I had a social studies teacher who once told our 7th grade class that air conditioning was originally invented to literally condition the air. It had little to do with cooling; more of a filtration effect was desired. I don't think that's correct, or cooling wouldn't have just been a handy side-effect. It's difficult to cool air, especially when one has only ice and ammonia at the ready to accomplish the task. It seems that the history books tell us that, from the outset, air conditioning was contrived of to cool the air, and also to control its humidity. Thus, the term "conditioning" came into being, since it sought to achieve both simultaneously.

We didn't need to turn on the air. Not really. Not when you're only looking at outside temperatures and how they affect internal ones. Windows open, fans on, the house was surprisingly pleasant to inhabit (talk to our tenants in the old place, they'll tell you a different story). So, ugly brown ranch for the win, it would seem.

The problem is that the littlest Kelley suffers from the kind of allergies that respond to fractional changes in allergen pollution. The first whiff of warm air causes all the little flora to burst with randy glee, which in turn causes Cormac's face to start pumping the mucus hydrants like his face is on fire. The poor kid is miserable.

We made it maaaaaybe two nights without the AC on before it became evident that we needed to shut ourselves off from the outside air. He could just barely get air through his nostrils, and didn't seem to be very agreeable to mouth breathing (while I understand the concept is disgusting, I was willing to give it a pass if it meant proper blood-ox levels). It got so bad that I took him to the doctor, terrifying thoughts of his tiny body trapped under piles of apparatus, being whisked away to the ER to establish an airway. I am nothing if not thorough in my hypochondriac projections.

The doctor (new doctor! competent office! amazing thoroughness and insight!) did a good job of assuring me that yes, it's miserable, but no, there is nothing we can give a baby so small. Hoover the crap out of his nose with that bulb boogie sucker thing. Use saline drops if necessary. If his fever spikes, call. If he's still exactly this miserable or worse in two weeks, call. If he starts vomiting profusely, call (she seemed perplexed when I started laughing though).

We had a brief aside to discuss the reflux, and she enlightened me a bit. It seems that any medicine given to infants with reflux is only there to diminish the presence of acid in the reflux, but not to diminish the output in any way. We shouldn't be expecting the medicine to do anything but make him more comfortable. Well, more internally comfortable. More "hey, my esophageal lining is still in-tact," comfortable, less "my damp-ass shirt is giving me a rash, still" comfortable.

She also pointed out that this time in his life should be the worst of it, as far as reflux goes. He's learning to roll over more efficiently (and more frequently, god help us), and he's learning to sit up, and all those muscles moving and working really hard just irritate an already irritated pylorus (spot where stomach meets small intestine). Apparently, once he masters these tasks, he'll be tirelessly upright so much that the reflux should abate drastically. I shall withhold judgement till proof becomes available.

Hindsight is happening now, and I'm left wondering: why didn't old practice tell me all of this? Why was the whole thing left to be this terrifying mystery? We have watched for months as he continued to vomit, fretting that the medicine wasn't working, that something much more grave and sinister was happening. Why weren't we made aware of what our expectations should be?

I have spent so much time worrying that reflux wasn't the issue at all, and that the next obvious cause, pyloric stenosis, was a genuine concern. Don't think this is just me being a hysterical worrier; the issue had been discussed multiple times with the old doctors, but they couldn't readily see any evidence, so they kept up with their usual rhetoric of "well, it doesn't seem like pyloric stenosis, but we've never actually encountered the situation, so...(insert shoulder shrug here)." They were always full of this noncommittal speech. People, the solution to pyloric stenosis is SURGERY. I spent months worrying if my baby needed surgery.

Then one conversation calmed all my fears. Just like that. Poof. I can't believe how long I put off changing doctors.

In other news: A tooth has emerged. Five months, nine days. Clock it.

1 comment:

  1. Megan, I hope that Cormac is doing better. I am glad that you have found a doctor that is helping to ease your worries.