Just Breathe

It has been another crazy week to continue the Summer of Angst and Teeth-Gnashing.

Monday was a good day, even though I was rushing to get laundry done for Justin for his trip, and had to do my Fantasy Football Draft at 10:30pm at night. Thankfully we zoomed through our draft in about 35 minutes and I was able to get to bed a lot earlier than I had been in weeks.

Tuesday started out alright. Cooper was in a really good mood and was laughing and waving at me while I filled up my car. I dropped him off at school and he even waved bye to me this time (he’s usually too busy eating to acknowledge my departure). After a fairly busy day at work, I was nearly finished when I got a call from school saying Cooper spiked a sudden fever. But in the usual fashion, I had an knucklehead coworker who wasted an additional 25 minutes of my time after that call came in so that I couldn’t leave immediately (this is after this same person had already wasted 90 min and just didn’t get it when I said, “I have to leave NOW.”). While on the road, I pray that it’s just a tooth. I mean, I was just home for two days last week due to his diarrhea. And home a day or two a few weeks before that, and again before that, and over and over for his ears. I get there and grab Gavin and pick up a very miserable and hot Cooper. Thankfully it was only around 101, but his teacher said it literally snuck up on him because he was playing and cruising around the room, and then *BAM* was sitting there fussy and crying in the middle of the room. When the picked him up to console him, that’s when they realized he was hot…and he hadn’t been about an hour prior when he had his last diaper change.

That information made my heart drop into my belly because I knew that it was his ears again. I was so frustrated, so angry, and I felt so bad for my little guy in pain, AGAIN, for the fourth time since this all began about 8 weeks ago. I get ahold of Justin in the car and I’m nearly hysterical because I’m tired and can’t believe this child is ill again, and realizing that it will be a lot harder to get some work done since Justin isn’t home to help. On other occassions, Justin would bring Gavin to school (like usual) so that I could give Cooper his morning cup of milk and he’d either doze back off or play in his bed until 8:30 or 9am. During that time I was usually able to knock out a lot of emails and work, and log a good 2+ hours (no, my bosses do not count my hours and yes, they trust me to get my work done, but I still feel the need to be online and readily available for eight hours). Now, since Justin is out of town, I have to get all three of us up and dressed and I have to drive 15 miles to daycare to drop off Gavin, come back with Cooper and hope he give me a good 20 minutes to get a few things done. I totally lose that morning time to get stuff done (not to mention the hour in the car…argh!).

On our way home, the kids and I get stuck in bad traffic, so I run to McDonald’s for a stellar dinner that both of them whine and cry through. While we’re pseudo-eating, Cooper pulls on his left ear once, and hits both sides of his head just above his ears. Crap. That definitely means ears. I dope him up and put him to bed.

Wednesday begins my marathon. I get up, jump in the shower, get Gavin up and dressed, fix Cooper’s cup of milk (I really mean toddler formula…his blasted addiction to antibiotics and loose bowels have prevented me from putting him on whole milk), throw on some clothes and run a comb through my wet hair, get Cooper dressed, then run all three of us out the door. Thirty minutes later I’m running Gavin into the school, leaving Cooper in the car w/the keys so he has the radio to keep him company. I run out and one of the other parents is telling the front desk that there’s “some baby in car with the keys in the ignition” and I holler, “my kid! sorry! I’m that parent!” as I run out the door (note: it was only about 70 degrees so no chance of him getting too warm in those 4 or 5 minutes I was trying to pry Gavin off my legs).

We drive the half-hour home while I’m trying to reach the pediatrician’s office to get Cooper an appointment. I get one scheduled, get home, feed him some breakfast, play a little, convince him to play on his own so I can get a little work done, then rush off to the pediatrician. She looks at his ears and pronounces them infected and gives me the names and numbers to three ENTs in the area. She gives me a fourth antibiotic (Biaxin), says it’s a great med, but that it’s really really gritty and hard to get kids to take (when I looked it up, the info states it is “practically insoluble in water”). She also mentions that he is probably a prime candidate for ear tubes. I call the first ENT office while still sitting in the pediatrician’s parking lot, and they are able to squeeze me in that afternoon with their nurse practitioner! YAY! So I drive home, feed Cooper, put him down for his nap, and plow through some work before I need to run out again.

