Saturday, December 09, 2023


 When we went to the doctor’s office on Thursday, our nurse practitioner repeated Minnie’s RSV and flu swabs, even though she tested negative on Tuesday. The lab batches flu and RSV tests, so sometimes we get results right away (like on Tuesday, when we got three negative results while we were still in the office), and sometimes it takes awhile. We got Thursdays results on Friday, while Dorothy and Minnie and I were getting ready to leave for the girls’ appointment.

AN ASNWER!! This is why she still feels bad and gets fevers! BECAUSE SHE ALSO HAS A VIRUS.

So many layers of sickness in the last few weeks for poor Minnie!!!

Dorothy still feels kind of yucky and has either the very beginning of a bacterial ear infection or the very end of a viral one and probably also has RSV. She wasn’t swabbed since she was fever free and sounded great upon examination and is getting better. She should be able to go to school and dance on Monday! Yay!

The Rocephin shot was really good for Minnie. On Thursday, her throat was still red and covered in white spots, and her left ear was STILL INFECTED. She got the shot at 4:20pm on Thursday, and by Friday at noon her throat and ear looked great, and her breathing sounded so much better. She has not been on the wrong antibiotics, but she has maybe not been on the right doses to fight all of the infections, especially since her diagnoses have been piecemeal— an urgent care ear infection here, an urgent care strep test there, another urgent care pneumonia here, etc. 

Is her pneumonia bacterial when she has a respiratory virus? Maybe? Are major antibiotics the best course of treatment no matter the answer to the previous question? Yes because she was SO SICK and had a couple of other bacterial infections going on at the same time. Am I worried about c. diff? I MEAN YOU GUYS KNOW ME BY NOW. (But will she eat the absolutely delicious kiddie probiotic gummies I bought? Of course she won’t. SHE IS THREE).

A couple takeaways:
 1. Even though her nursery school is part day and caters to the SAHM crowd, people are still sending their sick kids to school because what kid DOESN’T have a cough and a runny nose right now? How many times since Halloween have I noted Minnie’s gross boogers when I picked her up on the playground???  So. I am going to be way more conservative about sending Minnie to school when she feels even a teeny bit cruddy. I thought since she was well into her ear infection antibiotics and fever-free, for example, she was OK to go to school even tough she had a snotty nose. WHERE SHE GOT RSV on top of all of the things.. Our nurse practitioner said she could go back when she has been fever-free without meds for 24 hours. I asked when she should go assuming childcare is not an issue, and she said she’d keep her home until the cough fully resolves, which could be 2-4 weeks. So the plan is to start her winter break now :)
2. I am going to do an even better job of making sure to call the doctor during business hours and requesting a pediatrician or pediatric nurse practitioner because Minnie got much better care this week versus last week’s urgent care experience. I know this is not always possible because of the timing of symptoms, etc, but I’m going to try.

I am super sad to miss her in-class holiday dance performance in her cute little preschool hip/hop and ballet class, and I feel really bad missing swimming lessons so many times in a row, but we are just going to stay home  and get fully better. (She will have to come to campus with me for a meeting on Thursday but it’s going to be fine).

She still does not feel amazing, is doing a nebulizer treatment every few hours, and got a fever last night in the late afternoon. Her nose is stuffy, and she is coughing a lot. But! She is SO MUCH BETTER than she was on Tuesday-Thursday.

Matching masks at the doctor’s office
BLANKETS for the second night of Hanukkah— loving this cozy theme
So there you have it— better but not all the way and hanging in there for a weekend at home.

(the nurse practitioner gave me a hug and said she was so relieved that she made the right call to not admit Minnie on Thursday and lost actual sleep over the decision, and I felt SO VALIDATED in my EXTREME worry)

Also, you guys need this TJ’s delight:

Friday, December 08, 2023

5 on a Friday: The MINNIE IS SO SICK Edition

 1. I JUST WANT MINNIE TO STAY OUT OF THE HOSPITAL, but that might not happen because she is getting MORE SICK, not less. My anxiety is high to incredibly high, as you might imagine, especially since my baseline is pretty high. So far, she is drinking great and eating OK, and her breathing is all right (but not, like great)— so not going in ASAP or anything. BUT ALSO YOU GUYS! Her pneumonia is NOT RESPONDING to antibiotics yet.

