Ez has had another one of her mysterious Esmé sicknesses for the last few weeks. I find it a bit difficult to know exactly when to even publicly mention these illnesses since they seem to linger on and on just at the edge of turning into something that I can fairly say is proper sickness, and then, often, as soon as I mention it, poof, it seems to disappear…sometimes only to re-emerge a few days later.

We went in to the pediatrician’s office almost two weeks ago, because it was clear that something was off–she was difficult to comfort, her rattly chest was even rattlier than usual, and she had some high temps. Sure enough, we got there and her ear was clearly infected and her white blood cell count was a little bit high. So, we started ten days of antibiotics, and we waited.

For a few days she seemed as if she was improving, and then, Thursday night last week, which is, conveniently the night she and I have been spending at my parent’s house, Ez was up all night…which is often her move right before getting sicker. Sure enough, the next day her temperature spiked again, her cough got worse, and she started seeming really exhausted.

She went to to the doctor’s office late Monday. Her ear looked completely better, but her white blood cell count was higher than before she started on antibiotics. So they ordered a chest X-ray (which did not show pneumonia, but did show some airway disease, probably from a virus). Today we will head back to the doctor to recheck her white blood cell count–just to be certain it isn’t getting worse.

I am not particularly worried. But I feel like this round of illness has offered me a few important lessons that I wanted to share with all of you.

1. Ezzy can be involved in some of her medical decisions. On Monday at the doctor’s office we all agreed it would be best to take a urine sample, just to be sure she didn’t have a UTI. For quite some time we have always used a catheter to do so, but, as you might imagine, this is not too much fun for Ez. So, on a couple of occasions we’ve been able to hold her over the toilet and “catch” a sample, but it can stress Ez out to try. So, I decided to just ask Ez with her Yes/No question cards. “Ezzy can you go pee on the potty?” No. “Ok, that’s fine. But remember we’ll have to do a cath, that’s not much fun is it.” No. “If you can go on the potty, we won’t need to cath you. Do you want to try on the potty?” Yes. And guess what? With the help of one of the best nurses ever, Erin, Ezzy did it!

2. Sick = Extra love. I have a hard time rocking Ezzy at night when I cannot help her relax and get comfortable…and the last week or so has been pretty rough for that. BUT we’ve managed to have some pretty great snuggle time in there as well. Last night she fell asleep on me for fifteen minutes or while I rocked, patted her bottom, and recited “Where is the green sheep” over and over…and I was just astounded at how beautiful as sweet she was there in my arms. And in the mornings she’s been slow to wake…sweetly sitting in bed cuddled up. A couple mornings ago I said “Ezzy, I love you so much, no one in the world loves anyone as much as I love you.” She sat up shook her head “No” and said “Bop, Bop” (Papa)…”Ok, that’s true Ezzy, Papa loves you that much too!” She smiled and then lay her head back down.

3. I’ve started to worry about Ezzy getting other kids sick. It used to be that I would be shocked by the places people would bring their visibly ill children and then let them touch everything–I’d want to pull them aside and explain what a threat a little cold could be to someone like Ez. So, really, for most of Esmé’s life we just felt we couldn’t take her places. I never much worried about Ezzy getting other children sick, because, frankly, if she had something that would be terrible for another kid to get, she’d already be in the hospital. But these days–with her going to school and a therapy center a couple times per week–and her immune system working so much better, I have to make decisions about where she goes based on my concern for other kids too! It is a whole new world…

4. X-ray technicians are amazing. I’d been anxious about getting another chest x-ray because last time we went Ez had really almost outgrown the clear plastic contraption we’ve used since she was tiny to hold her still for the x-ray. The technician agreed that she was too big to even try. So she left Ez in her wheelchair and stuck a board in between Ez and the back of her chair. While we tried to get Ez to hold as still as possible by holding her hands over her head and balance the board (when the technician handed the board to me to hold steady, she said, “so, this is a $100,000 piece of equipment, ok?”). The second image was done with pillows propping Ez up. The tech was so calm, thoughtful, and accommodating. It made all the difference in the world.

5. It isn’t fall until we’ve had a chest x-ray. 

Happy Fall Everyone!

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