Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Trying (to not think) Again

The kid is five months officially now.

And officially I'm ready to try again.

Actually I've been ready to try again since he was officially four months.

If we were a heterosexual couple, I would have said to Partner, "Let's live on the edge-- no protection tonight!" Unfortunately, as we all know, it doesn't quite work that way over here chez lesbian. When we are ready to get another baby, we'll ring up Dr. BusyBusyBusy, get our OPKs, start the peeing on a stick cycle, and ready ourselves for repeated IUIs and more two week waits. And even that is presumptuous. Remember? That's how we thought it would happen for Partner.

A lot can happen between now and when we'll actually start trying again. We believed we'd get Partner knocked up relatively easy and fast and then that all came tumbling down with a finality that was bleak and dark, a feeling it's hard to remember for all its real blackness now that we have Cricket. I can remember how awful it was, and certainly Partner will carry that with her for her whole life, but while Cricket hasn't erased the loss, he's certainly mitigated it. Like Partner, I would imagine that Dr. BusyBusyBusy will want to do an hsg on me too. I have been pregnant, true, but from a little embryo tucked up inside me, not because of any natural process on my part.

Assuming (dangerous!) that I'm clear, so to speak, we'll probably do two IUIs per cycle. And I want to try and be honest with myself about it. Last time we were in the game, we both just thought that IVF cycle one would work. Bang. Done. And baby comes home. We learned the hard way about that. So when we start doing IUI, I want to try and think it might take four to six times for it to work. You know, I want to be honest with myself. I'm not so good at that. In my heart I have this little hope that the first IUI will work and all heartbreak will be avoided. I'll only have one wrenching two week wait. The baby will stay in my until I'm full term.

We've decided we won't talk seriously about having another until Cricket is one year old. I'll be four months into my twelve month program. I'm not entirely sure I want to be pregnant during an intensive one year nursing program, and additionally, since my midwife said I have an increased chance of the next baby coming early, I really want to be sure I don't jeopardize finishing the program either. If I decide I can be pregnant during the program, that means not trying until probably February or later. And then of course, should I time it so the baby only comes after I've been working for awhile? Or have the baby, take a few months, and then look for a job? And look! How quickly I assume in this calculus that I will get pregnant on the first try! Not bloody likely, girl.

We've decided that we'll do IVF again for me if the IUI doesn't work, but I'm trying to be this mix of hopeful with a dose of reality that doesn't fall into the bleakest of situations. And I'm trying to remember we aren't talking about this again, yet. But here I am talking. I think I'll go watch the Cricket sleep for the last minutes of his nap and enjoy what I've got. A good life policy in general, don't you think?

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Monday, May 28, 2007

Ortho and Trauma: The Long Explanation

I appreciate all the feedback. It was a hard decision for me. I felt like I was deciding my fate when I made the choice; I said as much to fellow students registering. Mostly they looked at me like I was crazy. Am the only one nervous about this?

In September I start a one year intensive program to earn my BSN. I mostly can't believe I got in, but here I go. The problem is that I'm not sure what kind of nursing I'm going to end up wanting to do. When I wrote my essays for the application (three of them) I concentrated on pediatric nursing. I think I'd still like to do that, but one of the wonderfully daunting things I've discovered is that a BSN degree is so so broad. There are so many types of nursing out there and a BSN qualifies one to do many of them. Everyone once in awhile I think about going to do nursing in under-developed countries. In fact before I decided that I wanted to apply to my program, I specifically looked at Medecin san Frontieres to see if they wanted nurses too. (They do, but for longer commitments than doctors.) It seems that having some good experience in trauma might help with that-- and the ability to think quick and fast on one's feet.

I also think I could do oncology for all its sadness. Actually I started out thinking I wanted to do pediatric oncology or the PICU. But I think I could adults too.

And then there's public health also, which I think I might really love. I adored that Microbiology course. I understand public health would be considerably different. But the idea of nurse epidemiologist sounds fun too.

