Somehow, miraculously, we made it through the first 15 months of Max's life with only a case of the sniffles, right around his first birthday.
So – in what can only be described as two parents playing Russian Roulette with their child's health – we enrolled Max in daycare.
Having only been in his grandmother's care, it was time for him to branch out and be with other kids; learn to share and play nicely with others. Plus, it was time to give his grandmothers a little bit of a break.
He was scheduled to go two days a week. And that's all it took for him to get sick.
It started with a lovely gastrointestinal "issue" that thankfully did NOT include vomiting. (But seriously, I didn't know poop could be that color!)
Then it was the runny nose and the cough.
And on Sunday night, my worst nightmare came true. Max was burning up – heat was literally radiating from his head – and we had to take his temperature. With a real thermometer, not just the 'lips to the forehead' reading I'd been doing up until now. And we had to do it rectally.
Even the word makes me clench my cheeks.
How could this still be the most effective way to get a temperature from a toddler? Who didn't want to sit sit still while I shoved something up his ass?
Isn't there a way yet to hold my phone up to his head to get a reading???
Can someone please invent this???
We started out by apologizing to Max, who was pretty much flailing and screaming because he was uncomfortable, running a fever, and his bumbling parents were bending him into weird positions.
Somehow – I've pretty much blocked it out – we took his temperature. I was terrified we would insert the thermometer too far, rupture an important piece of equipment back there and cause more damage.
Max officially and his first temperature, coming in at 102.3
A few days later his fever broke. And I noticed a few red dots on his hands and his face. So I called the doctor and talked to the nurse.
The conversation went something like this:
Me: "He woke up with red dots on his hands and face."
Nurse: "Ahh. Is he in daycare?"
Me: "Well, he was for his first 2 days last week."
Nurse: "Sounds like coxsackie: hand, foot and mouth disease. It runs rampant in daycare centers."
And that was that. After only 2 days in daycare, Max had contracted a GI bug, a cold, and a disease that caused horrible sores on his hands, feet, mouth and – let's not forget this awesomeness – his behind.
And could it have a worse-sounding name? Hand, foot and mouth disease? Really?
Me: "What can we do to treat this?"
Nurse: "Nothing. You just have to wait it out. Though they should call it Hand, Foot, Mouth and Buttocks disease, because that's where it ends up."
Oh, I'd say so.
Being the socially-conscious person that I am, I called the daycare the day the nurse diagnosed him over the phone to let them know Max wouldn't be at daycare that week.
I also told her about his over-the-phone diagnosis of Coxsackie. I asked if it was going around, and told her to be on the lookout for other kids.
And she had the NERVE to get defensive!
First of all, I was NOT blaming her or daycare for Max's illness. I was just trying to be responsible and let her know what might be going around.
And second, while I would never say it, I know for a FACT that Max got sick from daycare. This kid has lived in a bubble for the last 15 months without so much as a cold. He's exposed to other kids for 2 days and he's a walking germ fest (complete with bodily sores!)
Am I upset that we put him in daycare?
As far as I'm concerned, he needs to build up his immune system.
What I did find helpful was that the doctor let us know that while Coxsackie is catchy, it barely affects adults and we'd most likely experience a day of malaise and that's it.
Doctor: "But watch out," she began. "You'll have diarrhea in March. It's called Rotovirus."
Something to look forward to.