Her Bad Mother

Monday, June 15, 2009

Peace In A Dyson

I vacuumed.

I didn't know what else to do, so I vacuumed.

We knew last night that something wasn't quite right about the bug bite on the side of Emilia's face. It was a little swollen, a little bruised. We debated what to do. It was late, the clinics and pharmacies were closed, and it didn't look that bad. A bad allergic reaction would be pretty immediate, right? It wouldn't be a slow swell, right? I wrung my hands and worried; my husband soothed: we'll check on her in the night. We don't know that it's an allergic reaction. We'll check; she'll be fine.

We didn't check.

When my husband went to rouse her this morning, he found a nearly unrecognizable child, a wee thing with a swollen and misshapen face, her cheek and neck grotesquely bloated, her right eye a purple, bulbous slit. My heart stopped.

And then - while my husband gathered clothes and prepared to hustle us all out the door to the hospital - I vacuumed.

I told myself, the floor is dirty and that's just not helping things. The floor is dirty and it should be cleaned. Somebody needs to do this. Somebody needs to be on top of these things. Somebody needs to pay attention to these things. I told myself, the floor is dirty, it's dirty, just do this, now.

Because the floor was dirty. But more because I couldn't look at Emilia without my heart stopping, because I couldn't speak without berating myself, without berating us, for not getting help for her last night, because I all could do was do something, anything, that felt like it might make some minute bit of difference in the universe. Because my little girl was sitting there, clutching her Toady, whimpering a little, asking why is my eye shut, Mommy? and because I knew that if I hugged her again, I would cry.

And I didn't want to cry. So I vacuumed. And now my floor is clean.

But my cheeks are still streaked with tears.


Emilia is going to be okay. She had a bad allergic reaction to a bug bite, and the good news is that antihistamines are bringing down the swelling and returning her poor face and neck to normal. The bad news is, we don't know what bit her, and so we don't know what she's allergic to.

And no, I didn't take a picture. I thought about it, once I'd calmed down enough to stop vacuuming. But I didn't. I don't want to remember it. It was horrible. She looked horrible. I'm still sorting through my feelings about that - my heartbreak not only at her pain, but at the fact that her outer beauty had been so distorted - but I do know that I'm not keen to revisit them. I wouldn't have shared the picture, anyway, so.

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Blogger Jaelithe said...

Poor baby. Give her a hug for me. (Like you're not already going to be hugging her all day.)

1:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My 3 y.o. child had the same thing happen to him a month ago. We ended up getting injections at the hospital (drug called fenicort). Later I went to see a super specialist in child allergies and she actually calmed me down. According to her this one reaction does not mean the child will ever get it again, as long as it isn't a bee or a wasp. Apparently children's reactions to bug bites do not follow patterns, they grow out of them etc (apart from bee/wasp thing) Also it is good news if the reaction is delayed and not immediate as then it means greater resistance (we had the same story, the bite happened in the evening, the huge swelling disfiguring his face came 12 hours later). She gave us medicine in pills called encorton and antiallergic drug in drops called zyrtec. I'm supposed to have these both at hand. If I see a swelling following a bug bite (if a swelling is anything bigger than normally), I should give my son a prescribed dose of both medicines immediately. If the small swelling is not going down, I should increase the dose (she wrote the daily maximum). My friend's partner is a paramedic and he also confirmed all the above, apparently it does happen quite frequently. I don't know if any of that helps, especially that I'm in Poland and even the medicines may have different names (though these are by international medical companies), but I just wanted to share what I know/experienced. Still, it's advisable to see a doctor about any strange swelling obviously, but I go camping and travel a lot with my boy and wanted to have something at hand if I have no access to hospitals or doctors.

1:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

is this really true?? omg im so sorry i would feel the same.....

1:45 PM  
Blogger Stephanie Wilson she/her @babysteph said...

Oh, I'm so sorry. I've had these times- we have bad food allergies and animal/bug allergies with my boys and you're right- usually it isn't a slow swell. I would have probably done the same thing. Hope your heart comes back to normal setting soon.


1:47 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Allergic reactions are so scary. Trips to the hospital are really scary.

I'm glad she's going to be okay.

1:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This reminds me of that story I heard on This American Life. A 10-month-old got the measles because a family opted against immunizing their child, so when the child traveled back to Sweden, he brought the virus back to San Diego with him. Anyway, long story short, the 10-month old almost died from it and was horribly disfigured for a while from the bumps and sores.

