Thursday, July 14, 2011

Running on Empty

The last 48 hours have been a little trying. This morning my husband left for a 6 day trip to California to help catch and tag birds with his brother for study. The big event of this trip is to test out the GPS tracking units he designed, programmed and built himself from scratch on the birds they catch. This trip just may make or break us, especially since my husband has been out of work since around March when he and his partner decided to close the doors of their telecom business. It was a hard decision but one that was necessary, cutting losses rather than losing it all. We are hoping that he can build a new business from these GPS units.

This morning around 6am, shortly after my husband left for the airport, I was awoken by a sound and rushed out of my bedroom to find my son, head over the toilet again. Yesterday he awoke and climbed into our bed like usual. However, after a few moments of rest he complained that his head hurt. This continued for a while until he began to puke, and continued to do so the whole rest of the day. His was scalding hot, extremely tired and running a fever of 101 degrees. I tried to get Tylenol in him but he couldn't keep anything down. So we were battling this sickness on top of getting my husband ready to leave for his trip. I did some last minute grocery shopping, knowing I might not be able to get another chance once it was just me and the kids, with Mason being sick and all. It's not like I can just leave him at home and say, "hey sweetie, you stay here for a bit while I go run some errands." By the time I got home he was feeling better. Fever was down and he was playing Mario Kart with daddy, laughing and smiling and seeming like his old self. I thought we had it beat and it was a 24 hour thing. Not the case. He's been struggling to keep anything down all day and his fever keeps spiking to a 101 degrees. I dug deep and tried to remember all the things my mom and would do when I was sick with the flu so many times.

I've been wetting paper towels with cold water and placing them on his forehead and neck. Letting him sleep on the couch and watch all the movie, t.v. shows he wants. Having him sip ginger ale, this always helps with my upset stomachs when I'm sick, and water. Letting him have a few Saltine crackers and remembering the BRAT diet. Continue to monitor his temperature and dose fever reducing medicine accordingly. Hold his hand, rub his back, and be there when he is head down in the toilet.

After two days of no relief from his fever I am left at a loss as to how to get this fever in check. Desperate I called the doctor for advice. They said to continue what I have been doing and to alternate between ibuprofen and acetaminophen.

I only had liquid ibuprofen in the house and even though Walgreens is only up the street I knew I couldn't leave Mason alone in the house. My neighbor, and college sorority big sister, came to my rescue. She picked up the medicine along with some cookies and a Family Fun magazine for me. All of this while her son too was running a fever. I swear it is these moments that I truly realize how blessed I am to have such wonderful people, friends, in my life and in my neighborhood. I owe you one Susie, thanks.

UPDATE: So I hadn't finished this post when I put the kids to bed last night. Exhausted, I left it sitting on my computer to finish in the morning, ready to just have some time to relax. However, that did not last long and here is the story of what happened next.

The kids are in bed asleep. I figured it would be nice to pop some popcorn and watch a movie Fred had no interest in. You know, try and relax from the hectic day and rejuvenate my spirit or something along those lines. In hind sight, Shutter Island, was probably not the best choice but I like horror films, even though they scare me and Fred doesn't. So the perfect time to watch is when he is not here. However I got interrupted numerous times from the phone ringing and doing laundry. But it wasn't until after I noticed the peculiar rash that appeared out of nowhere on my leg that I lost total interest in the movie.

In case you are curious, this is the best picture out of the few I took of the rash. It's not very clear but in the center is a red/purplish dot. This is how I react to mosquito bites. I have a few of them on my legs. I get at least 20 each summer. What can I say? I must have sweet blood. Around that dot is a large red circle.
At first I thought it was an impression of something I was laying on, but when it didn't go away after a significant amount of time...
I tried not to panic, really I did. I swear. But with the recent incident with Mason and the tick and being on high alert for rashes and what not, this was the first thought that came to my mind; Oh crap, I have Lyme disease. I started pacing the room, trying to occupy myself with anything other than the rash and of course that didn't work at all.

