I’ve come to accept that people without the disease we have are never going to really get it. Never, ever. No one will get that there are times each little tot cough can stab you in the heart. No one will get how significant it is to you that, for once, you can weather something as small as a toddler’s cold without falling apart. And that’s why I’m going to keep writing. It makes me feel better to express our experiences here. The only real substitute for here is Mark. Sometimes it feels like it’s my little family v. the world of those who will never #$%Y&$@ get it!
I’m reminded I need to check in with some CF moms in the area. I’ve been busy too. I think we need each other more than we know.
Am I just getting used to all this? I don’t know.
Cross your fingers that the crud exits my son’s lungs. Thanks for reading!
Sometimes I write about my buddy and his lungs. To read about my son’s lung issues in order, scroll backwards, to the beginning, from the link I just gave ya!
Any other CF moms out there experience anything like I did with your kid’s first coughs and colds? Well, let me know via e-mail or the comments section below.