Ammonia, Pew-monia and The Internal Cage Fight

This post was written late last night.  Everything that says "today" is referring to yesterday.

...Continued from yesterday
This is breakfast a different day, not the sick day.
 During lunch time, I noticed Keith acting a little lethargic.  He wasn't eating, and was sitting with his head down on the table.  I figured he was just very tired.  I picked him up and held him on my lap as I talked with him.  His head rested against my chin, and we sat.  Still.  The eye of the storm caused by eight children.  (the kids I had, and the kids Heidi was watching.  Altogether we have ten, but two were in school.)  After a few moments, I realized Keith was exceptionally hot.  His cheeks were very rosy, which is not usual for him.  My children are very pale.  Especially Keith.  He always has been.  When his cheeks have that gorgeous red glow, I always know he doesn't feel well.  I was eventually able to scare up a thermometer and saw that he had a fever.  102.5

I called my cousin who is a nurse practitioner and told her about the fever.

Back story

Sunday Keith developed a sore throat.  Tuesday morning it had turned into a cough.  A heart wrenching mucousy phlegm filled cough.  Jeffrey was worried about pneumonia, so suggested I take Keith to the doctor.  That would require piling all the kids in the van, making a 1.5 hour drive to the doctor office, and paying a ridiculous amount of money as we don't have insurance.  I mulled it over for a long while, and eventually decided to call my cousin.  She said she would be happy to listen to his lungs and heart if I wanted to drive all the way out there.  She wouldn't even charge me.  Having medical professionals in the family is better than gold.  We went out there, she listened, and proclaimed them to sound fine.  She then warned me to call her if he developed a fever or began vomiting.

Back to the tale

She told me to schedule an appointment for Keith and have him be seen today, so as to rule out bronchitis and pneumonia.

I didn't want to do it.  It is a long drive, and with the kids that cooped up, it can be torturous.  Forget Guantanamo, they just need to put people in a  small car with lots of kids for several hours.  Any information could be gleaned from a situation like that.

I called my brother the doctor.  Told him the situation.  He told me to take Keith in.

I still didn't want to do it.

But I scheduled the appointment, jumped through hoops to arrange everything so I could get there on time, and began prepping the napping children.  You know, getting shoes ready, extra diapers, toys and books.  Getting the van ready, and then waking them up.

The whole time I kept thinking I was over reacting.  It was just a little cough and a fever.  Typical for children.  He has an amazing immune system and very rarely gets sick.  He is tough.  Why on earth was I voluntarily subjecting myself to that car drive?  It was ridiculous.  I was being an over protective mother, I kept thinking.

But I did it anyway.

I dropped all the kids but my sick boy off with my mother and then went to the doctor.

He looked in Keith's ears, up his nose, in his mouth, and then pulled out the stethescope amd listened.

and listened.

and listened some more.

I began to worry about all the listening.

Finally, the doctor sat up, drapped the stethoscope over his shoulders and told me Keith has pneumonia.

Instinctively, I wrapped my arm around Keith and pulled him close.  My eyes may have watered a little but I don't remember.  I do remember an icy fear creeping in to replace my blood.

All I knew about pneumonia is that it can be deadly.  I remembered all the books I had read where people had died or nearly died from it.  In one of the books (Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott- an excellent book) the main character got pneumonia, and her maid always pronounced it "pew-monia."  It always made me laugh.  When the doctor said pneumonia, I instantly thought of the book.  Every time that word is said, in fact, I hear it in my head as "pew-monia," said with a 19th century street accent.

I also remembered pew-monia was one of the causes of death in my grandfather.  Not a pleasant thing to hear about a four year old child.  Granted, I knew that Grandpa was much older and as such his immune system isn't as awesome as my four year old son's.  But the fact that it was one of the factors in his death did nothing to calm me.

When I told Hunter to not lick Keith on the drive home (Guantanamo, remember?  And yes, I really did have to tell him to stop licking people.  Many times.), I explained he has pneumonia.  Hunter from that point on startled talking about ammonia, and how Keith has it.  Everyone he encountered was told Keith had ammonia.  I didn't bother to correct him as I think it is very funny.  Kids need to feel like they know what they are talking about sometimes, and if they say something wrong, it makes me laugh.  Laughter is the best medicine, they say.