She said (and I'm getting weepy again thinking about it) that she went from being one of those mothers who took hundreds of pictures a week of her baby boy to taking zero. She said there are several months of her son's life that are absent because she didn't want to remember him looking that way. That he was totally unrecognizable.

For some reason, your story made me think of that. I'm not sure why I'm rambling about it on here... I'm not sure if it will help or not. I guess I'm just trying to make you feel better about not wanting to remember it. That your feelings are normal. ?

I dunno why I'm rambling. Anyway...

I am so sorry about your daughter. I'm happy she'll be OK. But I'm sorry still.


1:50 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Poor gal. You did the right thing - most bites don't swell that bad, so you had no idea it would do that.

And hey, I can understand the vacuuming. Sometimes you have to focus on something you can control in a frightening situation. And dirty floors can be controlled.

1:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't it funny how all moms need to control their surroundings when they feel out of control and feel that they can't help their kids? I've been there. When my son was diagnosed w/cystic fibrosis, my house was ALWAYS clean. :)

1:53 PM  
Blogger Amy Urquhart said...

I'm glad to hear she's feeling better. Sounds like you'll be scarred more by the experience than she will be. xo

1:55 PM  
Blogger Ben said...

You were vacuuming because your subconscious wanted to get that bug and all its friends too. From now on this is the story you should tell people.

1:56 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Ben - YES. That's EXACTLY why. Will keep that story at hand.

1:58 PM  
Anonymous Kelly said...

I'm so sorry to hear that your daughter had a bad allergic reaction. I hope that the antihistamines are doing their job by now.

This reminds me of when my youngest got struck with a sudden "allergy attack". The first nice day of spring last year I opened up the garage and let the boys play. I sorted through stuff that we were putting in our yard sale. We went inside and then all of a sudden Alex was stuffy, runny nose, watery eyes and just looked miserable. I chalked it up to seasonal allergies which have plagued me all my life. It got worse as he napped. The next day, or our yard sale, DH and I got up opened up the garage and started our sale. When Alex woke up both his eyes were nearly swollen shut & you could tell he was miserable. So, off to urgent care we went. Where I told the dr that I figured it was seasonal allergies. 3-4 prescriptions later we were home. I had to sit on the poor child to get him most of his medicine.
We went outside again and it happened again. A few days later I was in the garage and saw a mouse run across the floor. I immediately knew that was the source of our issues, Alex must've touched something and then rubbed his hands on his face. I felt so horrible, like I should have known, should have searched through the garage for what was instigating these attacks. He wasn't allowed out in the garage after that, thankfully we've moved since - our landlord didn't seem to care...

1:58 PM  
Blogger Mandy said...

We've had a similar situation happen, but with a less severe reaction. I think it must have been a spider bite as it happened at night and there were two, even, fang marks.

It's scary. I feel for you.

2:00 PM  
Blogger Molly said...

There are pictures of me as a child with my eye all swollen from a bug bite. Painful, itchy and hot. Not at all fun! I still have reactions to bites sometimes, but usually a dose of benadryl helps big time! poor thing. I've been there. Hug her for me!!

2:01 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Sometimes when something so completely overwhelming happens, we need to do something mundane to reaffirm that the world is still spinning on its axis... and that there is something constructive we can do other than wait. I totally understand where this comes from.
I'm glad she's feeling better. That would have scared the crap out of me too.

2:07 PM  
Blogger Jenny Grace said...

Dyson's are wonderful machines.

2:08 PM  
Blogger Jo said...

The important thing is that she is ok.

Please repeat after me:

"The important thing is that she is ok."

If you are like me, you will beat yourself up over this. (I should have checked on her, what if something really bad happened because I didn't, I suck, how could I NOT check on her, etc...)

I waste MUCH time and energy doing this that is better spent loving on my family. Therapy has helped but not completely. You have to say it. Out loud. Repeatedly.

The important thing is that she is ok.

*hugs and blessings*


P.S. I have developed hives in the past and we could never determine the cause. For peace of mind, ask your pediatrician for an Epi-pen for your daughter. Better to have it on hand and never need it then wish you had one. (I've never used mine.)

2:14 PM  
Blogger GingerB said...

