Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A couple bugs and a hurricane...

The past two months have been a whirlwind of changes, milestones, scary situations, hurricanes and excitement. I’ve had several people ask me if I stopped blogging or if I was going to post any more… Honestly, after the hurricane, sickness took over my son and I and we are just coming back to life. A consequence of all the chaos was writer's elbow. I just haven’t known where to even start.  So, I’ll just begin with baby's first cold and try to make it short (“TRY” being the key word) so we can get on to my next post, Keegan’s 6 month update!

Snot! Mucous! Phlegm! Wheezing! This has been my life since July 27th. I remember this date because it’s the first time I brought him to the pediatrician for his first “cold”. To this day, he has had a runny nose or some kind of congestion. Some days are better than others, some days are pretty rough. But he is the toughest little guy I know, and has come through the past 2 months like the li’l champ that he is… still happy and thriving. We’ve been through a roller coaster of ailments, from a cold to allergies to bronchiolitis. We even had a little visit to the emergency room (not the best night, but the other patients made sure we were thoroughly entertained and disgusted). Conclusions so far on this 2 month funk fest, Tuff apparently inherited his daddy’s bad allergies. When he is snotty, he needs to be suctioned out hourly (if not more often) when awake to keep his passageways clear. If his nose runs down the back of his throat for too long, his breath begins to smell funky (a sign of post-nasal drip in babies), and a couple days later his chest is congested causing bronchiolitis (an infection which affects the tiny airways, called bronchioles, that lead to the lungs causing the airways to become inflamed, making breathing difficult). This is something my husband had frequently as a child, and could be hereditary.

Another culprit is the fact that he is in daycare, and kids in daycare catch 4x’s as many colds as babies who are not in daycare. This statistic is fine with me, because he is building up his little immune system. More colds now, less later in life (hopefully). Unfortunately, when he has a cold, if his nasal passages are not suctioned constantly and kept clear, it drains into his chest and within 48 hours he is wheezing. I cannot expect the daycare to suction his nose every hour, I understand that my son is not the only child there. In fact, I picked him up from daycare yesterday and there where at least 3 kids being picked up with runny noses and parents talking about how they just can’t shake these little viruses. I wanted to hug one mom while she was talking about her poor baby girl getting better for a few days and then waking up congested AGAIN and how this has been going on for two months. I had been really hard on myself for weeks thinking that I had to be doing something wrong for my son to be sick for this long, but hearing her aggravation comforted me in a way. I knew her pain, because it was mine too. So I decided to give myself a break.
(Murfy helping keep Tuff's nose clean)

RELIEF: We’ve been sick for 2 months (yes, me too, eventually my son passed me enough colds to give me bronchitis and walking pneumonia) and so many remedies, both natural and medicinal, have been used to get some relief and clear our heads (literally). Here’s a list of what has helped us the most:
1.       Nasal suction: Yep, the little bulbs they give you in the hospital. One should be in every room. Pretending it’s a fun game has gone a long way in our house. Tuff giggles and laughs (most times) while we are sucking the funk out his little nose.
2.      Saline spray/mist: Especially in the mornings, when the snot has been chilling out all night and chunked up in the nasal cavity, this magical liquid works wonders. Morning routine here lately: Mist each nostril, change diaper while mist is loosening everything up, and then suction until everything is out of there. Sometimes, I will mist one more time in each nostril and leave it to help break up anything that might be running down his throat.
3.       Boogie Wipes: I thought these where totally bogus when I used to see my friends use them on their children. Why spend money on a wet wipe? Totally busted… These are “saline wipes” and make short work of a crusted upper lip and nose. The grape scented ones smell AMAZING!
4.      Steam: If the congestion starts to get in the chest, turning on the hot water in the shower and letting him play on the floor or in the sink with some water for about 15 minutes makes a HUGE difference. You can actually hear the congestion breaking up…
5.      Eucalyptus: This amazing essential oil makes breathing in a steamy bathroom much easier, and as your baby inhales and exhales that minty steam it opens up his little passageways. This helped us both out so much before bedtime…
6.      Cool Mist Humidifier: First tip with this machine (especially with filterless machines) is to use distilled water. Next tip is to clean it out EVERYDAY!!! If you don’t believe me, fill up the container with your tap water and let it run until it’s gurgling. Take it apart and see how much bacteria and mold is lacing the edges and floating in the remaining water. This is what your child is breathing in and out all night long! You can purchase vapor pads for the machine, or you can put a drop of the eucalyptus oil on the pad to help them breathe easier throughout the night.

We have also started tuff on some antihistamine/decongestant drops to help with his allergies. I also went ahead and told the nurse to give him the flu shot at our 6 month visit. We are on a delayed immunization schedule, but with the way things have been going, I’d rather be safe than sorry when it comes to the flu. Now enough of all this sick talk…

Bug bites are freaking scary! Not only is he having to fight a little respiratory bug, but he’s having to fight real bugs too. Still not sure what the hell bit him, but my poor baby has been through the ringer. Finally, two weeks later, his cheek is getting back to its milky white texture again (thank GOD for my little baby aloe plant). Now enough of all this sick talk…

Hurricane Issac came to town… twice actually! This was our first hurricane with the baby. I know many people had tremendous damage and turmoil during this storm, but fortunately, we were not one of them. Yes, we had a lot of water in our yard from 3 days of constant rain; and we had a lot of debris in our front and back yard (limbs, leaves, trash, etc.). But that was the extent of our damage. We never lost power and amazingly never lost our DirectTV service (which is insane). It was actually a good time for us. We got to spend a lot of quality time together as a family. We even went out for a ride to get out of the house after the storm had past and got a little footage of the surrounding destruction… and we were thankful that our little family was kept safe. I will admit, I checked on Tuff several times throughout the 2 nights the storm was coming through. I kept having dreams of the tree falling on his room… Stupid brain drama! What’s important is that we have made it through all of this and he has been the best sport about all of it. Always with a smile on his face J So we must be doing something right!

Finally vacation time!!! We are going to the beach this week. I absolutely cannot wait, we have not been on a relaxing vacation since we got married 2 ½ years ago. We are constantly traveling with Tuff, so we are confident he will be good for the drive. Although, we will be traveling late in the afternoon, so we hope he can sleep most of the way. I can’t wait to see his face when he touches the sand and sees the ocean and feels the waves come up on the beach. The beach holds a very special place in my heart. We used to go a couple times every summer with my grandparents until I graduated highschool. Nothing fancy, just cheap motels along the main strip in Biloxi, but it was what I looked forward to all school year long. I’m always so inspired after coming back from a beach vacation, and I feel at peace looking out into the big blue and feeling the warm ocean water on my ankles and the sand between my toes. As much as my little nugget loves the water, I know he is going to grow to love and respect it as much as I do.

Incredible things have been taking place with my little man. I can’t wait to share his 6 month update. Everything is changing so fast, and even through all the commotion and ailments, we are moving through at a pretty smooth pace. Can’t say any more now, I will save all the juicy bits for his 6 month update which will be posted tomorrow J YAY!