"A mother's love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity,
it dares all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path."
~ Agatha Christie

Alex, Cole and Braden - At 2 years, 2 months

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Month!

That's how long we have all been sick for.  I can't believe it.  It's just a never ending cycle here at the Ertel Zoo!  Mike started it with a sinus cold, gave it to me and then the kids started shortly after.  We have all gotten better in between, but then someone gives it back to someone else and the musical chairs of sickness continues...will the music ever really stop??!  I can't tell you how much I am looking forward to spring - the windows open, flushing these germs out of our house for good.  Because now I am starting to believe that spring is our only hope out of this.

Cole got really sick about two weeks ago, coughing and runny nose, wheezing.  Then Alex followed with the same symptoms.  We started giving breathing treatments to them all before nap and nighttime, since even though Braden wasn't sick, he was starting to wheeze too.  Cole started to get better, Alex got worse.  Alex tends to get ear infections after a cold, so we worried that was where she was headed.  On Friday, we woke up to the magical sounds of Braden coughing - asthmatic coughing.  For anyone who has had the blessing not to deal with an asthmatic, asthma manifests in many different forms.  Braden's form comes in extreme coughing which makes it ridiculously hard to breathe.  And then he goes downhill fast.  The ER is always a back-of-the-mind worry.

Friday morning, I made a doctor appt for him and Alex, since Cole seemed to be at the tail end of his cold and, I hate to say it, the co-pay for each child is 20 dollars.  So, if one of the kids is mostly well, we can't afford to have them be seen unless absolutely necessary - even though they all come with us anyway. Alex was diagnosed with a double ear infection and something resembling asthma, since she was having a hard time breathing too. All three now?  Ugh. She was most worried about Braden, though, since he was working really hard to breathe again, even with the treatments.  I saw "hospital" written all over her face. She even suggested that Alex may be making the trip as well if her oxygen levels dipped too low through the night.  

We went from 1 pretty sick kid to possibly two in the hospital in 12 hours.  It happens fast!  We took them home and started to administer the bevy of medicine prescribed for Alex and Braden. I started writing it all down on index cards to keep track because with little sleep - heck with a full night of sleep - it's hard to remember who got what when.  


It strongly reminded me of the first 6 months of feeding and medicine with them, having to keep a log of what they ate and when they pooped and what medicine they got so we could both keep track after we passed each other in the night trading shifts taking care of them.  ;)

I know this is a "duh" statement, but life with sick triplets is so much harder than any other day. You get used to the routine, whatever is handed to you in your own life, and when it is disrupted, it's always hard to manage, but when they are sick and you are sick with worry, and that is unfortunately a lot around here, it's not very fun.  I'm still in my pajamas from yesterday. Really. The steroid Braden is on makes him extremely irritable and he just cries and cries and cries all day.  In between coughing.  And Alex's antibiotic is so harsh on her poor stomach since she is not eating much, and that makes for a very unpleasant diaper for both of us.  ;)

Yesterday morning, Cole woke up coughing more again and I though, "yikes... here we go again." He needs treatments around the clock now too. Sigh. And then last night, he started scaring us - at bedtime, when reading their favorite story - he was sitting in my lap and I could just feel the fever through his pajamas.  He was blazing hot.  I took his temp - almost 103.  And the kicker - he had gotten Motrin for a low fever (100) only 3 hours before.  So that fever was on Motrin, even.  

All night, we have been alternating Tylenol and Motrin every three hours just to keep the fever down.  It keeps creeping back up too quickly.  Plus, we are giving all three breathing treatments every 4 hours through the night to make sure they don't end up in the hospital on oxygen.  

Here's the list:
Breathing treatments every 4 hours
Motrin/Tylenol every 3/6 hours
Braden's steroid 2xs day
Alex's antibiotic 2xs a day
Claritin and Nasonex for the boys at night
Pulmicort breathing treatment every day (which is supposed to boost their immune system all winter)

I hate that this list is so long, that all of this medication has to be in our babies' systems to function, to stay healthy, to not end up in the hospital catching a more serious life-threatening cold.  I keep telling myself that the older they get, the stronger they will get, and I hope that is true.


The drying rack is littered with breathing masks and syringes.  The counter holds all the bottles of medications at the ready.  The garbage is full of a large number of plastic tubes that once held the breathing treatments and tens of discarded tissues.  Their bedroom and the living room are alive with the constant hum of two machines, compressors, to deliver the treatments.  It's full focus on controlling sickness in this house! 

As of now, Cole's fever is still high, Braden is still coughing despite 2 days of steroids and 6 breathing treatments a day and Alex is still miserable, though better, I think. I worry for their health, but I am hoping that we will make it out without serious intervention.  I keep having to tell myself that even though this is rough and touch-and-go, we could be battling things much worse, and that thought usually helps me have some faith in where we will be in a few days - hopefully back to the normal, boring, everyday grind. Can I say that I miss it?!  ;) 


Anonymous said...

Oh no! Let me know if I can do anything. Seriously. I wanted to stop over so bad this weekend, but I'm kind of sick too, and I didn't want to make anyone worse. But I'm still here if you need me. Get better soon!

<3 Erin

my stay-at-home-momma drama said...

Goodness! I'm tired just thinking about three sick kids. Hope they are well soon and you're able to get some rest. Take care!

Amy said...

Your asthma story sounds so familiar. I went through it with my youngest. Although I only had 1 to deal with not 3. Yikes! The good new though, my guy is now 4 and hasn't had an attack in about a year or so. Hopefully it's a phase for them like it was for mine.