My friends Al (albuterol) and Ben (Benadry) go everywhere with me, for just such an emergency. You hardly ever need them, but when you do, there is pretty much no friend like Ben.

Vacuuming is a good way to brun off adrenaline. You were obviously thinking your way through the situation.

2:14 PM  
Anonymous Karishma said...

oh, catherine -- i'm so sorry. these things are never predictable, and always succeed in making moms feeling like they missed something important. don't let yourself feel guilty. you're right. a bad allergic reaction would have made itself obvious way sooner and would have moved down into her airway, and not just the outer neck. this was just her immune system going into overdrive in that particular location, and not into her respiratory tract. often, this type of allergic reaction looks far worse than it actually is, and as people have said before, can be outgrown. i was like this with mosquito bites when i was young - visits to india during mosquito season were horrific - but the allergy has descended to almost normal levels over the years. keep her on the antihistamine. she'll be good as new. don't feel guilty. she just as easily could have healed up all by herself overnight. there's just no way to tell.

2:17 PM  
Blogger Jo said...

P.S. OH, and Benadryl. I take that everywhere too.

2:17 PM  
Blogger Joy said...

I am so sorry that she had such a bad reaction, and worse yet, is when there isn't something that we KNOW to do right then. Black flies, in my families, are especially horrendous, particularly for the first few bites of the season. My mom got a black fly bite on the top of her foot one summer, and only went in two days later when the swelling reached her knee... We travel with Benadryl lotion, and the liquid, always. And, sometimes, a wrung out tea bag can help get the swelling controlled until the drugs can be accessed.

All the hugs in the world to you. And I'm glad you had the Dyson to help you out for a bit, there.

2:20 PM  
Anonymous Nickie said...

I'm glad she's going to be ok. And I understand your need to vacuum. I do. My Little Man woke up one morning with nearly one-half of his body swollen and red and hot with fever that turned out to be a bad allergic reaction to something- we still don't know what. It was a horrible experience and one I hope to never repeat. I didn't go back to work until he was completely cleared up, but I did keep myself busy at home- more than usual- just to keep from sitting there and staring at my child in his pitiful state. It was so worrying that it was hard to put a coherent thought together; tears came easier.

2:33 PM  
Anonymous red pen mama said...

The fact that you vacuumed makes perfect sense to me. I probably would have put the dishes away and cleaned the kitchen.

I'm glad E is going to be okay. I'm glad YOU'RE going to be okay.


2:36 PM  
Blogger Don Mills Diva said...

That IS really scary.

We had to rush Graham to a clinic last year after he swelled up from a nasty bite - it is heartbreaking to see them like that.

And vaccuming is a totally normal reaction - controlling the environment and all that.

Glad you're BOTH ok.

2:44 PM  
Blogger MarĂ­a said...

I was following your tweets, I'm glad she's going to be alright, that sounds horrifying.

2:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My son swells up like that with mosquito bites. Last summer we were in Sarnia for a family reunion and he woke up with one eye completely shut and the other one just barely open. Forehead was swollen. I gave him Benadryl, it comes with us all the time but we still took him to the ER. The doctor took one look at him and asked why we were here. Alex looked like he had been in a bar fight yet apparently, it was no big deal to this doctor. I had an appointment with an allergist for another reason and asked about the bites. He said there is nothing you can do. I was hoping he'd suggest no camping since we are supposed to go soon. No such luck! Oh, I couldn't bring myself to take a picture. He was so happy swimming and playing yet he didn't look like the gorgeous boy he normally is.

3:06 PM  
Blogger Maggie May said...

What a scary experience. I love that Dyson guy- his voice? Like butter.

3:12 PM  
Anonymous Goldfish said...

So glad she is good and that the swelling is going away. And her outer beauty is beautiful... but her inner beauty is far more important. No bug will ever steal that from her. Or from you.

3:13 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Both my kids are violently allergic to peanuts and tree nuts. We've rushed them to the hospital more than once. The most important thing to do is hug your baby girl and remember that modern medicine is a miracle. We carry epi-pens with us everywhere and steroids. You will get through this.

Even though we know what my boys are allergic too, we can never tell when something they eat from the store or in a restaurant will contain a microscopic particle of the allergen (and yes, we take precautions, but still ended up at the hospital more than once). So, just because you don't know the bug doesn't mean she won't be okay. She will. You know she has an allergy and that is the best means of prevention there is because now you carry meds that will help if this ever happens again. Better that than the unknown.

