You are my sunshine, and I love you always. The past week, however, was not sunshiny. Last Monday, you began the week with a fever, a barking cough, and a runny nose - what I thought was just a bad cold! Tuesday morning, your daddy left for an out of town work assignment in Puerto Rico. The duty to stay home with you fell squarely on me, and at first I welcomed the idea of nursing my baby girl back to health.
We stayed home Tuesday and then Wednesday. Your temperature had topped at 102.9 on Tuesday before declining on Wednesday. In the night, you would wake up crying for something: daddy, pretzels, crackers, Amy (the administrator at your school). Many times you would yell "mommy hold you (me)!" even though I was already holding you. I suspected you may have been delirious. During the day, your coughing hurt your throat, leading you to cry, "Owweee, owweee, owweee!" and no amount of blowing or using saline and a suction bulb seemed to give your nose relief. In your misery, you wanted constant comfort and "holding". You cried frequently and for long periods, all while being held. If I put you down or divided my attention for a few minutes, you would wail your insistence that I return. We watched Disney's Rapunzel over and over again, as it was the only thing that would quiet you (however fleetingly). You had no desire to eat, unless it was applesauce, jello, a cutie or pretzels, so that was what I gave you. Fortunately, your thirst stayed in tact, and you drank water and juice almost nonstop. Otherwise, there was little I could do to ease your suffering, and in turn, I too grew weary and drained.
Later in the day on Wednesday, though, you seemed to be on an upward trend, and by Thursday morning, your temp had fallen below 100. I thought it was safe to take you to school. I put in about 6 hours at the office when I got the call from your school to pick you up. Your temp had gone back up to 101. Your teachers told me they knew you weren't yourself when one of your little friends tried to mess with you and you didn't respond. After picking you up, we went immediately to the pediatrician's office, where a test of some mucus from your nose revealed you had influenza A. I had no idea! Not only did I feel tremendously bad for you, I felt guilty for taking you to school and my going to the office. All I could think about was how I'd put others at risk - your teachers and little schoolmates and my own officemates.
Thursday evening at home with me, you continued to express your misery, and I could now more clearly see the puffy and red bags under your eyes that the pediatrician noticed right away and said was a big giveaway. She said the flu symptoms can last 10 to 15 days! Next year, daddy and I will not wait until your annual birthday checkup to get you a flu shot!
On Friday morning, it appeared your fever had dissipated again. We stayed home this time so that I could be sure you were truly on the mend (and the school wouldn't have let you return for 24 hours anyway). Fortunately, the outdoor temp had risen to the 50s for the weekend, so we went outside in the sunshine and took Lucy for a walk on Saturday and took an outing to Target and Trader Joes on Sunday. Sunday evening, our thoughtful friends the Buntings invited us to dinner, and we took them up on it. Although the fever never returned all through the weekend, you still had fitful nights and clingy, needy days. Both of us were exhausted.
You went back to school today, and lasted the whole day. Your teachers said you seemed to be back to your old self. But as soon as I got you in the car, you began to cry for me to hold you. You cried all the way to the grocery store. You cried all the way through the grocery store and required that I hold you the whole time. I got many sympathetic looks and reassuring, positive comments from some very kind patrons and store staff. You continued to cry as we left the store, with me awkwardly carrying you and two grocery bags.
Bear with me on this side story, the telling of which will allow me to vent. As we approached the car, I had to put the groceries down, and then proceed with putting you in your car seat - not a quick process. A man parked next to us had arrived with his groceries, and had gotten his groceries put away in his SUV before I could finish buckling your belt and stash our groceries. From inside his car and in an apparent hurry to leave, he yelled at me, "Could you shut your door?!?!" At just that moment, I had shut the rear door and was just getting into the driver's seat. On the way home from the store, I was nearly in tears. I tried to remind myself to think about the multiple kind people inside the store and not the ill-tempered one outside the store.
Back to your crying.... You cried all the way home from the store, all the way through dinner prep and consumption (you refused to eat), all the way through your bath, and and all through dressing for bedtime. Having picked up a new movie, Spy Kids (for $5 at Target) (to give you a tempting alternative to Rapunzel), I put in the DVD and got it rolling. You cried well into the opening scene and finally quieted (but still wanted me to hold you).
My dear little one, you are sleeping now as I write this. I sure hope tomorrow is better for you. Perhaps if you can get a restful night, you'll be less crabby tomorrow. Here comes the sun!