The Right Perspective

Friday, January 29, 2010

Pet Therapy

I've always heard that having pets around is excellent therapy. It's a documented fact that pets help sick patients feel better and get better sooner. (I might be making that up, but I think it's documented...I'm just too lazy to actually check!)
I'm pretty sure that Bob and Puma (the cats) are doing their parts to help Mr. E get better. I mean, how else can I explain the pictures below?
When we got home from the doctor one evening, Ethan was asleep in his car seat, so we carried him in, left him in the seat in the living room and went upstairs to put Emily to bed. In just a few minutes, we heard crying. Andrew came downstairs to check...and there was Bob, sitting in the car seat on top of Ethan. Understand, Bob wouldn't hurt a flea. Mainly we know this because she's too much of a sloth to expend the energy, but also just because she's a very laid-back gentle cat who is used to babies and kids and crying. Ethan loves when Bob comes to visit him while we're playing on the floor. And poor Bob takes a literal beating when she gets close to him, not to mention losing a good chunk of fur due to his grabby hands. Still, she chooses to "love on" him and the following pictures prove it.
I laid Ethan on the changing table before his nap and Puma (the gray cat on the left) jumped up to look out the window. Bob didn't want to be left out so she climbed over Ethan too.

Ethan is FASCINATED by cat tails. They flip and flop and tickle him and he is determined to pull them as often as possible. This doesn't bother Bob in the least. Puma, however, despises Ethan (and pretty much everyone else except me). She can't be bothered by his presence. (Although Ethan's severely testing that premise!)

Finally Puma just decided to sit on Ethan's shoulder and wrap her tail around his neck and head. Surely her motives are pure...

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sick and Sicker

Well, I knew boys were more accident prone, and I guess I had steeled myself for an occasional trip to the ER for broken bones or stiches....but not at 6 months old and for illness.
As I mentioned before, Ethan and Emily have been sick all week. While Emily's pnuemonia was apparently caught pretty early and she has responded well to the antibiotics, Ethan didn't fare so well. He just got sicker.
We had been giving Ethan nebulizer treatments three times a day since Tuesday, but by Friday night, I just didn't like the way he was breathing. He seemed to be working too hard. I debated trying to get into the after-hours clinic at the pediatrician that night, but he went to sleep and did okay, so I waited.
On Saturday morning, he was still really struggling with wheezing and working pretty hard to breathe, so we made an appointment with the on-call pediatrician (not our regular one) and he and I went in to the office. They were somewhat busy, though I've seen it worse, and the doctor was less than attentive, to put it midly. Ethan was audibly wheezing and retracting during each breath. She listened to him for about 5 seconds, ordered a breathing treatment with the nebulizer and diagnosed him with asthma. Then she left the room and told me to come get her when we were done, otherwise "she might not remember to come back". (Yeah, I know what you're thinking.) So when he was done, she came back, listened to him for about 5 seconds, told us to use the nebulizer every 4-6 hours, give him steroids and oh yeah, antibiotics for an ear infection. She was standing in the open doorway (privacy?) and I could barely get her to answer a single question. Then she left. I did ask her how long it would take to see some improvement in his breathing (as I was paying, I saw her again). She said it would be slow...24-48 hours. So we left, me feeling very uneasy with how he still sounded and less than confident in her diagnosis.
About 2 hours after the treatment, Ethan was really struggling with breathing again, sitting on the floor with his mouth open and tongue hanging out...almost panting. We decided to take him to the ER. So, Andrew stayed home with Emily (since she certainly didn't need to catch anything else) and I took Ethan (being his main source of food!) We waited about 45 minutes to be checked in. He had a fever and they ordered chest x-rays and a breathing treatment. We got the x-rays done (second time in less than a week) and then they did the breathing treatment in the waiting room of the ER (privacy...ha). After about 3 hours in the waiting room, which is a very interesting place from a people-watching perspective, I might add, we got to go back to a treatment room to actually see a doctor. We spent another 2 hours there, hanging out and watching tv, before we found out that we were going to be admitted for the night.
The above picture is from the ER treatment room.