Of course there's always labor and delivery, which I also admit sounds great. I thought I'd wait until I went through it myself to see if I might like it. I have to say I loved everyone of my nurses in L&D. But why limit myself to hospital nursing? There's the RE nurses-- totally different-- but don't you think you would have loved a nurse who really knew what it was like to go through IVF?

The thing is I think right now, knowing me, I might like to go back for some advanced practice type of degree. But mostly I want to enjoy doing my work. It's daunting then to pick a clinical when I know the scope of things out there. I want to be a good nurse; knowledgeable, empathetic, gentle (but firm when I need to be)-- but I don't know what field. I have one short, crammed year.

I ended up choosing after asking a current student in the program what the different clinical instructors were like and she noted the one for Ortho and Trauma was pretty laid back, concentrating more on the student's particular "experience" rather than paperwork. This could come back to bite me in the ass when I get an instructor who's heavy on the paperwork, but I'm nervous enough. I love the idea of someone focusing on experience and who's easy going. Ortho and Trauma were already on my short list (the other real viable choices for me were bone marrow transplant and oncology or general surgery, but I nixed general surgery because that's at the same hospital I'll be doing maternal health at-- I want to get mixed hospital experiences also.)

To say I'm anxious is an understatement. Mostly I try to not think about it too much, but I keep having to complete compliance requirements and it keep reminding me. I can't be the only one feeling this way...


Saturday, May 26, 2007

Seven (oh-so, so-so) Secrets

Listen people, I never get tagged for memes, which is probably alternately good and bad. Sometimes it leaves me feeling like a dejected seventh grader, but I quash that girl with some straight talk and it's all okay. Nonetheless when Robin tagged me, I felt a little flutter of glee. Of course I'll do the meme! Yes, I am busy, but I've been tagged for God's sake. I'm supposed to tell you seven secret things about me. I thought I would try to tell you some serious secret stuff about me. And I did. But not all of them are titillating. The first is a doozy though...

1. When I was a freshman in college, I was in a sorority.

Shhh. Yes, you heard me right. I was attending a smaller far-less prestigious state school nominally known for its skill in training teachers, which at the time, I had a small inkling that I might like to do. Whereas in fact, all I was really interested in doing was partying. (Do you remember that really horrible Eddie Murphy song, "My girl likes to party all the time, party all the time, paaarrty all the tiiiime"? [Which is probably why he didn't win the Oscar, in my opinion, the memory of that song haunted the judges.] Well, anyway, that song could have been written about me freshman year.) I not only rushed, but pledged the super preppy sorority. I wore bass kilties (with tassels) as a matter of fact. Remember that was 1990. Headbands in the hair. Sweatshirts with the sorority letters in plaid. I had a "big brother" that was president of the big shot fraternity. I felt like I ruled the school. Which in retrospect is so stupid. I see girls like I was freshman year now and I sigh for them. If I had more energy or am exhorted sufficiently enough, I might find a picture of me from that year and post it for you. When I transferred down the road to a the big nationally ranked state school, I called my "sisters" and let them know where I was. The girl who answer the phone, Lauri her name was, said to me, "Gawd, Katie, I guess we never really thought you were that smart." Ah, sisterhood. I could write much more on this topic, but let's get on to other secrets, eh?

2. I have been watching the same soap opera for thirteen years now. When I lived in Ireland, every few nights or so while down in the pub, it would go silent(ish) for half an hour while everyone watched "the street." It didn't take me long to become addicted to the comings and goings of Coronation Street and I am hopelessly addicted. When I returned to the US, I realized that good old CBC showed the episodes, although they were behind the UK. Over the years CBC has fallen further and further behind, and when we return to the UK or Ireland we always debate about whether or not we'll watch "ahead" when we're there. Now, let me tell you there are people who have been watching Corrie for far longer than me: It's been on the air since December 1960! I'm a relative newcomer to the street when you think about it. And even more said than my addiction to this drama filled British soap is the fact that when I think about moving somewhere else in the country, the first thing I think is that I won't get CBC anymore, which means among other things, no Coronation Street. However, if the wikipedia is correct, I might become free soon since ITV may be posting online episodes... The problem is that if they ever stopped steaming episodes, I'd have to either a. move back to Michigan or another state with CBC, b. move to Canada (yes, please!) or c. move back to the UK.