2. Her cough was so awful from 4am Thursday on that I messaged her pediatrician at like 5:30 while I was working out directly under her room and listening to her cough and getting more and more anxious. The amazing nurse practitioner who works with the kids’ doc messaged me back super early and said she’d double book her end of day and squeeze Minnie in. We were supposed to follow up THIS MORNIG, but I didn’t want to wait.

3. Dorothy does not have strep but clearly DOES have some kind of virus of doom and was home from school again Thursday and plans to be home today, too. Her fever ebbed midday yesterday, but she still felt like a puddle of yuck— although she rallied enough to play Minecraft on her iPad with a friend in the late afternoon. 

4. Minnie got ANOTHER chest X-ray, and her left lung looks WORSE, even though she is 7/10 doses into her cefdinir script and 3/5 into the azithromycin. She also SOUNDED bad, which is a first. Since Thanksgiving, she has had a pediatrician, an urgent care MD, and 2 physician assistants listen carefully to her breathing, and today was the first time that the sound was concerning. Sooooo, she got a nebulizer treatment and a machine to take home, a fresh flu and RSV swab just in case, an appointment for this morning to follow up (with Dorothy who might as well get swabbed for all of the things and also has a gross cough), and a super painful injection of rocephin.

5. She cannot shake the FEVERS, you guys. She wakes up fever free and then like clockwork is up to around 100 by lunch. WHAT IS HAPPENING. WHY CAN’T SHE GET BETTER? She coughs like a 1990s pack-a-day smoker and has been since BEFORE THANKSGIVING. 
But, listen, the average Bluey episode is about the length of a nebulizer treatment, so that’s super handy.

Also! I gave everyone a silly mug and candy (except Harry who got Oreos) for the first night of Hanukkah, and it was a big hit. (Our first night dinner plans were scrapped for Culver’s on the way home from the pediatrician’s office, but whatevs).

BONUS: Minnie woke up in the middle of the night and slept with us— I brought her humidifier (AIR FRYER) into our room, and my hair and skin look AMAZING this morning.


Thursday, December 07, 2023

Joy! And also GRAY?!

 JOY though, you guys! Like the picture on the wall says! We are really joyful, despite the constant illness (At least one kid— usually Minnie— has been sick since Ben started his new job!!).

My mom’s boyfriend’s son came for Thanksgiving and put an electrical outlet in the front hallway for us, so we could put lights on a front door Christmas tree! We love being able to plug this sucker in— next year, taller but still skinny, yes?

Dorothy found THE BEST living room tree EVER at our favorite Christmas tree farm

And! We had a delightful time tree hunting and decorating, as these randomly ordered pictures will show LOL

Ben and I left the girls with Harry and went out for drinks and apps before Coop’s hockey game on Saturday, dropped him off at home, and went back out for a night cap after. 

Our elves on the shelf came back!

And look how cute Cooper’s hockey pictures turned out to be:

And! I really do love my new stove

Also, in true us fashion, we didn’t measure it because the 30-inch width is so standard— it never even occurred to us to check the depth. Aaaaaaand, it sticks out super far. Which! Makes me think I actually just SAVED over 1K on my next fridge because a counter-depth fridge is pointless with an oven this ginormous. #halffull

Soooooo, now I have a question for you. My hair!! Looks pretty brown with a side part, but the other day, I did a middle part and zOMG. Time to cover the gray again. OR IS IT? What do you think? Cover it up or go gray and see how I like it? (Also, I gotta stop furrowing my brow, Before it freezes like that. J/K— TOO LATE LOL LOL LOL)

Wednesday, December 06, 2023

Top contender for the worst urgent care visit ever!!

