Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Parental Stress

Ever parent worries. It's just part of the job we all know that going in. It's like knowing that everyday is an adventure, that your love for your child will grow to crazy amounts and that your child will pee on you. And if you didn't know these things at first it takes all of two days to figure it out. But when you child is chronically ill worry and stress grows to heights that would rival the Empire State Building.

I'm sure some folks would just say if you child is ill all the time don't you just get used to it? Some of it you do get used too. Squeaker for example sounds like she is out of breath almost all the time. It just part of the Laryngomalacia. She is fine just noisier that you would expect a toddler to breathe. And she is being treated for it. But when she gets sick for her she sounds like Darth Vader. It's awful. Even though this happens regularly, once or twice a month, I still spend hours just listening to her breath to make sure it's steady. If it becomes unsteady or too fast I have to give a treatment or even head off to the ER. And no matter how many times you take your child to the ER it doesn't become easier.

I guess that's where the bigger stress comes from. The fact that when you child is sick you just can't buy an over the counter medicine, hang out at home, and wait it all out. No a simple cough puts you on edge. Then the wheeze (that Darth Vader sound) means extra breathing treatments. Which of course your toddler doesn't want to take because it slows them down. Then of course you pray, pray and pray. The breathing treatments is that last thing you can do without seeing a doctor. Then you wake up on day four or five and it's all still there. The cough, wheeze, fast breathing... oh and now the nose is running. You hate to do it but you have to call the doctor. It may not be this way for everyone but most of the time when I call I feel like I'm being a worry wart mom. It's just a cold who needs a doctor... oh wait my child. Squeaker can't do colds... so yup have to call. After talking to the nurse and doctor, either in office or on the phone, you get a round of oral steroids and antibiotics.

Both of these medicines have side effects. We all know steroids can do crazy things to the body but they are the best thing for keeping Squeaker's airways open. But I worry because for 5-15 days out of each month she is on this stuff. Then of course the antibiotics. It seems like once a week the news is talking about antibiotic resistance. Whether it's in people or the types of infections hanging around. Of course the thing they talk about the most is that the less antibiotics we use as a culture the less dangerous these things will be. So I worry about resistance... how long before standard medicines don't work? Sure it will probably be a while if ever but it still weighs on my mind.

The next week to two weeks is filled with remembering to give doses twice a day. Which for me is terribly hard. You stay up later than you should just listening to the uneasy breathing change to something smooth and quiet. Of course it's hard to sleep because you have a little one in bed with you that insists on being in contact with you. It may be just a toe but it that connection is lost the little one wakes up. (This has happened four times since I started typing. Squeaker rolled and lost contact. She shot up like a jack in the box) So in the morning everyone is tired, but hey that's life.

Some maybe thinking how on earth do you do it. That is a lot of stress, how is your blood pressure not at dangerous levels. Well this is where the "used to it" come in. My brain goes a mile a minute with stress but somehow my body has adjusted and goes with the flow of life. The other trick is to enjoy the healthy times. A lot of times it's just a few hours a day when all the medicines are working. And every so often it's a couple days in a row. Last November we had a 10 day stretch! And even if it's not a perfectly healthy day you enjoy that days that don't require extra medications. You just have to be optimistic.

The most important thing I have learned it to let my sick kid live. Sure she can't play in large groups of kids, toys have to cleaned constantly and her hands need to be washed a lot. But we can read books, play blocks, climb, jump, chase a ball, dance and so many other things. It's best to focus on the positive and things we can do.

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