Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Took Ethan to the doctor today because his fever was 102 all day yesterday, even with the Children's Tylenol. This morning, he woke up complaining about his mouth hurting, and when I looked inside I saw tiny red spots, some raised, across the back of the roof of his mouth. The first thing I thought of was strep throat, but that would be way too normal (and treatable!) for my kid! Instead, it was "herpangina." Yes, you read it right the first time. I went to Dr.Greene.com, a pediatric health website, to get the skinny:

What is herpangina?

Herpangina is the name of a painful mouth infection, usually with a fever. Even though the name sounds like herpes, almost all of the many viruses that cause it are coxsackieviruses or other enteroviruses—not herpesvirus.

Who gets herpangina?

Herpangina is most common among young children but can occur at any age. Once people have had a specific strain of coxsackievirus, they are generally immune, but they could become sick with one of the other strains. Most infections occur in the summer or early fall, with a peak from August to October in the northern hemisphere.

What are the symptoms of herpangina?

This illness starts abruptly, usually with a fever. Often the fever is high (103–104°F). Occasionally, children lose their sparkle (and appetite) a few hours before the fever begins. The mouth sores usually begin at the same time as the fever or shortly afterward. Children average about five blisters in the mouth. These blisters are surrounded by red rings and can occur in the back of the throat, on the roof of the mouth, on the tonsils, on the uvula, inside the cheeks, or on the tongue. The blisters may start as small red bumps and may go on to become ulcers after the blister stage. The illness usually lasts 3 to 6 days.

Almost all children with herpangina have a decreased appetite – swallowing may be very painful. Other symptoms might include headache, backache, runny nose, drooling, vomiting, or diarrhea. Children first become ill 4 to 6 days after being exposed.

How is herpangina treated?

Antibiotics do not help with herpangina. The important issues are getting children plenty of fluids, relieving their pain, and treating their other symptoms as appropriate.

So, I'm now on day 2 (unpaid) off of work, looking at possibly another one tomorrow... WHEN WILL THIS FINANCIAL DISASTER END?!?!?!?!?!? I mean, I hope he gets better soon just because it's painful and uncomfortable for him, but also because every day off work sucks another $100 out of my paycheck. God, I need benefits NOW. :(

Monday, June 27, 2011

Sick again!

Poor Ethan is sick today, running a fever of 102 all day long, even on children's tylenol. Joel stayed with him all morning and I came home early from work to stay with him, as he can't be at daycare with a fever. Poor thing, I hate watching him so lethargic and ill. Hopefully he feels better very soon. Not only because it's better for him, but because we really can't afford to miss more work! Today was $80 lost from my paycheck. :(

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Dental Drama: The Toddler Edition

Joel took Ethan in today for his first dental visit, and it wasn't good news. He has a cavity that needs to get sealed off so that it doesn't get worse and potentially cause major problems with his mouth and possibly health. Unfortunately, we don't have dental coverage for him. Paying cash means that they'll work with us on payments, but we still have to put down a hefty deposit ($350) before they'll consider working with us. I haven't asked them yet if they accept Care Credit, which is sort of a medical/dental/health credit card, but maybe if they do we can use what's left on my card to pay for the services. It's going to be a total of around $1300 to take care of his poor tooth. Ouch.

And you want to hear something weird? The dentist wants us to floss Ethan's teeth. Floss? At his age? I honestly don't think I flossed until I was a young adult. Like, even in high school, which is so gross now that I look back on it. But to think that my poor little guy is already having dental issues, when I treated my teeth so horribly and didn't have any major issues at such a young age, just confuses and saddens me.

Bad mom award, for not keeping his teeth pristine until he can do it himself. :(

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Six years ago...

...I met my husband at a local bar in downtown Modesto. It was a Saturday night, June 11th, and the day before I had seen my junior high students walk the stage at graduation. It was the weekend, finally, and I was out having fun with my sister and my best friend, Julie. We sat at the bar, talking and laughing and telling crazy stories, just trying to forget the busy week we'd all just been through. Suddenly, a man walked up to us and pulled out the Schmooze card.

He was a pretty slick talker, to be sure, and had that confidence and swagger that many women find attractive-- until they realize that it's actually a mixture of braggadocio, machismo, and ego that tends to grate on the nerves after a very short time. I had him pegged within a few minutes; it wasn't my first trip around the block, after all.

But while we all bantered back and forth, I noticed a tall, fit-looking guy standing several feet away, almost as if he were waiting for something... or someone. I asked the first guy, Dave, "Is that your friend over there?" And he said, "Yeah, that's my buddy Joel." I took that first step, born partly of liquid courage and partly of curiosity, tinged with just a hint of something even deeper, stronger, and smiled at him, calling out, "Joel, come on over!"

And the rest, as they say, is history... or at least, a history that is still being told. :)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Nursemaid's Elbow: The Return

Ethan hurt his arm again on Monday. I came to pick him up from daycare and he was sitting on Miss Janet's lap, cradling his arms and crying. She hadn't seen him do anything, and wasn't even sure where he was hurting-- thought for a bit that he might be having gas pains or something, because he was holding his arm across his stomach. But then when she went to lift him off her lap, I noticed he was holding his arm oddly, and almost immediately suspected that he'd injured his elbow again. Sure enough, he was acting the same way he did several months ago when he was diagnosed with "nursemaid's elbow"-- basically, a dislocation of the radius bone in the elbow. It usually happens when they get pulled by the wrist too hard or swung by the arms, but in this case Janet's not sure how it happened.

