I was feeling anything but grateful, and my unraveling began with a pink-tinged eye.
On Sunday, the day of Theo’s birthday party, I noticed that Conner’s eye looked a little red and watery. I was busy scattering silk leaves across the table, stacking cupcakes on a pumpkin-shaped stand, and doing the million other things a mom does the day of her baby’s first birthday party, so I didn’t have a lot of time to analyze it. Maybe he got elbowed in the eye while roughhousing with his brothers, I thought. It is allergy season, too.
The following day, his eye looked decidedly worse. After some deliberation, I decided to take him to the doctor. I wanted to make sure he would be OK to go to CC the next day, and I was also hoping to get some antibacterial eye drops so Conner’s eye would be cleared by Thursday, the day of our family photos. Conner’s pediatrician said it didn’t look like pink eye (the kind that is highly contagious and transmitted by touch), but it might be the first sign of a virus that was brewing. A fellow mom who understands the stress of family pictures, she gave me some antibacterial eye drops “just in case.”
When Conner woke up the morning of CC, his eye looked horrible. The drops hadn’t seemed to help at all, which meant it was probably a virus, but he didn’t have any other symptoms. His tummy felt fine, he wasn’t drippy, and he didn’t have a fever. I packed up the whole crew and took them to CC. I tried to assure the other parents that he had seen the doctor yesterday, and she hadn’t thought that it was the “scary” pink eye, but I thought everyone might be a little more comfortable if Conner went home after lunch instead of spending the afternoon with his buddies in the CC childcare as usual. Even though Conner had been happily running and climbing at the playground during lunch, Dan told me that he wilted as soon as he got into the van. When I came home later in the afternoon, poor Conner was in bed with a fever and what we call the “puke bucket” by his side.
I will spare you all the details, but Conner ended up with stomach bug symptoms and a throat that was so sore he could hardly swallow. Based on his symptoms, I was positive he had strep throat. Two negative strep tests later, I had to conclude that he probably had two different bugs at the same time–stomach and respiratory. Of course, he was still feeling under the weather for our family photos two days later. We had already had to reschedule our photos twice, so, dripping with guilt, I gave Conner a dose of Tylenol to perk him up and promised him a pumpkin shake if he did a good job with the photos. (He was such a trooper and totally earned that pumpkin shake! Too bad he vomited it up immediately.) Conner’s fever didn’t break until Saturday morning, and we were really getting worried about him in the meantime.