Thursday, December 02, 2004

Pneumonia, the new Flu?

When did pneumonia become so common place? It just made its way through our neighbor’s home, infecting both of her two kids. Now, it’s found its way to ours.

Thanksgiving Day 2004. Little Man (our baby boy) comes down with a nasty cough. He had a very low-grade fever, but we were out of town, and he was acting fine, so we just watched him closely and went on with our plans. For all intents and purposes, it just seemed like a bad cold. By Monday, we were back home and I didn’t like the sound of his cough, so I insisted the doctor see him.

A little background. Our son, now 17 months, was hospitalized for 3 days at 5 weeks old for an unknown infection. This was later realized to be only a urine infection, but turned out to be a warning sign for a larger problem. Essentially his Ureter (connecting Kidney to bladder) is immature and doesn’t realize it’s only supposed to move fluids one way. This causes urine to back up into the kidney when the bladder contracts. The result is an infection. We were fortunate enough to catch this very early on, thus preventing permanent damage to the kidney.

To prevent the infections, he takes a preventative (very small) dose of antibiotics every day, and has routine checks. This is a condition that he should grow out of, and from his most recent tests, we can see he is slowly making progress.

I accept this as a long-term issue with him, and have learned not to worry about it too often, as it only succeeds in stressing me out (and my husband, by extension). However, at the first sign of fever, he has to go to the doctors to rule out any chance an infection found its way past the antibiotics. And having 2 older sisters, there are constantly sicknesses passing through our house. Needless to say, we’ve had plenty of “false alarms” with him. In fact, he’s never gotten another infection since the initial discovery of his condition.

I think I always took for granted his antibiotics, and believed they would prevent him from getting anything too serious. I was wrong.

The doctor listened intently to his chest, and stated with certainty that it was “early pneumonia in his left lung.”

I couldn’t help it. My mind went there. If I had only brought him in sooner. If I had only turned the van around, driven straight to the emergency room, he wouldn’t have gotten this…this Pneumonia. If I had only….

Yesterday, both my girls came down with fevers to accompany their preexisting coughs. That was it. Paranoid mom sent Dad to the doctor with both of them, sure that they would be diagnosed with the same. I was already fretting over how all three of my kids could end up with pneumonia, and planning to implement new hand-washing, vitamin-taking, and general sterilization measures for our household.

Their diagnosis? Colds. Just common colds. Their doctor explained why we don’t need to rush them to the office at the first sign of illness. They are old enough and healthy enough to monitor for a few days before getting too concerned.

A classic case of me, overacting. Not the first time, and surely not the last. This time, they were fine, but pneumonia can be a very contagious illness, so the chances of them contracting it are very real.

Is it really normal for kids to get pneumonia these days?


1 comment:

JEA said...

You couldn't avoid it, no "if I had onlys". I'm glad for him (and you) that it's only early stage.

Also, I had pneumonia as a child. (And I'm still alive.)

Wishing you all well.