Hugs to you and your family.

3:18 PM  
Blogger Yondalla said...

Yes, GOOD mother's always know when their children must see the physician and never over-react, taking children who only have colds to be tested for flu or strep.


Sadly, most of us fail to be GOOD mothers.

another bad mother

3:28 PM  
Anonymous B said...

Oh geez. That is so, so , so scary. And I would have done exactly what you did -- vacuum all the badness, all the creeping scaries, take it all, all away. Get control somehow...

I'm so sorry you and Amelia had to go through this. SO glad she's ok. Every time I read a story like this or worst I just CANNOT imagine how I'd cope. Or IF I'd cope at all...

3:33 PM  
Blogger tallulah said...

My child had an allergic reaction to a medicine my husband accidentally gave to him instead of our daughter. His hands curled up in a ball and his neck was paralyzed in one position. It's called a dystonic reaction and it is rare. But it freaked me out! He just needed large doses of Benadryl to put him back together. But my husband and I cursed ourselves and felt so bad for our scared little boy.
We are not perfect, we learn from our mistakes. Do berate yourself too much.

3:54 PM  
Blogger HLiza said...

Hi I'm one of your regular peeps..this reminds me of my own experience when I was 14. I came back home from school (I had to walk quite a distance back then) not feeling well. I went straight to sleep and when I woke up my mom looked at my face and she screamed! I was puzzled too..and when I looked in the mirror, I found myself looking at a monster..my face was all swollen..I nearly fainted. My whole body was red and puffy too. Dad came back, had one glance at me and have this look that says "Oh God, what had happened to my child?" and quickly brought me to a clinic. The doctor gave me a jab and I slept upon reaching home. The next morning when I woke up, it was all gone. Just like that. It's like a short nightmare and ai didn't know what was it until now. The dr just said I might be bitten by something during the walks.

U take care okay..and vacuuming is therapeutic..I know.

4:14 PM  
Blogger MonaBookGirl said...

So I know it's belated and helps not one bit, But so sorry she had to go through that. And you too. Sucks to be a kid some days. And a parent too.

4:25 PM  
Blogger Karen Bodkin said...

Oh buddy...that's awful. Please don't beat yourself up too much - I once let an ear infection get "out of control" (doc said) because my little guy wasn't complaining or tugging at his ear. These things happen. Hope E is much better soon!

4:43 PM  
Blogger chermonblie said...

Soooooo glad she's getting better. How scary!

4:45 PM  
Blogger Kimberly Wright said...

My daughter has horrible allergic reactions, especially to food. Her very first one, she was unrecognizable and had an anaphylactic reaction and before going to the ER, I changed all our clothes because the voice of my dead mother was in my head saying "You aren't going to wear that out in public are you!"

I am glad your little girl is going to be okay.

4:54 PM  
Blogger Kyla said...

KayTar has a food allergy and I'll never forget the first (or second!) time her lips swelled up. The next time her tongue swelled, too. Talk about frightening.

Glad E is okay.

5:33 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I take photographs - not for any sort of morbid curiosity, but so I can show the pediatrician how a particular injury looked prior to our appointment. After the child is well again, the photographs get deleted -- but they have proven helpful at least three times now when I've had to say, "He looks a bit better this morning, but yesterday, he looked like this..."

(((HUGS))) to you and Emilia. I'm so glad she's okay. And you know what? I totally get the vacuuming. My thing is laundry. I figure as long as I'm caught up on laundry, my world can't totally crumble around me. It's the one thing I *can* control.


5:49 PM  
Blogger The Girl said...

Poor sweet girl, poor sweet you. Glad the medication is working, glad she's okay. My goodness, how breathless with fear you must've been-- good job vacuuming instead of pulling one of my signature moves: Projectile Vomit of Super Horror. So happy she's going to be okay. Don't beat yourself up-- you couldn't have known. I know that doesn't help, but you know what does? BOOZE. Booze helps. Yessir.

6:47 PM  
Anonymous Maggie said...

So frightening! Poor girl! Isn't it terrible that these things always seem to arise at night! It is always such a hard decision to either make your baby stay up past bedtime and go to the hospital at night or wait until the morning hoping that things won't get worse!

6:57 PM  
Blogger Cloud said...