The doctor at Kaiser said that there's a chance this is just going to be more likely now that it's happened a couple of times, and we'll have to be aware of it. He even showed me how to fix it myself, but I'm just not sure I'm up to it. I'd rather pay the $35 and take him down to the urgent care every time, at this point. Anyway, they fixed him right up and he's as good as new (ish). Now, if we can only figure out how to keep him from getting these elbow dislocations, I'll consider it a success!

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Ethan said the sweetest, most touching, adorable thing this morning. It really moved my heart, and almost brought me to tears as well. It was early, and Joel was just getting ready to leave for work. Ethan called him over to say goodbye. The exchange went something like this:

Ethan: "Daddy, 'mere!"
Joel: (walks over) "Okay, buddy, I have to go now."
Ethan: "Kisses." (points to mouth)
Joel: (kisses Ethan) "Aw, thanks, buddy, I love your kisses!"
Ethan: "Hug." (lifts arms up)
Joel: (hugging Ethan) "You give great hugs!"
Ethan: "Bye daddy, fuffoo!"

And that's where my heart was seized by his two little hands and squeezed, ever so gently. Because "fuffoo" is his way of saying "I love you." And it was the first time he's really said it, at the right time, unsolicited, and fully cognizant of what it means. It was amazing. Now, when's my turn? ;)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


So, I was sick for quite awhile, but got better and then didn't have the motivation to post. Whoopsy! Must be the barrage of schoolwork and evening meetings that's keeping me slightly out of whack, because usually I like to write on the blog. It keeps me centered, somehow, less lost in my own thoughts...

Some updates:
* Might be getting hired full-time (as opposed to still being a temp) as of July 1st... and the boss said that they're thinking of adding new, improved health coverage options starting in August... but we'll count those chickens when they're hatched. If I don't get hired soon, or get real insurance coverage soon, I'm going to start looking elsewhere.
* Got some great new work-shirts for only 50 cents each at a yard sale this weekend. Yahoo!
* Ethan's doing great, talking a lot more-- but his doctor still wants to do a check on his speech development, starting with a hearing test this Friday. He'll pass with flying colors, I'm sure; that boy has ears like a lynx.
* Stefanie might be moving out in the next few weeks, finally, into her own apartment that she will share with Leila. Time to celebrate!

And, the big news: Ethan might have a cavity. I noticed it the other day when I thought he had some food stuck on his eye-tooth. Nope-- it was a tiny, ridged, almost concave area on the surface of his tooth. Not my little guy, not so early in his life!! Anyway, our dental coverage for him is pretty minimal because we got it when we signed up for the Kaiser Child Health Plan-- in other words, it's for broke people so it sucks. I don't want to get my kid cheap dental care, so I asked for referrals from other parents and got a lead on one dentist I think might work out. Trust me, I called quite a bit, but finding a pediatric dentist is harder than it looks, and then finding one that you can trust is another step beyond that. His appointment is in a week or so, and I'm hoping I can adjust my work schedule to take him in myself... but this might be a daddy appointment instead. Oh well, time to get involved in your child's health, papa!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Sick Saga

Still sick, but hopefully on path towards wellness. I actually got sent home from work on Tuesday by my manager, who was nervous about (a) getting sick himself and (b) me being too sick to come to work Wednesday, when we have an extremely important meeting with one of our biggest, newest, most sensitive HOAs. So I left after only an hour and a half, which means my paycheck will be docked by around $80, and then went to the urgent care ($100) to get meds ($40). Went home and still felt miserable, so I started hunting around for favors-- anyone who could help me go pick up Ethan and possibly watch him a little bit in the evening. Any takers? Of course not. My sister is still recovering from her throat/nasal surgery and is on meds, and my parents were unreachable (turns out, they'd actually been at the same-day clinic themselves).

So I called my friend, who earlier in the day had told me that she was off work and just sitting around. Unfortunately, when I explained that I was feeling horrid and didn't even know if I could drive out there to the daycare, she said "Oh, no..." and then said that I could drive him over, drop him off for a couple of hours, and then come back and pick him up again later. Um, yeah... except that I can hardly drive over to daycare, let alone jaunt across town to her place and back, twice. Then a few minutes later she said that she'd forgotten about an appointment she had that evening and couldn't watch him after all. So much for friends helping out in your time of need.

In spite of that, I stupidly asked her if she was free on Wednesday evening, and if so could she babysit for two hours while I was at the crucial business meeting. She replied, a few hours later, "I can cancel my plans if you really need me"... which to me is a pretty obvious no. You know, because I didn't make it clear earlier that I did. I told her not to worry about it-- not that I think she did-- and wrote it off as yet another person I can't rely on.

Whatever happened to the days when your friends and neighbors rallied around to help you out, bring food, watch your kids, and just generally give a little bit of time or effort when you were sick or hurting? Guess those days were buried with Rockwell.