Wednesday, August 26, 2009

School is Definitely In and So is the Flu

If you are privy to my facebook page (or know my mom) then you already know Carmella has the Flu--mostly likely the N1H1 strain-- or, more commonly known of as the swine flu.

I figure I might as well blog about it so I don't have to tell the same story to every person I know. Which btw, no one ever calls me but my phone has not stopped ringing since noon. I have personally called everyone that I thought might have been exposed but since the H1N1 is going around the Cobb schools most people we know have multiple sources of exposure and quite a few people were already sick anyway.

I am not going to go into a medical discourse on anything and everything you ever wanted to know about the Swine Flu. I am absolutely not qualified to do that and do not want to be accused of handing out medical misinformation. In real life I only play doctor for my mommy friends who are too afraid to Google or read the Merck Manuel on their own and don't want to seem like panicky moms dragging their kids to the doctor for the common cold or heat rash. For the record, I have never been afraid to be that mom. And also because, next to running and talking about myself my 3rd greatest passion is reading about diseases and medical conditions.

However, you can read up on the symptoms of H1N1 and peruse other links here at the CDC website. Or I suppose, call me if you don't want to read it and I will impart all that I know because I also like pretending I know everything (I don't).

This all started last night at bedtime--8pm. As I was tucking Carmella in she said her chest felt tight and it hurt when she tried to cough. I immediately gave her an expectorant/decongestant/cough suppressant. Monday I noticed a little girl she played with had a cold so I figured Carmella probably caught it. No biggie. I also figured maybe her sinuses had been draining and she was starting to get some chest congestion. With no fever and she had been running around playing outside all afternoon I really didn't think too much about it and planned to send her to school the next day.

At 2 am she was up and her coughing woke me up. I went ahead and gave her more medicine so the coughing wouldn't keep her up.She was also worried that she was going to throw up. Carmella has always freaked out about throwing up. She gets really creeped out by all things human and gross. So after consoling her and reassuring her I couldn't go back to sleep. Finally sometime after 4 am I went back to bed; realizing that it would probably be best if Carmella stayed home from school Wednesday.

At 5:30 am Ryan's alarm and Carmella's coughing woke me up. It was almost time for another dose so I figured that was why it was bothering her because she was again worried about throwing up. Beau of course heard all the commotion and was up. Early start to the day.

Beau, of course was quite pissed off when he learned Carmella would not being going to school. He first tried to claim that he was sick too. He might have a sore throat he said. He was feeling like he was going to have a headache. His tummy might not be feeling right. Then he tried to assert that since he wasn't sick he got to chose.

What this means is that he thought he was entitled to dictate how our morning would go: we would most certainly walk to school, we would have waffles for breakfast etc. No on both accounts. Luckily though my neighbor was kind enough to walk him to school so Carmella didn't have to go any where. I also sent a note to Beau's teacher to be on the look out for a fake out. Beau loves to visit the school nurse.

After Beau left I let Kate know that would be unable to meet her for our planned trail run at Kennesaw Mountain. Bummer, but hopefully next week. I do plan on getting my run in this afternoon (in the heat of the day, of course) and in another blog post I will carry on about my current training--or rather anti-- regime, whichever. Whatever.

The next hour or so of my morning was then spent trying to do house work and console Carmella that coughing up phlegm was a good thing. Explaining that she needed to cough and that if she coughed so hard she threw up that was okay too--better to get it all out I told her. Child was utterly freaked out about not feeling herself. I personally just wasn't all that worried because she had no fever and did manage to eat breakfast. I saw no signs of serious illness.

But then again, it has been rare occasions that my kids have shown signs of serious illness. Carmella had pneumonia few years ago but had no cough or fever. I took her into the Dr because she was complaining of hearing an echo. Ended up she had double ear infection and pneumonia.

And my kids maybe get sick once a year. Allergies we suffer from half the year but true sickness for them is a rarity. They have both been antibiotics less than 5 times in their entire lives.

Around 9 am she came up stairs and again complained that she "wasn't doing so good." I asked her to explain and she said she felt like she was having a hard time breathing. Observing her this did not seem to be the case and I really couldn't hear wheezing but nevertheless gave her an inhaler. Before she could use it she started to vomit. And since the vomiting was not coughing induced I decided a trip to the doctor was now on our agenda.

