Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Invincible, He Isn't

For the first two years of his life, my son, the College Boy, was in day care, and he was sick all the time. He caught EVERYTHING. He had ear infections, cellulitis in his eye, bronchiolitis (they call it RSV now), regular colds, stomach viruses, and tonsillitis. He had acid reflux from birth, spitting up gallons until he was 17 months old, and his diapers? Holy shit! (No pun intended.) Out the legs, up the back, EVERYWHERE. We never went anywhere without two sets of clothes in the diaper bag (unfortunately, we went to a wedding when he was two months old where HE had a change of clothes, but I did not, and let's just leave it at that). He was a real peach.

After he turned two, he was rarely sick, but when he was, he did it up right. He had strep throat when he was in first grade. He got a light case of the chicken pox five years AFTER he had the vaccine (there was an outbreak in his second grade class). He had the stomach bug maybe once. That's pretty much it. He decided he was invincible, like Bruce Willis in "Unbreakable."

That worked until he was a freshman in high school.

It was Friday, October 2, and it was homecoming. The football game was that night, with the homecoming dance the next night. He even had a Date for the dance. We had purchased a tie to match his Date's dress. And ordered a wrist corsage. But he came home from school that Friday with cold symptoms.

"I don't think I want to go to the game," he said, and I told him to stay home, take some ibuprofen, and get some rest, and he'd feel better the next day for the dance. He was asleep when we got home from the game, and he seemed a little warm, but he was snuggled into his bed, too, so of COURSE he'd be warm. Saturday morning, he felt worse.

"You're just not used to having a cold, buddy," we told him. "This is how the REST of us feel when we have one." And I gave him ibuprofen all day, took him to pick up his date that evening, and drove them to the dance (they were too young to drive). They were both pretty quiet when I picked them up later and took his Date home (he's shy, after all), and he went straight to bed when we got home.

Look how sickly and pale he was.

Sunday morning, he woke up blazing hot with fever. Oops. Throat sore, body aching, coughing. I took him to the urgent care clinic with a whole lot of other people who were coughing and miserable-looking, and when he was called back we got this happy diagnosis:

Swine flu.

It was the third official day of flu season.

Plus, he exposed everyone at the dance with whom he came into contact. Including his Date. Did I mention his Date was the Superintendent's daughter? Guess who came down with the Swine Flu two days after the dance? (He also gave it to his sister.) I SWEAR I had no idea he was that sick, or I never would have let him go to that dance. I honestly thought he was just being a sissy about having a cold. My bad.

Fast forward six years. He is now a junior in college, and hasn't been sick* since the Swine Flu Epidemic (that he started). It was the week before Thanksgiving, and he had a cold. A bad one. He kept texting me that he didn't feel good and that he'd never been sick without his mommy there. I told him to take ibuprofen and go to the health center if he didn't get better. Of course, he did neither, and came home Friday evening with a horrible cough. HORRIBLE. I bought him some cough and cold medicine. He coughed and wheezed and slept a lot. He was sure he had a fever, but the thermometer was missing. On Monday, in spite of his protests ("I'm fine! I'll be better tomorrow! I don't WANT to go to the doctor!"), I took him to urgent care. His temperature was nearly 101 degrees (oops). We got an almost immediate diagnosis:


So, he's not so invincible after all. Oh, he's going to be fine. He is loaded down with a Z-pack, steroids, and cough syrup. Thankfully, he managed to get sick when he had a week off of school in which to recover, and hopefully, he'll be able to rally in time for finals in two weeks.

And we finally found the thermometer, perhaps a little too late THIS time, but we're prepared the NEXT time he gets sick, which shouldn't be for another six years or so.

*My son did have a rather ugly encounter with a sea urchin while on a mission trip to Puerto Rico, which you can read a little about here, but, while he had to go to the ER, plus several other doctors, before he was better, it wasn't like he got sick. And in the interest of full disclosure, now that I think about it, he also went to the ER when he was 8 and split his chin open at a water park. 


  1. Poor kid! Hope he feels better soon! (And I hope he forgives me for laughing at the swine flu story.)

    1. Thanks, Kristi! At least when he does it, he does it good. We ALL laugh at the swine flu story!

  2. Replies
    1. Swine flu. For real. His sister had it by that evening after we finally went to the doctor. She wasn't feeling well and was sitting on my lap, and I could feel her suddenly get hot. Her temp was 103.

  3. oh my goodness hope he better soon... my kids have been coughing all week something is going around in their school I had them stay home on Monday they went in on Tues then they started coughing so they stayed home yesterday...

    zpacks are great and hope you son is feeling if not by tomorrow hopefully before school start again...

    A few years back last day of camp the camp doctor called that James was running a fever so I picked him up went to the doctor office this was on a Friday they said it was viral give him Tylenol for the fever drink fluids and rest ... well the fever never broke after the Tylenol wore off it would come back ...on Monday we took him back this time they wheezing in his chest...he then got antiobiotics and a nebulizer... it took three day for us to figure out that he needed heavy duty medication.

    have a wonderful Thanksgiving....

    1. The meds seem to be working. He's still coughing, but it's not QUITE as scary sounding as it was. The wheezing is better, too. Kids should come with manuals.

  4. This is how my sister describes me: doesn't get sick often but gets really sick when she does. Remember when I had the flu AND strep AT THE SAME TIME last winter?

    1. Go big or go home, Sarah. Now that I think about it, I had strep throat and mono at the same time when I was in college.

  5. I think he really does believe he should go big or go home! My oldest, Matt, used to get strep throat annually. Sometimes it would get so bad he would have big scabs growing out of his nose because it would even go into his nasal tissues.

  6. Yikes!

    At least you don't have a tab open at your local bone-healing centre, unlike some people we know!

    Poor college boy, though! Hope he's better soon.

  7. Pooor college boy! Pneumonia is no fun!!! Oy!!! At least the swine flu comes with a great story....not to mention he just realized hes not invincible! Of course he can always do what i do and brag on his incredible recuperative powers!!!