By Mir
January 22, 2007

Every parent who’s ever had a sick, inconsolable child knows the helpless feeling that comes with not being able to fix your baby’s pain.

Likewise, every parent who’s ever had a sick child who was too sick to go to school but not quite sick enough to just sit down and watch cartoons, already, knows the helpless feeling that comes with not being able to drop that kid off at school already.

GUESS which one I had today! Go on!

Oh, it was fine. He was fine. It’s funny; I had the most entertaining discussion with Susan about our mutual frustration over how it is possible for the SAME child who often screams that he’s been PUNCHED when someone else dares to merely BREATHE in his general vicinity can, in fact, dance around the couch with a fever of 101 claiming that he feels GREAT and he would like to go to school now, please. Sure, he needed to take frequent breaks from the dancing to cough up chunks of his lungs, but whatever. He was FINE!

“When is Chickie coming home?” he finally started asking, once he realized that I was not, in fact, going to just pack him up and take him to school, and neither was I going to stop working to run around the couch with him. I was glad that the message (Message: You are sick, kid) had finally gotten through, but his new focus wasn’t much better. It was only 10:03 when he started demanding to know when his sister would return.

The problem, of course, was that once again I had FOOLISHLY elected his ability to continue breathing over my own sanity, and had administered Albuterol as directed. (And by “as directed” I of course mean “through the toilet paper tube I appropriated for this purpose, because the spacer is still MIA.”)

Let’s just put it this way: When all the other kids are huffing or shooting up or doing whatever is considered the cool drug of choice by the time Monkey is a teenager, he’ll be all “Dudes, I don’t need that. I have my inhaler. Do you SEE the spinning pink elephants on the ceiling? They are most awesome. Also, I need to go run ten miles. Back in a bit.”

With the Albuterol on board, Monkey is feeling no pain. When we went to the doctor’s office this morning, the nurse came to get us and stopped, first, at the scale.

“Okay, Monkey, I just need you to hop up there so I can weigh you—”

“Hop? You want me to HOP? Okay! I’ll hop! HOP, HOP, HOP! I’m a bunny! And this is my puppy. His name is Puppy! Say hello!”

In the exam room, I tried to talk to the nurse while Monkey chattered away, and finally I put my arm around him and stroked his hair and then COVERED HIS MOUTH long enough to say, “I think the Albuterol is making him just a little hyper.”

(She didn’t have to laugh quite so hard, in my opinion.)

Naturally, for my $15 copay they were only too happy to tell me that he has a virus. I knew it was a virus; I just wanted to have his breathing checked and maybe get some new medicine that will open his lungs without making him talk non-stop. And maybe a spacer that isn’t made of cardboard.

I do have to hand it to him; a visit involving peak flows and pulse oximeters has the potential to be tedious. But not with Monkey! He chatted with the nurse, he yammered to the doctor, and at all points inbetween he maintained a running commentary between himself and his stuffed dog. By the end of the appointment, my ears were bleeding, but I had a new prescription clutched in my hand. (Pssst! Everyone who commented about Xopenex not being covered by insurance should apparently join my HMO. Covered! Which somewhat removes the sting from having to pay for a new spacer. But, because joining my insurance is weird and stalkery at best and impossible at worst, maybe you’d rather just go get a coupon instead.)

Off we went to Target, where I plunked him into a cart to keep his contamination of others shoppers to a minimum. I only had to listen to his commentary on everything he saw for about 10 minutes; that’s how long it took for the pharmacist to let me know that he’d have the meds for me tomorrow.

(Rather than killing him for making me wander the store for 10 minutes with my little babbling machine, I allowed Monkey to chew his ear for a bit. “My name is Monkey! And this is my puppy. His name is Puppy!”)

Back home after our morning adventures, I checked the clock and verified that it had been over four hours since the last dosing of the Manic Medicine. His breathing was good, and I knew I had a very small window of opportunity before he needed to be dosed again.

“Okay, Buddy, guess what you’re going to do now!”

“Go to school?” I tried very hard not to laugh. You have to admire that kind of eternal hope, you really do.

“Sorry, Bud. Nope. You’re going to go lie down and have a nap.” He searched my face, waiting for the punchline. When none came, he began to crumple into a heap.

“I’m not TIRED! I want to go to SCHOOL! And it’s LIGHT OUT! And—” I scooped him up and carried him up the stairs while he continued with his litany of reasons why he absolutely did not need a nap. I nodded and clucked and agreed and tucked him in and promised to come check on him in just a little bit.

When I poked my head back into his room about ten minutes later, he was snoring.

I tiptoed back down the stairs and sat down in the silence. Ahhhhh.

About 90 minutes later, I heard the bus give its customary honk at the corner as Chickadee came barrelling towards the house. Upstairs, I heard a thump.

“Mama! I heard the bus! It honked! That means Chickadee is home! And I am awake and I told you I wasn’t tired! Here I come!”