At three o’clock I get him up, run to the ENT’s office, where they dig more stuff out of his ears in order to see those little inflamed ear drums and reinforce the pediatrician’s diagnosis. They tell me that they typically wait until there’s a fifth ear infection before doing tubes, but in cases of young babies learning to speak or in cases where the infections have been exceptionally close together, they will do it after the fourth infection if there’s still a lot of fluid behind the ears. So I make my follow-up appointment for two weeks out and pray he doesn’t need tubes. Not so much because I am afraid or uncertain of the procedure, but because my insurance won’t pay for an outpatient procedure like that until my $1,000 deductible is met first. When the rep on the phone first told me that, I burst into tears and warbled, “if I don’t have $700 to fix my car, what makes you think I have $1,000 to fix my son’s ears?” She apologized and I did, too. It’s certainly not her fault that my benefits are crummy when it comes to something like that.

So I leave the ENT’s office, run half-way back home to drop off Cooper’s prescription, realize the wait is kinda long and it’s after 4pm and I still have to go get Gavin, so I leave it there and run to get him. Our ride back home, which normally takes 30-45 minutes, took us nearly an hour to just get to our exit, thanks to a concert. I get off the expressway finally and hightail it back to Target to grab the prescription and we head home, where I fix a nutritious dinner of generic mac-n-cheese with chopped up hot dogs in it. Gavin ate it with little complaint, and Cooper shoveled it in with both hands, barely pausing to poop. Then came the fun of getting Cooper to take his gritty medicine. At one point he tried to wipe it out of his mouth and ran that hand across his cheek…it looked like he had sand stuck to his face. I then decided to mix it in some sherbet and finally got it down him.

I bathe the kids and get them in bed and finally sit down. I start checking in on stuff from work. And trying to reach Justin to catch him up with my day. I realized that I logged 80 miles on my car just on Wednesday alone. I realized that I’ve coughed up $50 in (failed) prescriptions and another $100 for Florastor for Cooper. I didn’t even try to count up the amount in co-pays I’ve coughed up for him this year. Looming over my head also was that potential cost for ear tubes and the money we will need to pay to eventually repair my car, which has had the check-engine light on since the same day of Cooper’s first ear infection in late June (I don’t know about you, but it’s very distracting to me to drive 300+ miles a week with that light glaring at me).

I felt out of control, frustrated, overwhelmed, and had no outlet. Adding to that was that I was having difficulty getting a babysitter for this Saturday night so that Justin and I could have time together out with other adults, and I just found out that friends of ours just suffered a major loss in their lives, which totally broke my heart.

So I pulled out the canning equipment and began to make some jam. Some women clean when they’re stressed; I cook. Or eat. Or both. Two hours later I was cleaning up my pots and pans from making 2 pints and 12 half-pints of raspberry-blackberry jam, all of which were drying and cooling off on a towel on my counter. I felt calmer, more collected, under control, and had a bonus sugar buzz from eating taste-testing the hot molten jam.

This morning I felt calmer. It had started raining during the night and really cooled things off. I got Gavin ready and to school with a lot less hassle than he had been giving me all week. Cooper was so cute and sat and watched the rain for 20 minutes before playing with his toys, giving me a good jump on my work. I laid him down right at noon and he’s just now waking up, 3-1/2 hours later. My boss IM’d me and told me that even if Cooper’s well enough for school tomorrow, to work from home again instead of sitting in bad holiday traffic. I was able to make some brownies to bring to my friends that I will try to take over there on my way to get Gavin (or may wait till tomorrow since it’s getting late). And even though I neglected to get copies of Gavin’s immunizations to the county Child Find office for his Speech/Auditory IEP (maybe because I don’t recall them mentioning it and there wasn’t a sheet in that 2-inch high pile of paperwork that mentioned it, either), I had no issues with the pediatrician’s office faxing it over there. And the Speech Therapist reassured me that she usually doesn’t begin speech services until at least the second week of school, so I still have time to get his schedule coordinated with her. Last, but not least, Justin said he’s been having a great time at his Apple training sessions and says he’s had some really positive discussions with people about all sorts of things, and I think he’s secretly excited to be in such a geeky environment with a bunch of other Apple geeks.

