Wednesday, May 22, 2013

I survived!

As you can see I've been having some trouble with the blog, in a couple of different ways. I'm still trying to figure out how to make pictures look un-shitty without using my computer. And, I'm still trying to figure out how to write anything with any kind of meaning. I have a lot of things floating around in my head, and a lot of half-drafts. It was the mothers day/ end of yoga time that got me all bloggily stopped up. I think the solution is just to share, even if it feels a little uncomfortable, imperfect or unpolished. So, ha. I'll apologize in advance then.

Here is something from a while ago, after living through a week few days of being a single mom.

I survived! That is how I feel about last week. Let me tell you the whole story.

Heiko was sick with a little runny nose. Nothing major. Then, about a week into it, he spiked a fever. This would have been fine, except that I had my final yoga evaluation, my 10K run, and (the worst part), Patrick was due to leave on Sunday morning (after my run) for a work trip to Banff. So we may have overreacted slightly, and in retrospect, we probably should have done more googling of fevers before heading down to the after-hours walk-in clinic. But H had never really had a fever before, and he seemed so very miserable. Down to the clinic we went, where we were seen by a doc who described Heiko's waxy right ear as "suspicious" and sent us home with a prescription for antibiotics. That is when things got really bad.

You see, it seems that wee H has a mighty gag reflex. So much so that the sticky, particulate, intestine-destroying cherry flavoured goop they gave us to cure his infected ear made him gag and barf immediately. I'm not talking about spitting up, I'm talking projectile barf. And not just barfing up the antibiotics, but absolutely e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g in his stomach. Did I mention that at his one year check up my marching orders were to "feed him all the time"? All the time! I am constantly trying to give him snacks, and get him to eat. Something other than cheese that is. Watching him barf makes my heart sink so so low, and then it goes lower when I think about all the extra nursing that will be required.

After several failed attempts to get the antibiotics into him, and a lot of should-we shouldn't-we deliberations, he was still a feverish little man, so we called the after-hours clinic again. They gave us a new script for antibiotics (twice a day for ten days -- "just imagine all the barfs!", I thought to myself), which we filled (AT THE DRIVE THROUGH PHARMACY! Yes, we are getting into the swing of the American lifestyle!). Sure enough that medicine caused the barfs too, though perhaps not as much as the first one. And then he got a rash from that antibiotic... so we'll add it to the list of meds he is possibly allergic to. Our options seemed to be running out, which was scary. But by this time, the weekend was over, I had run my big run, Patrick had delayed his departure for his conference (no one should sleep so little on their own), and I made an appointment with our regular doctor for Monday morning.  And when she looked in Heiko's ear, she saw nothing suspicious. No ear infection. Nothing. Just a little guy, with a little fever and a little runny nose.

So there we are. Once the stress of antibiotic administration was lifted, things improved dramatically from that point forward. As I said, in retrospect, we shouldn't have taken him to the after-hours clinic in the first place. But, he had a fever, and we didn't really know too much about that, having never experienced it before. It is amazing how miserable these little people can seem, and it can be hard to gauge the severity when they can't really communicate much other than a this-is-the-worst-thing-that-has-ever-happened-to-me kind of wail. Of course it feels good to walk out of a doctors office with some medication to try, something that might help our little guy feel better. But in this case, it caused a lot of unnecessary stress. Plus, some internet reading indicates that the US is actually one of the only countries that almost always uses antibiotics for ear infections. It turns out that a lot of ear infections will clear on their own, and that a wait-and-see policy is the standard practice in Canada and Europe. So even if he had had an ear infection, those antibiotics were probably unnecessary. It just doesn't fill me with confidence.

Anyway, Heiko improved slowly but surely. Patrick took a flight the next day, leaving me a single mom for four verrrry long days. How do people do this? How does anyone ever do this? It was hard. But I survived. Heiko survived. We were both verrrry happy to see Patrick/Dad home again.

So there we go, the woe-is-me story of a sick little guy and just a few days of solo parenting.


  1. Oh wow!! This is the most lovely picture you've taken in a while!! Such a sweet homecoming! I'd like a copy as Heiko's grammie!

  2. Elissa

    Would it make you feel better to know that our US doctor took the wait and see approach, while the Canadian emergency room prescribed the antibiotics for Aleen's first ear infection (which though I think warranted, came along with a recommendation for decongestants, which the pharmacist later told us do not even exist for children that age anymore!) So I am personally convinced that the context (regular doc vs emergency care) matters at least as much as the country. It is true that more Americans are limited to emergency care...

  3. ps, congrats on getting through the first single parenting stint. I do think it gets easier - in my case partly because now I don't worry about doing laundry or having something other than veggie burgers for dinner while Liam is away.

    1. Thanks Erin! As with all these medical things, it is seldom clear cut, and it is probably easy to feel like the care you get is never as good as you want it to be when it comes to your kid. And compared to waiting for a super long time in a crowded Canadian ER we can go to our snazzy after-hours clinic, which is good.

      And I should clarify that it wasn't actually my first solo parenting stint, just the first without auxiliary support. Constant veggie burgers sound pretty good :)