 Yesterday was probably not our worst urgent care visit, all told. That honor might go to the time Coop puked blood and granola bar during a strep test while Harry was sick with another effusion and Dorothy broke her wrist in a sledding accident. I wouldn’t want to leave out my dystopian novel early 2020 pregnant COVID test visit. In terms of trauma, the visit that ended with Harry being immediately admitted to the PICU after being so sick the pediatrician wouldn’t leave our side until we were actually in the car and on the way was probably the VERY worst. (I feel bad skipping over our island urgent care trip when Coop was baby and had a terrible vacation virus and Ben heard a guy fresh from a motorcycle accident getting part of his ear sewn back on in the next room— a definite honorable mention.)

Still, even by Big Family standards and Kid with Heart Problem standards, yesterday was a doozy.

I told you all that Minnie has been sick for WEEKS and that I had a plan to bring her TODAY to see her doctor if she didn’t feel better, right? Well. I wrote that post— and sent the message to the doc— on Monday, and she really seemed completely better by lunch time. No fever since Sunday! An excellent appetite! Playing so hard! 3 nights of excellent sleep (thank God, literally)! 

I was so relieved yesterday when I sent her merrily off to preschool. 

Dorothy, though, was home sick. 

She sent me this text Monday night from dance:

And I just KNEW— that kid is NEVER exhausted and never ever tired at dance. We picked her up, and she had a fever **whomp whomp**

Since she was also complaining of a sore throat, I snagged an appointment for her at urgent care (side note: our doctor and all other pediatricians in all of our HMO clinics were totally booked for sick kid appointments by 8:24 am yesterday morning, which tells you a little bit about how things are going post-holiday gatherings in my town) because Minnie tested positive for strep, and we all watched in horror Saturday afternoon when Dorothy TOOK A BITE of Minnie’s Culver’s grilled cheese sandwich mid-tree trimming. I made the appointment for after preschool pick up, thinking we could also swing by Trader Joe’s if we wore masks and Dorothy wad strep negative because Minnie will only take cefdinir with mini peanut butter cups, and we only had 4 left— barely enough to bribe her into a single dose.

(Can we just go back to the above pic for a second? She was trying on her first costume of the season— for her mini tap small group,  and it is the very cutest— also has red gloves and fishnets over regular tights. SHE HATES IT because it is a sensory prison— tight! Itchy! Tight AND itchy booty shorts and big old rhinestones on the see-through chest part. LOOK AT HER FACE— her eyes say HELP ME)

Dorothy stayed in bed all morning, and I worked quietly until it was time to get Minnie, who had been so chipper and delightful in the morning. She picked out her outfit including a cardigan and said she was COOL MINNIE; she requested French braids, and she was thrilled to take her favorite stufffie for a snack time teddy bear picnic.

The kid I picked up? Was a sad, shivering, wilted flower of a person. She was clearly feverish just to the touch, and, alarmingly, she told me her neck hurt. I, of course, assumed she had meningitis because that is just how my brain works, and by the time we got to Dorothy’s urgent care appointment, I was internally FREAKING OUT because Minnie was a pathetic, glassy-eyed, slumped little lump in her car seat.

Urgent care was slammed, and the intake CNA told me from the exam room that I would have to CALL THE SWITCHBOARD if I wanted to talk to anyone about Minnie. I had been in conversation on her chart with our pediatrician’s nurse, whose office was STEPS AWAY from our exam room, but the intake nurse told me as she was taking Dorothy’s vitals that she didn’t know if that person was available because she worked in another clinic. Erm. But. Urgent care is one hallway away from pediatrics. 

I was on hold with the front desk (because I couldn’t leave Dorothy alone in the exam room per the nurse) when the PA-C we were set to see came in, took one look at Minnie, and said “Oh my— let’s look at her next.” THANK GOD FOR HUMANITY IN MANAGED CARE. When Minnie coughed (this has just been her cough for weeks you guys— I actually think it sounded better than it has), the provider said mildly as she felt Dorothy’s glands, “I think we’ll do a quick chest X-ray.”

She got Minnie on the table STAT and said she had swollen lymph nodes in her neck and that was probably why she said her neck hurt, but if she refused to turn her head for any reason or could not sit up on her own we needed to do straight to the ED (so I am not the only person who thinks meningitis when a kid has a stiff neck! Ha!). Minnie’s lungs did not sound crackly, but her thick, chesty cough prompted the X-ray. She was also swabbed for RSV, COVID, and flu (all negative, thank goodness).