I'm so glad everyone is OK.

We keep benadryl on hand and always travel with it for just this reason.

But there is absolutely no reason you would have known about this use of benadryl if you haven't had past experiences with allergies beyond hay fever. So definitely don't beat yourself up over this. I know- that is easier said than done.

DEFINITELY talk to your regular doc about it when you get the chance. Allergies can get worse with subsequent exposures to the offending substance, so your doc may want to give you an epi-pen, or specific instructions for how to use benadryl, or something. (That said, I get big, ugly reactions to my first mosquito bite in any new locale, and much smaller reactions to subsequent bites. I've never figured out why this is, but I offer it as a counterexample to my gloom and doom statement about allergies getting worse!)

7:12 PM  
Blogger Momma Sunshine said...

Poor lil sweetie. I hope she's back to her regular self soon....

8:13 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

oy - Henry has a nasty reaction to mosquito bites - naturally our yard is a swamp - but thus far has managed to not get bit on the eye or near any of this breathing parts...we have seen his wrist triple in size, so we are a fan of benadryl - does it have a facebook page, seems like all of us would join...www.facebook/benadryl.com

8:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just glad that she is going to be OK. Something similar happened to my oldest when she was younger. She came into our room an woke my wife an I up. When we looked at her, we could barely recognize her.

Like you, we did not know what had bit her. But, over the years, we have come to believe it was just a regular mosquito since she swells up like that whenever she tends to be bitten by them.

Hopefully you guys are able to figure out, or get a better idea as to what it was. In the meantime, don't beat yourself up over it. You are not the first parent, and she is not the first child that it has happened to.

Hopefully that knowledge will help ease the pain. :)

8:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aww poor kiddo. I'm glad that some good ol' antihistamines helped out. I would have freaked out so you handled it better than I would have!

8:25 PM  
Blogger Sharon L. Holland said...

Poor Emilia. I hope she is better soon.

My 5yo hurt her foot for the nth time two weeks ago. I thought, "It will either get better or it will get worse," which was my mother's mantra. Next morning, it was worse. In fact, her toe was broken. It's better now, but I'm unsure whether to flagellate myself for not taking her straight to the doctor, or feel pleased that I'm less hysterical than I used to be and she's still fine. Dunno.

8:27 PM  
Blogger mamatulip said...

I held my breath the entire time I read this.

Poor sweetie. And poor you. Pour yourself a stiff drink tonight - or two.

8:42 PM  
Anonymous Julie @ The Mom Slant said...

I get the vacuuming. It was either that or standing there feeling helpless.

I'm so glad E is okay.

8:48 PM  
Blogger toyfoto said...

So sorry. Could it be a spider bite? I had one when I was little and it was not pleasant.

I totally get the vacuuming, though. TOTALLY would have done that, too.

9:06 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

Wow. Allergic reactions are so scary. Glad she is on the mend now.

9:22 PM  
Blogger Merrily Down the Stream said...

Glad she is on the mend. I do the same things - when things seem so out of control I must control the mess in the house and I mean RIGHT NOW! xoxox to you all.

9:28 PM  
Blogger Sarah VM said...

I'm glad to hear she is doing better. That is horrible!

My 10yr old got bit or stung by something on his foot and the same thing happened. Overnight his foot blew up like a balloon. We gave him benedryl and it did take a few days to get better.

9:46 PM  
Anonymous Dana said...

I think I would have done the same thing... the vacuuming. And I would have blamed myself and became angry at myself...and my husband would probably tell me to stop acting like a crazy mother.

I hate that they think we're insane because we worry.

Isn't that what mothers do?

I'm so glad she will be fine. SO GLAD.

Here's hoping that you will be fine again, too.


11:22 PM  
Blogger Jessica B. Howell said...

Ben's excuse was perfect, and I see you've gotten a lot of support here. Once again, I commend you for your honesty and boldness. You. Are. Amazing. I bow to you.

11:48 PM  
Blogger flutter said...

Oh, poor little thing!

12:24 AM  
Blogger Alli Worthington said...

One of my boys swells up with every mosquito bite, have to been antihistamines handy.

I've taken him in with a leg that was lumpy and huge from two bites that swelled over night.

Doctor said it happens to lots of kids and to stop beating myself up over it. I said, "I am a Mom, that is what I do!"