3. I have no toe nail on my left second toe. I was born without it. None of the doctors noticed it; it was my dad who realized I wasn't quite perfect. (And kept on realizing it as the years went by...) I have never grown a toenail there. I also like this about me.

4. More in freaky biology: I was an outie and around age 7 or 8, I became an innie. I thought at the time it was because I poked at my belly button too much. Now I have no idea why this happened, but it's too bad because just like my freak toe, I liked being an outie too. Oh well.

5. I'm starting nursing school in the fall and I'm terrified to think about drawing blood. Giving shots? No problem: been there, done that. The thought of drawing blood though makes me queasy. Some nurse I'll make.

6. This is sick, really really sick, but I think it's hilarious: I like to honk at people when they are crossing in front of my car. I don't do this to strangers, although sometimes I have the compulsion at red lights and I'm the first car. There is the person, just calmly walking in front of me. If I honked at the precise moment, there would be jumping and yelping involved. I know this is sick. I've done this to Partner so many times, she's numb to it. I think she expects that when she crosses in front of my car, I'm going to honk. I have to tell you the truth here since I'm divulging secrets, but even the thought of this is making me laugh. Oh God. I can't believe I told you this. It sounds so awful.

7. I don't return library books. It's like I have a sickness. I have paid some pretty hefty fines because of this fact too. Here's the thing: when I read a book, it becomes part of me. It's in my soul and the book on the shelf reminds me every now and then of it. If I really love the book, I think about the characters, my old friends. Sometimes I'll re-read the book. Or look for it when something seems relevant. For example, I just got out this book, The Periodic Table, and read the chapter "Carbon." I had to read something a little literary in the midst of all this crappy crappy Organic Chemistry. If had taken that book out of the library, I wouldn't have had it. Or I would have, since I don't return library books, but I would be paying .10 a day for the pleasure of having it at my disposal. Every now and then I think I can handle the library again: I love books so much, buying them is an expensive little habit. But I just can't do it.

Robin notes that part of this meme is to tag other people. Maybe that's why I never get tagged? Because I don't tag others? Okay. I'm playing. Here's who I tag: Sarah, Jen, Emilin, frog, and Trista (even though I don't have the password for her password posts!). I also tag anyone else who wants to play. I would tag more of you but the Cricket woke up and moving his little rose mouth like he wants to eat.


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

First Clinicals

I signed up for my first clinical yesterday. I could have chosen to work with:

  • -GI, kidney, and liver transplants
  • -General surgery and oncology
  • -Bone marrow transplant and oncology
  • -Orthopedics and trauma

What would you have chosen? I'm particularly interested if you are a nurse. I'm hoping I didn't make a horrible decision. It's hard when you don't particularly know exactly what kind of nursing you want to do. I'll tell you in the next post what I chose. But seriously, if you are a nurse, I'm really really interested in hearing from you about this. I can probably change my clinical until about 2:00 today.


Thursday, May 17, 2007

Some Yet Unnamed Circle of Hell

That's where I am. In that circle. It's reserved for people who try to take Organic Biochemistry in one accelerated semester. If I don't pass, I don't start nursing school in the fall. Okay, I think I'll pass the class, but my GPA might be in some serious danger.

Seriously, do I really need to know this shit or is it just another hoop?

I suspect the latter.

I have to go to lab now. I hate that I have to leave my baby for many hours a day only to sit in a class and try to not hyperventilate with the rest of the class. Group hyperventilation: There's a sight to behold.

If I wasn't in class missing Cricket, and if the class wasn't double time, I might almost enjoy it. But now, I'm just shaking in my Birks.

Off to lab...

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Monday, May 14, 2007


My skin is crawling. Previously outside our house we have had jumping spiders. They're very creepy and very fast. Hard to smash because they seem to see the swat coming. I haven't liked to sit outside on our deck as much because of them.

Yesterday we killed one inside.

Today another one.

