Wednesday, December 6, 2006

'Tis the season we dread

I'm talkin' viral season. Yes, it's finally freezing here in Minnesota and that means everyone is staying inside and passing along every variety of virus. I think one of the scariest places for me this time of year is the elevator....any elevator with a sneezing, wheezing, hacking person within close range of my medically fragile kid.

When Mieko is well, it's so easy to forget she is extremely vulnerable this time of year. But, we had a reality check once again last Friday. A little fussiness and sneezing turned into a full-blown respiratory crisis. She had her first hospital stay for the season. The good news: it was a very brief stay at Children's St. Paul, we caught it early. The bad news: it's only the beginning.

So what's a special needs parent to do? How do you keep your child protected but still have a quality of life? Mieko had her flu shot and she gets monthly injections of synagis (to prevent RSV). The docs tell us we should limit her contact with large groups of people from November through March. That's a heck of a long time to stay home. We try to do our best with handwashing and making sure sick folks don't come over. But what else? Some trisomy parents I know use different nutritional supplements to help boost immunity. Mieko is compeltely tube fed with pediasure with fiber. We give her some V8 juice daily for some natural vitamins, but I haven't figured out what else may actually make a difference.

We still go out, especially if its a family gathering. I would love to keep going with the play groups, the baby ballroom dancing classes, pool therapy, sign language classes, parties, and play dates. All things that enrich our lives. But are they worth a hospitalization? We try to balance and so far this season, we've been pretty active and the illnesses have not been too bad. But, how far do you push it? Any thoughts? What works for your family?

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