On a brighter note, I passed Cooter's yesterday and laughed out loud as I pictured you hanging out of the General Lee in those wonderful pictures from BlissDom.

If that doesn't make you laugh, I don't know what will! :)

12:30 AM  
Blogger ewe are here said...

I would have come home and cleaned the house if any of my children had had an allergic reaction to a mysterious bug.

I probably would have waited a bit before taking my child in, too, much like you because I think most of us would have waited.... UNLESS I KNEW it was a bee/wasp etc., because my sister was horribly allergic and they would trigger asthma attacks from h*ll in her. Otherwise, I'm sure I would have watied 'to see'...

Please don't beat yourself up... she's going to be fine. You're going to be fine... it's just one of those things that happens.

3:25 AM  
Blogger Mandy said...

I'm glad she is ok. I know that was scary. Darn kids...why they don't come with instruction manuals I'll nevah understand!


4:10 AM  
Blogger Karen MEG said...

I'm glad that she's taking the treatment well ... kids, they're always throwing curveballs at us! Cuts, bites, scrapes of childhood, and we never know which ones are the serious ones. I don't blame you for not wanting to see your baby's face like that again. I freak out when I see a little rash every so often.

I hope YOU'RE feeling okay after all that... there was no way you could have known she'd have that reaction. That's the thing about allergies, unfortunately you don't know you have them until something like this happens.

7:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am allergic to bees/wasps and always carry benedryl with me. I'm really nervous that my son will have a similar reaction, but haven't bought toddler benedryl yet - but I will, esp now that it is summer. Allergic reactions are scary and unknown things wrong with sweet child are scarier. . .

@anon nr the top - I don't mean to nitpick you, but you mentioned that the baby who got measles was 10 mo old & got the disease because the parent refused vaccination. I assume that the parents were American = if so, the measles vaccine in this country is part of the MMR which is not given to children until they are 12-15 months. If fact per the CDC the MMR CANNOT be given to a child fewer than 12 months. Thus, the parental attitudes about vaccinations are neither here nor there. Any child can get a disease when they are pre-vaccination age (or when they are only partially vaccinated if it's a "series" immunization like Hib). I only mention this b/c the post (maybe npr?) made it sound like the parents' "fault", and I'm sure the mom feels horribly enough about what happened.

8:34 AM  
Blogger Lisa MacColl said...

Maybe vacuuming wasn't so silly-check the dust compartment. Maybe the critter is in there.

And I feel for you. When my daughter broke her leg in 2 places when she was 2 1/2, I sent my husband out to buy 2nd hand sweats that I could chop off at the knee so that she would have something warm to wear (we were heading into October in Ontario and it gets chilly) I crocheted a toe sock for her...and then fell completely to pieces when I turned around one day and saw her standing on her little pink cast-on top of hte step stool in the kitchen trying to reach something.

Give yourself a break. Moms can't fall apart in a crisis-it's not in our contract. We do whatever we need to do to stay focussed and calm until the crisis passes. We all do weird things to get through because we have to.

Hugs all around.

9:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So sorry for little E. Hope she's feeling better soon.

My daughter (and my Mom) have that kind of reaction to the first few bug bites of the year, after that it doesn't affect them as much.

And hey, how come you don't have Telehealth Ontario on speed dial? I've called them SO MANY TIMES since Zoe was little. I love that we have that service available to us, we use it as to tell us what to take seriously (trip to ER) and what to not worry about (24 hr Shoppers Drugmart run).

I love Canadian bloggers - they understand my language!

10:45 AM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Anon - we do have TeleHealth on speed dial, but we don't dial it much anymore because they ALWAYS tell us to go to emerg. EVERY SINGLE TIME. So we wade through the call with all the same questions and then they say, 'you should take her/him to the closest emergency.' So, yeah. We sometimes just cut out the middle man.

11:02 AM  
Anonymous Amy said...

Sorry if I'm repeating anyone else. My daughter has BAD reactions to mosquito bites. We're an allergic family (seasonal, pet, food) and already see an allergist regularly. She put my daughter on Zyrtec for spring/summer, as it has better protection for mosquito bites than other antihistamines. Don't know if it applies to other insects, but it's worth questioning the doctor.

It is scary to see a reaction like that. Glad to hear that E will be fine!

11:18 AM  
Anonymous Amy said...

