Earlier in the week, Jennifer complained about stomach pain. She asked me to make an appointment with her doctor, especially since she'd been having the pain since the weekend. (By the time she told me about it, it had been three days of constant stomach pain. When I asked her why she hadn't told me about it sooner, she didn't have an answer.) Well, a couple of days went by with me forgetting to call her doctor. Then yesterday morning, as I was getting her ready for school, she started to have a coughing fit.
All this time, I thought the stomach pain was just her typical early morning queasiness. (We don't usually wake her up early on the weekends, but last weekend, we had to in order to help her adjust to the new wake-up time better. I started trying to make that happen long before school started up again, but that did not work out very well.) So I thought it was just queasiness, but I didn't like the looks of that cough. She seemed to be coughing pretty hard and it was a long cough.
So I did two things: I did send her to school with FIRM instructions to go to the nurse if she felt any worse. She did feel feverish but not a strong fever. I really thought she'd be okay! And the school knows to reach me by text if there was an emergency. (In hindsight, I now know I should have kept her home.)
And the second thing I did was call her doctor. I really wanted to try to get her in that day, because we had plans for the weekend involving Jennifer going to her BFF's house and she was supposed to leave today. So I was hoping I could bring her in on that day. They said that was fine, and that she'd be seen by Dr. Wong. I held my breath at the name. Even though I smile because it reminds me of a friend, Dr. Wong is not an easy person for me to lip-read. She does not write things down so much and I knew, I just KNEW, I would not have an interpreter to assist communication for this appointment. Not on such short notice. But I said, ok, I'll take that appointment.
Just to be on the safe side, I kept her home from karate. I didn't think she'd be very comfortable with that coughing and stomach pain in karate.
When we got to the doctor's office, the elevator was out so we had to use the stairs. This was tricky for me. I was grateful I hadn't put the baby into the stroller, but at the same time, I had to hold his hand with my good hand and hold the railing of the stairs with my bad hand! And they were big steps! Gah! I held on to that railing as tight as I could with my bad hand, praying I would not lose my balance then my grip, lose my grip or miss a step, as I helped Jesse climb the big steps with me. We took them one at a time and, despite my balance making me a bit shaky on the ascension, we made it up okay. Phew! I was so relieved and quietly saying a prayer of thanks.
In the doctor's office, there were open boxes of masks and bottles of hand sanitizers on the counter. A warning sign said "STOP!" and to clean your hands and wear a mask IF you had a fever and...a list of other ailments. One of those ailments was "cough" and Jennifer said she needed a mask.
"No, you don't," I said, refusing to give into public hysteria over swine flu and trying to remind myself not to be paranoid. In some way, I was assuring myself that Jennifer could not possibly have swine flu. (Or so I wanted to delude myself into thinking! It's no secret that her doctor has often complained about the breeding ground of germs at schools. As it was, ALL toys and toy stations that used to be in the office were gone.)
"But, Mommy, I have a cough," Jennifer persisted.
I reminded her that she didn't have a fever. The sign said "fever AND cough." Not just "cough."
All the same, despite my opinion, the secretary did indeed want Jennifer wearing a mask and to clean her hands. Just to be safe, and as a way of showing I acknowledged my mistake to my daughter, I cleaned my hands, too. Though I drew the line with the baby. He still puts his hands into his mouth and I didn't want that stuff in his mouth.
Well, Dr. Wong examined Jennifer and ran some tests. Thankfully, she did write for me when I could not understand her. When we finally got results, the diagnosis was a stomach virus. She suggested Jennifer go on the bland diet. (BRAT diet, I suppose.) She said because of the time that has transpired, Jennifer should be better by Monday. But if not, if she gets worse or anything else happens, bring her back in.
After the appointment, we stopped at the grocery store. I bought her some bananas, yogurt and bread. I reminded her that yogurt is very good for stomach problems (as long as it has live cultures and acidophiles in it!) and she was looking forward to me making her a big bowl of rice. She was kind of excited about being able to eat as much yogurt and rice as she wanted to.
So far, the stomach pain has not worsened. I still kept her home from school today -- just to be safe -- and the plans with her BFF were changed. She was not happy about missing school but understood how I just wanted to be careful. I dropped off her homework off at the school.
I am hoping she'll be better by the time Monday gets here. I am relieved that I finally got her to the doctor for something that actually did need some medical attention. They say that tummyaches aren't something to take lightly with children. That is all the more true when that tummyache lasts for several days and there are other symptoms. Take the child to the doctor. It's better to err on the side of caution!