Feb 23, 2014: Yeah, More Germs…

Greetings from the sick desk. Oh yes, that’s right—because here in the Small household, we’re always sick! Bah humbug—I am so tired of being under the weather! Theo recovered from his double ear infection pretty quickly, and as usual, Sam recovered more slowly…but he is definitely on the mend now. I, however, am still fighting the bug. I felt better later in the week, but I lost my voice on Friday. No biggie—I figured it was just the tail end of the bug. I didn’t have the greatest voice on Saturday, but I had some. And then on Sunday, I was just drained, despite having gotten a couple of pretty decent nights of sleep in a row. We went to the Oakland Zoo in the morning, and I just felt like I was walking through a thick haze or something. Then I fell asleep sitting up in the car on the way home, which I never do.

Chris, being the excellent soul that he is, had graciously offered me two hours this weekend to do whatever I wanted, kid-free! I had all these grand plans of taking a long walk, practicing the piano, maybe going out for coffee… You know what I did instead? Went upstairs and took a nap. I never do that. But I did. And when I woke up late Sunday afternoon, still in a bit of a haze, I announced that Sam felt warm, and I took his temperature. He was fine, so then I decided maybe I ought to take mine. What do you know? Fever was back. I hadn’t expected that because I usually ache badly when I have a fever, but I wasn’t achy—just very, very worn out. Anyway, at least I felt better about being such a dragging stick-in-the-mud all day on Sunday…I had a good reason for it! So after I finish typing and posting this blog, I’m going to go put my feet up and let Chris make me some delicious scrambled eggs for dinner.

As an aside, Chris makes the best scrambled eggs! I started buying the cage-free, humanely raised eggs through our farm share, just because I had heard that non-commercially-produced eggs not only are better for you, but taste better as well. And I eat a lot of eggs, since I’m not a big meat eater and they’re a good source of protein that doesn’t send my gut into distress. What do you know—they do taste better! So when Chris scrambles them with some bacon, potatoes, leeks, kale or spinach, and a bit of parmesan…ooh, it’s one of my favorite meals! The guy can cook, that’s for sure. That’s why I keep him around. 😉

Might as well get all the sick chat out of the way first. On Monday, I took the boys to Richmond to meet up with a former student of mine. Both had started antibiotics, so I thought they’d be fine…and Theo was, but poor Sam was just an exhausted, glassy-eyed mess. In retrospect, I should’ve cancelled, but he seemed fairly perky when we left the house, so we went. That’s the thing about Sam—he goes from perky to glassy-eyed pretty darn quickly, so it can be hard to judge. Anyway, no harm done—he just hung out on my chest in the Ergo and snuggled/napped a lot, so I don’t think he really minded. And it was very nice to get to meet my former student, who has become a friend. She lives in Florida and was out here for her brother’s wedding, so it was a rare opportunity to get to meet face to face. Despite having sick kiddos, I really enjoyed the morning.

Theo had Monday off school for President’s Day, but I kept him home Tuesday, too—mostly for Sam. Sam was still pretty sick, and I didn’t want to drag him out to take Theo to school when Theo wasn’t 100% back to normal yet anyway. Theo was delighted to stay home and announced, “I think I’ll just stay home until Friday, Mommy.” Um, no. Back to school Wednesday, Buddy. He lobbied for Thursday, but Mommy won that round. Oy vey, five years old and already trying to get out of going to school—I’m in for it!

On Friday, Theo and I took Sam to an ENT appointment after Theo got out of school. Their pediatrician had suggested we have Sam’s ear tubes checked, since he was still getting ear infections and they didn’t seem to be draining. Guess what we found out? The tubes are open and functioning fine, and whatever they’ve been diagnosing as ear infections likely were not ear infections at all. Turns out that with tubes, if the kid has an infection, there will be visible discharge draining out of the ears. Sam has not had that, so whatever they’ve been treating him for, it’s likely not an actual ear infection. What?! So why has he been on four rounds of antibiotics?! I’m not too pleased about this. It’s not just his pediatrician, either—he has seen other on-call doctors who’ve said he has an ear infection too. But the ENT insists that if it was a true ear infection, there would be pus draining out of his ears.

Hmmm. Okay, so he’s probably had virus after virus after virus. That doesn’t really surprise me—it’s the time of year for them. But it bugs me that I’ve been needlessly giving him antibiotics—which not only wreak havoc with his digestive tract, but they also give him nasty yeast rashes in his diaper. Poor guy! This most recent prescription has been the worst so far—poor kid’s GI tract is all messed up. (So…much…diarrhea and yeast….UGH!) So we stopped the antibiotic after day #7, even though we were supposed to go to 10. If it’s not even an ear infection, why am I giving him antibiotics—especially ones that mess him up so badly in other ways? Truth is, some doctors now say you shouldn’t even do antibiotics for ear infections, so it’s questionable whether he should’ve even been on them anyway. (Kaiser still does antibiotics, but many doctors don’t these days. And because Sam’s ear canals are so tiny and can easily get scarred from infections, I had gone along with the antibiotics. But I’m not going to give them for no reason!)

