Oh, Croup

The boys have had the croup, a lovely catchall term that encompasses any virus that blossoms into a sort of respiratory ailment in infants and toddlers that makes it hard for them to breathe and comes with a racking cough.Ben developed it Friday night, woke around 11 in some distress, and after consulting with our insurance company's excellent registered nurse hotline, Lynn took him to Children's Hospital's emergency department. They were there for hours, Ben did fine; he was given a mild steroid and sent home. That was pretty much it. He has a horrible sounding but increasingly infrequent cough, and he's had no distress. Since croup is caused by a virus, it was likely that Rex would develop the same cold or flu, and then it might (but wasn't guaranteed) to also turn into croup. Rex slept through most of Ben's tumult on Friday night, but started to sleep poorly on Saturday, skipping naps in the day and waking or not going down at night. Through dint of hard effort, we managed to get him to sleep mostly for a few days, and then went through the ringer Monday and Tuesday night. We've been playing musical beds. On Friday night, Lynn and Ben returned from the E.D. and slept in our downstairs guest room. Saturday night, I think Rex eventually slept in our room, Ben stayed in his. On Sunday night, if I can remember right, Ben and Lynn slept downstairs, Rex slept in his crib, and I slept in the parental bedroom. Last night, I slept downstairs, Ben in his room, Lynn and Rex in our bed. Whew. All of this typically happening at 11 or midnight or 1 am.

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Happier days

Rex also developed a high fever last night and the croup appeared full bloom. So we gave him Motrin to reduce the fever, consulted the nurse hotline, and used a steamy bathroom and the cold outside to improve his breathing. We also started him on a steroid our pediatrician had prescribed in case the croup went over the top. The nurse on the insurance hotline said croup has an 11 pm to 5 am "schedule," unfortunately. The worst croup symptoms typically pass in 48 hours, everyone has told us. We took Rex in to the pediatrician again today to make sure there was no ear infection, and that nothing else was going on. Fortunately, he was otherwise fine. The doc thought last night might have been the worst of it, given that he some croup symptoms for more than a day already. If we're lucky, tonight won't be so bad and then we'll settle back into a routine. Rex only slept an hour mid-day today, not giving Lynn or I enough time for a nap, and woke nearly inconsolable. Lynn and I worked like crazy, and she was able to get him back into bed with her where they dozed for about 90 minutes. Then back to inconsolable. We wound up taking him for a walk in a jog stroller which cheered him up quite a lot, and spent some more time on the phone with our pediatrician, making sure the steroid or something else wasn't at work with his horrible mood. Didn't seem to be. He was a little better later in the day, but he really feels horrible. Ben didn't feel to bad during most of this, and he's older, so he'd prefer to play than to complain, it seems. We think Rex may also be in the middle of a bad teething bout, which led to me putting on some Orajel on his gums to soothe that part. The poor guy. We're just losing sleep (we're getting 4 or 5 hours a night in many different pieces, most of the last several nights); he's the one who feels like death warmed over. The good news (for us at least) is that the parents are coming. My folks will likely be in Port Townsend in a matter of weeks. PT is about two hours' drive away, and I know that in a pinch we could ask for their help. Lynn's folks will likely be living about 35 to 45 minutes' north sometime soon--maybe 6 months away, but more likely a year, as they are waiting for a rental unit to open up. The problem, of course, is that you don't want to expose your parents to the diseases in your home, but perhaps we'll get surgical masks and gloves. There may be times where we just need someone to make a meal, make sure the kids don't start playing with carving knives, and we grab a spare hour sleep. I now understand fully why you aren't supposed to move away from your parents! Don't pity us too much. We're generally well, just worried about the kids and sleep deprived. Most people in the world are worse off than us. We can afford to worry; I was able to shift some freelance responsibilities and stay home today, and may do the same tomorrow if needed. We'll get through this, but it's about the toughest experience in my parenting life. Even the horrible stomach flu last fall left us all week and sleepy, so we were sleeping, just not well. Update: Rex is over the worst. He was awake from about 10.30 to 11.30 pm last night, but I think more out of habit. His croup-y cough was gone, he didn't have an "attack," and he got back to sleep after only a bit of wailing, and slept til 6, waking happy. Ben and Lynn still retreated to sleep in the basement, but we might be back to normal tonight. The scariest part yesterday of Rex's unhappiness is that he wouldn't play -- he hardly played at all yesterday, and that was scarier than most of the other behavior.