I’ve decided to delve more into the idiosyncrasies of my youngest child, Monkey Boy, because he’s been on my mind a lot lately. Maybe because he just turned 10, and it’s hard to fathom he’s an entire decade old; a decade in which I have spent hours upon hours trying to get to the bottom of exactly what is wrong with him.
He was a near perfect baby. And I don’t say that to gloat, I just had the nightmare baby to compare him to. You know the one who slept for 30 minutes at a time with two to three hours of screaming in between, day and night, for two months. And I also say this because I’m still trying to figure out what went wrong a year and a half later when the easy baby turned into the high maintenance baby and from there the very high maintenance kid. We will get to all the diagnoses he’s been given over the years eventually. I mention them here simply because I keep reading about them over and over again (I’m obsessive that way), and almost all of them say the signs start with a fussy baby.
Anyway, the first six months of Monkey Boy’s life were relatively idyllic. My six year old and three year old were enamored with their brother. Monkey Boy was born three weeks early, and other than being really sleepy, there didn’t seem to be any ill effects. He slept for hours at a time, was content to sit in his seat and peruse the world around him, barely cried at all, and I could take him ANYWHERE secure in the knowledge that there would be no meltdown (what I wouldn’t give to have that now!). The only sign of any type of problem were delays in his physical milestones that first year. And even these were still in the realm of normal, just slower than his siblings had been.
Then he hit six months, and while his temperament was still good, his health was not. He had his first cold, and then seemingly recovered. A couple days later things just didn’t seem right, and he developed a fever, so I made an appointment with the pediatrician. She listened to his lungs and immediately gave him prednisolone and a breathing treatment. He was sent home with an antibiotic, more prednisolone, instructions to administer a breathing treatment every two-four hours, and the warning that if he started to turn blue, take him to the emergency room. This began a long six month battle with respiratory and ear infections.
He would be sick for two weeks, recover and be sick again within the week. I think I counted at least 30 visits to the pediatrician in those six months. He became known as the “happy wheezer” and smiled at everybody. You wouldn’t have a clue that anything was wrong. Finally, around his first birthday, they put him on maintenance medicine every day, which lengthened the times between illnesses. And mind you, even though he was still a happy baby, he did not like those breathing treatments and he screamed bloody murder. I resorted to doing them while he was asleep.
And as typical of all his diagnoses, asthma didn’t quite fit, so reactive airway disease was the official term. Little did I know that this was just the beginning of a tumultuous journey (continue with the journey)…