Anyway, that’s the end of my chat about illnesses. I’m sick but hope to get better soon. Sam is on the mend. Theo is 100% back to normal. And Chris remains unscathed.

So how about sick inanimate objects, like pianos? We finally got our piano tuned this week! Turns out our piano is in sorry shape—the tuner opened it up and showed me that the hammers are in bad shape. Long story short, it’s not worth fixing. The good news is, the middle five octaves are in reasonable shape, and since students start playing piano by playing in the middle octaves, the piano will work for us for a while. And when we move beyond that point, then it’s not worth fixing the old girl, and we should just look for another piano. Fair enough. I’m really enjoying lessons, but it will be a while before I get beyond those middle five octaves, I’m sure. For the $100 we paid for us, plus the $100 to move it and $100 to tune it, we’re out $300. And $300 is a perfectly reasonably expenditure for something that will last us at least a year of playing, if not more. The piano tuner told me it’s actually a very good life for a spinet piano—it’s about 60–70 years old, and spinets usually last more like 30–40. And she tuned the middle five octaves, so they sound much lovelier than they used to. 🙂

Let’s see…what else did we do this week? On Friday, we went to Theo’s school’s annual raffle/potluck. We had hoped to win a nifty prize (the trip to Disneyland was our big hope!), but alas, we won nothing. But it was for a good cause, and Theo had fun seeing his school friends at night, so all was well. I was trying to talk to one of his friend’s mom, but I had pretty much no voice by that point, so the poor woman was struggling to hear anything I said! I should’ve just shut up and hung out in the corner. 😉

On Saturday, we had a birthday party in the afternoon—Chris’s friend’s son was turning four. Before we headed out to that, we stopped by Barnes & Noble to buy Theo a couple of books. I’ve been reading him Ramona the Pest at bedtime, and he loves it, so I wanted to get him the next one in the series. He loves being read chapter books at night before bed, and it’s a nice way for me to spend some one-on-one time with him, since during the day I usually have Sam wherever we are. And Theo and Sam get along great, but still, it’s nice for Theo and I to have a little time with just the two of us. I had forgotten how funny Ramona the Pest is—I keep laughing as I’m trying to read it to him! When we were at B&N getting the next book, I also couldn’t resist picking up an Encyclopedia Brown mystery. I used to love those when I was little! I think Theo will enjoy it.

Not much else to report from here—we’ve just been slogging through another sick week, really. This is my last week at home with Sam before he starts school next Monday—sniff!! I am really going to miss my little morning buddy! I am, however, interested to see how he does in school with regard to eating, since that is our main struggle. I’m hoping to see some real progress.

And when he starts school, I’ll be starting my Couch-to-5K jogging program (assuming I’m well!), which I’m really looking forward to. I need to get back to exercising; maybe it will help me fight off these colds/viruses a little better. Plus, I’ve got some extra weight I’d like to shed—darn Chris for being such a good cook!

I’ll leave you with a neat little story about my very clever baby boy. Supposedly, people with Down syndrome really struggle with problem-solving. They’re great at learning concrete facts, but I’ve been told by more than one person that abstract thinking/problem-solving are problem areas for them. So I delight every time I see Sam solve a problem—and much like his big brother, Sam is indeed a problem-solver. He has a little plastic desk and chair that plays music.  He can sit in the chair and press various buttons on the desk to make it play music or sounds. And it has a couple of modes, which you switch between with a slider switch.

Now, Sam has long since figured out that if a button is too hard for him to push, he can grab an adult’s finger and use it to push the button. But I was surprised and pleased to see that he understands that switches work differently than buttons! He was playing with his desk, and he decided he was tired of music mode and wanted it on ABC mode instead. He gave the slider switch a poke with his finger, then immediately looked at me, grabbed my finger, guided it carefully to the switch, and used my finger to slide the switch to the exact setting he wanted. Now that is problem-solving!

One thing about Sam starting school that’s a bummer: He’ll no longer have his infant development specialist/OT coming to the house. And one of my favorite parts of each week was watching him outsmart all of the activities she’d plan for him. She (Kathy) loved it, too—she would crack up every week about how Sam would take various items she’d brought for him and repurpose them into something else. “What? You want me to put the coins in the little slot? No, no, no, that’s boring—let me show you something else we can do with this that’s way more fun!” It really was quite entertaining. Ah, I will miss that….

Anyway, until next week, I wish you all good health…and I wish myself some good health, too. Enough is enough, dammit. Illness, begone!

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