The kids played and I gave Monkey some more Albuterol and later he scarfed down the Happy Meal his father brought him, after having turned up his nose at every bit of food I’d offered throughout the day.

I am seriously considering just dosing him up in the morning and sending him to school with some french fries. He’ll be fine, and I totally need the time away from him to take a nap.


  1. Cele

    Oh gosh, this does not make me want to reminise and long for Psam’s childhood. Oh no it does not. Good luck Mir.

  2. Lady M

    Hyper medicine – that’s just what I need to finish my work email tonight!

  3. meghann

    So what are you going to do with the rest of the Albuterol when you get the Xoponex? I need to clean my house and I just can’t seem to get the energy.

  4. Susanne

    I feel your pain. Though my son can chew ears off even without chemical assistance. Today I brought him to preschool, though he has a severe cold (no fever though, so I consider him almost healthy), because this is my day off. I figure he can be sick at his Granny’s place tomorrow when I go to work. And then she can tell me how she always spends time reading to him and stroking his hair when he doesn’t feel well.

    My son will be taken care of, I will remain sane and my MIL can feel superior. It’s a win-win.

  5. Kendra

    Seriously–I echo Lady M’s comment…perhaps I just need to get a new script for my “resue inhaler” (which by the way, i haven’t had filled since May 2002…I fear what I would do if I had to take it now. Who needs caffeine when I can have clear airways and a wicked buzz?
    I hope he’s better soon–we have the plegmy hacking cough in our house too…it’s made Thing#2 barf a few times–good times!

  6. Sara

    Ack! There’s barfing involved with the phlegmy cough?! Sounds like a great time for me to go back on my “I don’t eat ’til the puking stops” diet. #4 is barking like a seal in her crib this very moment.
    Hope Monkey comes down off the ceiling soon. Or at the very least offers you a hit.

  7. karen

    At least he WANTS to go to school and you are not left wondering whether he somehow manifested that fever in order to stay home. Amazing how they perk up once the older sibling comes home, though!

    Oh, and please pass the Albuterol; I have a lot to do today.

  8. Kimberly

    Oh man…Days like that send me straight to the nightime formula Jack and Jill. Here’s hoping that airway clears.

    I also could use a hit of that Albuterol, though.

  9. chris

    long ago when s1 was a talky toddler, he received a prescription that sent him straight into googooland. at 3a.m. it was “hey mom, let’s have some music on, can i have the beach boys? open the door, can’t you see grandma’s here? hey grandma, come on in, we’re going to have a parTAY!” the fun went on for hours (somewhere high above my heavily pregnant head.) good times, right?

  10. tori

    I think models abuse albuterol for the extra energy and weight loss. Wasn’t there one that had a heart attack from taking it when she didn’t need it? I think that’s why you need a prescription for all things albuterol related, including the nebulizer. That might explain why he has so much energy on it. I have my own little man on albuterol right now, but he doesn’t get so hyper, just really really angry. Imagine the stereotypical angry old man, and you will know what I am dealing with. Except he’s 3 and adorable, so no one understands why it upsets me so much. Throw in a daughter who is angry because she just got headgear yesterday and it hurts, and you will understand why I need to have them all get better very soon and go away from me for just a minute or I will go crazy!

    Hope he feels better quick! And that you stay sane through it all!

  11. LadyBug Crossing

    It’s the best when they tell you they aren’t tired and then they totally konk. My #1 gets up in the morning and talks virtually non-stop until he falls asleep. I know exactly how you felt…


  12. Randi

    I hope he was well enough to go to school today! Having 2 toddlers in the house now I totally feel you! FREE ME!!!

  13. Susan

    Ohhhh, the talking. THE TALKING.

    I feel your pain. Also, I am laughing, but WITH YOU. Really.

  14. Woman with Kids

    That’s how Boy 1 is when sick. Wayyy too sick to go to school, until 8:01. And then he’s fine and bored and can’t he go outside just for a bit and can we rent a movie and can I eat junk food… Lather, rinse, repeat for the rest of the day. And that’s without medication, just the natural high of not going to school.

    Hope nap time tomorrow goes well.

  15. Aimee

    Well, at least you know if you need to supplement your income you can auction off the rest of Monkey’s albuterol on eSchmay.

  16. Jenn2

    Oh my gosh. Honey, I am so feeling your pain, except my Monkey is a 40 year old man. He’s coughing like a TB patient and I had to threaten him with intense physical pain to get him to stay home from work, but now he wants to go mow the lawn, stack wood, vacuum the pool, walk the dog, hang some shelves and, by the way, the garage needs to be straightened. I’m am so hiding his inhaler and hoping to God above that the Xopenex is covered and appropriate for him.

    Maybe I could send him your way. He and Monkey could play together and we could nap!

  17. Jessica

    I was just there this last week, virus, albuterol and all. Luckily, Cub didn’t get hyper, but she did take her usual drama queen tendencies to a whole new level. She’d be playing, feeling fine, and then all of a sudden, nothing would be right, and she would fling herself tragically to the floor, wailing and beating her fists and feed on the carpet to emphasize her displeasure at us, her half-witted minions.

