What do you do with a sick kid?

Zeb Update: There has been a jailbreak! It is my understanding that Zeb was last seen running down the hall clutching his discharge papers, with half a dozen doctors and nurses (and a few billing clerks!) in hot pursuit!

Actually Zeb was released late in the day, and since he lives about four hours from the hospital, he and his parents are staying in a local hotel overnight. They will head for home in the morning.

And now onto tonight’s post:

I had just shook my pastor’s hand yesterday morning when someone asked him where his wife was.

“She’s at home,” he said. “The kids have a bug.”

Bug? I thought. Ut-oh!

As I read the web pages of other families fighting heart defects, I can’t help but notice their strategies for avoiding illness: A good number of families almost went on full lockdown this winter. Perhaps that tactic has been in reaction to the H1N1 Flu that has been prevalent this year, or perhaps it is a yearly strategy.

One thing a Cardiac Kid doesn’t need is a cold or the flu, but I didn’t take any unusual precautions when I was growing up. Of course I followed my parents rules about not hanging around with people who were obviously ill, and I remember missing the occasional church service or high school basketball game because there was something going around.

I’m not saying that I’m right and everyone else is wrong – Knowledge about Heart Defects has really grown since I was a child; back then most of our questions was answered with the phrase “I don’t know.” And since no one knew, it seemed that the best thing to do was to carry on as usual – until something changed. (We did take my doctor’s advice, after my second operation in 1977 I didn’t leave the house for at least a month. And I am told that after my 1967 operation it was quite a while before my parents took me to church – and as soon as the Pastor said the final “Amen!” Momma picked me up and sprinted for the car!)

We weren’t following the rulebook because there really wasn’t a rulebook to follow. One of the funnier moments occurred when my dad asked a cardiologist what over the counter cold remedies I could take that would not affect my medication. “Kleenex,” the doctor replied.)

I’ve been lucky, I somehow manage to avoid most winter illnesses, or else have a “mild” case of it. I may have a mild case but it really does a number on my system if I catch it! The best thing to do then is just STOP – it’s going to run its course, so I try not to get in the way. I get my doctor approved Kleenex, settle down on the couch, and start looking for good movies on the TV.

Am I healthier today because I was out and about and have developed a little immunity to the various coughs and colds that go around? Or is keeping your Cardiac Kid on a tight rein during the winter the right idea? I don’t know, and I don’t think we’ll ever know. This is probably a time when the best thing to do is to trust your doctor and your parental instincts.


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One Response to “What do you do with a sick kid?”

  1. Stefenie Jacks Says:

    We are one of the lockdown families this winter but ours had more to do with the fact that we were protecting Logan from the nasty bugs in preparation for his surgery. Since he was not doing well heart wise the past eighteen months we have kept him on a short leash too. It is hard and as a parent you often worry whether or not you are making the right choice by keeping them from things. However in the grand scheme of things I think we did what we feel as Logan’s parents was best. Every heart parent approaches taking their kids out and about differently. Ultimately it is their choice and in my opinion whatever they are willing to live with. We personally have spent so much time inside our hospitals’ walls in the last three years that we try do anything we can to stay out of there.
    This was a great post Steve. I appreciated you sharing your experience growing up with the “germs”.

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