So around 8:30/9:00pm, we checked into our hospital room on the pediatric floor with the knowledge that we would be having another patient spend the night with us later in the evening. It was a rough night for kids with coughs. The nurses hooked Ethan up to a pulse oximeter and we monitored his breathing and he did really well, but was obviously working too hard to breathe. Still, we settled in for a long night...with strange roomates.

And a long night it was. I managed to get Ethan to sleep in his crib pretty quickly, especially since he hadn't napped all afternoon. However, hospitals aren't quiet and too many people were coming and going and he woke up and that was the end of that. He wanted to sleep, he just wouldn't do it in the crib. Actually, if I could have let him fuss a bit and wiggle around to get comfy, he probably would have. However they had him all propped up with blankets and he prefers to sleep on his side or tummy, which just wasn't happening in the he slept with/on me in the recliner all night. Notice I said "he" slept...not me. Not even for 10 minutes. It was a long...long night. I remembered college all-nighters. Not the partying kind, mind you, but the working kind. I remembered why I never liked them then and like them even less in a hot uncomfortable environment 10 years later.

Around 4 am, the nurse came in and told us that Ethan needed to put on some oxygen since his O2 levels weren't staying up high enough and he was having to work too hard to breathe. So, while he was sleeping, they taped a nasal canula to his face and started giving him oxygen and monitoring him even closer. He slept through it. Let's just say that when he woke up, he was less than thrilled to have something blowing air in his nose. (Sidenote: I was trying to describe the canula to Emily...,she's seen them before, but didn't really know what they were, so I told her that Ethan had little "nose fans". She liked that idea!)
Over the course of the day, Ethan was diagnosed with Bronchiolitis, which is basically caused by any number of viruses and ends up irritating and restricting his bronchiol tubes, causing wheezing and breathing problems. Usually it isn't too serious and doesn't require hospitalization, but Ethan ended up with a bad case, partly due to his age. No asthma, no ear infection, no need for antibiotics or steroids. In fact, nebulizer treatments weren't even a must, though they don't hurt. In short, the on-call pediatrician just plain got it wrong.
So we spent the rest of Sunday in the hospital. Once Ethan could keep his oxygen level up over 90% consistently (while he was sleeping) then we could go. He never stayed up over 90% the whole time, but the doctor told us that he was doing better and staying over 90% much better than in the morning, so she let us go home.
Ethan is still sick, and we're still watching him really closely. To be perfectly honest, I guess I won't be surprised if we end up making another trip to the hospital in the next couple of days. He still sounds pretty bad, and that's a scary thing to hear. We're watching him like a hawk and trying to keep him comfortable. He has slept quite a bit today and is very irritable. It's hard to know if he's crabby because he's over tired, if he's tired because he's over-tired (like me) or if he's actually lethargic. Right now, I'm leaning to the lethargic side, but hoping I'm wrong. We go back to the regular pediatrician tomorrow morning for a follow-up for both kids, so hopefully we can at least make it through another night at home and get an expert opinion tomorrow.

Poor little guy. So sick. So tired. So sweet.

Please pray for improved health for all of us. Andrew and I both have sore throats and Emily still sounds like she will cough up a lung. We're all a bit stressed and worried.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Rough Time

Things are rough around here.

Emily seems to be on the upswing from her pneumonia. She's been fever-free for two days now (though tonight it was right at 99 again). She's been very active and wild, so I think she's on the mend.

On the other hand, Ethan seems worse. When he saw the doctor and was prescribed the nebulizer, he was only coughing. Now he has the runny/stuffed/snotty nose and is having a really hard time breathing. What we're trying to decide is just how hard a time he's having. He struggles to eat, which I expected, because he's so stuffy. However he needs to eat. He really can't afford to lose weight. He's spitting up some, but I think that's from coughing so hard. He just sits there with his mouth hanging open, breathing so ragged and faster than I like. If things don't improve or look the same tomorrow, we're headed back to the doctor.

I'd like to think that four full days of nebulizer treatments would be helping him, but if Emily caught some sort of virus/bacteria that led to her pneumonia, then I'm a bit concerned that Ethan could be heading the same direction. He was up every 1- 1.5 hours last night, which wasn't much fun either. That could be due to his illness or the Albuterol he's inhaling.

