JD was coughing and had a runny noise all weekend. I didn’t think too much of it, since he’s in school and it’s cold and flu season—and that pretty much means he’s in a constant state of sort-of-sick until Spring. It’s annoying. By lunchtime yesterday, I knew something more intense was brewing because he wouldn’t take one bite of his grilled cheese or even a nibble of his all time fave snack: cherry tomatoes. “I wanna go to bed,” he said pushing his plate away. I made him drink his water/juice and then tucked him in. I sat outside his bedroom, in the living room reading and heard him stirring and coughing for the almost three hours he was down. When he woke up he didn’t come running out as usual, he just sat in his bed and cried. When I went in to get him, I could see that his hair was wet from sweat and his cheeks were flushed. His temperature at this point was just 100 so I gave him some generic Tylenol, but since JD doesn’t take medicine well, I had to mix it with reduced sugar fruit punch (thank God the medicine was fruit flavored) and serve it up in a sippy cup, then play medicine cop for the ten minutes it took him to drink it all.
When dinnertime rolled around JD told me he wanted “white macaroni,” which means cavatelli. I thought a little plain pasta with olive oil and cheese was a good, bland option for him, so I boiled some water and threw the pasta. I was actually feeling pukey myself, so I just put some in a bowl for JD and sat at the table with him. He took a few bites, but then had a coughing spell and puked. Not stomach-bug-puke, just coughing-can’t-catch-my-breath-puke. When little kids puke it’s bad. They just puke. Puke anywhere. Last night, the kitchen table and down his shirt. I quickly gave him a bath and cleaned up the mess afterwards. By 7:30 P.M. I called DAY OVER and JD joined me in my bed—sometimes we co-sleep (like when he’s sick or it’s stormy). I read him a few books and then we watched a little bit of A Bug’s Life on ABC Family. By the time Desperate Housewives came on, he was passed out, coughing and breathing heavy. When I placed my hand on his forehead it was hot. I mean HOT. He had a 104 fever. So scary. He had a 105 before so I remained calm and quickly mixed generic Tylenol into a tiny amount of juice. I woke him up. He was cranky and seemed to be in pain. I sat him on my lap and told him he had to drink his medicine. I put on the Nick Jr. channel, which made it go down easier—for him anyway.
I felt anxious. High fevers are scary. They are scarier when you are alone with your child. This is the part of single parenthood I am trying to get used to. I know I don’t need his father for…anything. I can take care of JD on my own, but that doesn’t mean having someone around when your kid is really, really sick wouldn’t be nice. The simple act of another adult sitting next to me on the bed while WE tend to JD is just piece of mind. The tag-team thing would be cool: You get the medicine, I’ll strip him down to cool him off, ya know? Not an option for me, so I allow myself to feel scared and anxious. I completely acknowledge the feelings and then, poof, they go away. I can do this. I’ve been doing it since I was 11-weeks-pregnant. My fears then were normal. My fears now are normal. But I champion through them. I don’t live in them or run away from them. Or pretend they don’t exist.
When JD was done drinking, I left him in my bed and made a few Luke-warm compresses. Of course he hated that I put them on his head, under his arms and on his legs. I even wrapped a bag of frozen peas in a hand towel and put it on his tummy. Within twenty-minutes his fever was down to 102.something and within a half-hour I had it down to 100. JD fell asleep, but I lay awake listening to him cough and breathe heavy. His little heart was beating fast. I seriously contemplated calling 911 or my Dad or my neighbor. I didn’t sleep much last night. I would fall asleep and wake up fifteen minutes later to check JD’s temp and feel his chest. At one point I woke up with my hand on his chest and the other clutching the ear thermometer.
I took him to Pediatrician this morning and found out he has Bronchitis. He’s had this twice before so we have a nebulizer. He hates the nebulizer and the cute elephant mask and the fact that I call it a cloud machine. But I sat on the floor and sat him in my lap and we got it done. We’re a team. We always get what we need to get done, done.
How are your kids holding up in cold and flu season? Do your kids hate medicine, too? As a single parent, do you get nervous when you’re alone with your sick child?