We started to notice a small area of dry spots on the munchkin just before we went on vacation. Nothing we figured we needed to worry about – maybe some eczema or something. She’s had dry spots before and apparently they are pretty common in babies. Well, this little spot seemed to grow on our trip to more and more dry red areas on her back and arms until my husband told me that she had hives. I looked at him and said – that’s what hives look like? He looked at my like I was positively nuts (or possibly the dumbest person on the planet) and said – how do you not know what hives look like? I did my shoulder shrug of “dunno” and said – I guess I never had them. I thought they were more like circles – maybe raised (I was thinking of boils – maybe those drawings of bubonic plague victims...). He told me that they could be circles, but didn’t have to be.
So we called the pediatrician and the nurse helpline assured us that if they weren’t effecting her breathing or bothering her, they were really no big deal and should go away. Only the next day, they didn’t seem to be going away, but instead getting worse. So on the way to the airport we started calling the doctor. Nothing. We tried a few times, but couldn’t stay on through the airport and eventually gave up when we had to turn off our electronic devices. We tried again when we landed – this time trying any variety of the extensions – the nurse advice line, the receptionist, billing, the line for doctors and hospitals calling, etc. We waited on hold with each for 15 minutes and decided the phones were clearly broken. Finally my husband left a message (the first opportunity to do so) at the billing office explaining our problem and explaining that their phones must be broken. We got a call back a bit later. Their phones aren’t broken. The swine flu freak out is in full swing. Every mother in the greater metropolitan area is calling to say that her child possibly has swine flu and needs an appointment so that all 15 phone lines are busy all day long. They were very nice then though and gave us an appointment for 8:15 that evening (when crankiness has REALLY set in because the sweetness should be asleep, but still we wanted to get her checked out).
The doctor came in to our appointment almost rubbing his hands with glee at seeing “something different!” No snotty noses. No fever, chills, coughing, sore throat! Who cares what I’m looking at, it’s not a flu test! He took a look at the baby and told us that she had “an eczemic reaction” (so, um, that’s eczema, right?). He explained that maybe she was allergic to something – had we changed detergents or anything? I explained that we’d been on vacation and changed EVERYTHING this week! But it was not a big deal at the moment. We needed to put hydrocortisone cream on it twice a day and pat rather than rub her dry after a bath and she’d be fine.
And speaking of baths – she had one in her future after stopping by that petrie dish of kids with the flu! Which only had her up later. Which made her SO happy… God help us…