Prayers are welcome.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Setting a Record

When the pediatrician walked into our exam room this afternoon, she said, "Well, are you trying to set the record for the most number of visits?"

Yes, indeed we are on record-setting pace this year (and last). I knew having two kids would mean twice the sickness, but I didn't count on this much.

Yesterday, I took Ethan for his 6 month well-child visit. He weighs in at an even 15 lbs., is 26 .25 inches long and is in the 9th percentile for weight (even lower for weight to height ratio). Since he's meeting all this developmental milestones, I think I give up on worrying about his weight. However, I am worried about his never-ending cough.

And apparently, I have reason to be. Ethan's had this cough since early December. It started off innocently enough, but it has steadily gotten worse. He had minor wheezing by the end of December and we did a round of antibiotics. He still had the cough and by yesterday, it was sounding pretty icky. Even when he was just breathing, he was raspy. And apparently, still wheezing.

So when the pediatrician listened to his lungs, she heard substantially more wheezing and ordered a breathing treatment in the office (with a nebulizer) and ordered a chest x-ray. She thinks his cough/wheezing are a result of his reflux, but we're not sure. Then she sent us home (after 3 shots and an oral vaccine) with a nebulizer of our very own to use three times a day for the next week.

Did I mention that he screamed through the entire 15 minute treatment? Oh...and Emily cried through it too, but she has her own issues......

Because today's appointment was for her. Yes, Miss Em began coughing on Sunday, while at Grandma's house. Then her nose started running, so we naturally assumed it was her allergies flaring up, which is might have been. Then she woke up on Monday with a fever which continued to climb all day. She was pretty lethargic, just sitting on the couch not really doing anything, which is very unlike her. Tuesday, she still had a fever and it climbed...and climbed...and climbed until it hit 104.4. As the pediatrician said, "That's pretty impressive!". More like scary, if you ask me. I gave her Tylenol and it did come down, but she was a miserable little gal.

So today, we went to the doctor just to make sure that Em's cough wasn't morphing into wheezing as it has once before. Well, I don't think we're dealing with wheezing this time, though we are going to be doing the inhaler three times a day again. We are, however dealing with pnuemonia. And so, Em's bedtime cocktail these days now consists of Zythromax, Nasonex, Zyrtec, Albuterol (inhaler) and Tylenol for any substantial fever.

The fun just never ends. Please pray, if you are so inclined, for a quick recovery and no more sickness for a good long time. Em's been out of school all week and will miss at least one day next week for a follow-up appointment. Getting back into the groove is hard for her on a good day, so we really need to just keep plugging along without a lot of interruptions. All this sickness is taking a toll on all of us.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Ethan at 6 Months

Today you are six months old! Half a year has gone by in the blink of an eye and you are growing and changing so much.
You weigh about 15 lbs. and you are 26.25 inches long. You're in the 9th percentile for weightand 45th percentile for height. In other words, you're the exact opposite of your big sister. You're a little guy!

This past month, you've been a busy little guy. You did a lot of traveling, to both sets of grandparents, and you saw almost every member of your extended family. You got to meet a few of mommy's relatives for the first time. Although you won't remember it, they enjoyed getting to see you.

What can I say about this month? Hmmm, you've been sleeping a bit better, but still not great. Many nights, you still wake up every 2-3 hours, but every once in a while, you give us a break and only wake up once. We need more of those nights. I am learning that you prefer to put yourself to sleep instead of being held or rocked or nursed to sleep like your sister. Lately, I will feed you at naptime or bedtime and instead of falling asleep and then me putting you in your crib, you will fuss and squirm and try to get away, it seems. So I started just laying you down in the crib while you were still awake...and much to my surprise, you would wiggle around, roll onto your side and fall right to sleep. You are so very different from Emily in this regard.

You learned to sit up all by yourself this month, and with that skill, you discovered a whole new perspective on the world. Most days, you will sit on your blanket on the floor, surrounded by toys, and happily play and look around. You especially love when the kitties or dog stop by to visit. I can't always say the feeling is mutual though, since you are fascinated with pulling hair, both human and animal. You also ADORE your big sister and think that every single thing she does is fascinating and just plain awesome. She can make you smile and laugh like no one else.

