Saturday, January 14, 2012

Prednisone is Evil

So...things are getting better.  Jacob has a pretty significant course of meds, and so far they seem to be working.  Amoxicillin twice a day for seven more days.  Prednisone twice a day for the next three days, per an extension from Jacob's doctor.  Nebulizer at least three times a day through Friday.  It's a lot, but if it makes him better, it's worth it.  We went to his follow-up appointment yesterday, and his doctor told us that everything she was hearing seemed to be consistent with a viral pneumonia.  The wheezing was mostly gone, but the crackling remained a bit.  She was happy to see his progress, though, and he's pretty much in good shape to get back to normal life.  In theory.

I can tell he's still a little off.  His naps are a little all over the place.  Sometimes they're long, sometimes they're short.  Sometimes he's running around energetically, sometimes he's curled in a ball.  His fever is gone but he's still super congested.  He's getting much better at nose blowing, thank goodness, but he's still having a tough time with a sore nose and nasty cough. 

The biggest side effect at this point is plain ol' crankiness.  I don't think it's just sickness crankiness, though.  I think it's the prednisone.  As you may recall, back in May I was on it for a while to see if it helped my missing sense of smell (no luck then or since), and it made me absolutely nuts.  I was so cranky, so miserable, to the point of wanting to crawl out of my skin.  If it did that to me, I can only imagine what it's doing to Jacob.  And to that point, maybe it's just me, but he seems a little crazy at times.  He whines about the most mundane things, and freaks out about the most routine requests.  When it's time to get ready to eat or ready for bed, it's a full body tantrum.  He screams bloody murder about nothing.  He whines about something as simple as getting a tissue.  It's pretty grating and I'm hoping it's just the medication causing it.

The nagging thing that keeps crossing my mind is that this illness is going to blow all of our hard work.  All of the limits we've set down are pushed when Jacob is sick.  We're lenient about his appetite, his sleeping, and his behavior in general.  We know he's not feeling well, we know he's not in control of his body, and in this case especially, I'm pretty sure the prednisone is making him a little wackier than usual.  We give him the benefit of the doubt and try to pick our battles.  But with an illness this long and this serious, it puts us in a precarious position.  After so many days of relaxed rules, it's hard to get Jacob back in the groove.  He was freaking out last night at the prospect of sleeping alone in his room after two nights in our spare room with both of us keeping an eye and ear on him.  He had a meltdown about taking a bath tonight.  He says he has a stomachache when it's time to eat.  He curls up on the couch when it's time for a nebulizer.  He stiffens up when it's time to brush his teeth or move on from his current preferred activity.  It's been a challenge taking into consideration that he still may not be feeling well (or may be a little out of control, for reasons beyond his control) while still trying to stick to the rules.  Last night I did manage to coax him into his bed, probably by sheer luck, but perhaps by getting him back into the bedtime routine.  Once we got through books, he was down easy.  But I worry about the long term effects of this long week off our schedule.  Will he stop whining about everything?  Will he panic when we go back to daycare on Monday? 

On the bright side, potty training is still on track.  In fact, the last two mornings he's woken up dry, which almost never happens.  The downside of that is that he's been up late both nights having to pee.  So apparently he gets it out of the way by midnight and doesn't have to go after that.  Oddly, we've always been pretty strict about drinks after dinner, yet he still wakes up wet every morning...until now.  Oh, and that no drinks rule has been relaxed this week because we wanted to make sure he was hydrated and comfortable since he's doing a lot of mouth breathing right now.  At least the fact that he's waking up indicates that he's starting to recognize those urges even at night!

I'm very relieved, however, that Jacob seems to be doing well.  It sounds like the cough is still a bit away from being gone, but that's no surprise given his history.  We still have a long road ahead, as well, as treatment isn't ending anytime soon...so while it's hard to keep expectations in check, we'll have to do just that.  But looking back on the events of Wednesday night, I feel so grateful for a healthy-ish little boy.  It's all I can ask for at this point.  Anything more seems greedy.  But good thing for us that God often leaves cups running over.   

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