Around 10 we left and she started to look noticeably sick for the first time. She said she had a headache--which I assumed that meant fever was coming. Then on the ride she complained that she couldn't stand to read the food establishment signs. I found a cup in the car and asked her to vomit in that if she needed rather than all over the car.

Walking into the Dr's she said she didn't think she could make it and I asked her to try but right outside the door she started throwing up. Luckily there was a drain in the pathway and she had the good sense to aim there. I poured water over the drain to clean it up before going in.

The receptionist giggled at me and asked what we were doing in the bushes. I told her Carmella had gotten sick--that she couldn't make it to the bathroom and they sent us straight back to a room. And that folks, apparently, is how you avoid a long wait in the waiting room. Another trick is to show up with hives and wheezing. That works too. What doesn't work is coughing until you nearly pass out or having an open bleeding wound or being pregnant. Those situations seem to induce extra long waits.

I told the nurse Carmella's symptoms and when she first seemed sick. The nurse took her temperature--99.1 and pulse ox--97. I brought up my strep and flu concerns and also reminded them that Carmella is allergic to every grass and tree that blooms upon the earth so it might be a secondary infection.

The nurse whisked her off to blow monkeys out of the tree--that test they do to test your lung capacity--me and my kids never do well at this test when we are sick. After that test they swabbed her throat for strep and her nose for the flu. Carmella surprisingly only gagged a little. I thought for sure she'd lose her cookies to those test.

And then we waited.

When the nurse came back she was wearing a face mask and handed one to Carmella to put on. I did not get one but knew that a face mask was not a good sign.

She told me Carmella was positive for type A influenza. I asked if it was H1N1 and she said most likely because that is what is going around. Apparently they are no longer sending it out to be tested since the treatment is the same.

A little while later the doctor came in and she examined Carmella and determined that she was also wheezing. A breathing treatment was ordered.

While they did the treatment Carmella seemed cold and was falling asleep. I was worried her fever was spiking so I had them take her temperature. Just 99.9 but up a bit from earlier.

After her treatment she went to blow the monkeys out of the tree and did not do any better on the test but I was told she did better than the other child in the office with the flu (score!).

So the doctor gave us a prescription for Tamiflu and for a new inhaler and prescriptions for Tamiflu for Beau and I to (hopefully) prevent us from getting the flu. Ryan did not get one because he is not fortunate enough to asthma.

And I apologize to anyone going to my pharmacy because I wiped them out of their Tamiflu stock and have dibs on what they get in tomorrow to finished filling our prescriptions ($260.00 Thank you very much. What would it be if I didn't have insurance?!)

Carmella still doesn't have much fever (still 99) but is very sick to her stomach and not keeping food down. That is a bit worrisome but when her tummy isn't bothering her she seems pretty okay. I gave her some Motrin and the Tamiflu. She threw up a little while after so I don't know how much, if any she actually got in her. Thinking though she will start feeling better if I can get her to keep some medicine down.

Beau seems fine but is knocked out napping on the couch (small favors!). So other than taking a nap (which is a little weird but he was up late last night and up early this morning) he is showing no symptoms.
As for me I am fine-- tired and cranky from lack of sleep and no running and a little stressed about it all.

Hopefully we will all soon be well because none of us are so good at being sick and sitting around.


  1. that is just the saddest picture of Carmella. That is the breathing treatment? La Smut

  2. Wow. Im sorry to hear that hope she gets better quickly and the rest of the family avoids catching it

  3. Agree with the sad picture. Hope she's back to goodness real quicklike.

  4. You all will definitely be in my prayers! H1N1 or not, the flu SUCKS!

  5. Hope Carmella is feeling better today. Dagny was down with something all last week - started with wheezing/croup and then turned into fever. No barfing, though.

  6. Feel better soon kiddo! I hope she gets to at least get some good cartoons in.

  7. Wow... my 2 kids and I had the h1n1 and it sukkd!!! Hope she gets better really soon... fluids fluids fluids!!