Yesterday was Sylvia's nine month well visit. I've been dying to get in there and see what kind of stats they could post on my baby. I expected the usual routine - weigh her and measure her, rattle off all of her developmental milestones, discuss her eating and sleeping habits, then hear about how brilliant and wonderful she is. Right?
After all the stats were posted (she's totally normal on weight, height, development, behavior, blah blah blah), Dr. Abrams was listening to her chest. She pulled away and said, "I hear a slight wheezing in her breath. Did you know she was wheezing?" I glanced at Sylvain, then back at Dr. Abrams and said, "Ummm....no?" Because I didn't! She's been coughing every now and then, but after our last trip to the doctor's office when we thought she was sick, we found out she has allergies, so when she coughs, I assume it's allergies and I give her some allergy medicine. But wheezing? I'm not even sure I know what wheezing sounds like.
She explained that it could be RSV, a respiratory virus, and that if is was RSV, it has the potential to be serious enough that she'd have to be hospitalized. I'm sure she said something like, "At worst, she'd have to be admitted to the hospital for oxygen and fluids," but what I heard in my crazy brain was, "YOUR DAUGHTER IS SICK AND YOU DIDN'T EVEN KNOW IT AND NOW SHE MIGHT HAVE TO GO TO THE HOSPITAL YOU'RE A TERRIBLE MOTHER!!!" Then, after she lays that doozie on me, she proceeds to stick a giant cotton swab up Sylvia's nose to test for RSV. You can probably guess that she didn't like it one single bit. So now I'm holding a naked, crying baby and she's grasping her arms around my neck, being all "Get me the hell out of here, they just stuck a stick up my nose!" and the nurse starts explaining....
Breathing treatments! She brings in a machine that whirrs and buzzes and drones. It has a mask on the end of a long tube that I'm supposed to stick in my crying baby's face so she can breathe in the vapors......
I was so done. Thank goodness Sylvain was there to listen to the nurse and figure out how this stupid nebulizer works. I was hoping I wouldn't have to use the word "nebulizer" in reference to my kid until she was at least old enough to explain her own nerdiness.
While we waited for the test to come back, we fired up the nebulizer and tried to hold it to her face. I'll give you one guess as to how she handled THAT activity. She hated it. I hated it. She screamed and cried at me. I screamed and cried at Sylvain. The poor nurses in the hallway probably thought we were beating our child in that exam room. Not my proudest moment.
We wrestled her through a breathing treatment and tossed that stupid mask on the exam table, exasperated and worried. The doctor came back and declared that the RSV test was "really positive." Great. In a matter of about three minutes, she shoved a "loaner" nebulizer in our hands along with a box of whatevertheheck we just let our child inhale and directions to do it to her once a day for a week; she wrote a prescription for Albuterol which also goes in the nebulizer and we give to her every 4-6 hours; she told us to go buy some regular Robitussin and give her 1/4 of a teaspoon every 4-6 hours, elevate her crib, turn on her humidifier, and "Oh, by the way, I wouldn't send her to day care for a few days. RSV is really contagious." At this point my brain exploded and I just let Sylvain take over from there.
On our way out we made an appointment for next week. On our way home we stopped at the pharmacy to get all of her new goodies. We discussed how we were going to juggle our schedules to keep her at home. We spent the rest of the day watching her play and laugh and giggle and eat as if nothing in the world was wrong. When she went down for a nap, we both went to our computers to look up RSV, only to discover that is is potentially very serious, but it is also very COMMON. Must not be that common, though, because NO ONE IN MY ENTIRE LIFE HAS EVER TOLD ME ABOUT IT EVER! If you're reading this and you're thinking, "Geez Rach, settle down. It's just RSV, it's no big deal." Then you can blame yourself for never telling me about it. How was I supposed to know?
Sylvia slept very well last night on her elevated mattress with her newly cleaned and disinfected humidifier humming along nicely. Sylvain went to school this morning to leave sub plans while I got Sylvia out of bed. When he got home and before I left for work, we gave her the first at-home breathing treatment. We were both nervous about it, but should have known better.
In the comfort of her own home, in her jammies, with her favorite baby doll by her side, Sylvia had absolutely no problem breathing in the vapor from the nebulizer. She helped me hold it and she even stuck her face into the mask a few times! It occurred to me while I sat there holding this crazy gadget that it wasn't the whole RSV that bothered me, it was the fact that I didn't know what to do. There is no college course that teaches you how to use a nebulizer on a nine month old, at least not one that Sylvain or I ever signed up for! It reminded me that I have a lot to learn as a parent - that I'm the "adult" in this situation, so whether I know what I'm doing or not, I better be steadfast and strong in my attempts to make my child feel better. And I really hope she feels better soon. A healthy baby would make a happy Mama!