Posted by: Hannah | 04/29/2015

in the small hours

George has been sick.

It started as a slight sniffle. The odd sneeze here and there. I could hear that he was congested, but he had no fever or other symptoms, and since this winter has been an absolute bitch for viruses of all kinds I counted myself lucky it wasn’t worse.

Then he started coughing. And coughing. Coughing until he yelled in frustration. Coughing until he gagged. Coughing fits that lasted first for a few minutes, then for an hour or more. Interrupting his sleep, and mine. He was miserable.

So last week I took him to the doctor. She listened to his lungs and checked his throat and ears, and prescribed Flovent and Ventolin. “Bring him back if he seems worse,” she said, “but be patient. This might take a while.”

Days of puffers. Getting a three year old to take a puffer is about as easy as you can imagine. And then of course after the Flovent we have to rinse his mouth because it can cause sores. He loves the process – shaking the puffer, taking off the cap, plugging it into the aerochamber – but he hates the actual “sit still and breathe deeply” bit. He’s been whiny, and clingy. He’s still not sleeping much. He’s obviously sick, and his brothers and Michael have the same cold (although not as bad), and while I’m glad to be the lone healthy one it is hard.

Last night, things were terrible. Less than an hour after I put him to bed, the coughing and sobbing started. It just kept getting worse. He ended up on my lap on the couch at 10pm, watching Hell’s Kitchen (“I like the red team, I want them to win”) and coughing horrible, racking coughs that shook his whole body.

And thus we went on. We tried his puffer, no relief. We tried Vapo-Rub on his chest and back – the act of the massage relaxed him a bit, at least. But the relief was temporary, and by 2AM he was coughing, then sobbing, then holding his breath because coughing hurt too much. By 3AM I was sitting on the damp mat next to the bathtub, cradling him in my arms and singing Northwest Passage while the shower ran scalding hot and steam curled around our heads.

He did eventually sleep, and woke up at his usual time clearly feeling much better. We did the puffers. Again. I called the doctor and made yet another appointment. I am hoping that he has something that can be defined, and fixed. I do not want to hear “it’s just a virus and you’ll need to be patient.” I want to bring Big Pharma into my life in a big way right now.

Wish us luck.



  1. Yeah. This is what makes me not able to ever forgive the government for banning cough meds for kids under 6. How is it okay for them to suffer like this? I don’t know how you feel about homeopathic stuff – a lot of it doesn’t work, IMO – but there is a cough syrup that one of my nanny families uses that you can get at the pharmacy that’s “homeopathic”. It’s more just natural. And it works for them . . . also essential oils diluted might help if rubbed on his skin? I’m sorry he’s so sick. Again, I can’t forgive the government for making children suffer like this.

    • Yeah, homeopathic cough syrups are usually just honey and water. I eliminate the middle-man and just give spoonfuls of honey.

      I miss cough syrups for kids under six. Like, so much. And I especially hate that now doctors keep saying they never did much good, anyway. LIES. They DID. They relieved symptoms and helped the kids get some rest.

  2. Aww. You are such a nice Mummy. The image of you singing Stan Rogers in a foggy bathroom the wee small hours is beautiful, Hannah.

    Poor little George, though. He must be exhausted.

    I hope you have answers (and relief) soon.

    • We are both so very very tired. I think all we both want at this point is a night’s sleep.

      • Any wonder.

        I hope it is all so much better by now.

  3. Ugh, uncontrollable coughing is terrible. The kids can’t sleep, you can’t sleep, it affects everything. I’m sorry your birthday is so sucky. Hope you get rest tonight.

  4. What a shitstorm. Angus was on puffers all the time at that age – just by the by, how stupid is it that the puffer is covered but the aerochamber isn’t, unless that’s changed or is different in N.S.? I so hope he’s feeling better soon, and that he doesn’t get all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed just as you’re too sick to keep up with him. Also, they can give cough medicine with codeine in it to babies (says my sister the pharmacist), so I”m not sure why they didn’t just prescribe him something effective for the cough, even if there’s nothing over the counter.

    • The aerochamber isn’t covered, and it is balls stupid, thanks. When my siblings were young and all three of them needed Ventolin four times a day one summer (my poor mother, as an aside) we had an aspirator for them rather than the puffer / aerochamber combo. It took forever, but I honestly think it was more effective, and the machine & all the tubing etc. was covered.

      The thing that rages me about the cough medicine is how doctors now will tell you with a straight face that it was ineffective. I DISPUTE. Also, it was effective and recommended for decades and then all of a sudden nope, sorry, it was a placebo? Are very young children even susceptible to placebos? YAARGH.

  5. No, not at all. Here, I hurt my finger, can you kiss it? 🙂 (I’m just being an asshole, I’M NOT ON THE DOCTORS’ SIDE)

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