I can't have them inside.

I'm freaking out. I am so scared of spiders, I can hardly watch the Spiderman preview stuff.


Friday, May 11, 2007

E is for Eczema

Off we went to the pediatric dermatologist at the big fancy hospital. We said before we went that the doctor would probably look at Cricket and wonder why we there, that's how much better he looked.

Indeed, it's as if we were psychic.

Both resident and attending said, "Eczema."

Really, I said, reeeallly? Isn't it strange that five different doctors in two different states wouldn't have picked that up?

Nope, they said blithely.

You really aren't seeing it like it was, I said. It was oozing. Dripping. Our pediatrician said it was the weirdest thing she had seen in fourteen years of practice? And it's just eczema?


So we were given some topical steroids, moisturizer to lube him up and told not to worry. We stopped the Clinda because there was continuing to be some small amounts of blood in the stool, and if it is (was?) eczema, not antibiotics should be needed. Right? Right?

Then yesterday Cricket and I went out for a walk since it was so beautiful and warm. He fell asleep in his car seat as he is wont to do. We got home, lifted him out of his car seat and voila, the oozing red mass back. Partner slapped some of the steroid cream on it. I tried to not cry.

At our LLL meeting, other mothers with children who have eczema examined Cricket, who is as jolly as ever. And most agreed it didn't look too much like eczema. I had to wipe away the dripping ooze from the back of his head. Poor kid. Then it was revealed that one new mother there with her eleven day old child was derm resident. I hightailed it over to her and shoved my kid's head in her general direction.

She didn't think it looked much like eczema either and was surprised that the two docs her saw said it was. "If it is eczema," she said, "it's infected." She said if Cricket was her patient she'd probably put him on three weeks of antibiotics, Keflex, which frankly seems like too much to me. Three weeks is a long time for kids his age to be on drugs like that. She told me to email the resident (I don't have his email but could easily look it up) and invoke her name as a sort of pass code. take digital pictures and send it to him.

She was so nice and offered to email the resident herself, at which point I copped on. This is a woman with her eleven day old child on her very short maternity leave. My kid's ooze should not be her problem at this point. Unfortunately when your kid is oozing, you forget things like manners sometimes


We changed the sheets on the co-sleeper twice last night because of the ooze, but it looks a little better this morning. Do we give the steroid cream time to work? Or call panicked again? He's napping now and I dread to think what his head will look like upon waking. If there could be worse place to have a rash eh? On the back his head-- a baby often rests on the back of his head. It's hard to keep it airy.

But in the grand scheme of things, eczema is better than any other diagnosis he has had. I'd rather it be eczema than MRSA or an autoimmune thing. I'm just still not convinced. Time will tell, I suppose. Time will tell.


Tuesday, May 08, 2007

([No] Blues) Traveller

I thought I should post a little update about the Cricket in flight since I got such great advice from everyone. Cricket is a flying champ!

First of all, the plane we went on was smaller than we are usually on, only 13 rows of two seats. Pretty small. When we got to the gate, carrying the car seat in hopes of a free seat, we were advised by the surly agent that the flight was fully booked. "No chance of the bulkhead then?" I asked.

"I told you: We're fully booked."

Northwest really wins on customer service sometimes, eh? We got on the plane while those around us eyed with a mixture of disdain and suspicion. Cricket was getting a little kvetchy since it was time to nap. The man sitting across from us was the ray of light though, telling me how Cricket would be okay as long as I nursed him, and that this was easiest time to fly with kids, and all about this two kids and one on the way. I really liked him. I wanted to take him home with us.

And then we pushed back from the gate and I started with the breast. I was a little worried I was premature since there was a line-up for take off, but it was perfect. He nursed himself to sleep, and sleep he did, all the way to the gate in Charleston. At that point, all those around us who cast the evil on when we embarked, remarked upon how cute and good he was as they disembarked. Trial by fire, what?