 The icing on the cake, though, was a blood draw to check her counts and see if she had mono because that would explain the on-again, off-again fevers. (Negative! Phew!) (Also Dorothy asked “Minnie! Have you bee sharing cups at preschool?” When she heard what the test was for). Minnie’s veins are tiny and covered by so much delightful shiny chub that the draw itself was… um … how do I say it? A GODDAMN NIGHTMARE? Yes, I think that’s right. Fortunately, the lab people came to us, and the care team brought juice boxes for the girls (which Minnie refused because she doesn’t trust anything the doctor’s office offers now).

Minnie’s new and super inconvenient fear of oral meds showed up again when a nurse offered her a dose of bubble gum flavored Tylenol for her super high fever, and she lost her shit and spit it all over herself and me. Awesome.

Our provider checked her X-ray and said it looked clear and that she seemed to have another virus on top of the bacterial infections.

And sent us on our merry way.

BUT THEN! The clinic’s radiologist read Minnie’s X-Ray and said SHE HAS PNEUMONIA.

OH MY GOD. Not a MyChart message/call I was expecting to get.

Minnie is taking another broad spectrum antibiotic (azithromycin) along with her cefdinir and we have to follow up on Friday if she is not better. WHAT EVEN IS BETTER? It has been a long time since she’s been that.

WAY BACK on the Friday after Thanksgiving, we saw a pediatrician in our practice who said that if she got totally better and then got sick again, that was a sign of pneumonia. And wow! That guy knows his stuff because that’s exactly what happened!! 24-36 hours of completely better (LOL psych) and then HORRIBLY SICK AGAIN.

So. Anyway. I have a work thing tonight that I gotta do (thank you Harry for stepping in to babysit your sick sisters), but other than that we are going to be on the couch watching Christmas shows and eating every snack Trader Joe’s has to offer (Ben swung by on his way to pick Cooper up at diving practice and take him to hockey) until at least Friday.

Monday, December 04, 2023

Poor little germy Minnie

 Ugh, my darling Minnie. She has been sick since THE TUESDAY BEFORE THANKSGIVING.

We spent Friday at urgent care AGAIN because she had another fever and complained of ear and throat pain ON THE LAST DAY OF HER ANTIBIOTIC. And you know what? SHE HAD STREP AND HER EAR WAS STILL INFECTED.

We got another antibiotic, which is the pits because she is scared to throw up, and she almost threw up her first does of augmentin, and now she's sort of scared of all antibiotics. The PA-C we saw (not a great bedside manner, but it was a terrible night to be working downtown urgent care with a snow storm, a volleyball playoff game AND a Badger men's basketball game plus a million COVID coughs) said the next step is injections, and I was like LET'S JUST DO THAT and save me the 10 days of misery, but she was not really offering, just threatening. Cool, cool.

I followed up via MyChart with her pediatrician today and have plans to bring her in Wednesday afternoon if she is not much better by then (still getting random fevers and feeling yucky, complaining of a tummy ache, etc (also! she ate well today for the first time in 2 weeks and has lost 2 pounds and her ankle rolls)).

It is amazing how terrible sick 3 year-olds are, though, you guys, Like, all of the adorable little eye-rolly toddler quirks are magnified and HORRIBLE. So much whining. So unable to take a joke. So clingy. So not able to play independently.

She is a MAJOR tattle tale, too, which is usually a slightly older kid milestone. SHE IS GIFTED AT BEING AT TOTAL PILL, you guys. We are so proud.

Sill! Her cough is finally almost gone. She only coughs to the point of nearly puking once or twice a day, so that's progress.

We had FUN today, and she didn't cry at all, which was really lovely and made me realize how bad she has been feeling lately. She even played by herself happily while I wrapped some presents and came to find me to ask WHERE IS MY AIR FRYER? I was like your air fryer? What? And she goes MY AIR FRYER THAT HELPS ME NOT COUGH AT NIGHT.

Humidifier! LOL. (I was washing it with vinegar because that's a thing I do every day now because it smelled like mildew the other day and OOOOPS.)