Friday, June 6, 2008

Okay... I Win The Bad Mama Award of the Week!

You'd think I know better by now, but the end-of-the-year school activities always seem to throw me for a loop. With three kids, it seems like I'm being pulled in three different directions, and attending every function, celebration, and activity under the sun! It's an exhausting undertaking, that's for sure!

This past week, my two girls had significant events with their school. My youngest had her playgroup's Family Fun Day. Despite the yucky, misty rain that continued to fall all day (which prohibited all of the outdoor activities), it was a wonderful event, and my littlest little absolutely loved being there with all of her little friends (who were all so cute together!). She enjoyed all of the crafts, too. She brought home a fish she made, and a necklace she hand-decorated, too! And of course, Mama took TONS of pictures!

We left before the event was over, though, because I had a few errands that I had to run. But, as a consolation for missing out on the pizza lunch, I treated her to a Happy Meal at McDonald's (what kid doesn't love THAT??!!). She happily munched away in her carseat as we travelled throughout town, taking care of the stuff that needed to be done.

It was soon time to pick up her older sister from school. Despite my reluctance to send her to school that morning, she begged me to let her go, because her school was celebrating their Colonial Days unit, where they learned all about the life of the men, women, and children during Colonial America. The unit culminated in two days of "Colonial-type" activities (like candlemaking, butter churning, weaving and textiles, a one room school house, Colonial law, etc.). The most exciting part for my daughter was the wearing of her Laura Ingalls-like prairie dress (after a frantic search on EBay, I finally found her adorable dress for only $9.99!), which she was really looking forward to wearing.

My reluctance to send her stemmed from her flu-like symptoms: fever, cough, sore throat, stuffy nose, and general lethargy. She and I went back and forth about it, and kept assuring me she was fine, and that she really wanted to go to school, to be a part of the festivities. So, I loaded her up with cold medicine and children's Tylenol, and told her that if she felt even a smidge worse, she was to call me and I'd come pick her up right away. She promised me she would, and I dropped her off, still unable to shake that knawing feeling in the pit of my stomach.

By the time my little one, my husband (who had his scheduled day off from work) and I arrived at my oldest daughter's school, the entire 3rd grade class was making its way out onto the basketball court in front of the school, to take a breather and have some pictures taken. Since I still had my camera in the car, I grabbed it and got out to take my own pictures of my daughter with her classmates and teacher.

As I approached her, I could see that she looked really peeked. Her cheeks were flushed, and she didn't have the sparkle in her eye that she normally does. Even her teacher said that she noticed that she just wasn't acting like her old self that day.

A little while later, school let out for the day, and once my daughter got into the car, I started grilling her about her day in general, and her health, in particular. Did she feel any worse? No. Was she okay throughout the day? Yes. Was she able to eat any of the "Colonial-style" food. Not much -- the only things she liked were the cornbread and the turkey.

Our initial plan was to pick her up, take her home to get changed (and to see if our Stimulus Check had arrived in the mail), and then to make a trip out to ANOTHER set of furniture stores, in our quest to find the perfect living room set (which our Stimulus Check is earmarked for, and which we desperately need). Once home and changed, I asked my daughter if she felt up to going out, or if she'd prefer to just go lie down and rest. She said she felt fine and wanted to go out, so off we went.

During the course of our browsing, I noticed that she just wasn't being her perky, after-school self. She just moped on store displays, waiting patiently for us to finish. On the ride there, she passed out in the back seat. On the ride home, she was completely quiet. Again, NOT normal for my daughter.

I told my husband, on the way home, after observing her behavior and listening to her constant, hacking cough, that I was calling her pediatrician's office once we got home. Something just didn't seem right about her -- AT ALL. Thankfully, Thursdays are her pediatrician's late nights in the office, so he was still there when we got home.

I explained her symptoms to the receptionist, and she told me to come in right away, because the doctor had an open spot. So, my daughter and I put out coats and our shoes back on, and out the door we went again. I let her bring a microwaved chicken finger along for the ride, because it was dinnertime, and she's usually ravenous by then. She barely took two bites. Again... NOT normal.

We got to her doctor's office, I checked her in, and she was called into the exam room right away. The nurse did a throat culture on her (for strep), which came back normal. She took her temp, which was also normal (probably because of the Tylenol I'd given her again, as soon as she came home after school).

The doc came in -- a sweet, middle-aged man who's known all three of my children since they were all two weeks old -- and in his own, gentle way, got down to the business of examining her. He looked in her mouth; fine. He looked in one ear; perfect. The other ear; perfect, as well. All the while, he was asking her questions about her condition -- when did the cough begin, did she have a sore throat, has she had any headaches, any upset stomach, any vomiting?

He began to listen to her lungs. He checked out the front; fine. Moved to the back -- checked the lower left quadrant, then the lower right; both okay. Moved up to the upper left quadrant, and started squishing up his face in a funny way. Moved to the right upper quadrant, and then looked completely disgusted. He turned to me at that point, and said, "Ewww, I don't like the way that right lung sounds at all -- she sounds like she's got lots of junk in there."

Turns out.... she has PNEUMONIA!!!! I KNEW something was up with her! Her doc teasingly chastised me a bit for sending her to school that day, until I explained that it was all her... she BEGGED me to let her go this morning, and despite my better judgement, I let her go ahead and do it!

He did say that if she didn't have a fever this morning, she would be okay to go into school today (which she so wanted to do, because the Colonial Days celebration culminated today). But, her father said he didn't think it was a good idea for her to go into school this morning, and when I saw her -- all mopey on the living room chair, she started in with her "Oh, please can I go in to school today Mama, ohpleaseohpleaseohppllleeeeaaaasseeee???", I just repeated what her doctor had said last night. We went to check her temperature, and it only confirmed what I'd already seen (with her rosy cheeks) and felt as I touched her furnace-like skin; she had a temp of 102.2. So, I gave her more medicine and promptly set her up for a day of refuge in my bedroom.

I definitely feel like the guilty Mama for going against my better judgement (and my Mama radar!) and sending her into school yesterday!

I'm just glad she's relinquished to the fact that she needs to stay in bed and rest. Now, if only I can keep my littlest little from wanting to take advantage of the fact that her big sister's home and play with her best friend, that would be wonderful!

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