Sunday, April 24, 2011

The sick that wasn't

People told us that kids get sick a lot when they start day care, and oh boy did they understate the case. Viral infections. Ear infections. Stomach viruses. Strange unidentifiable illnesses that vanish after lasting just long enough for you to yank them out of school and haul them to the doctor. I feel like I should prerecord myself saying, "Kiddo/kiddette is sick and DH took them to the doctor, so I need to leave early to pick up kiddette/kiddo from school," and just hit "play" whenever I need to inform my boss. Saves wear and tear on the vocal cords.

So this time around, we'd just gotten kiddette in for a follow-up visit after her ear infection -- all looked much improved, but he said to keep tabs on it -- when kiddo developed his own ear infection two days later. A round of drugs for kiddo. That evening, kiddette started fussing and crying, generally acting in pain, slight fever, refusing food, and we both thought, the ear infection returns. Arrgh. I called the pediatrician, but by the time he got around to calling back, I was halfway to the ER, because it was Good Friday and we were not going to wait out a holiday weekend on the off chance her ear really was worse. Naturally, she fell asleep in the car. Which probably should've clued me in right there, in retrospect.

Fortunately the ER wasn't packed, and they have a separate sitting area for kids, which we spent zero time in anyway. I guess they didn't want to keep the small child waiting. So the doctor -- who I think might've left his bedside manner in the pocket of his other white coat -- came in and checked her over, declaring her ears looked fine and it was probably a viral infection. Duh on me. So, looking at me like I was a crazy person to panic over my kid having the sniffles, he told me to give her 130 ml of ibuprofen. And left.

While waiting for the discharge papers -- yes, apparently we needed some, and no, they didn't say THANKS FOR WASTING OUR TIME, YOU NUMBSKULL -- I checked with DH, who noted that our bottle of kiddie ibuprofen measured in mg, not ml. So I asked the nurse about that when she bustled back in with the paperwork.

A note about the nurse. I don't know if she was on loan from the grownup ER, or if she just does the kiddie ER thing on her way up to becoming chief of surgery or whatever, but seriously, if you're going to treat ill children you should have some sort of way with them. Shooting up your voice 15 octaves and talking in exclamation points does not cut it. Don't get all cutesy-poo about how adorable my kid's pink coat is. She knows. But she doesn't know you, and no power on this planet is going to make her crack a smile for you unless and until she decides you're cool by her. And why are you trying to get a smile out of a presumably ill and unhappy child, anyway? Where do you think you are, the playground?

Anyway. She bustled in and I asked her about the mg/ml thing. She seemed startled that I was talking, because clearly that's not how discharges are supposed to go. But then after hemming and hawing about it, she said mg and ml are the same thing. And that 5 ml equals one teaspoon. Thus having explained the math for us, she went back to her prerecorded discharge speech, collected my signature and left.

So I got kiddette home, and we looked at the label for the ibuprofen again and realized the amount the doctor had said to give her would've been about 15 times the amount you'd give a 2-year-old. So either he gave me the wrong number, ml and mg are completely not the same thing or the kiddie ibuprofen they use in hospitals isn't the same as what you buy at CVS. (A quick Googling tells me the answer is #2. Also, that you can't convert one to the other because milligrams are mass and milliliters are volume.) We gave her half the amount of the dosage for a 2-year-old -- that's half a teaspoon -- put her to bed and hoped for the best.

She seemed, of course, completely the usual the next morning, except her fever was still a little high. We even made our family playdate, since the other kids' parents figured, if our daughter was going to infect their son -- her classmate -- she would've done it already. And a fine time was had by all.

And then the mom made the most obvious point in the world: "You know, she could just be teething."

Why yes. Yes she could. Since she's had a couple teeth coming. And her behavior tracked much more with a teething episode than with an ear infection (no tugging on the ears, for instance).

Seriously, next time before I call the doctor, I'm just going to call all the moms I know and see what they think. It'll save me some angst.

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