I tried to make nice with the air hostess the whole trip, the same pleasant lady who told me the Flight. Was. Fully. Booked. At one point, I asked if she pronounced her name "Sha-von"; she said yes and then I chirped, "Oh! That's a real Irish name!" She glared at me and said, "Yes, I know. But I don't spell it like they do." Listen, lady, I'm the they you poo-poo. I decided she was hopeless. All that worrying about Cricket and his possible unpleasantness, and really my biggest hassle was obnoxious flight personnel.

With our dreamy flight into Charleston, I wasn't so worried about the return flight to Detroit. Incidentally, NW redeemed themselves here by getting us onto the earlier flight out, giving us the bulkhead, and not charging us at all to change the flights. Cricket, it's true, really did look bad at this point, so I think we got the "pity fare." Nice to know it still exists. Actually everyone at NW on our return was great. When I called the airline to see if there were seats available, the woman I talked told me how much it would be to change through her on the phone ($238), but then told me to just go the airport since there were seven seats left and we'd have no problem getting on. Once at the airport, the rep told us it would cost $25 to verify our flight there, or we could go standby for free. She said we should choose standby since she was sure we'd get on. After I agreed to that, she booked me anyway. I really felt good about NW for the first time in years.

Once on the plane, he wailed. Screamed. I knew all I had to do was offer up the breast and with the first suck, he'd pipe down, but I was saving the boobs as my secret weapon for take-off. It's a good thing I held out a little because it took some time to push back. Once we started moving, he fed and again there were no problems. What a champ. Once off the plane, a young man told me how good Cricket was. "For a minute there I thought we were in for a nightmare," he said. Yup. Me too. Of course, don't forget how Cricket was masquerading as lobster at this point, deep in the throes of his sulfa-allergy outbreak.

Things were so good with him on the plane, I'd even go so far as to say, it helped my own phobias too. Here's a picture of our little traveller. How could he not charm the pants off anyone?

I also think this picture really highlights how small those damn seats are. Cricket is a mere 16 pounds here; he's got some room in the seat, but for how much longer?

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Our Little Medical Mystery

When we were at the hospital on Saturday, yet another bacterial culture was taken from our boy. That and a CBC. The CBC results were fast: Totally normal with WBC counts in range. That was great news for everyone since it meant there wasn't a raging infection. However for the bacterial culture, we had to wait 40 hours.

It came back yesterday. Nothing. No bacteria. Which is good news/bad news, eh? Because, hurrah!, no bacteria = no MRSA. But if it ain't bacteria, what the hell is it? Partner isn't sure she trusts the culture. She doesn't think the resident got any liquid on his swab, but it's the second bacterial culture. I'm torn: I don't want it to be MRSA, but I'd also like to have an answer.

It's not viral-- the WBC count would probably be up in that case, and they also did a PCR test for viruses, and that also was negative.

I talked to our pediatrician this morning and she said to me, "This is the weirdest case I've ever seen in fourteen years of practice." Great, I told her, I'm glad it's my kid.

If it's not bacterial, what might it be? Our doc didn't know, but is really interested in what the pediatric dermatologist will say. She didn't know if it might some auto-immune thing going on?

So, if you took Bradley birth classes, do you remember the class where you had to rank things about a birth? Less desirable to more desirable? I kinda feel like I'm doing that with the rash-- MRSA ranks pretty high on the less desirable list, but an auto-immune disorder ranks higher than MRSA.

My current theory is this: The head rash and the body rash are unrelated. The body rash is from the sunscreen, which would explain why the antibiotics aren't clearing it up, yet have cleared the initial head rash. The head rash was impetigo and the first culture from it wasn't a good one, which is why the bacterial culture is negative. If there are no more outbreaks, I'm running with this theory. Except for the fact that there appear to be some small dots on his ears, and I'm quite sure I never put sunscreen on his ears.

Oh well. I'm trying.


Monday, May 07, 2007

Mysteries Abounding

When I was in Catholic school there was a fair amount of explanation along these lines: "It's a mystery!" This wasn't really an adequate answer for my little mind who liked explanations for everything. However, even that is a learning experience because, after all, there are somethings that just are, well, mysteries. Learning to accept that fact is probably helpful to one's sanity.