Forgot to mention that she has to take the Zyrtec daily. It already has to be in her system when she gets the bite or it doesn't have the same benefit of keeping the reaction down.

11:20 AM  
Anonymous coolteamblt said...

I know how that internal reaction is. When I was in high school, my sister, mother and I were living in Colorado, and my dad had just been transferred to Montana. It was really hard on all of us, and we were trying to sell the house and join him. One night, we had sat down to dinner and my dad's boss called. My dad had collapsed on the sidewalk from a heart attack. They had managed to revive him, but he was in a bad way and was awaiting open heart surgery. I took my mom's credit card, bought the next plane tickets, called my sister into school and my mother and I into work, found a house sitter, and then locked myself in the bathroom and scrubbed it for the next two hours. Because my dad is a neat freak and he would be so upset if he knew I'd let some soap scum accumulate on the shower, or toothpaste gum up the sink. I mean, he was fine, but I know the cleaning to keep yourself from losing it.

I'm glad Emilia's fine!

11:35 AM  
Blogger anniemom said...

Oh my gah, been there, done that. It's a horrible, dreadful feeling, and my reaction at that time (and others) was similar. Almost like I took a Valium and then started to clean something in the interim... so bizarre. The thought that something is happening to my child and the inability to fix it while we get help... the terror... poor baby Amelia! Poor HBM. Kisses to you all. xo.

1:42 PM  
Blogger Avonlea said...

I'm glad to hear that Emilia is getting better.
I can identify with many of the feelings you wrote about. Guilt over not taking child to ER sooner? Check. We did the "wait and see" the evening when our little guy had a sore arm and told us one of the teachers at daycare had hurt his arm. Even though "nursemaid's elbow" popped into my head, I went along with my husband's thought to wait. Took our little guy to the ER the next morning and, sure enough it was a dislocated elbow/nursemaid's elbow. When telling the story, I usually gloss over the fact that we didn't get him to the ER until the next morning.

Also, not wanting to remember how horrible my baby looked with a picture? Check. Though in my case it was a very different situation. When our little guy was in the NICU (and the doctors were readying us for us to lose him), we refused to take pictures of him. We had 2.5 weeks of newborn pics from before and...if the worst happened...we didn't want to remember him swollen from the steroids, with IVs in his skull, a central line in his leg, him in a medically induced coma with a machine breathing for him...Egads. That image is burned into my brain anyway. (Thank the gods, we had a miracle, and you cannot tell now how truly sick he was then.)

Sorry for the book.

2:06 PM  
Anonymous Carly said...

That is SO eerie, because exactly the same thing happened to us and our 3-year-old yesterday morning:


There must be something in this Durham Region air, I tell you.

I took photos, though. I didn't vacuum, but I took pics. We're calling her Quasimodo.

Out of all her illnesses, this one has effected me the most. I even called her home daycare today to make sure she was alright -- something I never do. Probably because it's so visual, unlike a cold or something on the inside.

Glad to hear the drugs are working with E. Lucy has still not responded to them, and she actually woke up looking worse this morning. Thankfully I was ready this time, and didn't almost scream in terror like Monday.

Hope all is better today.

2:17 PM  
Blogger Lorrie said...

It's good you didn't take a picture. Some things don't need to be documented.

Glad to hear that she's o.k. and don't feel bad. When my mother died...I left the hospital...went to her house...opened up all her Christmas presents, artfully arranged them under the tree, vaccuumed the fallen needles and prepared the house for company. Sometimes that's all we can do.

2:39 PM  
Blogger Kristen McD said...

A little bit (like a tablespoon) of bleach in her bath water for the next few days will help disinfect the bite too. (((HUGS)))

I bake pies, when the out-of-my-control happens.

2:51 PM  
Blogger Cloud said...

For the anons discussing the measles case- I live in San Diego. Here is what actually happened:

A family who chooses not to vaccinate visited Switzerland (which also has a lot of people who choose not to vaccinate) and their kids got the measles. They didn't show symptoms until they returned (measles has a fairly long incubation period). The outbreak spread from this initial family to several others, including two babies who were too young to have been vaccinated (first MMR is usually at 12 months).

If you have never seen a picture of a child with measles, you should go find one using Google. I can completely understand that mother's reaction of not wanting to remember her child looking like that, because it looks painful, and who wants to remember their child in pain?

