Wednesday, March 20, 2013

We Do Steroids

Steroid inhalers that is.

With two confirmed cases of RSV in my house, we've used these bad boys a lot over the last few weeks.  I definitely jinxed myself by saying life at home had been easy!

It seems as if someone in this house has been sick since the day we brought Annalee home.  Samuel had a cold, then an ear infection, then a stomach virus.  But RSV was the kicker.  And if that wasn't enough, Samuel has ear infections again!!!  Aaaargh!

When I took Annalee in to see the doctor, she had been coughing quite a lot (or at least more than I thought was acceptable for a newborn.)  The doctor just sort of glance at her and sent us on our way.  "Her lungs sound clear.  She's fine." momma alarm was ringing and this guy clearly couldn't hear it.  The next day I brought both kids into the clinic again and saw another doctor.  She took one look at Annalee and immediately ordered an RSV swab with a promise that she'd be back after the fifteen minute test was complete.  Three minutes later she opened the door. "We didn't need fifteen minutes after all"  she said, "The test came back positive almost instantaneously.  She has RSV."  Of course she does.  "And if she has it, big brother has it too.  I know he's not symptomatic now, but he probably will be within the week."  Fantastic.

This is likely the most unflattering photo of her I could post, but it's the only one that shows the beautiful rash that went along with the other RSV symptoms.

I'm rather proud of myself.  I didn't cry.  Ok, well...maybe just a tear or two.  RSV!!!  The kind of stuff that educated preemie mommas have nightmares about.  The very disease that we kept Samuel isolated from for two years.  The doctor told us that there was a pretty good chance we'd land in the hospital with Annalee.  "Because preemies have smaller, less developed airways, RSV is significantly more dangerous for them."  Not news to me.

We agreed that Annalee would need her next Synagis shot sooner rather than later and that Samuel would need to double his daily inhalers until it passed.

I'm guessing that the Synagis shot saved Annalee from another hospital stay.  And all of the prayers too!  The day after she received it, she was a completely different child.  It didn't take more than a week for her to recover.

Samuel has been a different story.  Despite the increase in his daily inhaler, he was a coughing mess anytime he did more than sit.  Do toddler boys ever sit?  Combine the coughing with exhaustion, irritability from steroids, and ear infections...and you can understand why I had one BEAR of a child on my hands.

Now, I really hate to jinx myself twice, but I'll go ahead and say that I think we've almost recovered.  We're going to wait out Samuel's ear infections to see if they clear up on their own.  If not, I'll have another Let's-Talk-About-Ear-Tubes conversation to avoid.

I'm not sure how these kiddos were exposed.  Although I'll admit that we weren't using the same precautions that we employed when Samuel came home from the NICU, we are probably the only family you'll meet that goes through a bottle of hand sanitizer every week.  Regardless, I'm actually glad it happened.  It was like God was saying, "You wanted a normal experience and I'm going to give it to you.  These kids are fine and you need to stop worrying."  And I have.  Now that we've lived through it, I'm sufficiently satisfied that Samuel's chronic lung disease is minimal and that Annalee is a lot tougher than she looks.

Such a relief!


  1. I have poorly developed Eustachian tubes (they're narrower and straighter than they should be). I had ear tubes as a kid and it was probably the best thing for me. But, it also didn't stop the ear infections. My doctor has me do a few things when I start having pains or I actually get an ear infection (if I start when the pains start, I rarely get to the infection point). First, I start with decongestants and allergy medication (they help to decrease swelling and increase drainage of the sinuses, which will clear out the ear better). I use a nasal spray if I don't think the decongestants are doing enough. I NEVER blow my nose (I use saline solutions -- boogie wipes, saline rinses, etc) because blowing your nose causes pressure in your sinuses and the harder you blow, the more mucus will build up in your ears. I also refrain from chewy foods until the pain/infection is gone to ensure that my jaw muscles/movements don't interfere with my Eustachian tubes. Finally, I get a wash cloth damp, throw it in the microwave till it's hot (but not enough to burn), and then put it on my ear until it's cold to the touch. I repeat that as desired. It calms the pain and the swelling and it's really a great remedy.

  2. Glad you listened to your momma gut. Don't ever worry about offending your doctor by getting/demanding more agressive care or a second opinion. It's your kid and you know them better than any doctor! You go girl! Glad they are on the mend.

  3. Hello Sarah, my younger sister had really bad ear infections as a kid and the doctor advised ear tubes. My mom really did not like the idea of a surgery and went from doctor to doctor until she found one who would advise ear tubs just as the last solution. He gave my mom a lot of ideas what she could do, most of them match with the first comment.

    He told my mom to never use any fluid for ears (ear drops and things like this) because it would add fluid to the already moist ears which are not draining. As soon as my sister got just a hint of pain, my mom was supposed to warm her ear with a blow dryer on medium heat and so far away that it is warm on the ear but not too hot (probably the same effect as the cloth mentioned above) and do it as often as possible, the heat has different impacts on the ear: first of all, it opens it up to help it drain the fluid, it feels comfy and helps against the pain and it helps the ear to cure itself because the ear starts to work by itself on the healing process. And as a last point, he suggested nasal spray as soon as the infection was approaching.

    My mom even blow-dried her ear every day once during the cold season just as a prevention. A red heating lamp probably helps just as well as the blow dryer.

    And finally, my sister got around the ear tubes and her ear infections got much more rare.

    Maybe some of the suggestions could help you a bit with Samuel in order to save him from surgery as my mom did with my sister! :)

    Whish you all the best.

    P.S. excuse any errors plese beause i'm German. :) I stunbled coincidentally across your blog and had to read the whole story and check once in a while how your really precious kids are doing! :)

  4. Wow, sorry to hear both your kiddos are not well, but glad that they are recovering, thanks for educating me on RSV in preemies. Also thanks for posting Samuel's b-day photos. Looks like you all had a nice, small party with family, that's so sweet. Happy Birthday Samuel!!

  5. I love this statement: "I'm sufficiently satisfied that Samuel's chronic lung disease is minimal and that Annalee is a lot tougher than she looks."

    You have amazing perspective. Hope everyone is feeling better now.

  6. Our former 24 weeker had pneumonia for two weeks. We were scared as could be. He was better for a week...and now has a cough again. Hoping it isn't anything more than a cough! Hopeful that Annalee and Sam are feeling better and doing well! Not a lot of people around here understand how serious respiratory issues are for our little man! We've heard numerous times..."tis the season!" Hang in're not alone!