My poor little boy has been sick since mid-last week. It started with a little congestion and coughing that I first noticed last Wednesday. When he woke Thursday, it seemed worse, so I kept him home. I checked his temp and it was normal, but the cough was really bothering him, so I gave him a day of rest with Mom.
I kicked him out of the nest and back to school on Friday… and then got a call from the school secretary at 2:30pm saying Super Boy was in her office with a headache and low fever (99.6). I felt awful! What a MOM FAIL that was.
Super Boy continued to run a low-grade fever all weekend long, and into Monday. It never went higher than 101, but never lower than 99.3 (this was without any fever-reducer, as it didn’t seem to warrant any given how low the fever was and the fact that Super Boy wasn’t complaining). By Monday, I figured four days was long enough, and I figured it was more likely a bacterial infection of some sort than a viral illness because Super Boy ALWAYS spikes fevers over 102 with viral stuff and almost never does with bacterial infections.
We saw the pediatrician, Dr. O, on Monday morning. I LOVE Super Boy’s pediatrician. He is one of the kindest, smartest, most thoughtful physicians I’ve ever met, and he LISTENS. He wants to know what I think about whatever Super Boy is experiencing, what I’ve observed, and if I suggest something, he addresses it without dismissing it. I respect him, and he respects me.
I told him I thought it might be walking pneumonia, because Super Boy’s symptoms seemed to fit that bill. But after listening to Super Boy’s chest, he said his chest actually sounded pretty clear. Unfortunately, after looking in his nose and throat, Dr. O said the words I had hoped never to hear again: “I hate to say this, Mom, but it looks like Super Boy has a sinus infection.”
Ughhhhhh…. no, no, no!!
You might remember that my boy had a long and unfortunate history of chronic and recurring sinus infections earlier in his life. He started daycare at the age of 11 weeks, and no lie, from the time he was about 12 weeks until he was 3 years and 8 months old, my poor boy was on antibiotics for sinus infections more than he was OFF antibiotics. It was a vicious cycle: he’d catch a cold, it wouldn’t go away and he’d end up with a lingering cough, I’d take him to the doctor, they’d diagnose a sinus infection, and he’d be on 2 weeks of antibiotics, and then we’d be right back there again within 2 weeks for the same thing, over and over and over… and over… again. We were seeing a different pediatrician for the first two years of Super Boy’s life, and I grew more and more frustrated as he blew off my concerns that this COULD NOT POSSIBLY BE NORMAL. The one and only useful recommendation he made was that I remove him from the large daycare center he was initially at and move him to a much smaller in-home daycare. And despite that change, he was still sick almost non-stop.
I finally switched to our current pediatrician, and I never looked back. Dr. O agreed with me that it made sense for Super Boy to be tested for allergies, and to see an ENT to have his adenoids and sinuses checked rather than continue to prescribe antibiotics without knowing exactly what was causing the chronic infections or why they would never fully go away.
The allergist did skin testing for darn near everything. Nothing reacted. The ENT did sinus CTs, swabbed Super Boy’s nasal cavities to find out exactly what bacteria were growing so he could prescribe the RIGHT medications, and he prescribed 21 days at a time to be sure the infection was totally gone. One of the CTs showed that Super Boy had enlarged adenoids, so he did an adenoidectomy, thinking that might help. Unfortunately, since Super Boy had been having sinus infections for so long, it was impossible to known if his adenoids were huge because they were chronically infected or if they were huge because it was a structural defect, but it made sense to take them out regardless. All of this made some difference, and seemed to help slow down the recurrence of the sinus infections, but only my getting Super Boy out of Petri dish that is daycare ended up putting a STOP to the infections.
And it was just that simple: After 3-1/2 years of nearly constant sinus infections and antibiotics, they just stopped once Super Boy was home with me and no longer at daycare. In fact, in the nearly four years since Super Boy has been out of daycare, he’s only been on antibiotics twice: once for his one and only case of strep throat when he was 5, and then again as a precaution after he wiped out on his bike this summer and split his upper lip open, requiring stitches.
But the poor kid has a sinus infection again now. He’s on two weeks of Augmentin, and it turns out that it’s the one medication Super Boy hates with a fervent passion. He will take it, but it’s a gagging, dramatic experience every single time, which means twice a day for 14 days. 😦
I kept Super Boy home Monday and Tuesday, but sent him back today. He hasn’t had a fever since Monday, and his cough – though still icky sounding – is actually getting better. Dr. O says it should be GONE by Monday. If it’s not, the medicine isn’t working. I’m praying that it is.
And I’m really, REALLY praying that this isn’t the start of another slippery slope of chronic sinus troubles for my little boy but just an isolated incident in an otherwise really good, healthy year for him.