Wednesday, March 23, 2011

In the Valley of the Sick

And for those of you who thought it was "Death Valley"...sorry to disappoint. I'm still here. Still breathing (sort of).

After having been sick myself for more than a week, I had to deal with (predictably) a sick kid. He missed an entire week of school and has one of the nastiest, most persistent coughs I've ever heard. I mean the poor kid is coughing NON-STOP (literally - I tried timing him to see how long he could go between bouts and he couldn't even last 60 seconds) even with cough medicine.

I took him to the doctor (except, of course, that there were no appointments at our regular office so they sent us to their satellite office to see a Nurse Practitioner) on Friday to see if I could get something stronger to help calm down the coughing. The OTC medicines were just not getting it done (and yes, I tried about 5 different brands). Thursday night he coughed so hard he gagged up half his dinner.

The NP listens to his chest and tells me it's clear. His sinuses are also clear.

Um...okay. But what about the cough?

(Oh, I should mention that the ONLY time the cough quieted down a little bit? The hour that we were in the doctor's office. Excellent. Just like how that weird noise your car makes goes away when you take it to the mechanic)

So the NP tells me the cough is from "drainage" (but his sinuses were clear?) so she's going to start him on an antibiotic (why?) and Nasonex (an allergy medication - again, why?)

I ask her for a prescription cough medicine and she says that these two things will dry up the drainage that's causing the cough so he won't need it.

Now, in hindsight, this is where I should have let my inner bitch off the chain, but I was trying to remain reasonable while reminding myself that *I* didn't go to med school and I should at least give this plan a try before I go all Tasmanian Devil in this small room.

Plus, after two straight weeks of illness (mine and then the kid's), I was TIRED. And the brain was not really functioning at full capacity.

So, we started the antibiotic on Friday and I proceeded to listen to poor Ryan cough and cough and cough and cough and cough for the next two days. It was so bad I was even hearing it in my dreams. In addition to the medications, I was using a humidifier, shoving him in the shower to inhale steam, trying to get him to swallow tea with honey and lemon (and eight year old boys? not so big on the whole tea thing it turns out) and whatever else I could think of to help soothe his throat.

Made an attempt Monday morning to take him back to school (at this point he hadn't had fever for 5 days and had been on an antibiotic for 4 days) - that lasted for two hours until the school called me to tell me I had to come pick him up because his cough was "disrupting the class."

By this time, my mother was sick, too. Having caught it from the kid when she sat with him last week so I could try to put in a few hours at the office to save my job. And she was too sick to come over and watch him any more.

Called the doctor's office again and this time? The Inner Bitch was not taking any more BS. Finally (after multiple rounds of phone calls with advice nurses and waiting while the office was closed for lunch) I got his actual doctor on the phone and insisted she give me something stronger for his cough.

She agreed (glory hallelujah). BUT...the medicine can only be used at night time because it will make him too sleepy for school. However, at this point, I was desperate so I went with it.

The kid was not at all disappointed to miss school again yesterday.

After two nights of relatively cough-free sleep, he's finally sounding SLIGHTLY better today (I would say he's gone from a 10 down to an 8.5 on the coughing scale). So, off he went to school again...and so far, so good. They haven't called me to pick him up.

MAYBE we're finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

Oh, and the magic cough medicine? Not covered by my craptastic insurance. How can they not cover COUGH MEDICINE???!!! I know it's prescription strength and all, but it's not like it's an experimental cancer treatment or something. It's freakin' COUGH MEDICINE.


I'm back.

At least until the next catastrophe occurs.



kelleysbeads said...

Ugh, what a wretched time for you and the boy child. I hope this medicine kicks it for Ryan and he ditches the cough for good!

Cynthia said...

Poor Ryan! (& you) I hope his cough is getting better and better.

You might try asking the dr office to tell the insurance co that you tried other cheaper meds first, and then they might cover it. I had this happen, and after the dr office told the insurance co that we tried a generic first, they readily covered the expensive stuff. May be worth another phone call.
Hang in there!!

Sally Anderson said...

I have a granddaughter who has had a cough for what seems like a month. But hers has, of late, been at night -- keeping both her & her mom awake. The doctor told her mom not give her over-the-counter cold stuff, not even the stuff that says it's for kids cuz it doesn't work (duh...) but to try a spoonful of honey at bedtime. The honey has worked! She's had 2 nights of silence and sleep. Not in tea or anything, just a spoonful of honey. FWIW! Good luck.

lunedreams said...

makes you want to move to china where you can write your own damn prescription. or however it works. the medical community is just plain scary! ALWAYS take the Inner Bitch with you to the doctor. 2 frightening stories: 1) i had a friend with a prolapsing uterus have a NP tell her (in all seriousness) that she could keep the thing in there by standing on her head. 2) woman came to our law firm saying a PA had diagnosed her congestive heart failure as "allergies" and prescribed her Claritin. No lie. (As she was telling US the story, I said, Wow that sounds like congestive heart failure and she shrieked SEE!!! Even YOU know what it was!!! (I am a French major.)

Kristen said...

OMG! I so wish I could help you through all of this! Here's to hoping he gets better, you get sleep and the insurance co finally realizes they are run by idiots!


SueBeads said...

Sorry to hear about that! My son had a horrible cough but it ended up being pneumonia - hope that's not what your son's terrible. Nothing worse than a sick feel so bad for them! Be well!

Mellisa said...

and we're SURE it's not pertussis (i.e. whooping cough)??? It's been rampant in So Cal (my neighbor just got over it recently)

Tara P. said...

We've been sick around here too and it just hangs on and on! Hopefully the little one feels better soon and you too!

Marie Cramp said...

We have been going through the same thing at our house! Three of the kids have been coughing. The one thing that helped at all was putting Vaporub on the kids feet and sending them to bed with socks on! If there is ever a next time, try it, at least it helps some. "HUGS"