Monday, May 4, 2009

Swine Flu-Ish

So, since my chances for the mother of the year award were dashed somewhere around January 2nd, I thought I'd further impress and entertain you with my complete lack of parenting competence! I'll begin at the beginning. My son has asthma. He got his first inhaler (with a tiny face mask) when he was 5 months old. I will never forget sitting in the Walmart pharmacy crying when the pharmacist handed it to me. He had moderate to severe asthma until he was about kindergarten age and was on 3-8 medications at all times for his asthma, then he quite quickly seemed to outgrow it. Now he is nine years old and has asthma attacks so seldom that I daily leave the house without even a thought of taking his inhaler with me. We keep an inhaler at school, just in case, and he has to use it once a month or so after running in P.E. Other than that, as long as he is well, we never use his inhaler.
Saturday night, he was a little bit congested when he went to bed and though he coughed just a bit in the night, it wasn't even enough to warrant cough syrup. Of course, by the time he woke up Sunday morning it was a different story all together! He was really working to breathe even when he was just sitting on the couch. After he got all ready for church, I gave him a breathing treatment, then we headed to the early service. Here's where my parenting skills (or lack thereof) become painfully obvious. Just as the sermon was beginning, Haddon laid down in the pew, then asked me if he could go home. I could tell he felt really bad. I took him home. He said his throat hurt and his chest hurt. I asked him if his chest hurt when he coughed or when he breathed and he said "both." He was running a little temp, so I dosed him up with ibuprofen and mucinex and fixed him up on the couch with a movie, blanket, and the phone. THEN I WENT BACK TO CHURCH. I didn't want to miss Sunday School, you see. It all made perfect sense at the time, leaving my ill, asthmatic child at home by himself for an hour while he was having difficulty breathing. In my defense, I did call him every 20 minutes to check on him and he said he was fine each time.
The other kids and I came home after Sunday School and hung out there until second service was over, then we all went back to the church to pick up dad for lunch. Haddon didn't feel like eating, but did want a pop, so we got him some Sprite. But, just after we sat down and prayed, he laid down on his table (we're a two table sized family at any fast food place). I rebuked him because I was concerned both about the cleanliness of the establishment and with him adding his sick germs to the mix. He promptly got up, walked over to a different table, and laid across it. "Honey, get off that table!" I sternly rebuked him. He stood and looked at me. I instantly saw in his eyes that he was not with it. Then he seemed to retch a bit before crumbling onto the floor. J was up in a flash and had Bubs on his feet and out the door, all the while heavily supporting him. Haddon was really out of it. He thought he was going to puke, but never really did, just gagged around a bit. At this point, I confess, I analyzed the fact that he was exhibiting flu-like symptoms. Here I was, dragging my fluish kid all over town to spread his germs. Wonderful. Then it hit me...I had just left this very ill child at home by himself for an hour. What had I been thinking???
Back at home, I gave him another breathing treatment and he perked up some initially, then fell asleep on the couch for about thirty minutes. When he woke up, he was scared. "I don't have enough air, Mom. I need to go to the hospital now." Now, Haddon is the kind of asthmatic that will stay in the soccer game and go all out until he either drops or the coach pulls him out rather than admit that he's having trouble breathing. So, for him to ask for help scared me!
We actually didn't even sit down in the ER. They sent him right in for the triage nurse to assess him. He was confused and having trouble answering her questions. His oxygen sats was at 82. He gagged around some more & puked up some snot. It was immediately determined that he needed to be tested for the flu...the swine flu.
I'll admit it. Though I was still worried about my kid, I was picturing the headlines: "Swine Flu Hits Oklahoma," "Pastor's Family Introduces Swine Flu to Their Congregation," "Dirks Family Dines Out, Exposing Entire Town to Swine Flu." Wouldn't you know that the very first case of swine flu in Oklahoma would be one of my kids? I almost had trouble believing that it was negative. Though he felt flu-ish, Bub actually had pneumonia, complicated by asthma. Two nights later, he's still in the hospital, but he's feeling much better. It's safe to say that he won't be running any marathons any time soon, I won't be winning any parenting awards, and the swine flu pandemic has (thus far) eluded the Dirks family.


Sarah Castor said...

Wow! Sounds like a super adventure! I'll pray for the kid.

Dawn said...

Oh Emma, I am always thrilled when you have a new post--you can make the traumatic moments comic. Hope that Haddon's feeling better soon. I'm glad it wasn't the Flu so you can escape the headlines! But it would have been a great bloggable topic.....