Callum got a cold a little over a month ago. After a week or so, I took him to the doctor to get checked out in advance of our trip. The doctor said he had a cold but his ears and lungs were pristine so he was fine to fly, and in fact, taking him to a humid climate is the best thing you can do for the cold.
The trip did seem to help. The second we landed in Florida his nose basically turned into a faucet for the next three hours, which seemed to be the humidity softening everything and letting it flow. He remained sick for the rest of our trip, but it seemed pretty mild.
We got home and he was still sick. He was coughing and his nose was running. Then he started pulling on his ears, something he'd never done before. He did it constantly, especially on the right ear, and I noticed on the video monitor that sometimes he would put his hands on his ears in his sleep. All the articles about ear infections said that the number one indicator of an ear infection is the baby's mood, though, and he seemed as happy and energetic as usual, so I thought maybe it was just a new habit.
He was still sleeping through the night, though sometimes he'd fuss a little in his sleep. Some days his appetite seemed low but the next day it would be fine again. His naps kind of sucked, but that could be (and might still be) totally unrelated to a possible ear infection and completely related to him being, you know, a baby. I still felt like something wasn't right with him, so I called the nurse line at our pediatrician and was told, maybe it's his ears but more likely it's just an ongoing cold, up to you what to do. So I decided to hold out for his 12-month well visit at the end of January.
But you know what the weird thing was that tipped me over the edge? In the mornings he would sit up in his crib and start banging the back of his head against the railing. This seemed like a strange new habit so I googled it and found this BabyCenter article, which said that head banging is a common self-soothing technique, particularly among boys, and then mentioned that it can sometimes be an attempt to distract themselves from the pain of teething or ear infection. When I read that, somehow I just KNEW that's what was going on. It was the final straw of all these little things, I guess. I just KNEW that despite what everyone said about how all this stuff could be normal, it was just a cold, he'd be unhappy if he had an ear infection, he wouldn't be sleeping, and so on, that this wasn't typical behavior for my kid, and that something was probably up.
So yesterday morning I called the pediatrician's office at the dot of 8:00 a.m. and managed to get a same-day sick appointment with our regular doctor, which is nothing short of a miracle because she's incredibly popular and doesn't usually even take sick appointments. We went in yesterday afternoon and the nurses continued to try to convince me that he was just fine and it was all typical baby behavior. And I kept responding (and they agreed), "Yeah, maybe he's fine but I thought it was better to get him checked out just to be sure."
Then he saw the doctor. And she was awesome. And she did not make me feel like a paranoid first-time mom. And she spent ages with us. And she checked him very thoroughly. And she discussed everything with me.
And she diagnosed him with bronchiolitis, a double ear infection, and a yeast diaper rash as the cherry on top.
So! After extreme hassle with three pharmacies, one of whom tried to charge us $200 for medication that our insurance ended up covering to the tune of $14 out of pocket (THANK GOD), he is now on steroid nebulizer treatments for the bronchiolitis for two weeks, antibiotics for the ear infection for 10 days, and over-the-counter yeast cream for the rash until it clears up.
And parental instinct for the win. I KNEW something was up. I even knew the infection was worse in the right ear than the left. And now I know that I was right: my kid is the type who acts totally fine and happy even when he has to be massively uncomfortable.
Now we just hope that the treatment makes him feel better really, really soon. And that he stops thrashing like an octopus during his breathing treatments, or it's going to be a long two weeks.
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