One line summary – J-Man has a rip-roaring ear infection. Blech.
It’s always alarming when you see your kid’s teacher’s cell phone number pop up on the caller ID. They don’t send kids home from our Pre-K unless they’re practically near death. The teachers pride themselves on being able to handle anything, and largely they do.
As was noted in yesterday’s sleepless episode, J-Man had a bad night. But it apparently wasn’t due to travel like we thought, but to said ear infection. He woke up groggy but OK this morning, albeit a bit grumpy when he got to school. They said he did decently this morning and early afternoon, though not his usual self. About 2:00 he went downhill in a big hurry and was – get this – asleep in his teacher’s lap when we got there about 2:45. He NEVER sleeps during the day. We knew this was bad.
This is where a major difficulty in parenting a minimally or nonverbal child comes into play. There’s no good way to figure out what hurts. We all noticed him tugging at his ears and his cough sounded terrible, which was more than enough reason to call the doctor. Though beyond that, he could have had a hangnail or hemorrhoids for all we knew. If he could tell us, we might have caught the infection before it got bad and migrated into his chest. But watching and guessing and intuiting is the best we can do.
I had my cell phone out looking for a signal (which is remarkably hard to get at school for some reason) the minute we hit the school parking lot to get him in at the pediatricians’ office. They got us in two hours later. The only other time I think I’ve seen J-Man look this bad is when he had the norovirus a couple of years ago.
I was near rejoicing when they said our appointment was with Dr. F, who I’ll call Dr. Feelgood. He doesn’t really look like a Dr. Feelgood in the Motley Crue sense of the word, though. In fact, his claim to fame is that he is so calm that if he relaxed any further, he’d be dead. A child could spontaneously grow four heads and tentacles in the exam room and this would not even cause him to blink (well, maybe an extra blink or two). We seem to draw him a lot among the five doctors at the practice when we have something that involves screaming and pain. This turns out to be a good fit.
J-Man had fallen asleep AGAIN while in the exam room, waking up only to scream at any given nurse who walked in only to then go back to sleep after a couple of minutes of singing. Still, he was tossing and turning in our arms and moaning and generally being miserable. Dr. Feelgood sneaks in and starts talking with his soft, monotone voice and puts the stethoscope on J-Man’s back to listen to his breathing with ninja-like stealth.
Unfortunately, there’s this whole thing about needing to check his ears. Not even Dr. Feelgood can pull that off without waking him up. But he deftly gets the ear-looking-into-thingy into J-Man’s ear and within half a second sees everything he needs to, and he’s done.
What I like about this doctor is that he has a plan for anything ready the minute he makes a diagnosis, complete with a charted path to feeling good again – hence Dr. Feelgood. Antibiotic – seven days, and we can help him start feeling better tonight with an antibiotic injection, which isn’t fun and will mean you have to stay here for about a half-hour, but it should start knocking this mess out so he can sleep and recover. Sign us up!
Within a couple of minutes of the shot, J-Man was asleep in Mary’s arms again. He woke up to scream at the nurse checking the injection site and then promptly went back to sleep again in the car while I went into Target to get his Rx filled and Mary chowed down on a Pregnancy Happy-Not-To-Be-Barfing Meal from McDonald’s, minus whatever twisted toy one might put in such a thing.
The fact that he could fall asleep several times over the evening regardless of where he was left no doubts about how awful he felt. He was exhibiting behaviors I had never seen before, which isn’t surprising I guess since this is his first real ear infection. Completely inconsolable. It was awful.
But now he’s sleeping, so let’s hope for the best. If he’s a new kid in the morning, we’ll be praising Dr. Feelgood for making him feel alright.