Last week we took a dream family vacation with some friends of ours to this place….
Six days at a beautiful all-inclusive resort. Getting a tan on beautiful sunshine-filled days. Hubby and I sitting by the pool, sipping cocktails with two of our best friends while our daughter spends the day having a ball in Kids’ Club with one of her best friends. Bellying up to an all-you-can-eat buffet for every meal and then just walking away from the table when we’re done without having to worry about the dishes. Letting Kiki stay up late so we can all go see the entertaining show in the theater after dinner. Then returning to our room to turned down beds with chocolates on our pillows. Then everyone sleeping in til 9:30 every morning and starting the cycle over again.
That was the dream.
Here was the reality.
I started with a little cough the day before we left for our trip that quickly turned into the worst cough I’ve ever had in my entire life. I spent the first two days of our vacation coughing so hard that I felt like I was literally tearing the inside of my throat out. I couldn’t talk to Hubby or my friends because every single ounce of effort had to be put into concentrating on breathing in and out of my nose or I would start hacking again. At night I didn’t sleep for more than an hour at a time because I was either coughing or having to pee from all the water I was drinking. On our second night at the resort I left from dinner with our friends at 8 o’clock to go back to our room because I was having sweats and chills. After I took my temperature and discovered that I had a fever of 101, I called my mom and cried like a baby because I was feeling so bad.
On day 3 of our vacation I made a breakthrough. My cough magically let up and I just felt crappy instead of feeling like death. Ah yes! We still had over half of our vacation left, so all was not lost.
Then on night 3, Hubby woke me up from a zombie-like sleep at 10:30 and said, “do you hear Kiki?” I sat up and heard the familiar barking cough followed by scary gasping for air. She had croup. Kiki, unfortunately, has a bad history of croup. She got it probably 5 times in the first two years of her life with her worst case resulting in her being hospitalized for 4 days, 2 of which were spent in the Pediatric ICU of a major New England hospital with talk of intubating her because she was struggling to breathe so much. It was a truly awful experience. But since then she’s done quite well. She got croup a couple more times, but each time we took her immediately to the doctor as soon as we heard that first sealy-sounding bark and they started her on a regimen of steroids and the croup passed rather easily. And it’s actually been probably a year since she’s had croup (they said most kids outgrow it by about age 3 and she’s 4 now). So I was quite surprised that the seal had returned with such a vengeance.
As Hubby held Kiki and I listened to her bark and cry and wheeze and gasp, I was right back in that ICU again. We realized that she was burning up and took her temperature to find that it was 103.8. Yikes! Luckily it was a chilly night, so we were able to help her breathe by bundling her up in blankets and sitting outside on the patio with her – cold air does wonders for croup. Also fortunately, her fever responded very quickly to ibuprofen. Once her breathing regulated (and Hubby and I had looked online to find the closest ER) my two days of insomnia caught up with me, so I went to bed. Hubby, the good man that he is, sat in the lounge chair on the patio reading his Kindle with Kiki sleeping and coughing (but breathing well) in his lap until 4:30 in the morning.
After such a scary night and with the fact that her fever was back up above 103 in the morning, I called her pediatrician as soon as they opened in the morning. I was hoping they could call in a prescription for the steroids she needs for croup to the pharmacy a few miles away from the resort. But no luck. They said that with her fever as high as it was and with her history, we really needed to find a pediatric doctor to see as soon as possible. So while some people at our resort were taking airboat excursions to see the local wildlife, we took a taxi excursion to see the local pediatrician.
The pediatrician gave Kiki a big dose of steroids and a diagnosis of a bad virus. We left with instructions to stop by the pharmacy for more steroids and assurances that her fever should go away within a day or so.
Kiki improved over the next day or so, but none of us got much sleep because she was still coughing all night. And she couldn’t go to Kids’ Club since she was sick.
This was our vacation – illness, doctors, and sleeplessness. And just as a cherry on top, it was a bit chilly or rainy for most of our trip.
So it wasn’t a “dream” vacation. But it was still a vacation. I didn’t have to cook or clean anything for a whole week. It was warm enough to wear shorts. Kiki got to go swimming and the resort was beautiful. 🙂 And on the last day Kiki, who was feeling much better, came running up to me with excitement in her eyes and said, “Mom, did you know they let 4 year-olds do the high trapeze? I’m gonna do it!”
And seriously, how can you beat that?