Itâ€™s the 2010 cold/flu season. And the muppets are now the recipients of a 2010 cold.
This is their first illness (other than â€œtinyâ€). So naturally, I panicked. Jon called the advice nurse to ask if we should bring them in to see the doctor.
â€œDo they have a fever?â€ No.
â€œHave they stopped eating?â€ No.
â€œIs there green goo coming out of any orifice?â€ No.
â€œIs he vomiting?â€ Other than the standard projectile spit-up, no.
I think I could hear the advice nurse rolling her eyes at us. She told us that the muppets have a cold; watch them. Surprisingly, this made sense to me. For some reason, I always assumed that very sick children come with a fever. Instead, Destroy got wheezy.
Grandma Nancy came to visit on Friday. Destroy grinned, coughed and wheezed hello. â€œOooh, I donâ€™t like the sound of that,â€ she commented. That was all it took â€“ Jon immediately made an appointment for that afternoon. He called me at work to let me know of the change of plans.
In a previous life, I likely would have quietly approached my boss and inquire if it would be okay if I left a little early so I could go to the doctor. But now it was about my boys. Mommyhood engulfed me. â€œIâ€™m leaving to take my muppets to the doctor,â€ I informed my boss. Sick muppets do not qualify for a debate. (Although, to be fair, this was already a Friday afternoon and I have 24/7 access to work from any location.)
The doctor looked at Destroyâ€™s breathing and said â€œI canâ€™t let him leave here looking like that.â€ My eyes widened and my stomach began to sink. I wanted no part of staying in the hospital and there was no way I was going to be able to leave my little man there again. His pulse ox (oxygen saturation level) was 94 and he was experiencing heavy retractions â€“ where the skin pulls tight around each rib on the chest as the child works to breathe.
The day the muppets graduated from the NICU, their pulse ox was 94 â€“ and we were doing a happy dance it was finally so high. But 94 is apparently a bad low number now that they’re big boys.
The doctor decided to try treating him with albuterol, a bronchodilator that helps open up the airways in your lungs to make it easier to breathe. Itâ€™s normally used as an asthma treatment, but also works for tiny developing lungs. The medication works by creating a steam that is inhaled through an oxygen face mask.
Destroy wasnâ€™t thrilled with the concept, but he didnâ€™t fight it too hard. And amazingly, he responded phenomenally to the treatment. The doctor even later admitted that she didnâ€™t think weâ€™d be going home that nightâ€¦
So we were given a crash course on how to work a nebulizer and sent home. Yay! Turns out the biggest complication was when Jon got locked in the pharmacy. (They shut all the large fire doors at closing. I was beginning to wonder if weâ€™d end up spending the night for a completely unforeseen issue.)
This morning, after a wake-up nebulizing albuterol experience, we went trooping back to the doctor for a follow up. Both muppets were getting checked since, even with my limited medical training, Iâ€™m pretty sure they have the same virus.
Destroyâ€™s pulse ox was 100. Searchâ€™s read low, 96. But the medical assistant looked at him and decided he looked far too healthy to have only a 96 percent saturation level. After a repeat measurement, Search was 99 percent saturated. I then came to the conclusion that yesterdayâ€™s technician got the wrong result.
Todayâ€™s doctor confirmed â€“ they have a cold. She also thought Destroy responded really well to the albuterol and said, in the grand scheme of sick babies, this is relatively mild. (They still have not experienced a fever and continue to eat like gangbusters.) We can expect the wheezing and coughing to last about one to two weeks â€“ similar to when you or I get a cold and then canâ€™t shake the blasted cough for 7-14 days after we feel better.
In addition to albuterol, this weekendâ€™s prescription involves a significant amount of snuggling. Despite feeling icky, both muppets have maintained their awesomely adorable happy baby demeanor. They just require a lot more holding. Theyâ€™ve slept a tremendous amount for the past couple days; I am encouraging this because I know thatâ€™s what I enjoy doing when Iâ€™m sick. But the second I try to put them down, their little snuggle meter blares to life.
â€œHOLD ME! I NEED TO BE HELD. I DO NOT FEEL GOOD!!!â€ As soon as I pick them up, I am rewarded with a coo.
Apologies if I appear a bit skittish for the next one to two weeks. Babies get sick. Colds are to be expected (especially during the cold and flu season). But that doesnâ€™t mean I have to like it. I plan to remain on high alert in Mama Bear mode until the muppets are all better.
One final Public Service Announcement: If you are sick, stay home. Keep your cooties to yourself. The muppets donâ€™t want them.