Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Like Running into a Brick Wall

After talking to Dr. Vaccine a second time, I realized that yes, he was concerned about Pertussis, not Diptheria. He called the Pulmonary clinic on my behalf and got me an appointment for that afternoon. I did a quick google on Pertussis (a.k.a. Whooping Cough) and I was 100% convinced that’s what was wrong with Satchel. Mr. Vaccine was my new boyfriend.

Now, most people might expect a mother to be upset by the news that her offspring has Whooping Cough. Not me. I was elated. The smoking gun, I thought. Now we can cure him!

I packed up my stuff and headed out the door. First I called Satchel’s school and told his teachers I was coming to get him. Then I called Warren to tell him the good news. “It’s whooping cough,” I told him happily. “We’re off to the Pulmonary specialist now.” I felt like SuperMom. I fought for answers until I found one and now I have a same day appointment with a specialist! Then I called my mom and two good friends. Everyone congratulated me on a job well done.

After filling out numerous forms, taking various tests, and talking to a number of nurses, Satchel and I busied ourselves wiping each other with sterile alcohol swabs until Dr. M walked in and asked, “So what brings you here today?”

“Whooping cough,” I happily announced.

Dr. M looked skeptical. “Is he up to date on his vaccinations?” he asked.

“He hasn’t had any vaccinations,” I chirped.

Dr. M looked appalled. “Why not?” he asked.

Uh-oh. I put on my I'm a serious, smart mom face. “We chose not to for various reasons with the support of our pediatrician, Dr. L.,” I said.

His face relaxed. “Ok, let me take a look,” he said. He listened to Satchel’s breathing, looked in his mouth and ears, etc. “How long has he been coughing?” he asked.

“Three months,” I said. And then I went through the whole game of “is it asthma or is it an infection” that I’d be playing at Dr. L’s.

He listened patiently and then asked, “Is anyone else in the house sick? Is there a family history of asthma?”

“No and no,” I said.

“Whooping cough usually only lasts a couple of weeks,” he said. “And everyone in the house would have it.”

My face fell.

“But, I don’t think he has asthma either. I don’t hear any wheezing,” he said.

That cheered me up a bit.

“I can just look at his face and tell you it is allergies. See these dark circles under his eyes?” he asked. I nodded. “We call those ‘allergy shiners.’”

Allergy shiners.

“And he has a lot of mucous draining down his throat. Enough to make him cough and even vomit.”

“We have two dogs, a cat, and hardwood floors,” I said. Back to blaming the pets.

“Hardwoods are better than carpet,” he said. “Don’t go covering those beautiful hardwoods.”

“Um, ok.”

So that was that. Next we had a discussion about whether or not Satchel would allow me to shoot a nasal spray up his nostrils once a day. I wasn’t sure, so he got some samples and we discovered that Satchel thought shooting nasal spray up his nose was pretty fun. Not as fun as shooting it up Mommy’s nose though.

I was cool with the nasal spray. That was do-able. But then Dr. M. said he was going to also prescribe an antibiotic. “Why?” I asked.

“Well we know it probably isn’t Pertussis, but just in case it is, Zithromax will zap it, and it won’t bother Satchel at all…maybe cause a loose stool for a few days.”

“Ok, so we know it isn’t whooping cough, but we’ll treat it anyway?” I asked. He nodded. “Well Dr. L. already gave me a prescription for that so you can skip it.”

“Ok, he said. I’m also prescribing Zyrtec for allergies.”

“Then can he stop taking the Singulair?” I asked.

“Well, I wouldn’t go that far,” he said. “Let’s get him well and then we’ll start taking away medicines.”

What the fuck!?

“Ok, thanks,” I said just wanting to get out of there. As we made our next appointment, Satchel hustled mini Snickers from the receptionist and I tallied the medications I was supposed to give my 35 pound child in my head. Zithromax, Singulair, Zyrtec, Nasal Spray…oh just FOUR! Oops, I forgot the supplement Warren bought at Wild Oats…And the Spider-man vitamins I bought at Target. Do I need to get a pill case for his lunchbox!?

I feel like talking to three doctors in one day may have done more harm than good. None of them wants to step on the other’s toes. Dr. L. thinks it’s asthma so we're supposed to take the Singulair, Dr. W. thinks it’s Pertussis so we're supposed to take the Zithromax, and Dr. M. thinks it’s allergies so we're supposed to take the nasal spray and the Zyrtec. That way everybody’s happy.

Yeah, except me.

I dutifully dropped off the prescription at the pharmacy, but I told myself that I would get more information before actually giving any of it to him.


Lone Star Ma said...

Sometimes pertussis does last a long time. If it is any comfort, the Lone Star Girl had lots of allergies that led to lots of lower resp. infections as a tot, but as soon as she started taking Zyrtec, it all went away. Zyrtec does increase her tendency to have nosebleeds, though...keeping her nose moist was important. Good luck. I'm sorry this diagnosis/cure journey is taking so long! I hope Satchel feels better.

Stephanie said...

I'm so sorry- that story makes me vicariously frustrated! I don't see how they'll ever know which illness it is if you treat for 3 different things simultaneously! And didn't you already give him a round of antibiotics somewhere in this mess?

But if it makes you feel any better, Dr. House (on whom I have a huge crush) often treats things he has ruled out, just to be safe. :)

I hope Satchel (and you) feel better soon. I'll be thinking about you.

Kristy said...

Did they do the X-ray? I want the X-ray done asap!

Elizabeth said...

Hello Stacey! Comment ca va? It's me, Elizabeth Hamilton from Peace Corps. I ran across you online when looking for natural parenting resources. So glad that I did! Anyways, what frustration with the doctors. Have you considered taking your little one to a homeopathic practitioner? I have heard from friends that they can do wonders with helping alleviate allergy symptoms. I saw one throughout my pregnancy. Your sons are lovely! I have one myself, Elijah, 7 months old. Ok, all the best and so glad to run across you. Elizabeth

Stacey Greenberg said...

elizabeth!! email me!!

i totally want to talk to you!!!!!!!!!

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