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Our Plague Days

Wow... It's been a wacked week... What follows is a way-to-long recounting of my family's past ten plague-ridden days playing "swap the virus". This is probably of interest to no one but me, but I'm recording it here for posterity, and so that I can move on to hopefully post more interesting things this year.

In my last post, I foolishly mentioned how thankful I was that Liz, Alex, and I had been in such good health over the last year... then completely forgot to knock on wood. Two days later, Alex came down with a nasty gastrointestinal virus that had him spewing out both ends. He was barely able to keep even Pedialyte down. As a result, a few days later our pediatrician advised us to check Alex into the hospital so that they could rehydrate him via IV. Hospitals are awful places in general, but even more so when the patient is your 9-month old son. After a restless night sleeping on cots next to his hospital bed, Liz and I were both exhausted and stressed out. Alex improved quite a bit with the addition of fluids, and we took him home the next day. The doctor even said he would be fine to go to daycare the next day, as long as his diarrhea was not too leaking out of his diapers. That was last Monday.

Things seemed to be getting better, and Alex was able to mostly hold down Pedialyte and diluted formula. Mostly. Then Monday night, within moments of each other, Liz and I both came down with the virus. Great! So that's two sick parents, taking turns going from the baby to the bathroom. So we figure... okay, we just have to make it through the night. Then we can take Alex to daycare, and spend the day sleeping and trying to recover. Tuesday morning I drop Alex off at daycare, come home, and crawl into bed. An hour and a half later, the phone rings. It's daycare. Alex has pooped all over his daycare crib. Explosively. I picture a firehose of poop covering the walls of the daycare nursery. Not pretty. So back I go to pick up Alex. Not "rest day" for Mom and Dad. Back we go to the Pediatrician... he gives us some probiotics to help repopulate his colon with beneficial bacteria and hopefully clear up the "hershey squirts". This is basically yeast. It is very effective, and has the slightly disconcerting side-effect of making his poop smell like freshly backed bread. The doctor also gives us and antibiotic, because on top of everything else, Alex has an ear infection!

Fortunately for Liz and I, it seems to be sort of a 48 hour virus thing. By Wednesday morning, we were feeling much better, but poor Alex was still having trouble keeping full-strength formula down. The probiotics hadn't kicked in yet, so he was also still having explosive diarrhea. Or maybe the anitbiotics were temporarily canceling the effects of the probiotics... who knows. I stayed home with the boy while Liz goes off to work. The poor kid definitely wanted to play and crawl around, but didn't quite have the energy to manage it. He's was able to keep more formula down and seemed to be getting better as the day progressed. The probiotics stared to kick in. Things seemed to be going well.

Thursday, Alex successfully spent the day at daycare, kept down formula and even a little rice cereal.

Thursday night, the cough started.

Alex came down with a terrible hacking cough. He would cough his head off and then scream in pain. Really awful, gut-wrenching stuff. He was also clawing at his ear. We figured the ear infection hadn't gone away and was being irritated by the coughing. We gave him Tylenol and tried to ride it out, but it didn't seem to go away. By Sunday, Alex was still coughing and screaming, but was otherwise much better. When he wasn't coughing, he was playing, laughing and crawling around like his normal self. He was eating his normal food and had a healthy appetite. But the screaming... yikes.

So Monday (MLK Day) morning, Liz calls the Pediatrician and makes an appointment for later in the afternoon. Then Liz becomes deathly ill. Sounds like the flu this time. Great! I take Alex to see the doctor, prepared to demand antibiotics for his ear and possibly antidepressants for his Dad. The doctor can't get a good view inside Alex's ear, so she has to scrape wax out with a scary little wire device. Needless to say, my son is not impressed and lets us know it. Finally, the doc is able to see what she needs to see. His ears are just fine. No infection. He has a cold, she says. The coughing is irritating his throat, and that's why he's screaming. Nothing to do but give him a little benadryl and ride it out. Nice.

So we go home, where my sweet wife is curled up on the couch with a fever and the chills.

That was yesterday. Today I'm back at work, holding my breath, praying that the flu shot that Alex and I got will protect us from whatever crud Liz has. This crazy cycle of sickness has to end.

Comments (2)


Solomon had an on-and-off horrible cough for about a month or so. It got so bad that they gave him a nebulizer duck thingie to administer a broncodialator (he loved THAT let me tell you!). The stomach virus is going around here too, and it sounds horrible. Here's hoping this is the end to our little guys' (and our) sicknesses this winter!

By the way, the antibiotics won't kill the yeast probiotics, but will likely kill any bacteria probiotics that may be in there. Hopefully it's all helping him!


Oh man! Life at Casa PW sounds like it has been at an ugly place. (Note to self: quitcher bitchin', see how much worse it could be?)

Anyway, I'm sorry you've all been sharing so much. Tell Alex that some things are ok to keep to himself! ;-)


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