30 May 2006

Rain, Rain, Go Away (hack, cough)

We've had maybe 2 semi-nice days in the last two to three weeks. We milked the nice day on Sunday for all it was worth, going to Landstuhl where they had a little outdoor fair and Sunday opening of the stores. (Sunday store openings are a big thing. Everything shuts down on Sundays. Even grocery stores. And no 7-11s. If you're out of milk, you're out of milk. Unless you're American and have base privileges.)

Other than just being sick of rain and cold (it's about 45 degrees F right now, with a high today of 55), I really want it to warm up so that Katrina has a chance to get rid of her chronic cough. Last Saturday night, after a pretty normal day and a visit to the base equivalent of a Chuck E. Cheese, Katrina suddenly developed a fever of almost 103. Since she was on day 3 of her third course of antibiotics since January, we were a bit more concerned than if she hadn't been taking the meds. After a dose of Ibuprofen and a call to the nurse line, we took her to the ER at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. That's the big American hospital here. When you hear about soldiers being taken to Germany after being wounded on the battlefield? This is where they come.

Anyway, we saw in action how much more interventionist the American practice of medicine is over German practice. Of course, by the time the triage nurse looked at Katrina, the ibuprofen had brought her temperature back to normal. But the nurse was horrified that Katrina had been coughing since January and had not yet had a chest X-ray. So off we went to Radiology.

Katrina was absolutely calm and wonderfully cooperative through all of this, even though we had woken her and bundled her into the car after the nurse line put the fear of God into us. (The ER doc said that the nurse line should just have a recording saying "Please go directly to the emergency room." But when you tell a nurse your child's symptoms and that she's asleep in her bedroom, and the nurse tells you to go check that your child is still breathing, well, it freaks you out a little.)

The only complaint Katrina had through the whole ER visit was that she didn't get to see the X-ray of her chest. I think that girl is going to be in the medical field. There was a poster of the anatomy of the ear in the exam room, which fascinated Katrina. We had to tell her what every part was called and how it all worked (if we knew, that is). Then she wanted to know what all of the medical intruments/equipment was and what it was used for.

The doctor on duty said that the X-ray didn't show anything. But he also said he was going to get a colleague to look at it to make sure, so I wonder whether maybe there was a little something there. So he gave us a bottle of Tylenol and a bottle of Ibuprofen for the fever, and Zyrtec to try to dry up any drainage that could make her cough. He told us to overlap the Tylenol and the ibuprofen for 48 hours, which, truthfully, I thought was a bit of overkill. So I gave her ibuprofen at night and checked her temp throughout the day before giving her yet more medicine. But maybe the doc was right, since the fever did recur (though only to about 100).

So that was Saturday night a week ago. That Tuesday, when Katrina was still running a low-level fever off and on, I took her back to the pediatrician. This would be the third visit in three weeks, not counting the ER. You know you're in trouble when the doc comes in, looks at her record and info on the computer screen, and then sighs, rakes his hands through his hair, and mumbles to himself. Really, this doesn't inspire confidence.

"Obviously," the doc says, "her current antibiotic is not working." Um, yeah.

He examines Katrina and then starts talking in German to his nurse, who is at the computer typing in notes. What I hear, because of my woeful lack of anything approaching German comprehension is "blah, blah, blah, blah, chest X-ray, blah, blah." I pipe up to say that she got an X-ray at the ER but they said it didn't show anything. He explains something to me about what an X-ray might or might not show that I cannot recall at the moment.

Then, more notes to the nurse: "blah, blah, blah, pneumonia, blah, blah, blah."

Wha?! "She has pneumonia?!" I say.

"Yeah, I think so," says the doctor matter-of-factly. "What I'm going to do is give you a different antibiotic that is more broad spectrum than the one she's on right now."

Apparently, pneumonia is not the cause for concern I thought it was, because the visit ended exactly the way it did when she had "just a cold," and when she had "bronchitis," and when she had "some sort of viral infection like bronchitis that is going around." We got a prescription for yet another antibiotic and were sent on our way. Granted, the dosage seems to be a bit more aggressive.

About Wednesday afternoon, Katrina perked up and seemed to regain her energy. The fever's been gone since then, and she's been bopping around as usual. She has one more week to go on this, her fourth antibiotic. She's still coughing.

20 May 2006

Why the Seven Dwarves Always Look so Happy

OK, so I didn't make Katrina clean up the mess in the bathroom yesterday, since I figured she'd want to play there this morning, too (reason #42 I'm a fun mom but a terrible housekeeper). So, last night as we were brushing teeth, etc., we saw this little guy.

And then, just a little to the left, Dopey looked like he was having fun, too.

It was 11:30 pm after a long, rainy day. Jon and I laughed and laughed. And laughed. I thought it was just the late hour, but I find it just as amusing today. I have such a sophisticated sense of humor.

19 May 2006

This is what happens...

when on a rainy afternoon Mama says, "No playing with water in the family room! But if you want to give your dolls a bath, you can do it in the bathroom"

10 May 2006

Short and ...well, short

I write blog posts in my head. In the car, while I'm doing dishes, while I'm standing at the playground. But when I actually have time to write, those scintillating posts turn out to be...well, not as substantive as they were when I was sitting in the car waiting on road work traffic. Or, I forget what exactly that great idea was. So, here I am, starting another bulleted list. Hey, maybe the next post will be literary, profound, and touching. And not a list. For now, though, here are some recent happenings and observations.
  • A piece of filling fell out of my tooth Saturday night. So, Monday I had to get the whole filling drilled out and re-done. The dentist was great. I've had some not-so-great experiences in the dentist office, so I'm always wound pretty tight when I get there. But there was no pain, not even with the shot.

  • Tuesday I took Katrina to the pediatrician for her persistant cough. He was as convinced as I that she had some sort of environmental allergies. So they did a prick test for about 10 different things, and she came out clean on all of them. By the way, Katrina was amazingly calm for the whole thing, from the little lancet pricks to the 20 minutes of holding her arm still. Since the allergy test was negative, the doc thought she might have a viral infection. Anyway, we came home with another cough syrup and a 7-day supply of Singulair, an asthma treatment. If these don't work in a week, I'm supposed to bring her back to get some inhalant treatment.

  • I've been trying to lose some weight. I've lost about 10 pounds in the last few months. Mostly because I started exercising again and am keeping a bit of an eye on what I'm eating. One of the perks of being a Dept. of Defense ID holder here is that the on-base gyms are free, including a number of classes. Two or three days a week, I drop Katrina off at school and go to a step aerobics class. So this morning, I noticed that the songs were pretty cheesy 80s songs set to a dance beat....and even as I thought how cheesy they were, I was be-bopping along with them. "Let's Get Physical," "Billy Jean," "Fame," "Mamma Mia," "I Will Survive" (OK, not all 80s), and ..."It's Raining Men!" The cool-down was a slow song from Grease that I can't remember right now. Two songs by Olivia Newton John in one hour. And I was totally into the music. How uncool am I? Don't answer that.

  • Why I'm a fun mom but a terrible housekeeper. Last week was gorgeous weather. Sunny and 75 degrees pretty much from the moment my sister and brother-in-law left (sorry, guys). So for three days in a row, I packed a lunch and took Katrina to the park for, like, the whole afternoon. We barely got home in time to start dinner, and every day, she wanted to stay longer. And honestly? So did I.

All right, I promised Katrina I'd put together a puzzle with her, so I'm off. Unfortunately, it's cloudy and 50 today, so not a prime playground day. Puzzles it is.