Lately, there has been no sleep to be had around here. You see, Muffin has "The Croup". I know, I know - The Croup is some kind of archaic disease that only afflicted weak little children of the 1800's, right? Wrong! It has infested Muffin's pre-school and my poor little darling has had a horrible time of it.
See, all I remember about The Croup is what I saw on that PBS version of Anne of Green Gables. (Do you remember that? Back in the 80’s? It was a great mini-series!!) In the story, Anne's BFF Diana's little sister had The Croup. Apparently, Diana’s parents were off to some fund-raiser/political rally when this happened. Diana came across miles of farm, in the snow, to fetch the only person she knew that might be able to help her little sister. That’s right – Anne! Anne turned out to be very level-headed (despite her day dreaming ways) and saved the day by administering ipecac to the little tyke all night long. This ultimately saved Anne's friendship with Diana because Diana's mother had previously forbidden Anne and Diana from hanging out on account of Anne inadvertently getting Diana drunk one time back in the summer. Whoo-hoo! Sounds like my childhood… ANYWAY!
My Muffin has a long history of lung ailments. She has seasonal allergies. All. Year. Long. She is slightly asthmatic (thanks to her Dad’s smoking). AND, any bronchial infection in a 50-mile radius seems to hone in and infest her. I’m not saying she has a weakness, because she’s pretty darn strong, no – she just has a natural proclivity towards lung infections as opposed to any other type of infections.
Ok, so that means I know all the tricks when it comes to treating Muffin’s cough. Or I thought I did, at least. She’s been coughing every night for almost a week and Thursday night was the worst! It was CONSTANT! And, it was this awful harsh barking-type cough. The type of cough that can sometimes lead to gagging/barfing and eww – nobody wants that! I’d been giving her Delsym, which is the best anti-cough medicine around. (Seriously – if your kid has a bacterial cough – that shit will keep them quiet all night.) So, I started off with the standard dose of Delsym. Around 1:00am she had an attack of barking coughs so I ran in there, gave her some water and rubbed her back for a while. The coughing didn’t stop. She couldn’t control it – it was so scary!
I came downstairs, mixed up a concoction of lemon juice and honey and fed it to her spoonful by spoonful. (Again, Mama Calicobebop says that if your kid has some sort of post-nasal drip feed them equal parts honey and lemon juice and it will stop the cough) That didn’t work either. Ok, time for the big guns.
So, I break out her asthma treatments – albuterol and flovent. Albuterol is a fast acting "rescue" to the lungs. Now, flovent is not a medicine to take with acute symptoms, but whenever I administer the albuterol I always follow it up with the flovent so her little lungs can get the full effect of the steroid. That didn’t work either!!!
As a last resort – I broke out the humidifier. I don’t like using the humidifier because Muffin gets “addicted” to the noise – but whatever works, right? I plugged it in, set it next to her bed and sat there praying the coughing would subside. It didn’t. It stayed and it sounded AWFUL! You must agree that seeing your child spasm in a wracking cough must be one of the top ten worst sights a parent can witness. I could do nothing to ease her discomfort. I stayed with her and sang different versions of Sing Me To Sleep by The Smiths. (Of course I changed the lyrics! She isn’t sung to sleep every night with a suicidal ballad thank you very much!) Finally around 5am she fell into a fitful sleep and I retired to my own bed. The next morning wasn’t pretty for either of us.
Needless to say, as soon as our pediatrician’s office was open, I was on the phone! We were ushered in to see our favorite doc – Dr. Maxine Beatty (honestly, the best pediatrician on the PLANET!!) She diagnosed The Croup. On top of that, she told me that everything I had done the night before was wrong. Entirely wrong for The Croup. The Croup is a virus and it’s pretty particular. It gets worse at night (natch) and can only be alleviated by a change in temp or humidity! Well, I tried that the night before with the humidifier – but humidifiers only bring a small amount of moisture into the room. Vaporizers are the way to go when you want large amounts of moisture. So, I failed the Mommy/lung test. I tried everything I knew and in the end my Muffin would have better served if I had just taken her outside! How do you like that?!?!
On top of the advice, she prescribed a strong steroid to get Muffin’s lungs happy. Additionally, she recommended reverting to our old nebulizer for Muffin’s albuterol treatment, as the added saline would do her lungs good. We followed all of Dr. Beatty’s directions to the letter and guess what? An entire 10 hours of sleep with no cough!!!! It is a miracle!! I’m looking forward to further nights full of rest. **snore**