I’m extremely thankful that things are falling into place, and that today was calm and made up for me being so crazy and mentally exhausted yesterday. However, I wouldn’t be opposed to some cash falling out of the sky…maybe these remnant of tropical storm Fey we’re getting will bring some, eh? If not, seeing these two certainly helps:

About the Author

Colleen

This is a blog where I will share my adventures and mundane tasks as a work-out-of-home-mom. I now have 2 kids and my wonderful husband, so the juggling has gotten a little bit more tricky (man-on-man defense). We also have 2 dogs and 3 cats (we used to have 4) so as you can imagine, our household is pretty busy. Since I never feel like I'm being listened to, I figured I'll just start talking at the general Internet community and see what happens.

14 Comments

melissa

my oldest son, the first two years of his life…he had chronic ear infections. we were going to have to put tubes in. suddenly…around 2 1/2 y/o…he stopped getting them!!
i hope things get better!!!

Karen

I feel for you, I really do. And I’m sorry. I cook when I’m stressed, too. It’s very therapeutic. And yummy. 🙂

I suggest getting the tubes the minute your deductible is met. It’ll make life so much easier for all of you.

Kait

Wow mama, looks like you’ve had a hard run of it the last few days. Hopefully things will start to look up. Go you on the jam thing – I tend to turn to reading when I’m stressed, it’s far less productive!

(Katiebear from Plurk)

swirl girl

They do look happy and sweet, though.
Just remember that picture the next time you have another Wednesday.

Sexy Housewife

Okay, I am tired just reading all this. I am so glad my kids are beyond the “I’m sick but I can’t tell you what is wrong” stage. I cook when I am stressed too. Keep on keeping on!

LL

I’m sorry the deductible is so high, tubes really did change our lives. As you said, the antibiotics, co-pays, missed work, and everything else adds up as well. And isn’t cold/ear infection season just starting? $1,000 is a Lot of money, but is there any way you two could do it? Does the hospital work with you at all? Can they characterize it in a way that works better for your insurance?

It is true that infections usually stop, but it is around 2-3 years old and Cooper still has a little ways to go.

I’m sorry you’re feeling overwhelmed, I hate it when life gets that way.

LaskiGal

Awe . . . what a time you’ve had. I was breathless just reading. Big challenges.

Biaxin has always worked wonders in my family.

I hope Cooper feels better (and his mommy, too).

tammy

Oh honey, that SUCKS. I think you should get an extra day added to your life just for surviving that one.

If it makes you feel any better, my check engine light has been on since 2006.

Madame Queen

Oh, Colleen. I’m sorry you had such a rough day. And it’s so hard seeing your little one sick time and time again. I remember when Punkin went through several months where she just kept getting sick and I just sat there on the phone with my husband and sobbed “I just want her to get well!” Here’s hoping things are looking up. I’ll start praying for that cash thing you were talking about.

Tranny Head

Poor Cooper. Maybe they’ll have an installment payment plan for the tubes … I just keep reading blog posts about how much BETTER things are for kids who get infections that won’t clear up after they have the tubes.

I hope he’s feeling better ASAP.

Jesse

Oh, how heartbreaking that he’s going through this again. Poor little man 🙁 I know how god-awful it feels to not have the coverage you need when your child is sick, too. And your car. And it’s always at the same time, isn’t it? Am so glad today is going better, and I hope the sediment-Rx clears this up quickly.
Hang in there, Momma. It’s going to turn around. ((hugs))

jen

That so sucks…but it sounds like it is still not definite about the tubes. Is the follow up to see if the fluid is gone? Are you still doing the allergy meds to help dry him up?

Flea

Good to hear your boss tell you to work from home. Thank the Lord for small things, eh? Maybe you should open an Etsy and sell that homemade jam so you can stay home. 🙂

Valerie

Oh I am so sorry your week so terrible. I can’t believe he has another ear infection…poor little guy. Ears attached to kids born on 07/12/07 definetly seem to have issues…I think its time for a recall.

Everybody imaginable swears by tubes in the ears…except we haven’t been as lucky. For that reason, I hope that you guys doing have to deal with them and that Cooper just magically stops getting ear infections!

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