Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The Three 'C's

I hope that everybody had a very merry Christmas spent in good health and good cheer. It didn't exactly go that way for us.

My aunt says I'm working my way through the alphabet, but I got stuck on 'c'. 'C' for concussion, croup and chocolate.

Patrick was okay after his concussion. The next morning we asked him if his head hurt and he said, "It only hurts when I shake it like this."

Damon was still wheezy on Christmas eve morning, so he missed his hockey game. Kira was still wheezy too and very clingy. We went ahead and went to my sister's Christmas Eve gathering. Kira was not enjoying herself though, and the croupy bark started up. After she opened a red wool coat from us, she put it on and said, "I wanna go home now." She curled up on my shoulder and fell asleep. Soon she was running a fever. Once we got home, I started up the steamy shower and locked Damon, Kira and myself in the bathroom and started giving out doses of motrin, ventolin and flovent. Then Kira and I took Puck outside. The drugs, the steam and the cold night air did not help her. I am pretty laid-back about croup, because I have dealt with it so many times over the years with Patrick, but I was starting to panic. Finally, I gave her another dose of everything and she finally seemed to breathe a little easier so we went to bed.

Patrick woke up at 8 am ready to open stockings. We woke up the other boys, but didn't have the heart to wake up Kira, so we went down and opened stockings without her. The boys were happy with their stockings and raced upstairs to try out their toys and video games. I was feeling very tired and kind of sick myself, so I lay down on the couch while they played. Suddenly I realized that my shadow, Puck, was not with me. That's where the third "c" comes in. I went down to the living room and found the shredded remains of Matt's 1 lb Toblerone chocolate bar. I slammed him in his crate (mostly for his own protection - Matt is especially protective of his Toblerone bars at Christmas) and checked on the internet. I read a few different pages giving different levels before chocolate can become toxic. The consensus seemed to be that 1 lb of chocolate would not kill a 50 lb dog, but it could make him feel mighty sick. I used a syringe to give him hydrogen peroxide to try to induce vomiting in hopes that I might be able to get some of the chocolate out of his stomach and alleviate some of his discomfort. He stood there on the deck with foam coming out of his mouth, trying desperately to hang onto his chocolate. I put him in his crate, and let him out frequently. No signs or symptoms.

So back to Kira. She finally woke up and sounded horrible. Croupy, miserable and congested. At this point we decided that she needed to see a doctor and we would have to miss out on the gift exchange with my dad's family and Christmas dinner with Matt's family. I called a few walk-in clinics but none were open. Kira opened her stocking and presents in our bed. Matt took our gifts to my brother's house so that he could pass them along to my aunt's house. Meanwhile, I gave Kira more medication and put her into the shower. She fell asleep again soon after that and I made brunch for Matt and the boys. After brunch, Kira and I headed off to the ER.

After 5 hours there, we left no better off than when we arrived. The triage nurse took Kira's temperature by armpit and it was 98.4 F. I said I thought she felt warmer than that, but the nurse and eventually the doctor just ignored me. I tried to clarify the point that I was not bringing her to ER because of croup, I was bringing her because her croupiness and wheeziness was not reacting to steroid inhalers and steam, but nobody seemed to "hear" my concerns. By the time the doctor saw her, the barking cough had changed and was now a wet productive cough. The doctor looked at me like I was a moron. "That is no croupy cough, that sounds wet to me." Well yeah it sounds wet now, but trust me it wasn't so wet at 3 am last night and I'm guessing it won't be as wet tonight. She listened to her lungs and heard a rattle so she sent her for chest x-rays. They came back clear. So the doctor came in again to talk to us and when she touched Kira's hand she said, "oh she feels warm now" and sent the nurse in to take her temperature again. The nurse did a rectal temperature this time and it was 102.5 F. Oh wow, mom was right. The whole time we were there, Kira just lay on the bed like a rag doll, asking me to lie next to her and then trying to close my eyes with her little fingers. The doctor said she felt it was a virus and I should just continue with the motrin and inhalers and follow up with the family doctor. Ohh, I'll be following up with the family doctor all right and not because she said to! My mommy instincts tell me there is something more to this.

For now, I'm putting my money on 'b' for bronchitis.

We had submarine sandwiches for Christmas dinner and watched Charlie and the Chocolate Factory together while Puck whined in his crate. Yesterday morning, when he was finally given free reign of the house again, the first thing Puck did was head straight for the dining room table. He jumped up on top of it and stole Kira's small Toblerone bar and swallowed it in one gulp. A day in solitary taught him nothing.

Kira was much better yesterday and was able to properly cough, so we had our Christmas dinner with Matt's parents. They spoiled all of us.

Matt is tired and having problems finding a good night's sleep, Patrick recovered fine from the concussion and his team is getting KILLED at a hockey tournament right now, Damon is slowly recovering from his virus, Campbell is fine and doing hockey school every day this week, Kira sounds like she is drowning with every cough and Puck has a stomach of steel. I'm treading water.