No sooner had we all gushed about relishing digging out our jeans and boots, and instagramming beautiful photos of orange leaves, then we are cursing this damn season for the other joys it brings.
Pre children, the biggest dilemma a cough or cold brought was whether my snotty nose could justify a duvet day, or whether it would be a career limiting move, frowned upon by my colleagues.
As a new mum, I remember agonising whether I should cancel every play date or outing to a park, children’s centre or soft play at the very sight of a snotty nose.
We have certainly come a long way since then.
Two children, countless nights of lost sleep , multiple trips to the GP to hear ‘it’s viral’, the odd decision not to go to the GP because it’s probably viral, then finding out its a chest infection, and a very sketchy loose diagnosis of seasonal asthma.
Our first baby started coughing one night at around seven months (September) and pretty much, coughed every night until Spring. No exaggeration.
That first autumn winter season I lost count of how many tired anxious visits to the doctors we made. Sometimes we’d be given antibiotics, most times we’d be sent away empty handed and a diagnosis of vital brochiolitis. Everyone commented constantly on her ‘rattly chest’ and we googled every condition imaginable. She was however happy, not unwell, no temperature. She just coughed, a lot.
Eventually we pushed for a referral to a specialist, who put us through a horrendous pin prick allergy test (inconclusive) and a blood test (involving catching dripping blood in a tube) which the sample was lost (we declined a repeat).
They couldn’t diagnose asthma in one so young, but gave us an inhaler to try. We felt it did nothing, the cough remained.
Until spring, when the sunshine reappeared. And with it, quiet nights once more.
Each year has circled in a similar pattern in the three years since then. She has certainly improved with age, but the slightest cold will always go straight to her chest. And now, so will a burst of emotion or a particularly energetic run around. We stuck with the preventer and ventolin inhalers and I think now, we can see them having an effect.
This month both the girls have both been hit hard by the change in temperature – gp visit count is up to three, we have had a matching pair of bottles of amoxicillin, and had two quite poorly little girls the last week. Some days better than others, but at their worst, they have been rough, poor little pickles. Feverish temperatures, cough induced vomit, sleepless nights and generally not themselves. One ear infection, one chest infection.
I know so many of you reading this at in the same boat. It’s tough, on them, and on you. The frustration of being able to do nothing is wearing.
We have tried and tested every trick in the book over the years: prop the cot up at one end, steam up the bathroom, water, patting back, pillow under the mattress, snufflebabe, karvol, vicks, olbas… There’s no secret weapon that I’ve found yet, but it’s all worth a go. I have no idea what the right thing to do in these situations is….but Imgiess all I’ve learnt is to trust your Mothering instinct. If a 45 minute call to get a GP appointment, and a two hour wait to see him results in being told it’s not an infection, it’s not a waste of time if it puts your mind at rest.
Tigs has definitely improved with age for sure. She’ll go long periods of great nights before getting a spell of coughing again. Amazingly, most of the time she actually sleeps through her coughing fits. Us? Not so much.
I’m sure as their immune systems get more robust they will be able to fight off the seasonal bugs and viruses, and these long winter nights will become a distant memory. For now, being mum and dad means lots of cuddles, lots of calpol (we got through a large bottle in 5 days this week) and definitely take it in turns lay ins.
Get well soon all you kids out there
Oh, and mums too, if like me, you’ve had it also – sorry, mums don’t get to be ill, didn’t you know that?! 😉