Monday afternoon, right before lunch time, I got a call from the boys' school that Thing 2 was running a fever. So, I left work to go pick him up and spend the rest of the day at home with him. He was definitely feverish (hovering around 102 all night) and moaning and groaning and whimpering the most pitiful "nope" to just about every question I asked. Around 11 pm, he started vomiting, and continued vomiting over the next few hours. Then, around 3 am, he finally fell into a deep, yet still fitful sleep.
Some things are going on at work right now that make me really anxious about taking too many days off and Superman doesn't have any sick days right now (long story), so I arranged for Grandma Train to come over on Tuesday and stay with him. These boys tend to bounce back really quickly from sicknesses, so I didn't have too much guilt about abandoning him while he was ill. I figured he'd be running around like normal in no time. Besides, I was planning on going home to check on him around lunch time.
Well, Superman beat me to it. He stopped by on his lunch break to help take Thing 2's temperature and help administer the next dose of pain killer (Grandma Train has a bad back, so while she can read to, play with, and comfort the boys, she can't lift our 36-lb sack of sick potatoes or have the strength to fight him to take his medicine or temperature.). Around 11:30 or so, I get a phone call, Thing 2's temperature is 104.1. At this point, I still wasn't positive I was taking him to the doctor's but I knew that a kid this sick needed his mom and Grandma Train needed some relief.
When I got home, it was 45 minutes after a cool bath and a dose of Ibuprofen, and he was still burning up. I took his temp again (103.5) and called the doctor's office. My mother's intuition said that my kid was really sick. I'd never seen him so whiny and moany and miserable. But, the nurse on the other end said based on his symptoms, and as long as the pain reliever was bringing the fever down some (even if just 1 degree), wait for 3 days and if his fever still didn't subside, to bring him in.
Later that afternoon, you could add diarrhea to the symptoms.
All that night he was feverish (pain killers only brought it down 1/.5 degree or so), lethargic, and all around not feeling good. Superman slept in the guest room. While I barely slept with Thing 2 in our bed.
The next day was more of the same. More high temps. More moody, whiny, needy boy who didn't know what he wanted, uncomfortable, and couldn't be satisfied. Papaw Train did come buy with treats. And he seemed to perk up enough to go downstairs and play trains. But he fell asleep while playing, and Papaw left. When he woke up, his temp was back up to 104 and he was as miserable as ever.
Later that afternoon, he started complaining about his belly hurting, rubbing down in his lower abdomen. All along he has been barely eating, so I figured it must be an empty tummy. Superman came home and got worried it was appendicitis. We were on the verge of calling the doctor again when out of nowhere Thing 2 started acting better. So much better in fact, he was walking around saying his "sick is broken now" and ready to go back to school. He even ate a fair amount of dinner. I was thrilled. It definitely seemed he was on the mend. And I was telling myself that that nurse had been right...that I just had to wait out the symptoms and they'd disappear on their own.
Bed time came and Thing 2 was whiny and threw a fit that we weren't letting him sleep in our bed yet again. I explained that sick boys get to sleep in mommy and daddy's bed and well boys sleep in their own bed.
After missing half a day on Monday, half a day on Tuesday, and a full day on Wednesday, I was preparing for a good night sleep to go back to work on Thursday.
At about 1:30 am, our bed was invaded yet again by my whiny feverish hot box. 103.8 and as moany and miserable as ever. I guess his sick wasn't broken after all.
When asking Thing 2 what was hurting, he kept rubbing his lower abdomen and saying his tummy. Superman gave me the look. He was really worried about appendicitis. He had just had his taken out 3 years ago when the boys were babies, and hadn't experienced the typical textbook symptoms. So he was very convinced it was possible Thing 2's symptoms didn't have to follow the book either. I wasn't as convinced (or at all), but I was up losing sleep over how to make my baby feel better and why I'd waited so long to take him to the doctor. Now it was 3:30 am and I was counting down the minutes until 8 am when I could take him to see his doctor.
I guess I finally fell asleep, because around 7 am I woke up. The first thing I did was feel Thing 2's forehead. No fever. But this time, when he woke up, he was not acting fine. He might not have had a fever, but he was still whiny and moany with sick eyes. He was still the sick version of himself. I went ahead and called and make the appointment. Then we got his brother dressed and dropped him off at school.
Thing 2 at first was upset he couldn't stay at school (mostly because he wanted to do the morning activity), but then perked up when we went to the donut shop. Here is where I start doubting myself again...in the car to and while at the donut shop he was acting fine again. Chatty. Sweet. Inquisitive. And he seemed to have an appetite. He ate 3/4 of his "white donut" (powdered sugar) and 1/4 of his "brown milk".
I'm thinking: Great, I'm taking him in to the doctor's with no fever and acting fine. A waste of money and time.
But we press on. At the doctor's office, his temperature is 98.7. Perfectly normal. But, he is acting weird again. Lots of "nope" answers. When I tell the doctor about the abdomen, she asked him if his belly hurts and he says a pitiful "yea". Then she asks if his hair hurts and he says a pitiful "yea". Then she points out that it's hard to diagnose children this age because of their lack of ability to effectively communicate.
One look at his throat with her little doctor light though, and the need for communication went out the window. "Looks pretty red back there. Let's get a strep test done."
My big boy opened wide and said "ahh" and about 5 minutes later, it was official...he has his first case of strep throat. Fifteen minutes later, he had his first dose of amoxicillin.
Five hours later, he is feeling much better. But I feel awful. How could I have made him suffer through 3 days of aches and fevers when he had a legitimate illness? When I get strep, I am at the doctor's within hours and getting my antibiotics. No way I would suffer through without my drugs. But I didn't want to be that mom bringing her kid to the doctor for some virus that would pass and there was nothing they could give them anyway. Yet, on Tuesday and Wednesday both I had the nagging doubt of "should I go ahead and just take him in?" and didn't.
I still don't want to be that parent who takes her kid into the doctor for every cough and sneeze, but next time I'll know that if I know my kid is feeling miserable and really not himself, that I'll follow my mother's intuition on when to take him to see the doctor.