Thursday, October 10, 2013

An Apple a Day

...does not, in my case, keep the doctors away.

A quick aside about apples. My lengthy love affair with Jazz apples ended recently with some pretty mediocre fare coming out of New Zealand. And it's sacrilege for a Minnesotan (even an adopted one) to say this, but I don't particularly care for Honeycrisp (I know!) My new favorite is, I think, another new variety cross-bred at the U here, the SweeTango. I actually accepted a sample of one at Target the other day and I'm in love. Sorry Jazz, you're out.

ANYWAY. This was the week of doctor's appointments. Here is what I learned:

1) The reason my baby's sleep got worse and worse over the course of a week, to the point neither of us slept at all Tuesday night, was that he had an ear infection. Luckily he spent all of our sleepless night clawing at his ear so it was an easy call to hit the pediatrician first thing the next morning. Baby's first course of amoxicillin, possibly the earliest of all three kids. Wahoo! Poor kid may have inherited my poor ear drainage. Here I thought his first winter might be the easiest since he's not in daycare. This is...not a good start.

2) Pacey may have actually achieved the elusive goal of "growing out of" his pulmonary disease. We currently see the pulmonologist twice a year, to discuss management over the winter and over the summer (with allergies, etc). I think it's been three years now since he required any active management with medications and we got the ok to come back in a year. Although his pulmonologist was quick to say that kids never truly "outgrow" asthma, often the increase in diameter of the bronchial tubes is enough to allow them to conquer triggers more easily with less intervention. I remember back when Pacey was a tiny seven-pound three month old who was attached via nasal cannula to an oxygen source 24 hours a day. His pulmonologist at the time addressed my frustration with the slow progress and explained that although he would likely wean off the oxygen in the next few months, it would be rough going while Pacey's anatomy just got bigger. I literally just had to wait for him to grow. It was SO discouraging at the time and impossible to see ahead to a picture that didn't include daily nebs and miles of clear tubing. And yet, here we are. Now, the universe can just EFF OFF if it thinks I'm getting cocky...Pacey will always be more susceptible to complications with respiratory illness and I'll never lose sight of that. We will always have rescue meds on hand and I have no doubt the nebulizer will be out plenty this winter. But boy, it feels like a real milestone we've reached.

3) My darling youngest child has a wonky heart valve. His pediatrician heard a murmur at his two-month check up so we went today for an echocardiogram. One of his valve didn't develop exactly right and one of the vessels in his heart is enlarged as a result. Nothing to worry about now; we will follow it each year and the only real potential effect in the future would be a restriction on heavy contact sports (this is me...not crying about that). I'm glad we followed it up and that we know, but it confirms my suspicion that we probably all have structures that didn't develop quite right, we just don't always know about it.

At the end of it all, having been to the Heart Clinic at Children's Hospital, I am reminded again that we are lucky to enjoy such relative health and, even more so, access to excellent medical care. Two things I'm unlikely ever to take for granted.

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