As a side note, my daughter was 11 months old at the time, and the outbreak was spreading close to our neighborhood. We were very nervous. Measles has a mortality rate of something like 1 in 1000. It was the most helpless I've felt as a mother, because there wasn't much I could do to protect her. We got her vaccinated on schedule (we were planning to do that anyway), but it was a tense month.

4:27 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

My little 4 yr old has trouble with bug bites too poor thing!

Last time it was his ear... looked like Dumbo, poor guy. It was back to normal in two days, thank goodness! :)

4:52 PM  
Blogger Tara said...

But when you got home from the hospital and everything was ok, you came home to a house with a clean floor, which would be comforting. It's always nice to come home to clean. Especially after something traumatic.

I know that's not the point of your post.

7:55 PM  
Anonymous Meli said...

Aw poor baby. I am glad that she is going to be OK.

9:53 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Schmitty said...

I'm glad she's okay. The same thing happened to my daughter last year. Swelled her eye completely shut.

P.S. I clean when I'm upset too, it's usually folding laundry.

10:15 PM  
Blogger Bea said...

Of course you hated to see her looking that way, but I don't think that's about aesthetics, about her looking unattractive. Isn't it because she looked endangered?

11:23 PM  
Blogger Elda - Peace in the Storm said...

The important thing is that she is okay and that you DID take her to receive medical attention.

It could have been ANYTHING. If my kids get stung by mosquitoes their faces swell up like crazy. MOSQUITOES! Just about everyone deals with them, but leave it to my kids to get an allergic reaction.

Despite what your blog name says, you're not a bad mother.

12:34 AM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Bea - yes, I think that it was because she looked endangered. But there was the fleeting, terrible thought of 'what if she stays this way? what if this disfigures her?'

Which, yuck. Yuck to the feeling and yuck to the fear.

8:29 AM  
Blogger Jaelithe said...

Hey, I felt terrible about giving my son a scar on his face when he had to have a (benign) tumor removed as a baby. This thing was a millimeter from his BRAIN and I still had room in my heart stuffed full of worry to worry about the look of the scar.

I struggled with what I initially perceived as shallowness and vanity on my part, but then I realized -- It's not that I would love him any less with ANY kind of scar. I think it was two things: one, I knew a very noticeable scar might cause people to constantly ask him what it was from, which might make him uncomfortable. I didn't want people to see a scar as the most noticeable thing about him. Two, I knew a big scar would be ugly to me as a reminder of his injury. As a reminder that my child had been in pain.

(Anyway, these days you can hardly see the scar. But I've told him to tell anyone who asks about it that he got it in a battle with an evil wizard just like Harry Potter.)

9:49 AM  
Anonymous Meg said...

I think we've all been there. On the day of my daughter's 2nd birthday she came up with what looked like a bug bite in her groin area. It was red and hard and had what looked like a little head on it, but I ignored it because I didn't want her to miss her birthday party. My mother, sister, and husband were all concerned, but The Birthday Party!

The next day we wound up in the ER getting boil lanced...she had MRSA, the horrible staph infection that the media was sensationaling at the time. I couldn't stop crying. I had let it get to that point because of a damn party.

So I totally understand. Chances are that she will never even remember it. Kids are so forgiving like that.

10:53 AM  
Blogger Mrs. Booms said...

So glad she's going to be okay.

Those kids, love to have weird things that scare the crud out of us.

12:19 PM  
Blogger rella12 said...

um... have to chime in. I understand the not wanting to visually document the pain. But. You knew there had to be a but...
if you had taken a picture to hide away for medical purposes, it could be used for comparison if, IF, it ever happens again. Is it worse, what color, how big was the swelling? or to show to a doctor who is asking in terms of allergy.
I don't think I could've taken a photo either- I'm just sayin.

9:49 AM  
Anonymous Jenevieve Hubbard said...

My daughter had surgery as a newborn and, afterward, her entire body was swollen to nearly four times its size. Your emotions here, helplessness, guilt, fear, so directly illustrated what I felt then and what I feel anytime my daughter is ill or hurting. I took to making necklaces when she was really ill or before a surgery - little talismans - something to do with my hands, to calm my nerves. Thank you for this story.

1:11 PM  
Blogger Genny said...

Found your blog through Alltop. So sorry about your daugther's bug bite! I don't blame you for not wanting to remember it!

5:29 PM  
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