College students, competitive athletes and Navy SEALS have their own “hell week.” We just had ours. Frankie’s first major illness – the evil, the dreaded, the vomit-y BRONCHITIS. Out tale of woe began on Easter Sunday when Dave and I returned from a night out alone in Houston to a very sick little guy. Within ten minutes of our arrival, he threw up on my shoulder, only a hint of what was to come. We left Grandma and Grandpa’s early, hoping to get to Austin before his fever increased, fearing we may need to head to the nearest hospital. A nurse at our doctor’s office 24-hour hotline (we are SO new parents) assured us that it was safe to make the drive and we really didn’t need to be worried until the fever hit 104 degrees and stayed.
The next week was a torturous haze, with Frankie coughing, moaning, pooping and spewing everything as the virus quickly overtook his system. The details of each day are faint – most likely my brain’s defense mechanism attempting to erase its nightmare-inducing horrors. This incident reminded us of the fact that although his weight is average, Frankie is still very susceptible to infections, particularly those of a respiratory nature.
Here’s what I remember: Monday and we went straight to the doctor without an appointment when they opened. I demanded an appointment. The woman at the desk offered us something later in the day. I asked her why it was possible for me to take my cat to the vet and get immediate treatment, but not my child. Dave shooed me away to deal with the situation with more finesse. The doctor recommended breathing treatments with a nebulizer, which Frankie, of course, *hated*. Wednesday, Dave returned with Frankie to the pediatrician’s office where they surmised that he might be developing pneumonia and claimed to have seen a mass on his lung in an X-Ray. They prescribed antibiotics as a precautionary measure. Frankie pooped so much in the pharmacy, Dave had to rush him to the car, then home to repair the damage. One outfit and a towel were sacrificed.
Things took a turn for the worse on Thursday when I had to come home because Dave had food poisoning and couldn’t (literally!) stomach taking care of Frankie. After the most terrible 24 hours I’ve had since June 28th (as you may or may not recall, the day I went into premature labor), I returned with Frankie to the doctor’s office Friday morning with concerns about possible dehydration. The doctor agreed that a trip to the ER might be the safest and we headed to Austin Children’s. There, they did a blood test and another chest X-Ray (I had to leave the room for that one) and determined that he was neither dehydrated nor did he have any sign of pneumonia. Dr. Adams was the first person to explain to us the nature of Bronchitis and how long it would take Frankie to get better and what to expect at each stage. If we had known this information from the pediatrician in the first place, we would have had a better understanding at the get-go. I liked Dr. Adams’ non-overmedicating approach and her Long Island accent. We at least left feeling like Frankie was not in imminent danger.
Saturday, Frankie’s mood started to improve and though he was still hurting, coughing and throwing it up, it was with less frequency and he seemed happier and more playful. We started getting a little smarter about laying him on towels and blankets at all times, resulting in significantly less sheet changing (yes, because he still sleeps in our bed). Sunday, he continued his improvement further and each day after that has been marked by a notably happier baby. At this point, Thursday, we’ve gone a full 24 hours without puke and last night Frankie slept remarkably well. We’re happy to see this phase called “First Frankie Sickness” coming to a close. And we’re thankful that after this, he’ll never get sick again. Right???