Monday, February 18, 2013

Happy birthday, baby girl. Now stop being sick!

Today is my daughter's 9th birthday and I'm a-swirl of emotions.

9 - it's so on the cusp of puberty and yet so innocent and sweet an age.

It's also President's Day, but I'm not really feeling it.  Back to my daughter.

Friday night, I noticed that she looked peaked (do people still say that or have I been watching too much Downton Abbey.  The dickens you say!  There is no such thing as too much Downton Abbey!  And no, I haven't watched the season finale so please stop telling me what that bitch O'Brien did.  Tomorrow is fair game.).  Shake my head and clear it a bit.  Yes, she looked peaked.  I felt her forehead and she was pretty hot so I found the digital thermometer and stuck it under her arm expecting to discover I was over-reacting.  It read 101.6.  Friday night plans usually involve pizza and a Star Wars movie, but I felt 101.6 needed attention.  Surely we'd be the only ones at the Little Clinic and would be back in time to eat the dinner my husband was preparing.

We were fifth and last in line at the Little Clinic with a 50 minute wait.  Guess who had Doritos for dinner.  Not my daughter.

The nurse worked up my girl with the standard blood pressure and temperature check.  I still wasn't convinced it was worth the 50 minute wait, but the nurse said it could be an ear infection so we waited.  She popped in the ear thermometer and her eyes widened.  103.something.  "At that temperature, we usually send kids to the hospital."  Really?  My daughter was acting sluggish but not frighteningly so.  "I can check the other ear to see if it's a misreading."  Yes, please.  "103 in that ear, too."

I tamped down my fear and we wandered the aisles of Kroger for a suitable snack for the girl while we waited.  Please tell me it's an ear infection or tonsilitis or something that a.) isn't contagious and b.) can be treated with antibiotics.

When we finally saw the nurse practitioner at 8:00 pm (so much for a movie and pizza), she looked at my daughter's throat and said the tonsils were swollen, but not too bad.  Ears looked good.  Let's swab for the flu.

Damnit.  The flu.  I forgot to get everyone shots this year.  In fairness, the news reports have indicated that so many people are getting it regardless of the vaccines, I haven't known whether it was worth the effort.  I also just forgot.

The NP swabbed my girl's nose and caused significant discomfort, so she nestled in my lap while we waited for the results.  8 long minutes later we discovered that she had the flu.  Strain B. 

"Here's the thing," I told the NP, "she has her birthday party tomorrow."

"She's not having that.  She needs to be in bed in a room alone and quarantined for 5-7 days."

I'm not sure my girl was taking any of this in.  I tend to be a bit of an alarmist, but this seemed pretty 19th century.  You're telling me I have to ruin my daughter's birthday party AND keep her isolated on her actual birthday and beyond?  Seriously?!  Then the guilt flooded in.  I started panicking.  All of this was my fault for not getting her the shot.  The NP told me that if she started wheezing and having difficulty breathing or her temperature spiked again to rush her to the hospital (where, I was convinced she'd contract pneumonia and be strapped to a ventilator.  Perhaps, I have watched too much Downton Abbey after all.  Thoughts of poor annoyingly sweet Lavinia filled my head.).  We left the clinic and crossed the store to the pharmacy where I was told that they didn't have the Tamiflu in stock and I'd have to drive to another store to pick it up in the next 20 minutes before the pharmacy closed.  And while I struggled to hold it together, my daughter collapsed into sobs against my hip.  Nothing like ruining your very sweet and painfully good daughter's birthday.

Oh, Mama, if only you had gotten me the flu shot.  Why are you such a selfish, horrid mother?

Later that night I woke with a panicked start worrying about my daughter.  I crept to her bed and checked her breathing, felt her cheeks, even crawled into bed with her for 10 minutes until I realized how bad an idea that was.  Then, I fell deeper into panic and realized the best thing I could do was take a Benedryl and get some rest.  So I did.  Judge me.

Here's the good news:
  • My daughter is 100% symptom-free on her actual birthday and back in school, where she wants to be because she is perfect.
  • We can reschedule the party, hopefully as soon as this weekend.
  • No one else in the household (knock wood) contracted the flu.
  • Strain B is not as bad as the other strains.
  • We caught the symptoms early and the Tamiflu worked.
  • Now I can focus on that awkward birds-and-the-bees conversation I had planned to have with my daughter.
As one of my Facebook friends reminded me, it's the last of the single-digit birthdays.

And now for a little Downton levity:
Is it me, or does Joanne Froggatt always look a little TOO giddy?

Photo credit for Lavinia: (although I'm not sure it's the original source: