Brittany Hartgrove Mahoney
Dramatic? I think not
Well, it's happened. Avie is on antibiotics for the first time. And no, it's not due to an ear infection.
It started as a cold.
A stupid cold. Up until now, she has battled the shit out of her colds without a cough even starting.
This one was too much for her.
Two nights ago, she was up until midnight coughing. Well, she was actually asleep, but I was wide awake. Every time I heard a little chest-rattling sound come out of her room, I prayed for it to be the last cough. I kept thinking that maybe she was just choking on post-nasal drip... or even a little sleepy toddler drool.
Nope. It was full-fledged coughing.
So I called her CF clinic first thing yesterday morning and was prescribed antibiotics. I don't think there are many Mothers who would be so affected by the idea of their children having to take antibiotics... but I am.
I know there was nothing I could have done to prevent this nasty bug from settling in.
But I can't help but feel like I've failed her somehow.
I know that this is par for the course, for CF patients, and that this will not be the last time she is on an antibiotic.
But I hate that we had to start one so soon. So young- before she is even 2.
I also know that antibiotics will screw up her gut flora and upset her already-tender GI system. So, in addition to the dietary concerns we already have for her- I'm also making sure to add in a ton of probiotics.
I'm sure that there are lots of Mommies who have seen their children cough so hard that they can't breathe and their little eyes grow wide with fear. But there is only a unique group of us who are truly just as afraid as their babies are. After a coughing spell, she is red-faced with tears spilling down her chubby cheeks and gasping for air. And that's when I have to remember to stay my calmest. She would only be more scared if my face showed what I was really thinking: This is just the beginning.
This is just the beginning of a life full of medication. The first of hundreds of antibiotics that will wreak havoc on her body- to save her lungs and her life. The first time she will cough so hard, that she will vomit. And sweat. Overheated with the work that her body is doing to expel what doesn't belong. What she can't get rid of.
I gently rub her back, a stark change from pounding on it just moments ago, and smile sweetly. I tell her to take a deep breath, a drink of water... and then try to get back to playing, or eating. A glance at the clock tells me when I will do her next round of chest therapy: it happens 4 times a day now, while she is sick.
40 minutes of pounding on my toddler's chest and back...
Saline nasal spray