Friday, October 03, 2008

10/3/08 Croup

Gabriel saw one of those big battery-operated Jeeps that kids can ride in today, and said he wanted one. I told him he could save up for it if he wanted, so he asked, "How much does it cost? 60 bucks is my limit!" Such the budgeter.

Julian came home from school early with a temperature today, which I wouldn't have bothered with a doctor's visit for, except for the labored breathing and occasional very strange sounds coming from his throat. He was overall fine by the time we got to see the doc, but the symptoms I described sounded just like a mild croup, which is going around, she said.

This evening, it hit him a lot harder, with a higher temperature that put him to sleep as soon as we returned from picking up the other two. He woke up after dinner, coughing the telltale "barky" cough typical of croup. It's the most surreal sound I've ever heard come from a child; it casts itself away and is strangely stuttered and just doesn't sound human.

While I was frantically searching for some Cloraseptic (in the hopes of briefly relieving his throat pain from coughing), I heard crying in addition to the bark-coughing. I called out to Dave in slight irritation, "WHAT is Gabriel crying about? I can only handle one at a time!" Dave called back to me that Gabriel was sitting right next to him and wasn't crying at all, it was Julian. "No it's not, Julian's in the other bathroom right near me --check Katrina!!" Dave called out again, "Katrina's fine, that's Julian!" "Oh, give me a break," I thought as I finally turned up the bottle and rushed back to Julian, "that's a completely different sound coming from a different place and a different child than that awful coughi..." I was stunned as I entered the bathroom and saw Julian alternately crying (sounds normal) and barking (sounds absolutely horrible). It was Julian. Oh my goodness.

He was so miserable it brought me to tears as I searched for ways to help him. I persuaded him to go into the shower bathroom with me and I turned on the hot water to make it all steamy. I don't know if that helped him, but sitting him on my lap, rocking him, holding him and talking softly to him helped me. He put his head against my cheek and twice, he turned to kiss me.

Suddenly, he'd had enough of the steamroom, got up abruptly and practically ran back to bed. I sat on the floor and watched him as he quickly fell asleep, thinking about the millions of mothers around the world who also look helplessly at their sleeping sick children, far sicker and hungrier than mine. There is nothing worse than seeing your child suffer.

Thankfully, about half an hour later, Julian got up again and seemed to feel better. He asked for dinner, then ice cream, and then put himself straight back to bed. This really isn't a bad case of croup, but even a "good" case sounds downright eerie.

Windows and doors are getting installed in our house! The rest of the windows are awesome, though now that they're in, it's quite obvious that we should have ordered some with obscured glass (like a downstairs bathroom window, duh!).

We're getting a lot of improvements that should have been there to begin with, such as a beadboard detail on all the second-story roof underhangs, to match the original part of the house. Actually, the new stuff in place is done a lot better than the old from 1913.

I'm holding my breath about the big focal-point living room window -- if I had a mouse I'd stretch the upper section downward and make the rectangles squarer. It's not perfect, but as I say about everything else, if that's the biggest mistake we made, then we're in good shape.

Four south-facing windows, and a tall new dormer, will brighten up our formerly cave-dark family room, though it will take some serious fencing and landscaping to keep us from getting too personal with our neighbors.

I love bay windows, and this one was intended to be low enough to really sit on, hence the elongated vertical proportion. I can't wait to sew a beautiful cushion and some beautiful pillows to fit into the window seat.

With every passing step on this project, I'm alternatively thrilled and terrified. I really, really wish the economic news and the stock market would get off the airwaves, it's seriously stressing me out listening to 2 hours of bad news and grim predictions. It's giving me genuine financial jitters for the first time in many years. What if our line of credit gets cut off and we have to sell seriously depressed assets? What if our house value falls so low that we find ourselves upside-down? What if Dave's company goes belly-up? A week ago, these scenarios were unthinkable. Usually I tackle "what-ifs" with "thens," and formulate a plan for any potential bad angle, but I don't have an answer for the next Great Depression.

Maybe it's a good thing that the nervousness about remodeling and the national economy are happening at the same time -- get it all over with in one fell swoop. Saves money on alcohol.

But even if we were to lose our house and have to move to Ecuador, what I need the most right now is for my little boy to feel better.


No comments: