It’s finally here. I have been worrying about this day. Praying it never arrived. Doing everything I can, aside from living in a bubble, to protect our kids from the flu. We diligently wash hands. We get our flu shots. We don’t knowingly have sick people in our home. We don’t knowingly go around sick people. We pray those sick people will STAY HOME. But alas, the flu found us. Or, I should say, it found Brady. I’m still bathing in Lysol and praying big prayers that it doesn’t find the rest of us. And why…why does flu season make me a neurotic witch? That’s simple…we have a medically fragile child in the house.
Medically fragile includes:
“any condition that can rapidly deteriorate
resulting in permanent injury or death.”
2018 The Medically Fragile Child
Our youngest daughter was born with a Urea Cycle Disorder. It is a super complex metabolic disorder, but basically, she is missing the enzyme she needs to help her body flush out nitrogen/ammonia, which is a by-product of the break down of protein. To look at her, you would never guess she had one thing “wrong” with her. She looks PERFECTLY healthy. But her every day life is very much a balancing act. Every thing she eats, every bit of medicine, the special metabolic formula she takes every single day, all have to be monitored and calculated to help keep her stable and out of crisis.
The UCD guru, Dr. Brenden Lee, once used the loop around a city to describe a UCD kiddo’s system. So, being from central Indiana let’s use 465 around Indianapolis. Every day, it runs fairly smoothly. There are minor hiccups, some slow traffic at times, accidents that cause some disruption, but overall, on a day to day basis, it flows well. Now, add the Super Bowl coming to town. Traffic becomes a nightmare. Travel time is crazy. Things are NOT RUNNING SMOOTHLY. That is what an illness can do to a UCD kid. It can throw EVERYTHING off and, it can shut it down completely.
Abby is THAT kid. That kid, that if she gets the flu, it could wipe her out. In a big way. Possibly completely. It is hard for me to even stomach the thought. So every fall we get our flu shots. Which brings me to that subject. Flu shots. That’s a touchy one. I use to be that person that never got them. When Gracie (our oldest) was a baby I remember telling her doctor that I wasn’t really interested in her getting one. My how things change when you have a child that is in that category of kiddos that have a much higher risk of DYING from the flu. We no longer have the luxury of NOT getting a flu shot. We don’t get to spitball about whether it’s necessary or effective. We are not interested in theories. We are especially not interested in conspiracy theories. We are interested in our doctor’s recommendation, the CDC’s recommendation and cold hard facts. Period. We can’t afford to worry about anything else. THERE IS JUST TOO MUCH AT STAKE.
A 2017 study published in Pediatrics, the Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, is the first to show the flu shot can significantly reduce the risk of death.
We all got the flu shot. Of course we did. But, we all know it isn’t 100% effective and this year it’s not even close. The school our kids go to, like many other places around the country, is just rampant with the flu. Wednesday I got that dreaded phone call from the school nurse. Thankfully, it was for Brady and not for Abby. Yes, I would rather he be the sacrificial lamb. I got him into the doctor within an hour after picking him up from school. Our pediatrician prescribed him Tamiflu AND also wrote a prescription for Abby as a preventative. Yes, TAMIFLU. In our family, we don’t get to worry about the side effects so much. WE JUST DON”T GET THAT LUXURY. When the doctor says, I have a short list of kids that I will give this to as a preventative and Abby is on that list, you GIVE IT TO HER.
It only shortens it by a day or two. That’s a big deal!!! That is one or two days less that I have to truly worry about it being spread inside our home. It stops the virus from doubling, (I know it’s more complicated than that, but that’s the gist of it) so if given early, especially within the first 12 hours, it is going to lessen the severity. If Brady isn’t coughing as bad or as often, that decreases the chances of him spreading it. And, I’m guessing here, so don’t quote me, but most likely, thousands of kids a day during cold and flu season take Tamiflu AND THEY ARE JUST FINE. That is not what the news likes to focus on or sensationalize. The news media likes to take that RARE case of a child threatening suicide or hallucinating, or having altered behavior of some kind and make it seem like that is the most COMMON side effect. That is not reality. I am not downplaying those that have experienced those things, but EVERY medication has side effects, many not pleasant, but for our family, the single most important thing is KEEPING ABBY ALIVE. We cannot worry or focus on those rare instances, but instead have to weigh the benefit vs. the risk and TAKE THE RISK.
So, here we are, day three of the flu in our house. I’m using every tool in my arsenal to keep the rest of us healthy and to keep Brady from ending up with pneumonia. He is doing really well. Yucky cough every now and again. Fever has been fairly low grade and he is eating like a horse and drinking like a champ. Praying he only continues to improve and praying hard that at the end of all of this we don’t end up with a child in the hospital…or worse. That fear and worry will never leave me, and every cold and flu season I will be neurotic. That is just the way it is when you have a medically fragile child. So, fair warning…if I give you the evil eye or lose my tact because you are sick and out and about, just know, I am a mama bear trying my damndest to protect my little cub. That whole walk a mile quote would definitely be appropriate here.
Gotta go, Brady is summoning me. I think he wants more Hawaiian Punch and most likely another ice cream sandwich. Ha!
Always appreciate you stopping by.