August 15, 2006

Portugese (It's what spell check thinks Pertussis should be.)

Back at the end of June, Kevin and I went up to New Jersey to attend a memorial service for a friend of ours who lost his wife. It was very sudden and very unexpected. This couple played a big role in Kevin and I getting together and we both felt very close to them. They had the kind of marriage that made people want to get married, they thoroughly enjoyed being with each other, they were friends.

We wanted to attend the memorial but what to do with the kids? Take them? Leave them here? Slather them with sunscreen, put them all on a dog run in the backyard with two and a half days of food and water supply? What to do!?

We called a friend from church who graciously agreed to take them for one full day and a night. The boys were thrilled to be going to this particular house because they are friends with the boys who live there and the best part? They have a half-pipe in their backyard.

This friend called another girl from our church who in turn called us and offered to help. This girl has four children all around the ages of my boys. Because of the two women who agreed to watch the kids for us, we felt confident and peaceful about leaving.

We went and returned without a blip in the screen.

A few days later, I received a phone call from friend number one saying that her children were sick. She took them to the doctor, he told her that they had pertussis and I should watch the boys to see if they developed any symptoms. I did watch them and they were fine. Kevin got a cold and we began passing it back and forth so when Joe developed a cough, my first thought was he got it from one of us.

Fast forward to last Thursday night. Kevin was in Georgia with his mother, who came down for a memorial service for her brother who had just passed away. I was alone with the boys, nothing I can't handle. Sometime around 1 a.m. Joe woke up coughing so badly that I honestly thought that I was going to have to call 911 and wake up my neighbors to come over to stay with John and Jeremy.

We made it through the night, with very little sleep and in the morning I began to search for a pediatrician. I called one office close to our house that had a lot of doctors in their practice, foolishly thinking that one of them would be able to see us.

I called the office, told the girl on the phone my situation and she asked if we'd been there before. I told her that we had not and she told me that they were taking new patients but they had to have a well check-up first and they were scheduling those for the middle of September and did I want to make an appointment. HUH??

I told her that my son was sick, NOW, and that a well check-up, six weeks from now, would not help our immediate situation. Sheesh!

I called another office and they gave me an appointment for that afternoon. We went to the doctor and he was pretty sure that Joe had pertussis. He gave me a prescription for medication and told me that Joe had to have bloodwork and another awful test that would make his scream until the paint peeled off of the walls.

At the hospital lab I was told that Joe had to put a surgical mask on because of his coughing. That was fun. I probably could have wrestled an alligator with better success. I was really overwhelmed at this point, mostly because I hadn't had a lot of sleep and so I started to cry. The ladies behind the desk began to say things like, "It's alright, shugah, don't you fret." I mumbled incoherently for a few minutes and then they told me that Joe could keep the mask off (did I mention that he wouldn't keep it on??) and they would put us in an office not presently being occupied.

Long story short, they took blood, he began to cry which triggered more coughing, at which point blood began to pour out of his nose. Just as the blood was pouring out of his nose, the pathologist showed up to do the awful nasal swab test. Picture a long metal wire with a Q-tip at then end and my holding my child down.

It really was horrible. I have been kicking myself for days about letting it go for so long. I really just thought that he had a bad cold.

I almost forgot the best part! We had to be reported to the Board of Health for having a communicable disease and now there are pictures of us hanging in the post office saying, "These Yankees are contagious. If you see them out and about, do not attempt contact. Consider them dangerous. Yankees: Go home!"

-Joe is now done with his antibiotic and his coughing has decreased by 75%, he'll be fine.
-We are all on medication, provided free by the BOH and it will all be O.K.
-I am never leaving my children with anyone except my mother.
-Do not agree to babysit if your children are sick.
-I really like being called, Shugah.

Look to the finish!


mamabear said...

Oh my goodness dear. That is just horrible. Poor little guy. And pertussis? Man, that's just not a disease you hear about anymore. Sounds like you've had a rough time this summer. Praying for all of you guys.

CMB said...

WOW, I think I have a headache! That was a heart wrenching post. Poor Joe and poor you. I am glad he is getting better and I hope he is 100% real soon. Kids can get the strangest of illnesses. I agree, Mom/Grandma is the babysitter - all the time.

Lynette said...

Glad Joe is recooperating. Isn't it the pits to have to hold your own child while people do awful things to them? When my son (at age 3) was dog bitten and had to have stitches on his face, they didn't numb him enough and he was begging me not to let them do it any more. I cried right along with him.

Hoping you all steer clear of Portugal, er, pertussis! :)

Jules said...

Oh Laney I can so sympathize!!

Joshua had pertussis two summers ago.
It really is like you say- the coughing was unstoppable and traumatic and scary. He tolerated the nasal test well, though, so that was a blessing.

We also got a call from the Department of Health, wanting names and numbers of all people we had been in contact with. Pretty scary stuff- sort of like "big brother" watching us.

He recovered but I was left to wonder what all those vaccinations are for if they don't even work!

Glad to hear little Joe is better.

kelli said...

Okay, what is it with weird communicable diseases? I just posted about the tuberculosis letter we got from the health dept! My 15 year old has been exposed....somewhere....sometime, we have no idead where or when. Pertussis, tuberculosis, I thought these things were of the past!