Monday, May 3, 2010

For your medical memory bank

Just two small pieces of medical advice we picked up last week. File them away ...

I got a call from Girly's teacher on Wednesday saying that she was not as active as usual, pulled on her ears all day, skipped lunch and took an extra-long nap. That, combined with the fact that she (finally!) slept late the same morning, all added up to SICKNESS.

She was acting pretty normal when I picked her up, but I knew if I didn't take her to the pediatrician's office it would for sure turn in to something bad.

She laughed and climbed all over the room. I felt dumb for bringing her. We had the obligatory ear check and she had something akin to the opposite of an ear infection. This is very un-technical and probably not medically accurate, but basically her ear drums were sucked in instead of bulging out with fluid. She had a little head congestion and that, combined with TONS of teething, just caused pressure in her ears.

Like being on a plane with ears that won't pop!

Poor girl.

The remedy was just (more) Motrin and lots of fluids so the sucking motion would help relieve the pressure. We also use frozen wet washcloths for chewing. (I'm sure you all know about the Motrin/Tylenol/Benadryl/Zyrtec recall by now. Right? If not, see McNeil Product Recall. Buy generic, I guess?)

So - ear pulling, but no fever may very well be built up pressure. I didn't know about encouraging drinking, so that was a helpful tip.

Also, while we were at the pediatrician's office and had already paid our co-pay, I took the opportunity to get a prescription for a nebulizer compressor. We had one round of breathing treatments back in January and borrowed the machine from the office. I was happy we didn't have to buy one, but then we needed one again in March and I was lucky enough to borrow one from a friend. This wouldn't be quite as convenient in the middle of the night.

My vast amount of experience with children needing breathing treatments (n=1; can you sense the sarcasm?) tells me this:
1. If you need to do the treatments once, you will probably need to do them twice.
2. If you are prescribed Xopenex (the expensive steroids), ask them to write the prescription for the maximum number of boxes. You will likely pay the same co-pay regardless and might as well get your money's worth.
3. The meds last about a year. Which is convenient because you will probably need them again. (See #1)
4. Ask about buying a nebulizer compressor the first time you need one. Mine was surprisingly inexpensive - $75 out of pocket at most, and my insurance may pay some/all. Well worth it, in my opinion, to save a midnight trip to the ER or urgent care.

Again, can't state it enough ... I feel quite lucky to take my daughter to the doctor's office with worry, only to find that she climbs all over the place and plays with tongue depressors.

We are luckier than many and I'm thankful each day.

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