(Nearly) Impossible Medicine

The other night, Lil' Bit came home from daycare looking a little rough.  Gone was her happy, bubbly, sassy self, replaced by a slow, sad, quiet child who didn't want to do anything.  She was sick.  That much was clear.  But, her nose was clear and she just had a little cough, so we weren't too worried.  She went to bed early and with little fuss.  Around 9:30 or so, we heard her crying.  When we went to check on her, we discovered she had thrown up and had a raging fever.  Her face was red and it was clear she felt horrible.  Since this is the kid who didn't even break a fever when she had RSV, we cleaned her up, packed her in the car, and headed for the ER.  Her fever was 101 under the arm, which meant it was probably higher than that, so they took her back to a room.  Long story short, although she got the flu shot, she tested positive for Influenza type A.  They prescribed Tamiflu for her, along with Motrin and Tylenol every four hours to keep the fever down, and we arrived back home around 2:00 a.m.

Later that morning, Phil goes to pick up the Tamiflu, only to discover that none of the local pharmacies carry it.  He drives 30 minutes into the city to go to a hospital pharmacy where, once they got the prescription, it took them an hour to compound it.  Turns out, any of the local pharmacies could have compounded it--they just don't, so they say they don't carry it.  Phil then drives the 30 minutes back home.  So, after a three-hour production to get the Tamiflu, we have to figure out how to get all of this medicine into Lil' Bit.  See, if you recall, Lil' Bit already gets medication 7 times a day.  The new meds would require an additional 6-8 meds a day.  So, we were now looking at 13-15 medications PER DAY!  For a child who is only up 14 hours, this averages to almost one per hour.  Worse, anything that has to be taken by syringe, or any way other than the way we do her regular meds, and she throws a fit and won't take them.  It makes me angry that doctors fail to take into consideration the practicality of what they are telling parents to do.  From the doctor's perspective, they have dispensed their wisdom.  It is now my problem, as the parent, to figure out how to implement this, seemingly impossible, regimen on a two-year-old.

So, first, we made a chart and figured out when each of these meds had to happen, and figured out we could probably manage 13, but no more.  As a result, she gets five meds between 5 and 6:30 a.m.; four throughout the day; and another four between 5 and 6:30 p.m.  We discovered that pills were better than liquids and that, at the age of 2, there are pill forms of Tylenol and Motrin she can have and (if it's grape flavored) will take.  As for the Tamiflu, which is in syrup form, Phil figured out a way to mix it with fruit puree and make it a single spoonful so that it looks exactly like her regular med doses.  Fortunately, we're only supposed to have to do this for five days.  Honestly, once these five days are over, I imagine the old routine of only 7 meds will seem quite simple!

Still, it's frustrating that the onus is all on the parents to figure out how to follow the doctor's instructions.  What if there had been no pills and we still had to try and force-feed Lil' Bit all of the new meds, the result of which is her throwing up (so there's no benefit from the meds) and her stopping taking her regular meds?  With advances in medicine, surely there's some way to do patches or some other transmission method other than heavily-flavored syrups that makes treating children easier.  In the meantime, we'll pray that Lil' Bit doesn't get sick enough to need more meds than she already takes.  But, if she does, at least we have a few more tools in our parenting trick bag.

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