I didn't knock on wood after publishing my last post on Monday in which I bragged that Elijah had "sailed through these disease-laden seas without even a sniffle." Tuesday Elijah was fussy. He took a six hour nap with only one short feeding in the middle. When he finally awoke he had a nasty cough and low grade fever. According to the nurse on call any fever in a 2 month old warrants a trip to the ER, especially when he's been exposed to strep. So back I went, just two days after taking Toby, and yes, at least one nurse recognized me. It was busier without the Super Bowl to keep the crowds away, but at least I had the entertainment of watching a handcuffed man in a triage room being treated for pepper spray exposure.
All I wanted was for Elijah to be tested for strep throat, but of course the ER doctors felt it necessary to treat his fever with full doses of Tylenol and Motrin, so after the nurse choked a huge syringe-full of red-dye-laden medication down Elijah's throat he was more miserable than ever, gagging on the syrupy mix, and I wished I had refused the unecessary medication. Next time I will. I'm so tired of every hospital serving up enormous amounts of petroleum based dyes to every child that walks in its doors. Anyway, both the tests for strep and RSV came back negative and we were sent home with orders to use a vaporizer and Tylenol to keep him comfortable while he got over his cold.
Toby also had a rough day Tuesday. The antibiotic had gotten rid of his fever, but the sore throat and fatigue lingered several days more. He would lay on the couch, then get up and attempt to play, then return himself to the couch, which, if you know Toby, means he's really feeling crumby.
On Wednesday I found Emma wandering slowly around the house with a blanket over her head. When I asked her what she was doing she said, "I go."
"Oh, you're a ghost?" I guessed.
"No! I GO!" she yelled back at me.
I thought a moment then asked, "You're cold?"
"Yeah," she agreed. "I go."
"You're cold, so you're walking around with a blanked on your head? Oh, Emma, you're so silly," I laughed as I leaned over to kiss her forehead. But as soon as I kissed her I realized she wasn't so silly after all. She was burning up. Her temperature was 103.3. I gave her Tylenol and put her to sleep on the couch.
On Thursday, Emma's fever lingered, but lower-grade and slowly improving. She never got a sore throat. Elijah developed a crusty eye, but it never turned really pink. His cough got worse. It seemed he was constantly coughing and gagging on the thick mucus that filled his nose and throat. I spent the entire day tending Emma's requests and bouncing Elijah up and down on an exercise ball, which seemed to be the only place he could tolerate life.
Last night Elijah's coughing fits kept him up for awhile at 1:30 and 4:30am. I brought the ball up to our room and sat in the dark, silently bouncing the poor, whimpering baby and wondering when this was all going to end. Apparently not any time soon.
Today Emma and Toby are feeling mostly back to normal, but Elijah continues to cough and gag. Then Naomi complained just after lunch, "Burrr! I'm cold!"
"No!" I said, "No, no, no, no, NO! Will you guys stop getting sick?!"
Naomi laughed at me. After a long sigh I took her temperature. It was 101. To the couch she went and there she stays. I gave her some Tylenol for her headache, which seems to have helped a little, but she is complaining of feeling dizzy now.
And how am I? I have a little sore throat and cough, but I feel like I am living in a fog. Gray day follows gray day of taking temperatures, doling out medications, and soothing coughs. I feel as if I've been placed under house arrest for two weeks now, and it doesn't look like I'm eligible for parole any time soon. I'd like to get to the store, but with Matt working 56 hours per week, he's not providing much respite care here. My shopping list reads: "Children's Tylenol, Kleenex, VIC's Vapor Rub, Vitamin D supplements, Culturelle, and Lysol Wipes." That pretty much sums up this week.
If you've ever read "Dr. Seuss' Sleep Book" you know about the machine that sits in a plexi-glass dome half-way between Reno and Rome which listens and looks into every one's home. You know that whenever it sees a new sleeper go flop it jiggles and lets a new biggle ball drop. Some chap counts them up as they plup in a cup and that's how they know who is down and who's up. Well, I feel a bit like the Internet serves that purpose for you all. It listens and looks into my home, and people all across the country can tell which Eby members are currently down and who's up. I imagine dinner conversations which go something like this:
"So, did you read up on the Eby's today?"
"Yep, one got up, but two more are down today."
"Again? That's incredible! How long can this possibly go on?"
"I don't know. But at least it give us something to talk about at dinner. That poor mom deserves a medal!"
Oh, sorry, just daydreaming there. Anyway, so now you know today's current score: "Hannah is up, Elijah and Naomi are down, and Matt, Toby, Emma, and I are somewhere in between." Tune in next time to find out what flavor virus Hannah catches tomorrow.