I had hoped to blog this weekend. I have lots of ideas in my head that are just waiting to be transformed into magnificent posts. But this weekend something else in my head was interfering with my ability to blog – germs. Yes, I’m sick. That’s not a surprise, you may say, it’s an occupational hazard when you’re a doctor. Actually, I’m sick not because it’s an occupational hazard but a parental hazard. Both of my kids were sick last week. In typical fashion when one kid is ill it’s only a matter of time before the other one gets it too. I may be exposed to illness day after day at work but I never seem to catch anything from adults. But put me in a room with a snot nosed kid and my own nose will start filling up with snot in a matter of days. In medical school during my Pediatrics rotation I was sick 3 times within an 8 week period. I may have built up an immunity for adult germs but those kid germs can still knock me on my ass.
Last week my kids had a fever, sore throat, cough and fatigue. Serious fatigue. On one occasion my 7-year-old went upstairs to read and fell asleep. He also chose to go to bed early. When my kid who never wants to go to bed before his normal bedtime asks to go to sleep, you know he’s got to be sick. Also my 3-year-old who gave up naps a long time ago, fell asleep as we were sitting on the couch watching TV. When my kid who never naps takes a 1 1/2 hour nap, you know he’s got to be sick. I’m constantly reminding my children to cover their mouths when they cough and sneeze. My older son has no problem with this – he almost always covers his mouth. My younger son also covers his mouth – with my face. Yes, instead of covering his mouth with his arm or his hand, he will cough directly in my face. I’ve also been confused for a tissue and ended up covered in his snot. A discussion about sick children isn’t complete without mentioning vomit so I can’t leave out the vomit! While having a coughing fit, my 3-year-old will often gag which leads to vomiting. And 3 year olds don’t tend to vomit in the toilet, they vomit on whatever is nearby, and last week what was often nearby was me. So last week I was sneezed on, coughed on and puked on. Gee, how could I have possibly gotten sick?
My symptoms started with a sore throat 3 nights ago but the next morning besides the throat, everything else was achy too. At that point my fever was low grade at 99.4 so I popped some Tylenol and decided to go to work. One of my fellow physicians was already out sick with H1N1, so I didn’t want to burden anyone with my potential absence. I’m a team player – there’s no “I” in “team” (unless you spell it wrong). So I went to work and saw a few patients. Don’t worry, I didn’t expose them to my germs by coughing or sneezing in their faces – these patients were being seen for their annual women’s health exams so I was spending most of the appointment down at the other end. As the morning progressed, so did my symptoms. I felt like crap so I left work for the day. When I got home my temperature was 101.2. I was sick. I crawled into bed and spent most of the weekend there.
When my children found out I was sick, they expressed their concern. At one point I went downstairs to talk to my 7-year-old and he told me that I should go right upstairs and rest so I’d get better. I thought, what a kind and thoughtful child I had. That’s what I thought until I saw the pack of Skittles he was hiding in his hands. He wanted me out of the kitchen so he could eat the Skittles that he didn’t have permission to eat! Sneaky kid! I was in no mood to argue so I went upstairs. Later he came upstairs and wanted to read me his new book Captain Underpants and the Big Bad, Battle of the Bionic Booger Boy, Part 1: The Night of the Nasty Nostril Nuggets (and honestly, I really wanted him to read it to me – how can you not laugh at that title?) He and his fruit flavored breath sat on my bed next to me.
Me: Did you eat the Skittles?
R: No (smirking).
R: No (trying hard not to laugh).
Me: Are you sure? You smell like Skittles.
R: OK, I lied. But I do want you to rest so you get better.
My 3-year-old, my little mama’s boy, was also concerned. When I got him out of bed yesterday morning, the first words out of his mouth were, “Are you OK? Are you better?” Aw, aren’t my kids sweet? They didn’t actually cure my symptoms, but they did make me feel better.
Do I have H1N1/swine flu? Maybe. I do meet the CDC criteria for swine flu and it does seem to be the illness du jour so I’m going to go out on a limb and say, yes, I have swine flu. The good news is that I’m starting to feel better. And look, I was able to blog and complete a post. So don’t buy into the hysteria – maybe this swine flu isn’t that bad after all.
Th-Th-Th-Th-Th-Th-Th-Th-Th-That’s all folks!