You've also learned to stick out your tongue. All day long, you practice this new skill, sticking your tongue out, blowing bubbles, blowing raspberries and then repeating. It's making it a bit more challenging to feed you, as you now push the food out with your tongue and sometimes even blow it back at me. Feeding you almost requires a poncho for both of us!

You are much more active and mobile than you used to be. You sit up, you roll over, you squirm all around...I never know what position I'll find you in when you wake up, but it's never the same one as when I left.

You've discovered your feet and they are fascinating! You play with them every chance you get. There is no point in putting socks on you, because you pull them off almost immediately and then chew on them. When I put you in the bathtub, you spend most of the time sucking on your toes. Whatever makes you happy....

You've had some ups and downs this months. While you've made lots of developmental progress, your actual growth is slow. While you started out being in the 50th percentile for height and weight, you're now around the 8th percentile. You eat, but not much and not for long. Whenever I feed you, I have to go to a quiet dark room and sit very, very still so that you do not get distracted. I can't even look at you, or you'll start grinning and forget about eating....and you need to eat! You absolutely refuse to take any kind of bottle (or pacifier, but I've given up on those), which makes things a lot more difficult. Thankfully, you do seem to love your oatmeal and fruits and veggies.

Overall, you've come a long way from the tiny, hairy little baby that we first met 6 months ago today. You are developing such a fun and ornery personality and we can't wait to see how you continue to grow and change in the next few months. We love you, Buddy!

Friday, January 08, 2010

Look Who's.....

Sitting up by himself!
Yep, Mr. E is sitting up on his own these days. He started trying it very briefly while at Grammy's house over Christmas, but he could only do it for a few seconds.

But with a lot of concentration....he's learned to sit up by himself for a few minutes at a time before this happens....

Oops, a face plant, but nothing that a little cuddling with his stuffed monkey can't fix.

And with a little help from mom...he's back up again!

Oh, and another thing...he likes to play with this ball.
Just thought you'd want to know.

Emily's Christmas

Emily also had a very long drive for her Christmas. We made the trip in two days and left around 6 pm the first night. By around 9:00, Emily was literally begging to please find a hotel because she needed to go to sleep. After five years, the kid finally recognizes her need for sleep and how she feels when she is tired. She now (mostly) embraces sleep, but if we keep her up much beyond 7:30, she's a bear. Still, she did really well on the trip too.
Above: Emily with Daddy, opening one of her many "Barbies". It was actually Mulan of the Disney Princess fame, but she's totally into all things Barbie and princess, so it was a hit.

Above: Emily holding her new tutu. Note the headband with bow that she picked out herself and insisted on wearing, even with her pjs.

Above: The only thing Emily asked for from Santa was a Barbie car. It was the very last present she opened, and she was getting worried that maybe he forgot. Barbie and the princesses and Ken have ridden many places in that car.

Above: Emily sitting with her second cousin Angela. Em got the game "Pretty, Pretty Princess" for Christmas from my aunt and we have all played...and played....and played. She wanted me to take her picture after she won.

Above: Emily unwrapped a lot of presents this year...hers and Ethan's. Ethan could not have cared less about the whole Christmas present thing. He slept through Christmas Eve present opening and much of Christmas morning. So Emily "helped" him open his gifts as well.

Ethan's First Christmas

Mr. Ethan had a long ride for his first Christmas. We drove to Delaware to spend Christmas with my side of the family. Poor little guy spent a lot of time in his car seat, but thankfully, he handled things very well with minimal fussing.
Above: Christmas morning, sitting in Grammy's lap, sporting his festive striped Christmas jammies and santa hat.

Above: Ethan hanging out with Pop-pop.

Above: Ethan chewing on a new toy, sitting on Grammy's lap and visiting with Mom-mom P. It was her Mom-mom's first time seeing him.

Above: Grammy reading to Ethan

Above: Sitting in Aunt Kathy's lap. The hat just makes me was a little small.