Thursday, March 26, 2015

Strep by Strep

A couple of weeks ago, Melanie came down with strep throat. She’s well past the contagious stage, but the symptoms linger. Her voice still isn’t back to normal, and she still coughs more than usual. She’s a lot peppier, though. That’s nice.

Last Friday, Eddie stayed home from school because he wasn’t feeling well. By Saturday, all of the kids had fevers and were coughing, though Creegan was faring much better than Eddie and Peter. We stayed home from church on Sunday and canceled our social plans. On Monday, Eddie seemed a little better, but Peter was worse. We kept them both home from school. Beegy was still doing pretty well in comparison.

Being about a day behind Eddie, Peter stayed home again on Tuesday, but Eddie went to school. He (Eddie) was still coughing a decent amount, but the fevers had subsided and he seemed in relatively good spirits. But by Tuesday night, his eyes were looking cloudy, a fever had returned, and it was clear he wasn’t doing well. He went to sleep on the couch, earlier than normal, which was very unusual for him. Peter was even more extreme. He went to sleep barely after 3 PM and woke up only a few times, for very brief periods of time, until the next morning. Even Creegan was coughing a lot more than he had been before.

I took all three kids to the doctor on Wednesday. It was a hellish experience. Beegy doesn’t handle doctor visits well at all. He freaks out and screams and resists everything. Even having his ears checked, which isn’t a big deal. I knew having his throat swabbed was not going to be pretty. And it wasn’t. We had to try multiple times, with me holding him on my lap, trying somehow to hold his head in place and his arms still. He kicked the nurse pretty hard. I don’t think she was too happy about it. I’m not sure she even got a good swab, but it was good enough for her. Eddie and Peter had already had their throats swabbed by the time I went through this charade with Beegy. Because Beegy took so much concentrated effort, I didn’t even notice that Peter had vomited all over the floor, a delayed gag reflex brought on by the probing swabs. “I know my youngest child just kicked you super hard in the stomach, nurse, but would you mind wiping up my other child’s barf now?” That’s basically the situation I was dealing with. All three kids were bawling at this point—Creegan because of everything, Peter because he had puked, and Eddie because everybody else was freaking out. Good thing nobody was taking my blood pressure. I would’ve been hospitalized.

When the doctor came in, she happily informed me that all three boys tested negative for strep. She said it was incredibly unlikely that all three would come back as a false negative, so she was quite confident in her diagnosis.  All we could do is try to keep the boys comfortable while they let whatever viral infection had attacked them pass. We got some ice cream from the drive-thru window at Arctic Circle on the way home. The world seemed a much better place than it had 30 minutes earlier.

At the doctor’s recommendation, we kept Eddie and Peter home from school yet again today. The doctor had said only that we should definitely keep them home if they continued to have a fever, and that we should probably keep them home if their coughing continued to be extreme. Both Eddie and Peter had had fevers on Wednesday night, and the coughing was still intense. So, one more day at home. I took comfort in the assumption that they’d be back to school tomorrow. Surely, they’d be feeling better by then.

Melanie got a call from the doctor this afternoon. It turns out Eddie and Peter do have strep throat. Beegy’s still shows as negative, but apparently it can take up to two days for strep to show on their test. So, it’s quite possible he does have it, especially when you consider that his throat swab may have been less than adequate. The good news is, Eddie and Peter now have prescription antibiotics that will hopefully nip this thing in the bud. Beegy’s fate remains up in the air—he’s still coughing a decent amount—but it’s quite possible we can resume normal life within the next couple of days. The antibiotics will make Eddie and Peter innocuous to others, so we can actually leave the house and do something (besides visit a doctor’s office and puke on the floor).

Wait … what if I get sick? Oh dear. Let’s not go there. So far, I’m doing pretty well. I’ve felt a little congested, and my throat hasn’t felt 100% normal, but I’ve been that way for several days without deterioration. Melanie doesn’t remember it, but I swear she once had strep and I never caught it, even though we were cuddling and kissing like lovesick fools. (A quick search of my blog history reveals that Melanie had strep throat in November 2004 and February 2005, with me remaining healthy both times.) I even hypothesized that I had somehow made myself immune by making out with her. We probably don’t make out like we used to, but I’ll keep my fingers crossed. I’ll also hold out hope that the antioxidants I’m ingesting from my ongoing tea binge will help. You never know.

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