In the theological realm this seems more palpable than the medical realm. When I had pathophysiology last summer, my teacher (a nice man, but horrible instructor) would often explain away my questions by saying things like, "We don't know the answer to that. It just happens that way." He said this to many people, and more often than not someone in the class would know the real reason and explain to us why something happened the way it did. It was frustrating. Patho should be a fun, but hard class. Instead my patho class was boring and easy.

Unlike my time with Cricket lately. There is nothing fun, boring, or easy about his health right now. I have to say, he's still Cricket: very happy and outgoing, but clearly something is not right with him.

He has another outbreak on his hand, which is surprising after all the antibiotics he's on. His leg looks gross, but is crusting up and seems ready to heal. He has another outbreak forming on his cheek. At least he doesn't look like a lobster anymore from the sulfa drugs.

Our pediatrician is awesome. First of all she said to us that we had been through the wringer. She took time to tell us that it's usually not this hard for new parents and between the NICU, the RSV, and now this, we weren't having a typical experience. I love that she said this to us, because as much as I really want more kids, Cricket's first few months have been emotionally exhausting. It's a good thing he's such a great kid, smiling and talking to us all the time. I adore him. Then the good doctor admitted she had no idea what was going on and scheduled an appointment for us with a pediatric dermatologist at UM. It's not until Wednesday, but I'm relieved because I feel like people are on the case now. Everyone here wants to figure out what's going on. It's no longer sufficient to say, "Hm... It's a mystery." Thank God I live in this college town with people in search of answers.

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Sunday, May 06, 2007

And More...

Blood in the stool.

I think we're headed back to the ER.

Edited: Okay, we're not going back to the ER, but we are on "wait and see" status. How stressful can this be?


Spider Bites

"How was your vacation, Katie?"

Before we left for vacation, we were lifting the very heavy Cricket out of the car when I remarked to Partner about a bite on the back of his head. "Hm," I said to her innocently enough, "it looks like something bit Cricket. Let's keep an eye on that."

On Thursday the bite was looking a little bit like a rash, so I called the good doctor so we could get it looked at before we left for vacation. Everyone was stymied. Was it viral? It looked a little like HSV, but it also could be bacterial? Or maybe it was just some contact dermatitis? Oh well, the doctor and nurse decided, we'll sample it, but for now, they told us, treat it with the Bactroban. Which we neglected to do until Saturday afternoon when the rash had expanded considerably.

Sunday then it looked better-- why hadn't we started treating with the Bactroban earlier, we asked ourselves. The rash might be gone by now! We patted ourselves on the back for finally starting the treatment the doctor recommended. I consulted Dr. Google and decided Cricket had impetigo. Or poison ivy. But had no idea where he got either, since it's generally not our practice to let children with weepy sores hold him or let him roll around in shiny leaves of three. Oh well, we thought, crisis averted. Bactroban is working!

And then I woke up Monday morning and the back of his head was huge. I mean, it bulged out almost like an abscess and was oozing. We called my mother to come and look at it. We were all a little freaked. I tell you, it looked really bad and angry red. We called our pediatrician in Michigan. And she thought we should take him in somewhere we they regularly treat children ASAP. Although, she wasn't sure what was going on either since the bacteria culture came back negative and so did the rapid virus test.

Luckily there's a fine little practice five minutes from the house and we saw a doctor who agreed it looked really bad. And he had a diagnosis for us: MRSA. That's methicillin-resistent Staphylococcus aureus. And as soon as he said MRSA, that's when I freaked out. The rash was worrying, but MRSA? See, I had this slight obsession with MRSA when I took Microbiology. I watched documentaries on it. I read books about it. Why was I so intrigued? Because this bacteria is a bad motherfucker. People lose limbs to MRSA. Lives even. And now it was on the back of my kid's head? I was a wreck, crying when we left, crying in the car, just holding Cricket and being very scared. I called our pediatrician's office in Michigan.

