It’s the 2010 cold/flu season. And the muppets are now the recipients of a 2010 cold.
This is their first illness (other than “tiny”). So naturally, I panicked. Jon called the advice nurse to ask if we should bring them in to see the doctor.
“Do they have a fever?” No.
“Have they stopped eating?” No.
“Is there green goo coming out of any orifice?” No.
“Is he vomiting?” 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. “Oooh, I don’t like the sound of that,” she commented. That was all it took – 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. “I’m leaving to take my muppets to the doctor,” 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 Destroy’s breathing and said “I can’t let him leave here looking like that.” 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 – 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 – 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. It’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 wasn’t thrilled with the concept, but he didn’t fight it too hard. And amazingly, he responded phenomenally to the treatment. The doctor even later admitted that she didn’t think we’d be going home that night…
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 we’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, I’m pretty sure they have the same virus.
Destroy’s pulse ox was 100. Search’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 yesterday’s technician got the wrong result.
Today’s doctor confirmed – 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 – similar to when you or I get a cold and then can’t shake the blasted cough for 7-14 days after we feel better.
In addition to albuterol, this weekend’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. They’ve slept a tremendous amount for the past couple days; I am encouraging this because I know that’s what I enjoy doing when I’m sick. But the second I try to put them down, their little snuggle meter blares to life.
“HOLD ME! I NEED TO BE HELD. I DO NOT FEEL GOOD!!!” 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 doesn’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 don’t want them.