Parents and teachers alike shiver with fear when they begin to hear this dreaded noise. We can't run from it. We can't hide from it. It is everywhere. What has us so afraid??? That thick, rattling cough that we hear echoing through the walls of our classrooms and homes.
It is that time of year again. A few weeks ago, some of my kiddos at school began to cough. They would cough so hard I was scared they may cough up a lung. The cough rattles their poor little frames and consumes all of their energy. I begin the process of sanitizing my hands 100 times each day in hopes that I won't carry any of these germs home to my little ones.
Then, in the middle of the night, I hear it. There it is again. That thick, rattling cough...except now it is echoing on the baby monitor. Andy was the first. I could hear him coughing through the baby monitor. He falls back into a restless slumber; coughs racking his small body every hour. I start to worry and lose sleep...what if he has a fever? what if he wakes up? what if he wakes up his brother? what if he gags in his sleep on the flem? what if he gets an ear infection? Thankfully, this year, his cough cleared up relatively quickly and he is on the mend.
Katie quickly followed suit. She coughs all day long and I can hear the mucus building in her lungs. As we lay down to go to sleep, I can hear her heavy breathing as her little lungs work over-time. She doesn't seem to be bothered by it, but I continue to worry...what if she has trouble breathing? what if she gets an ear infection? what if I don't know she has an ear infection? what if her eardrum ruptures? (Katie has been known to have a double ear infection and not complain. She's a trooper with an incredibly high pain threshold!)
Bobby did not want to be left out. He coughs when he is tired...early in the morning or late at night. I watch his whole body shake as he works to clear his airways. He asks for pink medicine (Children's Advil) and is convinced that will make everything better. I check for a fever and explain why he can't have medicine. And I continue to worry...refer to all of the what if's above.
In an effort to stay healthy so that I can take care of everyone else, I begin to wash my hands repeatedly, consume large amounts of vitamin C, and cross my fingers. It works most years and I get by with minor maladies. Today I woke up feeling like a mac truck had run over me...sore throat and achy everywhere. Hopefully, this will be the worst of it for me!