The Pop-Tart Has A Cold, But Everything Will Be Okay

Sunday, November 11, 2012

i should really buy one of these artery thermometers-

The Pop-Tart has a cold.  It was scary at first.  Yesterday (Saturday) morning, when she was coughing a lot and looking uncharacteristically bummed out, I decided to take her temperature again.  It was 96.something, but I'm never sure that I'm taking her temperature correctly.   The nurses went the armpit route when Poppy was in the NICU.  I saw these qualified ladies do the taking of the temperature many, many times.  They even let me do it a few times in an attempt to make me feel included and less helpless.  As it turns out, I could have had more faith in my temperature taking abilities on Saturday.

At 7:45am, I call Poppy's pediatrician's office.  It's called The Pediatric Associates of Dallas – these people are organized, they have a fancy website, and they have a whole heap of Pediatricians (some of whom come in on Saturdays).

ring ring, ring ring

a chipper nurse:  'Good Morning, Pediatric Associates of Dallas.'

me:  'Hello.  Um, my baby is sick.'

the chipper nurse:  'Alright.  Dr. Hubbard has an opening at 9:45 this morning.  What's your child's name?'

me:  'Perfect.  My daughter is already a patient with you guys.  Her name is Poppy Darrah.  Poppy, P-O-P-P-Y.  Darrah, D-A-R-R-A-H.'

the chipper nurse:  'Okay, see you at 9:45.'

Her little eyes are red, and the phlegm in her chest is audible.  Very audible – I can hear it doing activities in her lungs.  She looks drowsy and sick.  It's maybe 8:15am now, and she is laying on her back in my bed and dozing off.  I am watching her little chest more intently than I would a new episode of Mad Men.  For some reason, I think that she may quit breathing.  I call The Pediatric Associates of Dallas again.

ring ring, ring ring

the chipper nurse:  'Good Morning, Pediatric Associates of Dallas.'

me:  'Hi, um, I already have an appointment for 9:45, but is there anything any earlier?  You see, my baby has never been sick before and she is coughing a lot and breathing heavily...'

the chipper nurse, who has clearly heard the neurotic mommy racket before, replies with a courteous:  'The doctors don't normally get in until 9:00, or 9:30, but you can go ahead and come on in.'

me, sounding relieved:  'Great.  Thanks.'

I then herd Matt, Poppy to the car.  I drive very quickly to the pediatricians' office.  Matt is making smallish talk that I ignore because all I'm thinking is:
'Must get Poppy to doctor.  Must get Poppy to doctor.  No talk.  Doctor.'

I'm driving fast because I want answers, I want medicine, and I want them now now.

We find the office, and I sign in with the nurse at 8:55am.  I choose to park our little posse in the alternative waiting room.  You know the one I mean – the smaller waiting room reserved for contagious babies who have fevers and tropical diseases.

We've waited for about 10 minutes when I decide that it's a good idea to go loiter around the partition whilst holding Poppy.  Maybe nurses will see how sick my baby is and get the ball rolling here.  This plan doesn't seem to be working, so I switch to a more direct strategy.

me:  'Hi, could someone go ahead and take my baby's temperature?'

one of the other chipper nurses:  'Sure!  Let's go ahead and get you into a room.'

The three of us shuffle into a tiny but brightly decorated examination room that seems even smaller once my crew and my anxiety are in there.  The nurse takes Poppy's temperature and oxygen levels, both of which are normal.

We then wait in this room for about 20 minutes.  I am nervous and listening through the thin walls, trying to determine if any doctors have arrived yet.

Dr. Hubbard opens the door.  I had never met Dr. Hubbard before.  She's an attractive, energetic lady who is perhaps in her late fifties.  She is wearing leopard print flats and skinny jeans under her white lab coat.  I assume that the getup is part of this casual Saturday protocol.

Dr. Hubbard:  'Hello there!'

She swiftly begins examining Poppy while she is still in Matt's arms.  She checks out Poppy's ears, which are of course, perfect.  She then puts Poppy on the crinkly paper and puts the wooden stick in her mouth.  Poppy likes this wooden stick and is allowed to keep it.

During the time Dr. Hubbard is examining Poppy she is also talking.  Her speech is delivered with the informality you'd expect from an old college roommate – approachable and charming.  She tells us to wash our hands and Poppy's hands diligently, and that we should watch Poppy's chest because that's how we can tell if she needs to come in.  If it's going up and down in a easy, rhythmic fashion (as it was while Dr. Hubbard was giving us this information), and if she doesn't have a fever - then Poppy is fine.

me:  'So what's wrong with her?  She really is sick, she seemed sicker at home...'

Dr. Hubbard:  'She just has a cold.  Every kid has a cold right now.  I would say that it'd be weird if she didn't have a cold.  She'll probably have a cold until May.  Here, take my card.'

She hands Matt her bright orange card:  Sue Hubbard, MD.  The Kid's Doctor Extraordinaire*.

Dr. Hubbard:  'I have a website and a radio show.....'

She says some other things but I am confused at this point, so it's a bit of a blur.

me:  'So she doesn't need any medicine?'

Dr. Hubbard:  'Nope, no medicine.  Get a humidifier and wash her hands a lot.'

And then she whisks away in her leopard print flats.

It turns out that I was taking Poppy's temperature correctly – she just didn't have a fever.  So this story circles back to what I always say yet only occasionally believe, which is:  The kid will be fine.

I added the 'extraordinaire' part.

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