We took Gwen to the doctor yesterday evening because she'd been coughing pretty badly since Saturday night and then in the afternoon we got a call from her daycare provider that Gwen was running a fever.
Aside: Gwen coughs a LOT. I don't always write about it here, because I think Holy Crap, Wordygirl, get some perspective, but she's pretty much been coughing since September. We've been to the doctor ... maybe four or five times? I kind of think I *should* start keeping track, at this point.
Chris is the one Denise calls, because he's on the road and is sometimes able to pop in and pick Gwen up ... or, if he's far away, he'll call me and I'm happy to do it. He isn't paid by the hour the way I am so it makes more financial sense for him to do it if possible. Not that it doesn't break my heart and scramble my brains to know that Gwen is sick and I'm not going to her. When Chris called me yesterday to tell me Gwen had a fever and he was on his way to get her, I still had a couple hours of work left, and he told me there was no point in my leaving early.
Aside: One of the reasons it's hard for me to let go of my conviction that sick little girls need their mommies in particular, is because Chris relayed to me that Denise took Gwen's temperature at 107 degrees. ONE HUNDRED AND SEVEN DEGREES. Her actual temperature was 100.7 degrees. Oh, those pesky details!
Chris called our clinic to see if he could get Gwen in for an appointment, but no dice. We had to do their "urgent care" walk-in clinic, which starts at 5pm. It's a little better than the regular walk-in clinic, because you are not going to have to wait 2+ hours for a 30-second appointment, but not much.
I met Chris and Gwen at home and decided that I would skip yoga (the sacrifice!) because although Gwen did not really require full parental doting, there was no way I'd be able to concentrate or meditate or get anything out of yoga if I was thinking about her and her sad little sick face. She is so different when she's ill: cuddly, soft, quiet, still. We had a good snuggle on the couch waiting for it to be time to head to the clinic. By that time, the Tylenol Denise gave her had brought her fever down. She was really chatty and silly during the car ride to the clinic, which gave both Chris and I pause.
Aside: I really struggle with when to take Gwen to the doctor. I hate feeling like I'm overreacting. I also hate feeling like I should have come earlier. It's definitely one of the most frustrating dilemmas of parenthood. I think I err on the side of not overreacting, and yet she's been to the doctor 4-5 times this season. GAH.
We waited for about half an hour to see the doctor. We'd brought two things to keep Gwen happy: her beloved puppy (the one who says her name and sings to her) and a laptop playing a DVD of Blue's Clues.
Aside: We've become THOSE PARENTS.
When at last the doctor came in, Gwen immediately curled into me, gripping on with all her strength and saying "Shy, shy." She's recently started using this word when she feels shy (of all things) and although it made me kind of sad at first, I now think this is a positive thing for her to do and say. But unfortunately, in the case of doctor's appointments, I am not able to respect her wishes to avoid the stranger in her midst.
Aside: We asked the doctor if he'd mind examining Gwen's puppy first. We had really good luck with this approach a few weeks ago when a very kind and gentle doctor listened to Puppy's chest and back and looked in her ears, etc while a very calm Gwen watched. She was then much more open to going through the same experiences herself. When we asked this doctor to do the same thing, he looked at us like we were nuts. He gave it a try, but since Gwen's head was buried in my neck while she chanted in a panicky voice "shy, shy" I don't think she got much out of it.
Gwen did not co-operate during the exam. She was very agitated and upset. We had to hold her head still so the doctor could check her ears. I tried to soothe her by saying, "It's okay, it's okay" but the tears were coming and she was so sad and scared. Being at a walk-in meant the doctor had no time to try to put her at ease, and she paid the price for that. I soon realized that through her tears she was saying, "Okay, okay," in the same tone I was using.
Aside: She's started doing this when she falls down and hurts herself, too. As she gets up she will say "Okay," because I always say, "Are you okay?" She has started to associate the word "okay" with the feeling of being hurt or scared. When I realized this, my heart shattered into a million tiny pieces. It was not okay.
So, my daughter was using every communication tool she had at her disposal to tell us how unhappy and uncomfortable she was, and we disregarded it and carried on with the exam, which resulted in (yet another) prescription for antibiotics and the suggestion to use an inhaler mask (which we already have from a previous doctor's appointment). He said her lungs sounded wheezy and she might have a touch of bronchitis. He might have said more, but the screaming drowned him out.
Aside: I have the distinct feeling that he gave us this prescription to get us out of his office. He looked at us as if we were crazy mollycoddlers, even BEFORE we asked him to examine Puppy.
Gwen did fairly well for the rest of the evening, and from the reports I've gotten from Chris (who shared Gwen-duty with his mom today, as it's Gramma Time Day) she's doing alright today too. Slightly more whiny than usual, but her fever is under control (not skyrocketing up to ONE HUNDRED POINT SEVEN, OH NOES), her appetite is fine, and she is getting lots of fluids.
Aside: There's a reason for making sure she gets lots of fluids today. And it's not the vomiting-related reason. Say no more!
I feel sad for Gwen, not only because she is sick, but because she is starting to learn that the world is cruel. I feel like we treated her disrespectfully yesterday, that we betrayed her trust. I feel really sad about that. The bronchitis (if indeed it is such) will go away, but that violation of trust may last. I hope I can make it up to her.