I took this picture when she was sad about her empty packet of fruit snacks. Boohoo.
Unfortunately, I have seen a lot of this sad, sad face this week. Boohoo!
On Thanksgiving evening, Lexi developed a low-grade fever. I thought that was a little odd, but put her to bed with some Motrin. She was up a few times in the night, which isn't her normal pattern, either. On Friday she took a longer nap than usual, but didn't have other symptoms. I still had one major suspicion: her ears. Lexi's last ear infection had been diagnosed just two weeks before that. She had finished antibiotics the day before we started our trip. I just knew she had another infection.
So I called my pediatrician's office on Friday afternoon. I sweet-talked the nurse into phoning in a prescription to a pharmacy in Mesa. After I coughed up the out-of-network fee at the pharmacy, Lexi started antibiotics. She was taking Cefzil, which is a "third tier" drug for ear infections. Since she rebounded so quickly after her second tier drug less than two weeks prior, we had to pull in bigger guns to battle the infection.
The trouble was that Lexi didn't seem to improve that much. Her fever stuck around all weekend. She had some VERY sad spells during our 14-hour trek home on Sunday. On Monday morning she seemed especially miserable, so I called the pediatrician's office as soon as it opened. We took the first available appointment at 10:00, even though our regular doctor was out.
The doctor quickly confirmed my suspicion: Lexi's left ear had a terrible infection. She was especially concerned that Lexi had taken six doses of a heavy-duty antibiotic and not responded at all. The next course of treatment wasn't very exciting: three days of antibiotic injections. We began immediately. Lexi received one shot in each thigh. The nurse warned me that the injections were painful; the medication was cold and thick. Lexi screamed as expected, but then wouldn't walk for three hours.
We had to wait in the office for 15 minutes after the shots to make sure Lexi didn't have an allergic reaction to the new medicine. During that time, Gavin, whose behavior up to this point had been distracting at best, completely melted down. With Lexi wailing in my arms, it was hard to adequately respond to Gavin's loud, violent, and dramatic tantrum. I felt powerless. On the other hand, I am so used to children who misbehave in public that I didn't even notice the angry stares from onlookers in the waiting room. Finally, when Gavin ran across the room in an attempt to leave the office, I had to block the door with my body. My nerves of steel began to melt.
A kind receptionist offered to let us complete our "allergy watch" in one of the empty procedure rooms. Behind closed doors, we all cried. After a few minutes, I regained my composure. The receptionist returned to let me know the time was up. She helped me bundle a screaming Gavin and a screaming Lexi into winter coats, hats, and gloves, and then she carried Lexi to the van through freezing, blowing snow while I carried Gavin. I was so grateful for her service.
On Tuesday (Gavin's birthday), Garry took Gavin on an errand while Lexi got her second series of shots. Today a friend had planned to keep Gavin for me during Lexi's third appointment, but last night Gavin was up almost all night, screaming in pain. His ears hurt. Then, at 5:00 this morning, Zach ran into our bathroom and threw up. So he and Gavin came along to see the doctor.
Lexi's ear isn't responding very well to the antibiotic shots. Her regular pediatrician examined her today and was quite concerned. Lexi got a third set of shots and will begin a 10-day course of oral Omnicef tomorrow. We have an appointment with an ENT next Wednesday to have Lexi evaluated for tubes in her ears. I'm hoping for surgery sooner rather than later.
Gavin has bilateral ear infections, as well. His right ear is especially bad. The crazy part is that he had no symptoms -- no fever, no cold, no cough, no pain -- that indicated trouble. I feel terrible that he has been suffering!
Zach seems to be doing a lot better this afternoon. I hope his vomiting episodes are a result of too much birthday cake last night and not a sinister strain of the stomach flu.