I returned to work today after a three-day, flu-induced staycation. Kate is totally back to normal, thank goodness, and all is well after a crazy week.
Kate developed a cold a couple weeks ago, around the time Matt got his sinus infection, and her nose was still very runny when we went on the church Women's Retreat last weekend. Her gooky-eye (an affliction she's had since birth, due to a tear duct that is not fully open yet) was extra-gooky last weekend, presumably from all the extra mucus from the cold. Saturday afternoon, I noticed her torso felt hot, but her head didn't feel warm, so I didn't worry about it, even though I had brought the first aid kit with the thermometer in it. Sunday, just before we left the cabin to return home, I noticed she felt very warm, both her torso and head, but again I didn't worry about it too much. (I probably should have at least taken her temp before we left, though I would have worried the whole drive home!)
When we got home, I took her temperature, and it was 103.4. I immediately turned to What to Expect and the all-knowing Internet, but they suggested a doctor was not needed unless it surpassed 104. (Besides, it was Sunday, and we would have had to go to the urgent care facility.) She was cranky, and Matt and I kept a close eye on her temp all afternoon as it hovered around 102.
When it was still 102 in the morning, I opted to stay home from work. Maybe if we lived close to my work, I would have gone, but given that it's a day trip just to go to work, I didn't want to be an hour away if she got worse. I tried calling the doctor, but the line was consistently busy and eventually I gave up. We monitored the fever all day, and it seemed to break around noon, dropping to 99 degrees and staying there into the afternoon. I relaxed some then, but decided to check it again at 4:00, before the pediatrician's office closed, just in case.
I'm glad I did, because it was 103.8 and she was starting to shiver a little, like she had the chills. We called the doctor, but again it was busy (turned out, they were installing a new phone system to add more lines, but it still had some kinks) so we decided to just take her anyway. They "don't take walk-ins" but one of the doctors took pity on us and agreed to see her.
Her temperature was 104.3, according to their thermometer (eek!) and they did a flu test, sticking a tube up her nose to suction out some boogies. I don't know if they scraped her with the tube, or if a blood vessel just spontaneously burst, but when she cried out, a huge blood-boogie spurted from her nose (double-eek!). That was distressing, as you can imagine, and we mopped up her bloody nose as they ran the flu test. Returning, the doctor told us that yes, she had the flu (triple-eek!)
The doctor was clearly trying to counteract all the swine-flu hype, telling us even before the flu test that H1N1 isn't really any more dangerous than regular flu. Upon hearing the diagnosis, I asked "Is it the swine flu?" The doctor responded casually, "Oh, probably, but it doesn't matter. You treat them both the same."
So, I was quite distressed as we left and headed for Kroger to fill Kate's prescription for Tamiflu. I was seriously fearing the worst. (It didn't help that her nose was still bleeding a little and that her car seat makes her even hotter.) Some of that fear is just new-parent panic, I'm sure, but I've also been afflicted since Kate's birth with an almost-debilitating fear of something happening to her. I know I have to trust God and relax, but Monday night, it was almost like everything I've feared every time I check her crib at night was coming to the fore. I was very scared.
We put her in a lukewarm bath as soon as we got home, as the doctor suggested, and she perked up right away, enjoying splashing in the tub as usual. She was chipper for the rest of the evening, even walking with her little push-cart for the first time! Her cheeriness put me at ease.
Tuesday, her temperature hit 101 briefly, but overall she was much improved. Wednesday, she had a follow-up with the doctor and her temperature never even hit normal. I am much relieved and was glad to return to normal today.
I realize that kids get sick and that it's just part of parenthood, but this first time--especially given all the H1N1 hype--I was really panicked. But, we made it through, and even enjoyed the extra family time together. Thanks be to God.