Monday, August 19, 2013

Sick days

If you have had young kids in your life, you might remember when they would become sick or get hurt, or perhaps you're living through it now.  I found that it was especially difficult when the girls were babies.  It was always a mystery trying to figure out what in the heck was wrong with them since they couldn't speak.

One of the "best" sick days was the day when Annie could tell us what was wrong.  It took a bit to get it out of her...she had an unexplained fever and vomiting, so we asked obvious questions such as, "Does your tummy or head hurt?"  We thought she just had a stomach bug, so we were fairly content to let it run it's course.  Then I talked to my mother-in-law, who had the foresight to ask, "Does Annie's throat hurt?"  Now that wasn't even a blip on my radar.  Never having had strep as an adult, I just didn't know the symptoms of strep.  So when I asked Annie, and she answered "Yes!," we packed her up into the car, took her to the doctor, and picked up a handy-dandy antibiotic prescription.

Then you have Laurie who is almost 7.  She was born with congenital heart block (diagnosed at 21 weeks in utero), and was supposed to have a pacemaker put in immediately upon birth.  She defied all of that.  Her heart was and is very just beats slowly (alarmingly so).  We have been told that she'll need a pacemaker "one day," but she was good to go without it for a long while.  We're just supposed to look out for the signs that her heart is having trouble - excessive sweating, unable to run due to shortness of breath, fainting.  So far, so good though!  She certainly doesn't present as a kid who has heart troubles...ask anyone who has seen her in action!

But since she is nonverbal, she still can't tell us when something is wrong.  Somehow I have a much harder time with this now than when she was a baby.  Because she isn't that fussy when she's sick or hurt, we only have a clue when she loses her voice, gets the sniffles, refuses food, has a fever, or somehow inadvertently shows us that she has been injured somehow.  You bleeding all over the place because she ripped a toenail. She doesn't cry.  She certainly doesn't tell or show us.  She is just pretty stoic.  When she's out of sorts, we practically beg her to tell us where it hurts.  I've pointed to her body parts (or Annie's or even my own), used the iPad, and even tried to get her to show me by pointing to a doll.  She has no interest in any of that.

Once she fell off of a ride at Chuck E Cheese and broke her foot.  We had no idea because she only walked around with a slight limp.  It wasn't until she jumped around in a bounce house, and landed a little funny, that we realized she had done more damage than we had thought.  So we took her to the ER, and she came home with a day-glo pink cast that she had to wear for a few weeks.  It really didn't faze her one bit.  She walked around as if she didn't have a care in the world, much less a broken foot.

If she's uncomfortable, or isn't happy about something (like being changed), she will often break into song. Her recent "go-to" song is "Jingle Bells," but we've also heard renditions of the ABC song and "Itsy Bitsy Spider."  We heard all three of those when we had to take her to the ER for severe constipation earlier this year.  It was so sad.

When Laurie is sick, Annie rises to the occasion.  She gets her stuffed animals, drinks, and will just sit with her for hours.  She's so good with Laurie.

But really, our biggest clue that Laurie does not feel well is that she is still.  And she's quiet.  It doesn't happen frequently, thank goodness, so when it does, we're always alarmed.  But we do get a lot of great cuddling in, even if we do start sweating from the little heating pad.  Truthfully though, as horrible as it is when she doesn't feel well, sometimes we're relieved to have the break.  I think it just gives everyone a chance to regroup.  Inevitably she bounces back, and she's back to her usual havoc-wreaking self.  And despite the havoc, we're always happy for that.

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