Suddenly, I felt really alone. Alone and scared and desperate to talk to someone. Look up at the clock, 11:30pm. Well that rules out calling any of my friends. I really needed some to calm me down and reassure me that I would be fine. I realize that it is only 8:30pm in California and Fred would still be up so I call him. No answer. Leave a tear filled, panicked voicemail and hang up. Pace the room some more. Go check on Mason, he is still asleep. Good. Try to watch the movie again, but at this point I am not following the story line and my mind is on something else anyway. Phone rings. It's Fred. We talk, he calms me a bit. I agree to send him the pictures I took of the rash so he can better give his opinion. Next I talk to my soon to be sister-in-law in Reno. We decide to find a way for me to go to the doctor tomorrow if the rash is still there in the morning and get tested for Lyme. After I hang up I look at the clock, it is around midnight at this point. I decide I should go to bed as Mason might need me in the middle of the night and I will need to get some sleep before then.

Just as I am crawling into bed, around 12:30am, I hear Mason rush into the bathroom. I quickly join him. Check his forehead, but he is not hot like before so I send him back to bed. 1:30am, he's back in the bathroom and again at 2:30am, and 4:30am, and 5:30am, and 6:30am and finally again at 7:30am. Each time, I groggily but hurriedly join him to make sure he is not alone, scared or running a fever again. Ready to dose if he is. Each time I look down at my leg and no, I didn't imagine the rash, it is still there. By around 5am I stopped checking, so tired and just wanting to crawl back in bed once Mason was back in his. During the trip to the bathroom at 7:30am he started to feel warm again and despite the fact that his fever was down I gave him some acetaminophen anyway, as it seemed his fever was on the rise and Mason was so desperate for sleep. It worked. He fell right asleep and slept till around 11am. I was not so lucky.

The phone rang at around 8:30am, it was Fred checking in. I recalled the nights festivities and how at one point Mason looked up at me, pale and upset from his millionth horrendous vomit session and heart breakingly said, "I wish Daddy was here." At that point, I did too. Fred had looked at the rash photos I sent and told me they all agreed that I should go to the doctor and get put on antibiotics right away. That was not reassuring, but I was too tired at this point to think too much about it, besides, I had forgotten to check it recently. I tried to go back to sleep but that was moment Sophie decided she couldn't amuse herself in her crib anymore and wanted out, NOW.

I managed to drag myself out of bed and start a pot of coffee while giving Sophie a banana for breakfast. I checked my leg for the first time in hours and ironically the rash had faded, to the point that I could barely see it. Very weird, I thought. But, I figured better to be safe than sorry. Mason still asleep and unsure of his current state I knew I couldn't make a doctors appointment to be seen. Instead I sent the photos I took to our pediatrician and family doctor in an email. He has today off so I thought I'd get his opinion first. He is also a family friend and I try not to take advantage of that fact, so I was hesitant about it at first but decided it was ultimately the best thing to do. His wife and I are good friends, as mentioned before our sons are best friends, so I called her later that morning just to chat and get things off my mind. She said she'd make sure her husband checked his email and would give me a call. At this point Mason had awoken and was feeling better, asking for something to eat and some water. He was acting a little more like himself.

A few hours later our doctor called. Checked on Mason. Said a bug was going around, probably what Mason has, but glad to hear he was feeling better. He also said that Mason could eat yogurt as well. Of course Mason jumped at hearing this and proceeded to have two servings of yogurt. Then the inevitable was discussed, my rash. He told me I didn't need to come in to be seen, based on the photos it looked like classic Lyme. In this area, where Lyme is prevalent, you don't take chances. So he is putting me on a 3 week course of antibiotics, Doxycycline, or something like that. Even if it turns out not to be Lyme it's better to take the treatment as a precaution. I agree, though it wasn't what I wanted to hear. I wanted him to say that it was nothing to worry about and I would be fine. I should be grateful that it sounds hopeful we caught it in the earliest stages and I should develop no complications. However, these antibiotics are rough on the stomach and make your skin extra photosensitive. I suppose though, it is a small price to pay compared to the many horrible symptoms of Lyme disease I could experience if not treated right away. I do, however, worry that for the rest of my life I will second guess every cramp, pain, fatigued feeling, headache, or nausea experience as a possible Lyme flair up. As if I wasn't paranoid enough already.

And now Mason's fever is starting to creep up again as he starts to complain, once again, about his head hurting and not feeling well. Another dose of Ibuprofen as he curls up on the couch to watch Max and Ruby. Sophie is down for a nap, and I, I am finally finishing this post and getting some lunch while I wait for my prescription of antibiotics to be faxed and filled. It is only 3pm on day two of being single mom for a week, and my tank is seriously empty.

I've decided, if Fred tells me he is headed on another week long trip, cross country or not, I will duct tape him to his suitcase and lock him in the closet.
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