A tough week

After our outbreak of fevers, and what I thought looked like us getting over them on Sunday, Todd and I watched everyone carefully and tried to make the best decision for not only us but everyone the kids would be coming into contact with. All of the kids were fever free by Sunday morning, we figured that if we laid low throughout the day then we’d all be good to return to CC on Monday and hopefully continue our path to wellness.

On Monday morning, however, I still had a cough, but I figured since I was a grown up, I knew how to keep it to myself. I could cover and blow my nose when necessary and hand washing was not a foreign concept to me. Hannah and Patrick seemed fine, and though Ben still had a slight cough, too, he said he felt like going to CC because he didn’t feel sick. Andrew had been on antibiotics since Friday afternoon, so I reasoned that he wouldn’t be contagious. Brendan, however, in a seemless combination of true illness and superb acting skills, dragged himself out of bed at 6:30 Monday morning and gave a deep, ugly cough that made me think there was no way he should be sitting in a room with seven unsuspecting classmates and their mothers. Chloe, too, had had a rough night with coughing and sniffles, and both Todd and I realized that the only place those two belonged was at home. As “luck” would have it, Todd didn’t feel so great himself, so he offered to stay home with the two sickies so I could take the well ones and still tutor my class. It was the first week out of more than 40 that any of us had missed, but it was necessary. Todd made an appointment for four of the kids to be seen in the afternoon after he discovered that Chloe’s temp had jumped back to 103.

We made it through the morning and left early–everyone except Hannah–to make our pediatrician appointment. Todd reported that both Brendan and Chloe had slept most of the morning and did little or nothing else. We trudged to the doctor, mostly to rule something out with the well ones and see what was up with the sick ones. Upon the initial temp, weight, and blood pressure taking phase, the nurse grabbed Chloe’s arm and asked me how long it had looked like that. “Looked like….what?” I asked, not really seeing anything. Apparently, Chloe had a very obvious case of Fifth’s Disease and the accompany rash was all over her arms and legs. I hadn’t even noticed it, mostly because of her fair skin, I think, that often changes colors and allows us to almost see through her and into her circulatory system. If you’re not familiar with Fifth’s Disease, go here. It’s a fairly harmless virus unless you’re pregnant and have never had it, but for otherwise healthy children, it often goes undiagnosed because of its mildness. The nurse asked if their cheeks looked red–as if they’d been slapped–and I told her I thought it was just from their fevers. Oops.

In addition to Chloe, Andrew, Brendan, and Ben being diagnosed with Fifths, the doc also found that Chloe had an ear infection and pink eye, Ben had an ear infection, and Brendan had bronchitis. Lovely. We were a walking infirmary! We left with the knowledge that we needed to go home and stay home for a while so the herd could get better. I had a panicked realization that a couple of the kids had been in CC that day and therefore technically had exposed (totally unknowingly) their classmates to Fifths. The strange part about that illness is that it is only contagious until the rash appears, but until the rash appears, it presents just like a cold. In any case….we could be known as the Fifths spreading Tighes.

Monday night brough our house the most restful night of sleep in a long time. It was heavenly. Chloe’s cough seemed to be quieting down and everyone’s fevers were gone. The next morning, the rest of the kids presented with the rash, which meant that they’d all had it and were no longer contagious. On the up side, it was something we could cross off our to do lists as a family… Fifths Disease. Check.

By that evening, though, Chloe started sounding bad again. She suddenly got extremely congested and could hardly swallow on account of her sinuses being so clogged and had a terrible cough that didn’t seem to produce anything. She hardly slept that night, and as a matter of course, neither did we. Todd and I were both still fighting coughs of our own as well, so sleep would have been a helpful addition to our week. When morning came, she still was coughing, despite all the cough remedy tricks I had in my arsenal. Even Vicks on her feet with heavy socks didn’t even touch it. Finally before lunch I called her doctor just to see if I could talk to her about what could help the congestion and cough. The receptionist, who commented on how bad I sounded myself, said she’d rather have Chloe seen by the doc just to make sure she hadn’t gotten worse. Ugh, I thought. I knew she’d gotten worse, I told myself, or else why would I call?! Reluctantly we went back to the doc for the third time in less than a week. My nose was running like a faucet and Chloe was having uncontrollable coughing fits, and I felt so sorry for the other people in the waiting room with us who were no doubt trying not to breathe while we were there.

The nurse found that Chloe had a slight fever and by this time she was just laying on my chest, not talking or smiling. The pediatrician suggested we swab her nose for the flu, and I let her. She took the sample and informed us that the test normally takes about ten minutes to get results. In Chloe’s case, however, she came back in less than two minutes and announced that the redhead had a positive confirmation for the flu. Lovely. Instantly my head started swimming with the thought of the other five kids coming down with it. The doc said it was definitely a good idea not to have my class on Thursday, since the virus was just getting underway. Ugh again. The thought of rescheduling class again was not appealing to me.

We had a slight drama getting Chloe’s Tamiflu prescription filled, and while Todd and I and three pharmacies were sorting it all out, I started to feel body ache creep over all of me. In the hour between taking Chloe to the doc and getting to the pharmacy, every part of me felt like I had been hit by a truck. With each passing second it got worse. I barely made it home before wanting to crawl into bed and hide for a very long time.

Instead, while Todd went to get the prescription, I got Chloe settled on the couch where she promptly fell asleep and stayed asleep for most of the rest of the evening until moving to her bed to sleep all night. It was a ‘have a bowl of cereal or help yourself to leftovers’ type of dinners because I really felt beyond worthless. The kids were great at realizing that they did not want to catch what Chloe and I had, and helping each other out to get the job done.

I don’t remember much of the next day. The kids really picked up the slack (more or less) and Todd was here to work at home and helped out a ton. I slept a lot. Chloe lazed around, but already seemed to be feeling a bit better. The Tamiflu seemed to be working wonders for her. Though we watched the kids closely, no one new seemed to be falling prey to the evil flu virus so far…..

Todd’s mom and dad brought us dinner that night, which was such a welcome treat. I didn’t feel like cooking, but also worried about cooking and contaminating my family. With the blessing of dinner, everyone ate a delicious roast and no one had to be near me. 🙂

By Friday morning, I knew I had to get up and get things done, regardless of how I felt, but at least I felt functional. So many things were falling behind and I needed to get back to work. I managed to do the bare bones of grocery shopping and a few loads of laundry, but still had almost no energy. Chloe was acting almost back to normal and still no one else showed sick signs. Laura brought us dinner on Friday and that was another huge blessing. We were feeling quite spoiled!

I thought I felt better on Saturday, but my head started hurting and felt full. By Sunday I was in pain again, thinking there’s no way I can be sick AGAIN! What in the world was going on? I almost never take naps, but after church and lunch on Sunday, I had to lay down and try to sleep. The pressure on the left side of my head was too much.

Fast forward to this morning, when I finally went to my doctor and she told me I had a sinus infection. Hopefully this round of meds will be our last for a while. I have never accepted antibiotics so willingly before and hope that it will kick out the last remnant of illness in this house! I’ve been a crab for about two weeks fighting one thing or another, not to mention the lack of productivity that has permeated the Tighe home. With guests coming this weekend, this is definitely no time to be wasting time!

This too shall pass…..


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Anna
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 16:00:53

    Just read your post….how awful! Praying all is getting better.


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