Friday, January 3, 2014

Homebound

This picture is from a couple of weeks ago, when Anna June and I found it warm enough to run around in short sleeves. This is from El Cazador, a Mexican restaurant in our neighborhood. Yes, something is on my lens or else my phone takes terrible photos. I will add that to my list of things to tackle in 2014. The longer I stay home, the longer my list grows.

Speaking of staying home, we are confined to the house for another day, per doctor's orders. Anna June tested positive for strep. 

This, of course, brings the Mom guilt up a notch. We did have a magical, lovely Christmas. But my throat started on fire December 22. Know why I remember? I had to sing a solo that day. It was possibly the worst of my life: I forgot the words, I was worn out from trying to cram months worth of practice for the rest of the program into one afternoon, and I got nervous. But mostly, my throat hurt. 

I ignored it and soldiered on to Christmas Eve Eve. If I hadn't been there, I suppose the world would have kept spinning, but honestly I had to help my mom that day. Seventy-nine people showed up for the party. I tried not to get too close or hug, but it's impossible to stop hugs from kinfolk who've traveled from out-of-state or those you haven't seen in a year. Sigh.

AJ, meanwhile, complained of various ailments. Her nose was runny, she was tired, her legs hurt, there may be a snake in her bed. 

Then Ben came down with a cold, too, and we all thought it was more of the same Christmas Crud we were all passing around.

Meanwhile, we pressed on. I treated days like school days: if no fever > 100 degrees, then keep a regular schedule. We roller skated. We went to McWane. We went to the park, out shopping, and to the movies. Our Christmas stay-cation was going great, except for feeling a little under the weather.

On the 8th day of my sore throat, which had gotten better and worse, I called my ENT, hoping for a strep test. I like my doctor and his easygoing partner, but they are married to each other and they were on vacation. So I called my general practitioner, and she is out on Mondays. But her partner, hearing my symptoms, called in an antibiotic.

Because I was feeling better, we did crafts! We played games! We watched movies! And AJ was having fun. Her snot was drying up. We were having a good time, although Ben asked me if maybe I should take AJ to the doctor, too.

I've had many times where I felt like we wasted a co-pay to sit there, exposing ourselves to other germs, only to be told, "It's just a virus. There's nothing we can do!" 

But on Thursday morning, the first thing AJ said to me after "good morning," was, "My throat hurts." So I called. Luckily, our agendas were clear.

Our regular doctor was out, but we were able to be worked in. AJ immediately panicked at the thought of having her throat swabbed. I panicked at the thought of the usually sweet lady in the lab who shot me a look that made me feel like the worst mom ever when I couldn't hold AJ's hands still. AJ declared her throat no longer hurt. I believed her, but we still went.

Our fears were realized. After a while, we were seen. We described the symptoms. The doctor examined AJ, and she said that her throat was only a little red, and she told us to go to the lab for the dreaded test. AJ fought hard. I could hold her hands down, but I couldn't open her mouth. Eventually, they got the sample and we made our way back to the waiting room.

When we got called back to see the doctor, I have no idea what I was hoping to hear. If strep, it's easy to treat (free amoxicillin at Publix, which actually cost me $99 in groceries). If not strep, better safe than sorry, and then on with our tentatively planned trip to Chuck E Cheese.

Strep it was. According to her chart, AJ was last diagnosed on November 22, one month to the day before I obviously started exhibiting symptoms. 

AJ cried all the way from the parking deck at St. Vincent's to Publix pharmacy. The doctor told us she should not be around other people until Saturday, which dashed all our hopes of fun outings. I wanted to cry, too. I felt like a neglectful parent who could have taken care of this problem a week earlier! But I just HAD to go to work, just HAD to keep my schedule. And in what part of my dirty house are the germs hiding? It would be impossible to tell.

I felt terrible. As I poured AJ her dose, I remembered how we seemed to run out of antibiotics a day or two early last time. I just assumed we had given her doses that were slightly too big. I wonder if by not checking on that we were asking for a relapse. I hope to not make that mistake again.

So we got milkshakes and watched Mickey Mouse movies curled up with Radar on the sofa. We made dinner and played "restaurant." Ben played Uno and Candyland with her. It turned out not to be such a bad day after all.

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