  18. JayMonster

    Could this be Karma kicking your butt for toying with Monkey and his Legos for your entertainment? ;)

    You know, I am fortunate in that since we started my daughter on Advair, her need for her “emergency” inhaler has dropped dramatically, but after this, even for those short term cases, I think I am going to look at having an alternative to the Albuterol for those times.

  19. Dysfunctional Housewife

    (pppssttt…) How much for the leftover Albuterol? I totally NEED some of that stuff! And I am SO not above artifically induced energy..LOL

  20. carmen

    Oh, this brought back a very bad memory. Once, when the allergens were especially awful, I had four kids on albuterol at once, and this was during the time that we were uncertain of what Riley’s diagnosis was. So we had four kids talk, talk, talking and one kid screaming her brains out.

    Albuterol is so.much.fun.

    Lucky you, though, that xopenex is covered. I am so jealous.

  21. Amy-Go

    I had chronic bronchitis in high school and my doctor gave me some asthma meds to help me breathe…it made me so hyper I couldn’t stop shaking and twitching. My Spanish teacher thought I was high and made me go to the nurse to prove I wasn’t. Poor Monkey! And poor Mir! I suggest duct taping him to the wall…

  22. Meritt

    Happy Meal.

    Happy Meal.

    I read Happy Meal.

    It’s almost 2:00 pm and I’ve only had coffee today (and some Sweet-Tarts I grabbed from the office candy jar) and I’m STARVING………..

    and I read Happy Meal.

    My mouth is watering. Literally.

  23. MMM

    Jenn2~Are you INSANE woman!? Let him do all the Honey-Do stuff, then send him to work tomorrow! hehe ;)

  24. elswhere

    Hey, I hear (from my kid; who else?) that they’re giving out Littlest Pet Shops with Happy Meals these days!

    Er, not that that’s a good thing or anything. I’m just saying.

  25. Melanie Marie

    Hey, any of you who want an albuterol hit can come on over to my place. I had to take it so much this weekend that I ended up needing to take xanax to counter the panic attack it gave me. I got into a wonderful cycle of, “is the asthma making me not able to breathe or is it the panic attack?? More albuterol or xanax??”

    Asthma + anxiety disorder = Good times!

  26. Liise

    The non stop chatter is both adorable and it makes my eye twitch ever so slightly.

  27. Daisy

    I get “hyper” on albuterol, too. Pulse goes up, can’t sleep, yada yada yada. Fortunately, Advair keeps me breathing well enough that I rarely need the other. Does Monkey have a maintenance medicine that minimizes his need for the Hyper Inhaler?

  28. liz

    Do you KNOW how I spent the lunchtime hour today? It was the worst day of my entire life. Daycare called around 10:00 to say my 2-year-old little joy had fallen against a table and cut his head. There was blood. Speed raced to daycare to find him cuddled up with a teacher, a lollipop and an ice pack. Thankfully no tears by then. Speed raced to the ER. He seemed fine, except for the giant gash. Lunchtime. ER. No snack, no sippy cup, no lunch, no clean diapers, no toys to keep the very active 2-year-old who didn’t realize he was hurt occupied. And then he got FOUR STAPLES. In. His. Scalp. I cried so hard that I couldn’t hold him down while he was screamingscreamingscreaming. It was awful. We did, however, survive. But they stapled his scalp to his skull. Or something like that. I couldn’t watch. How awful does that sound?
    I’m drinking 3-week-old, flat ginger ale with bourbon now. Finally. And I’m damned thankful for that ginger ale, because otherwise I’d be drinking the bourbon straight.

  29. carrien

    Oh so funny, especially the pink elephants.

    The problem is that I have seen something a lot like a spacer being used to help the uninitiated take their first hit of pure hash when they are doing blades.

    (What, I was a music major, with a lot of wannabe rock stars in my aquaintance. Remember college when you thought all the art major people had better parties?….OH wait, you were in a drama club weren’t you? Never mind I read that story.)

  30. Kristi

    If you put tequila in that inhaler, for yourself of course, would that give you the added benefit of becoming even more numb to it all? You may want to try that, but without the toilet paper thingy. It would absorb way too much of the alcohol.

  31. hillz

    hate to tell you this, but theres no real reason that the xopenex should make monkey less hyper than the albuterol (scuse spelling, we call them salbutamol and serevent here) they both do the same job, they are dilators. they open up the little breathing tubes, but also open up the blood vessels, giving you a racing heart.

    the only possible reason the albuterol makes monkey go insane is that it can be propelled with a little ethanol (so you have a drunk monkey), but they dont do that so much any more coz it tastes disgusting

  32. Jessica

    C has the very same cold that Monkey has. We took the token trip to the doctor’s this morning and were told the same thing… Then she said to come back if she still had a fever on FRIDAY. No chance kiddo… I gotta go to work tomorrow! Virus be gone!

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