UGH, Cold and Flu Season, How I Dislike You

It's that time of year again, the radio is mentioning getting your free Flu shot at health clinics in Ontario and the kids are coming home with runny noses, oh what fun.  No one enjoys this time of year, no one wants their children to be ill.  But for me and my family Flu Season brings on an uncontrollable anxiety that I personally just can't seem to get passed.

  It all started 5 years ago this coming February.  My Little Man was five months and two days old when the longest two weeks of my life began.  We knew he had a cold, he wasn't holding anything down so we took him to the hospital for a check up, they looked said he was sick and sent us home.  We took him back a couple of days later to one of the hospitals in the nearest city and we waited.  My husband in the waiting room with our daughters (they were waiting for my mother to come get the girls) and I was in the emergency department with my son.  This time his vitals weren't doing well and they were going to send us to the other hospital.  I didn't want to but I had to leave him to tell my husband, it was only a few steps away and I'd be right back.  Unfortunately, in order to do that I had to walk through the doors of the department, the doors that latch and LOCK behind you.  I told my husband "they're sending us to KGH in ambulance, drive over and we'll meet you there".  I buzzed and buzzed on that door for what seemed like 15 minutes, I could see nurses and doctors scurrying like little mice trying to find the cheese in a maze and finally someone buzzed me in.  I ran when I realized they were scurrying to my baby.  My little boy, I never should have left him, I felt HORRIBLE.  Nothing will ever compare to that feeling, I am his mom and I should have been there for him, I still feel guilty to this day that I wasn't there.  They lost his vitals that's what all the commotion was.  For a split second my baby lay without any air, and an extremely low heartbeat, nothing was there, it is an image I will never forget.  Finally everything was going okay the buzzers from the machines hooked to him stopped buzzing, the doctors and nurses thinned out and eventually left.  Then they put us on an ambulance bed and took us away, on the way to the other hospital they lost his vitals again, I try to tell myself it was just a bump in the road and the pulse meter fell off or slipped a little and that's what caused it.  That is what the ambulance attendant told me at the time but that is not what I remember him saying to the doctor upon arrival at the hospital.  The second hospital checked him over again took a sample of his nose discharge and sent us home once again.  As a mom of a son who lost all stats twice that really pissed me off, not to mention the fact that he throw up right as we were walking out the door.  All over my husband, it was gross.  But hey at least it wasn't me.

  We weren't gone long and we took him back in to the hospital.  This time we were admitted and there we lay, my son and I in the corner room on the fourth floor of the hospital.  At this time I didn't really know what was going on, we were in quarantine and the doctors and nurses came in wearing removable plastic robes over their scrubs.  I often wondered "do they really think that does anything?" I mean come on, he's sick, with an airborne illness, your plastic backwards robe isn't going to make it so you don't get whatever this is on your clothing.  But whatever.

  One of my best friends works at the hospital and at this time we didn't have any fun electronics, but she did so every day when she was at work she would bring me her iPod and I would play games while watching my poor baby laying in the hospital bed without movement.  It was like it was just his body there he was hooked up to oxygen to prevent brain damage and even with that being provided it was barely above the "warning" level.  He wouldn't wear the mask when they put it on he would wiggle and scream and squirm away from it so they took the mask off and just let the tube pointing towards his nose.  He wasn't getting all the oxygen it was putting out but he was getting enough.  I barely ate, I didn't sleep unless someone from our family came to see him then I would try to grab a little bit of sleep.  It was usually interrupted by a doctor, they have timing like waitresses when you just put food in your mouth and they come to see if everything is alright.  They did put tubes in his nose for oxygen and they worked well enough when he wasn't very mobile, he didn't have the energy to move it.  Thank goodness.

  The chair was unbelievably uncomfortable, my back hurt, but it was the closest I could get to him, although on many occasions I thought of jumping in the bed to be beside him.  But I didn't want to make things worse for him.  They did give me a cot but I couldn't be that far from him, although my husband used it when he came to visit us.  I guess he wasn't getting much sleep at home.  So I got to watch both my boys sleeping.  My parents kept our oldest daughters for the whole week, I'm very thankful for my parents.  My husband had to work but he came and checked on us every day, hoping for any improvement.  Things always get worse before they get better.  I prayed to God multiple times over the course of that week.  We were in the hospital for five days before things started going up, thank you God.  On the fifth day the attending doctor came to check on him, he was awake and smiling, even giggly.  They wheeled in a hospital crib and I was thrilled to see that.  They switched him from the bed because he had life in him again and they were worried that he'd roll off the bed.  On this day, despite my obvious joy I was angered by that attending doctor.  Mind you, had he told me at the beginning of our stay what he told me that day I would have been very angry.  He came in with students, he wanted to show them my sick baby but to his surprise he was getting better.  He actually said he was surprised, he told me that my son had Influenza A and that it was the leading strain of the virus that kills more elderly and infants every year than any other.  I don't know if that's true anymore but it didn't get my baby and I'm very thankful for that.  It was hell living there for a week, I was very tired when I got home, with my baby boy.  We got everything we could to disinfect every area of where he would be so he didn't get sick again.

  Here we are five years later and my son just celebrated his 5th birthday and is happy and healthy, BUT he's home sick today from school, he has a cough and he doesn't look good.  I've given him some Tylenol Cold and Flu, now I wait.  Watching him, making sure he doesn't lose too much color, his hands and feet remain pink and don't turn too pale and eventually purple.  Everyone gets sick, but I almost lost my boy and I cannot imagine my life without him so I may be overly cautious but at least he's home with me where he should be instead of at school spreading some sickness.  I know it's difficult to keep kids home when they are sick but I am lucky enough that I can do that.  I have the ability to keep him home with me and I do, all of them, but I may baby him a little more when he's sick than I do the girls.

  I pray to God every day that Children and their families suffer no more.  One day I hope that will be true but in reality there will likely always be pain and suffering, but I hope that it is bearable.  My heart goes out to those who are sick.  My experience was one that I would rather forget but every year at this time it comes sneaking up on us and I am fearful of my children getting terribly sick.  And I worry, as parents often do for their children.

  Thanks for reading everyone.  I wish you all a great day.  Enjoy life and try not to get sick.  Remember, wash your hands, use sanitizer and try to stay home if you can to prevent others from getting sick.  Have a great Tuesday everyone.

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