The last time this happened I called her doctor's office, whose line connects with a local Pediatric Acute Care center after hours, so you can talk to a nurse. She told me that, at 18 months, there isn't any cough suppressant I could give, and that the best treatment was warmed juice and to sit in a bathroom filled with steam from a hot shower. So I dragged out the humidifier (my throat was scratchy too, so it couldn't hurt), and started a hot shower going to fill the bathroom with steam. Given how small our bathrooms are, that's not hard to do.
I stood in a steamy hot bathroom with a croupy toddler on my shoulder for the requisite 20 minutes, swaying back and forth and singing our special song. It worked, because she almost went to sleep on my shoulder, and relented to being laid next to mommie in my bed with the humidifier on full blast. Somewhere in there I think I snuck in some Motrin, since she was still pulling on her ear and that's the best I could do for that.
3 hours of sleep were to be had midnight - 3:00am before the next coughing spasm would begin again. This time she has goopy snot running out her nose, she agains chugs juice like crazy, and again is crying miserably. After trying to comfort her for 45 minutes, we tried the shower thing again. Not this time. The coughing still wouldn't subside enough for her to sleep.
I seriously thought about taking her to the ER and begging them to please stop her coughing so we could both sleep. But I figured they'd tell me the same thing and send me home with just a bill. So I called the acute care nurses again.
This time a friendly male nurse told me that if the "foggy bathroom" trick didn't work, that she was probably having airway spasms, and that Children's Benadryl was indicated. He told me the dosage for her weight, took our contact information for their records, and said if she was still coughing in the morning, to call her doctor to have her seen.
In my sleep deprived state (at this point it is 4:15 in the morning and I've had two short bursts of sleep), I think that he's talking about a cough syrup. The panacea! He told me a dosage of a cough syrup that will help her to sleep! He's a genius! He's an angel!
I throw on enough clothes over my nightgown to not get ticketed for public indecency, and pack the Wee One into the car. I drive through the dark, hoping to not fall asleep on the way to Walgreen's. We head toward the back of the store, her on my hip, and I search through the cough medicines, "Benadryl, Benadryl, where is the Benadryl?" I'm still thinking that I'm looking for a cough syrup, for some strange reason. I think I had "Robitussin" on the brain - because they sound so similar, right?
Finally I find it. The pink-and-white box ... wait ... oh, yea, Benadryl. Um, I already have a huge bottle of Children's Benadryl at home. My heart sinks.
I just dragged my daughter out at 4:30 in the morning to get a bottle of something I already had at home.
But just in case, I bought another one. And some Children's Nyquil in case I got desperate.
On the way home I'm hoping she'll fall asleep in the car, but she starts singing instead. In the door we dose up with the newly purchased Benadryl (the already-owned Benadryl looks on judgingly from the desk in the living room, mocking me) and some Tylenol for no good reason other than superstition. Finally, around 5:00, she falls back asleep, nestled against mommie in the bed.
She was still coughing when she woke up 3 hours later for the day. I called her doctor who got us in within half an hour - hearing a coughing toddler in the background seems to be key for getting in on short notice. The receptionist said "is that her coughing in the background?" and when I said yes, she said "okay, I'll write down 'coughing'." Good plan.
The silver lining I speak of in the post title is that he gave us a really heavy duty antibiotic that (a) she seems to take well since it's strawberry flavored, and (b) I only have to give her once a day. He also gave us a decongestant that is supposed to help with the coughing and stuffiness. So hopefully she'll be able to get over whatever this crap is that's infecting her head.
We napped for 2 hours this afternoon. Also a positive.
So I'm getting ready to start the bedtime routine, and the humidifier, and load her up on juice and decongestant and whatever else I can put in her that I think might help her sleep. Here's hoping we both get more sleep tonight!