Sickness and the System

When you have a squirmy toddler who won’t sit still for a chest X-ray, they strap them into something that looks like this:

Plastic Maiden
Plastic Maiden

It’s called a Pigg-o-stat, and the Radiology department at Royal Columbian Hospital has two of them. I’m gonna guess that the child in that photo has actually had its tears photoshopped out of the picture. Go on, ask me how I know.

Wednesday morning we spent a few hours at Royal Columbian with Kale. Since Saturday, he’s had a sputtering fever and a terrible cough, and Tuesday night / Wednesday morning would count up there in the Top Five Worst Sleeps of My Life. So at 6AM, we bundled up a sad, sad baby and took him to Emergency for the first time.

After ear exams, stethoscopes, tongue depressors, and the indignity that is a infant urine collection bag, Kale was even less pleased. Thumbs up to the nurses and doctor in Emergency who took a minute to introduce themselves to Kale and call him by name, thumbs down to the Radiology personnel who missed the memo entitled “Children: Actually People” and also maybe the one called “Patients: Real Live Humans with Names and Everything”. I won’t go into details about that whole ordeal, as I did write a formal complaint to the patient care office afterward, and I did receive not one, but two apologetic and immediate phone calls, and I feel that the personnel has been sufficiently reminded of that altruistic reason they got into medicine in the first place, you know, to HELP PEOPLE and so I’m absolutely past that and don’t need to beat a dead horse.

But anyway, yeah, so the chest X-ray was also clear and so Kale was administered a monster sized dose of Children’s Tylenol and we were sent home. His fever broke sometime mid Wednesday, and didn’t come back, although his cough starting to appear to get chunkier, muckier, and definitely worse. Thursday morning, Kale woke up (after YAY! ANOTHER CRAPPY SLEEP THIS IS AWESOME) and within an hour or two of Bonnie arriving for the day (which was actually a good thing for Kale, I think) a lovely rash appeared all over his skinny little body.

For those of you playing along at home, a sudden high fever for 3-8 days that suddenly goes away, and is followed by a red itchless rash all over the torso of your child, well, that’s probably roseola, a common childhood virus and it goes away all on it’s own and you shouldn’t panic. Especially when your husband’s co-worker suggests it might be meningitis. As a sidenote, my mom had spinal meningitis when I was about 8 and so I am meningitis cautious and educated so I wasn’t worried and the thought didn’t cross my mind until Ross came home suggesting we roll a glass on him to check the texture of the spots.

However, Mr Kale Pants is of the mind that his mouth, his mouth, his mouth is on fire, or at the very least, his teeth, and so far be it for this child to develop and work through roseola on it’s own, we are also dealing with that nasty cough, and HEY LET’S JUST THROW IN TEETHING PAIN TOO BECAUSE SERIOUSLY, THIS CAN ONLY START GETTING FUNNY.

Last night Ross mentioned that he thought Kale’s breath stunk, something I noticed too, and for a kid whose dietary staples are, you know, toast, yogurt, fruit, tofu, chicken, veggies, cheese, and breastmilk, well, he shouldn’t need any Scope, if you know what I’m saying. I filed that one under “Hmm.” in the back of my mind and carried on throughout the (sleep-deprived) night, and this morning, when he breathed on me as he rolled over in bed I gagged. Actually gagged. And when brushing his teeth his little gums bled a teeny bit and I was like “Okay, screw this, let’s go hang out at the walk in clinic for a few hours”.

And so we did.

It’s not common but it’s possible for some children to have roseola to also have a an upper respiratory thing and so Dr.Klein, who I am starting to love more and more and more for his calm and practical demeanor (too bad about the personality deprived front office staff and the 2 hour waits), decided not to immediately prescribe antibiotics (good) and to take a throat swab (not fun for Kale but over fast) because HEY! GUESS WHAT? He might have freaking strep throat.

Like I said, it could only get funnier, right? Because roseola, a bad cough, teething pain, and a lack of sleep weren’t enough.

So, because I am New Westminster’s Worst Mother Ever, I am still going to my office Christmas Party – I need a night out in a bad way and because I called my sister in law who is babysitting and asked her how she felt about dealing with a sick and humorless toddler who has his phasers set to WHINE pretty much all the time anyway. And because Andrea is, you know, AWESOME, she was like “Meh, whatever, see you at 4.”

12 years ago


  1. Hmm that did’nt transcribe– that was a HUG to you all and 3 hearts.
    In case your other readers don’t know what the heck I’m typing. 🙂

  2. I want to say I feel your pain since Aidan had roseola and teething a week ago, but seriously strep too?!?

    You DO deserve a night out!!! Don’t feel guilty, enjoy yourself and know our kids are going to get sick a lot and that you’re doing your very best even though he is sick.

    Kale will get better and you’ll be a happy little unit and yes you will get sleep…eventually.

    I joked with Michael the other day that there should be a mom group where all we do is rent a hotel room and just sleep since we don’t seem to get a lot of it at home!

    Happy healing for Kale and enjoy yourself missy! 😉

  3. Without sounding mean I guess this can be called payback. At least you won’t go through the chickenpox stage because since you were a toddler they have a vaccine now and even if he catches that it will be so mild you might not even notice. (Also Meningitis vaccine). Kudos to you guys for choosing that protection. So see life will get better. If only they could come up with the common cold vaccine or a way for teeth to come in without pain. Life would be good. Hope you had a great night out and you will eventually get a good nights sleep. Mother Nature will take over, she’s the best mom ever. I love Sharon’s suggestion and wish my gang had thought of that. Great thoughts. Life WILL improve and the Sun will come up. It’s just part of motherhood. Kale will get better, you will sleep. (until the next crisis of illness) Hang in there you are doing great.

  4. Hope that your son Kale is getting better and better. Good for you to point out that health “care” often does not show the care but seem to do their job like assembly line workers would do. I guess for a good xray something needs to keep the kids still, the contraption you show, oh poor ki. I guess the whole picture is manufactured, no kid would sit with a face like that.

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