And I needed to laugh because I was completely divided.  Part of me scoffed at my fear.  Keith will be fine.  He is a tough cookie.  It is the beginning stages and with the medication, can be nipped in the bud.  No problem.  And the cage fight began.  The hits were vicious as my mind faced my maternal worst case worry and had it out.  They are growing weary, but neither has relented yet.  And so I have been trying to blind myself of any negative thing that could possibly happen and focus on the softer to the heart issues.

But worry always manages to disturb even the most tranquil and rational pools.

I still am torn between worry with over protective tendencies, and nonchalance, confidence in my son's immune system, and disdain for anything that wants to mess with something so close to my world.  Something that is my world.  The fight wears on, tearing my insides to shreds and making me so emotionally exhausted I just want to sleep until the whole thing blows over.

The next few days I will be an undercover helicopter mom.  I need to stay close to him to monitor his breathing and temperature.  I need to be able to listen to him and his coughing.  He doesn't like me to hover, which I completely get.  I don't like hovering either.  So I will have to be very clever and creative.

Cleverness and creativity are great ways to banish worry, anyway.

But I don't know if worry ever completely leaves.  Like a small child who always leaves something behind, a little bit of worry will always be there.  Worry is a dirty fighter.  Relentless with the subtle thoughts and what ifs.

For now, I can't say if I am worried or confident.  The war is still raging inside of me.

 Hopefully nonchalant confidence can win by default because all sources of worry will be removed.  Only time will tell.

This morning a victor was discovered.  Lying on the bottom of the cage, completely stomped out was worry.  

Keith is doing marvelously today.  The fever is gone.  He is still very tired, but only shows it by falling asleep immediately after laying his head on the pillow.  The cough is still there, less frequent, but it sounds worse.  I am very optimistic that he will be completely well very soon.  Worry is doing its best to get up and fight some more, and has began a subconscious attack, I think.  Occasionally a negative thought will pop up, but for the most part, worry has been kicked to the curb and is licking its wounds.

Yay for ignoring my instinct and following other's orders!  And yay for modern medicine!


Susan Anderson said…
My kids have had pneumonia several times, and it's no fun. But they've always gotten through it fine, with antibiotics.

The main thing is to keep him hydrated, warm enough, and rested. And I wouldn't take him out at all for a few days.

Hang in, Amy. This, too, shall pass!

Cally has lung damage from being premature. He is really struggling right now with bronchiolitis and croup. I understand the "lets not overreact' to "OMG how did it get so bad so fast??? It is hard!!!!

I hope Keith continues to recover quickly!
Trish said…
I'm glad he is feeling better. Parker had a fever the other week and then we both got it. Now he has a cough and Nick is getting it...I'm just gonna keep on dosing up the Vitamin C b/c it seems to be keeping me healthy! (I can't do my job too well if my throat/voice go out!)
Lisa said…
Poor Keith!!! And Poor Amy! I'm so sorry your little guy is sick! And what ROTTEN timing! Hope he gets completely better soon! Let me know if I can do anything for you!
Chantel said…
I hope he gets feeling better soon!
Terra said…
oh hang in there, the battle with ones self about going to the doc or not is common, if you go too soon they send you hope (25 dollars poorer) and say it is a cold only to find yourself back 2 days later ($50 poorer) getting medicine for what is no longer a cold...
Jenny said…
Oh man! Hang in there! What a rough time! Sending a big hug your way.
Em said…
Agh!!! When Brennan was a baby I took him in if he coughed. By the time max was 6 months I didn't even feel like a fever warranted a visit bc I had been told so many times that "it must be viral" and then be sent on our way. So hard to decide what illnesses are worth the trip, especially when you are paying for it out of pocket!!! We only have catastrophic health insur so we pay for everything up front on too of our deductible too. Stinks! Have you looked into chip for your kids??? Medicaid for the family? We were on Medicaid when Sean was in physical therapy school and it was a huge blessing. Hope he is well soon!
Wow, what a story! You should check on medicaid at least for the kids, i would probably be doing the same thing, doctors bills are SO expensive without insurance!
I hope he gets better soon, lots of chicken soup and medicine! I will be praying for you guys and your worries. I can only imagine. Pneumonia or "pew-monia" LOL are scary things and I always get terrified after a flue or cold the kids sicknesses quickly turning to pneumonia.
So glad to hear he's doing better, but i hope it's gone!!
Lara Neves said…
My two oldest girls have both had a bout with pneumonia, and it's certainly no fun! You are lucky to catch it early, though, so don't worry (and I'm glad to see the worry has been stomped out!)

Hoping Keith feels better quickly!

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