Sunday, January 18, 2015

Packing for the weekend; don't forget the doctor's bag!

We've had quite a week. Nothing so very awful and nothing so very unusual, just a string of winter illnesses, all badly-timed. The saga of Primo's surprise strep infection, served up with a side order or terrible croup/ stridor, which ambushed him while on a class trip to Pennsylvania, is a story for another day. I'll put aside the details of Seconda's infection, too. Suffice it to say that on the Saturday morning leading to the long weekend, our apartment was a convalescent home.

Did this stop us from adventuring on to New Jersey? Of course not. There were no fevers in any children, and everyone had seen a doc, and been prescribed the proper drug therapies. In other wods, everyone was on the mend. No reason not to enjoy the well-deserved and much-needed change in scenery,  the chance to spread out into a home with three floors and ample bathrooms. Provided, of course, we came prepared. 

So, in addition to the usual clothing and baby monitors and nighttime diapers and books and electronic equipment, I packed a medical bag. I always bring a small version of my doctor's bag when we travel overnight -- the thermometer, the children's Tylenol , sometimes allergy meds and always, always the stainless steel German lice comb for which there is absolutely no substitution. 

But this time, the bare bones Doctor's Bag would not do. This time, each child needed their own individual medical kit, and the items piled up so high, they could no longer fit in the toiletry bag I usually employ for such a job, nor the large freezer bag I use when the toiletry bag isn't big enough. This amount of medical equipment necessitated a shopping bag. 

First, I put in the Chidlren's Tylenol and Motrin, the Dimetapp and then, for extra measure, I threw in the adult's Motrin, since Primo is big enough to take the adult stuff and chances were good either David and I would be coming down with something too. Then there was the antibiotics for Primo and the different antibiotics for Seconda and the medicine for the Primo's monster case of croup. With so many  antibiotics, it would really be best to bring probiotics, to keep the guts in working order - so I tossed those in too.

We needed the Vick's Vapor Rub to help Primo's super congested nose breathe at night and the Aquaphor for the winter eczema they all have. I didn't think Primo was dealing with asthma currently, but he occasionally gets it as a result of a bad cold, and the croup was scary enough to make me bring the inhaler just in case. 

As long as I'm bringing the inhaler, I thought, I really might as well bring the chamber to make sure it gets inhaled correctly. What's a chamber without a mask, really, so I stuck that in as well.

Terza had developed the croup, too, and while it hadn't reached ER-visit levels, I've seen enough croup to know it certainly could over the next two nights and though a steam shower is really the best and most effective remedy, there was no telling if my parents would have hot water at 3am or if their bathroom would steam adequately. I could use Primo's nebulizer to steam her up if need be, and all I'd need for that was some sterile water. Which was fine since I just so happened to have a big bag full of sterile water, taken from my father's doctor's office before he retired. I mean, who doesn't have that just lying around.

So, in went the nebulizer and the sterile water. You know, what everyone takes for a two night getaway to a neighboring state. 

I thought I'd covered all my bases. After all, we were staying with my father who was a doctor and who had his own stethoscope. Wait, did he? I knew he had one in his Manhattan apartment but did he keep an extra stethoscope in the New Jersey house? I called my father to confirm and he said, no, regrettably not.

"No problem, " i said, "We''ll bring ours."

That's right. I have my own stethoscope. My dad brought it over to listen to Primo's breathing one day and he forgot it. I never gave it back because you never know when you'll need a stethoscope and you don't want to need one and not have it there, right then. 

So into the medical satchel went the stethoscope.

"If only we had a blood pressure machine and a heart rate monitor and a centrifuge for blood collection," I told David/ "Then we'd be REALLY set."

And this is how, in the period of twenty four hours, a normal woman can morph into a deranged lunatic.

I don't know how Florence Nightingale kept her shit together, I'll tell you that much.