It was a good thing I did. When we talked to one of the doctors in the practice he reminded me that CA-MRSA (community acquired) is very different from HA-MRSA (hospital acquired). He said that CA-MRSA is pretty common these days. He said he would have prescribed the same drugs, the same dose as the island doctor. He told me if I was concerned about Cricket's GI system (and I was) I could give him a pro-biotic yogurt. I felt so much better and by Tuesday, it seemed like the antibiotic was working.

We were happy again and as I fed him Wednesday morning, Partner slathered the Bactroban onto Cricket's head. We were heading out for the day, so she really globbed a bunch on there. Cricket himself seemed normal, as he had through all of us, but maybe a little warm. We took our thermometer and a little vasoline and headed off. In the late afternoon after touring the very cool South Carolina aquarium, I went to change his diaper and take a temp. 99.8. Not soaring, but warm. And then I flipped him over to inspect his little head. And holy shit, the rash had expanded again, tons of little dots all over the back of his head. Bright angry red again. And then lo and behold, dots on his arms. Legs. Hands. Cheeks. Another call the Michigan pediatrician, who said, take him in ASAP. And so Wednesday night found us at the MUSC Children's hospital.

Are you getting the idea that vacation wasn't very vacation like for us?

The doctor at the children's hospital felt the rash looked like classic MRSA too, but she thought that the topical ointment was irritating his head so we should stop. Who knows what the other dots were? Don't worry. Go home. Come back if the temp goes over 101. Or he gets an outbreak on his trunk.

After this trip, I was convinced that the head rash and the arms and legs were two separate rashes dastardly coinciding with each other. The arm and leg rash seemed to be confined to where I had put sunscreen on him. Nothing on the trunk or upper arms, and I never put sunscreen there. Ha. I had figured it out. (Don't tell me the six month rule for sunscreen: Our pediatrician noted it's better to put sunscreen on him than not, and the oral antibiotic he was taking made him extra-susceptible to burning.)

Once again, we were convinced he was getting better. But don't let your guard down, because by now clearly we now the trajectory of this story: One day good, one day bad. So Thursday = good day. Friday, well, the one cluster of dots on his leg was looking like shit. We were concerned. And then Saturday, yesterday, the day we were leaving, we woke up and took off Cricket's pajamas and he was bright red. Everywhere. His back was aflame. He stomach, his arms, his head, around his eyes. Everything either bright red or pin-pricked red. Once again, we called the doctor's office where the nurse manning the phone told us to take him to be seen before we got on a plane. We ignored her advice and instead got on an earlier flight. By this point I think we were both convinced that any hospital he went to was going to check him in. As much as we love South Carolina, we wanted to come home.

The child looked bad. It was scary. My mom cried a little when looking at him. I was worried because Staph aureus sometimes produces a toxin that causes something called Scalded Skin Syndrome. Or he was allergic to the antibiotic. We decided to skip the morning dose.

We took him straight the hospital here. By this point he had a fever. They got us in to see a doctor very fast. Where once again we were told it looked like MRSA alright. And the redness? Definitely an allergy to the drugs. Stop the drugs. Now know that kid is allergic to sulfa drugs. Start new drugs. Hope new drugs work because only two drugs can treat the MRSA and he's allergic to one! He had blood cultures taken, a CBC, and an IV dose of the new antibiotic. We were there for hours.

I'm exhausted. He looks better today, seems to be happy to be home. He's napping again and maybe getting back on his schedule will help him get better faster. We're praying the new antibiotic works and that his allergy resolves quickly. Hopefully it isn't MRSA because if it really is, this all might happen again and again and again until we go through a decontamination procedure. I don't know what that entails, but I can tell you, I think I won't like it. I think there'll be some assumption that we're all colonized. Even though I'm terrified of the MRSA, I want to go back to the micro lab and do a culture from my nose and Cricket's nose. All I need is a mannitol salt agar or blood agar....

I'm also hoping that our pattern of good-day-bad-day is over and that they all start to be good days. Because today is good. I'll have to die of exhaustion if tomorrow is a bad day.

I'm so ready to start Organic Biochem on Tuesday. It's going to feel like a walk in the park compared with this past week.

And that's how our "vacation" was.