Friday, June 17, 2011
Nefarious Pneumonia (or How to Terrify a Pregnant Mama)
When Q came down with a sudden cough on Tuesday afternoon, I worried that it might be croup. I called the advice nurse, did some research online, and came to the conclusion that it was just a bad chest cold. Hearing your toddler struggle through breathing is scary, but Q appeared to be in decent spirits, had a very mild fever, and slept through the night. I figured if his symptoms didn't improve in a couple of days, I would take him into the doctor just to be sure. So, this morning when his coughing fit turned into vomiting, I decided it was time to check things out. Plus, a wise friend advised it's better to take your kid in on a Friday than be forced to go to urgent care on the weekend. Such a good point. And I'm so glad that I listened to her.
Q was diagnosed with pneumonia this morning. PNEUMONIA. The word alone sent me into a shock spiral. In the distance, I could hear his pediatrician assuring me it was a subtle rattling in his lungs and therefore we had likely caught it early. Also, this didn't mean that his lungs were weak or that he was necessarily more susceptible to these types of illnesses. Still, the shock. I forgot to ask questions. I was simply trying to hold it together until we left the office. She sent us home with a prescription for antibiotics and instructions to call her if he didn't improve or if his conditions worsened in a few days. Okay, no big deal, right? Well, I made it back to the car where I dissolved into a pathetic puddle of tears. Poor Q didn't know what to make of me. He gave me a pouty look and said "Cry. Mama." I wanted to be strong for him. Like my mom always was in front of me. But I simply could not stop crying. I tried to breathe, realizing deep in my heart that Q would be fine. But I kept flashing back to this sweet girl who I had befriended in preschool who was hospitalized for pneumonia and got very close to not making it. I must have been 4 years old and it was terrifying. She ended up recovering fully, but pneumonia still held this horrifying mystery to me. A potential death sentence. Also, pregnancy hormones make me just a wee bit more emotional than usual.
After calming down and getting T to come home from work to help this crazed preggo mama care for her ailing toddler, I realized that the best thing I could do for Q was to give him as much love and attention as possible. Extra cuddling. A bit of spoiling on the food front. Sitting in a steamy bathroom and singing nursery rhymes. Cheering on his coughing because that would be the best way to get rid of all that nasty mucus. Showing him that there was no need to worry. We were together and that was what mattered.
For some reason, I have this thing about not wanting to overreact about Q's health and take him to the pediatrician for every sniffle or cough he experiences. I guess I don't want to be one of those parents. Now I realize how ridiculous that sounds. Better safe than sorry, right? A cliche has never been truer to me. Why take chances with your kids? Who cares what the nurses and doctors think? I'm sure they experience parents who are much more anxious than I am on a daily basis. And really Q has been pretty healthy, only having a mild cold here and there, so I just never knew what it was to experience my child having a true health scare. Now I know to not risk my child's health for fear of appearing a certain way. I'm a mother. One who nurtures. I have to trust my intuition. And always put my child before my ego. Lesson learned.
In the meantime, please send Q a bit of healing energy if you can spare it. Let's hope (and pray, if that's your thing) that the meds work and he is well on his way to recovery.