Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Augmentin, Amoxicillin, Albuterol, Pneumatoceles, and other terms I wish I didn't know
Last week, I heard it.
The dreaded chest congestion when Benjamin breathes.
The same kind he had in June/July when he was diagnosed with pneumonia. That led to a swallow study, where it was determined that he aspirates on thin liquids. We have had to thicken all his liquids (which is basically just milk for him) ever since. His milk is the consistency of runny yogurt. The only good that came from that (besides the obvious, that he was no longer drinking his milk down into his lungs) was that it allowed him to transition from a bottle to a sippy cup.
When he had pneumonia in the summer, we could hear the raspiness in his chest for a few weeks before we did anything about it.
Well, he seemed to feel fine, he was simultaneously cutting some teeth, and I figured it was just related to that. I mean, who gets pneumonia in the middle of the summer?
When I finally called his doctor (have I mentioned that I love her?), she sent us to outpatient to get a chest x-ray. The results? Pneumonia.
I really shouldn't have been surprised. And, of course, I felt like a bad mommy for waiting all that time. Benjamin is such a trooper that it really takes a lot to knock him down. Plus, if some of you old-school readers remember from last October, they found a large pneumatocele in his right lung during his open-heart surgery. It's basically an air-filled cavity that is usually caused by some sort of illness, but B had never been sick before his was discovered. We were told to just keep an eye on it, that it may cause problems later.
I guess it's later.
So last summer, when he was diagnosed with pneumonia, he was put on amoxicillin for ten days, breathing treatments w/albuterol for several days (three times a day basically), and Thick-It (for his milk) indefinitely. The chest congestion cleared up within a matter of days.
There wasn't a fever that I remember, nor any other symptoms that made me think he was sick.
Yet ever since then, when I've had to go to various doctors, and had to answer, "Has anything changed in his medical history," and I've mentioned the pneumonia, the next question is always, "Was he hospitalized?"
No, he barely acted sick.
But this time is a different story.
Still no fever. Nothing that (I pray) will require hospitalization.
But he's just not himself.
He had just gotten over that horrid Hand, Foot, & Mouth Disease that nearly drove us both to the edge.
We had about three days of smiles and belly laughs.
It's like when the "check engine" light comes on in your vehicle.
You know there certainly isn't any good that will come of it, and you simply can't ignore it and hope it goes away. (At least not this time, LOL.)
I waited a couple of days just because I hate to run to the doctor with every cough. In fact, I had asked her two weeks earlier about Andrew's cough that he'd had for two weeks. She had told me that if there was no fever and he felt fine, then it was probably nothing. Kids cough this time of year, and it's usually nothing. And it was nothing. He's fine.
But he's Andrew. No pneumatocele. No prior pneumonia. Nothing like that.
Let me stop right here to say that I really, really love our doctor. I have friends in real life and on the Internet who have children with special needs. It seems that the majority of them have to fight to be heard. To have tests run. To not be just shoved aside or told to just "wait and see." It really infuriates me for them, their children, and the system in general. And it makes me that much more grateful for our proactive, yet-not-panicky doctor. I am very much an advocate for my child, but you know what? So is she. And that is how it should be. I'm just glad that she's young and hopefully won't retire before my children stop needing a pediatrician.
Anyway, so I called her last week, about three days after I heard the chest congestion. Actually, I take that back. I originally called her the next day, and she told me just to keep an ear out for it and look for a fever, etc., and call her back if it got worse. So I did. And while it didn't get any worse, and there was no fever, it didn't get any better. So two days later, I called again and we set up an appointment for the next day. An x-ray next door at the hospital's outpatient services and then an appt for her to read the x-ray. Actually, we had an appt w/the nurse practioner b/c she was booked, but were assured she would come look at the film and listen to his chest.
And she did.
The x-ray showed some haziness in his upper right-hand lung, where it had been before. Not a full-blown round pneumonia, but something of concern. So this time we did augmentin for ten days, and breathing treatments for over the weekend or as needed.
Well the weekend came and went. And not only did Benjamin not get better, he, in fact, got worse. Still no fever, but just a basic lousiness that you can tell he is simply not himself. And the congestion and coughing got worse.
Then Sunday he started to seem to feel better, but all the other symptoms kept getting worse.
I kept waiting for the medicine to kick in.
For the raspiness when he breathes to stop.
But it hasn't happened.
He's been on the augmentin and breathing treatments for five days.
And he's gotten worse.
So back we go tomorrow morning to outpatient and the doctor's office.
I tell ya, it about broke me today.
I haven't felt well today as it is. Took Andrew to preschool this morning and then while I moved Benjamin around from one (safe) play place to another throughout the house, I pretty much slept all morning. A thirty-minute nap followed by an hour-long nap. Then I had to eat lunch, feed Benjamin, and pick up Andrew. (All of this in really rainy, dreary weather, naturally.) Then once we were back home and the boys were both napping, I took another almost-two-hour nap.
And while I didn't feel good today, I don't really think I'm sick.
Not sick sick anyway.
Just emotionally, mentally, and physically exhausted.
I'm tired of being on a first-name basis with half the medical staff in Chattanooga. (Though I love them all!)
I'm tired of all these medicines.
I'm tired of having to arrange a babysitter for Andrew when I have to take B to the doctor. (Though eternally grateful for the friends and family who are so wonderful to us!)
I'm. Just. Tired.
Tomorrow is a new day, and I know that it will all be okay.
But for now, you guessed it.