This was a hard week. We planned and prepared for the memorial service for my niece, Lucy Mae Carter. (Please continue to keep Auntie Ning Ning and Uncle Dew in your prayers.) We also had to tell Madelyn about Baby Cousin. Madelyn had been SO excited about tea parties and slumber parties together. We used simple terms and did not talk about death or heaven with Madelyn because she is not ready to understand those concepts yet. After we told her, she laid down across Troy and I’s lap and stayed still for several minutes. She came with me later that morning to see Auntie Ning Ning and give her hugs, but within a few hours of that spiked a fever of about 101. Things got rougher from there.
The fever didn’t stop and Madelyn kept asking to go to sleep early at the end of each day. My intuition is that the emotional stress, on top of the cold that she already had, was too much for her little body to handle. By Friday, when we took her to the doctor, she had an ear infection and bronchitis. They did a chest x-ray to check for pneumonia, but it was thankfully clear. (Troy was a super daddy and handled the x-ray part with Madelyn all by himself!)
By Saturday’s check-in with the doctor, Madelyn was even worse. She was not eating and hardly drinking and wanted to do absolutely nothing but sleep. The doctor noted that Madelyn was having asthmatic symptoms and sent us home with a nebulizer (a machine with a mask so that Madelyn breathes in albuterol as she would with an inhaler) and oral steroids.
By this point, we were fairly panicked. This is the first time Madelyn has been so sick and it is scary to feel helpless when your child can’t fully breathe. Madelyn was NOT a big fan of the nebulizer at first, but we soon got into a routine with it every 4-6 hours. Still, she mostly wanted to do nothing but sleep. FINALLY, on Monday morning, I propped her up on the couch and turned on Sesame Street. A few minutes later, I heard a laugh and turned around to see this:
A smile! It had been missing for days! It was SO good to see it return.
Next up was trying to get Madelyn to start eating again. Through all of her days of sleeping, we were hardly able to get Madelyn to eat or drink anything other than a little orange juice and jello. Our weigh-ins at doctor visits showed that her weight was down almost 2 pounds from her 3-year-old well visit. Desperate to get more calories in her, we tried just about everything. Ice cream.
These are treats that Madelyn would have polished off in the past, but she took about ten bites of the ice cream cone and stopped. The french fries fared even worse - I think she only ate two. Thankfully, we finally had a turn-around toward the end of the week when she spent the day with Grandma and Uncle Andrew. Apparently the secret was not in WHAT we were trying to serve her, but WHO was serving it! I think we are finally on the road to recovery.
- Tricia Olson, 2012