Today’s education: babies are susceptible to RSV (respiratory syncytial virus), with symptoms generally cropping up as a cold for older kids, but worse for babies. It’s the Number 1 cause for babies under one year old to be hospitalized.
For premature babies with a history of lung issues, it’s even scarier.
RSV is one of those things that really, really made us want to go to a one-income household, since babies in daycare are so germ-generous. It’s been recommended many times that we enforce a strict “lock-down” and keep Ollie away from the general population during RSV season. So we do. We missed my nephew’s 5th birthday party and had a very scaled down get-together in honor of Ollie’s birthday. Thanksgiving and Christmas were a source of contention with all the school-age nieces and nephews around, and with every cough I heard, I assumed it was The Plague and quickly moved to the other side of the room.
On top of all that prevention, Ollie also qualifies for Synagis, a monthly shot of anti-bodies that prevents RSV from moving in and infiltrating his lungs. It’s not a vaccine, like the flu-shot, so it “dies” in his body after about 30 days or so. And, given Ollie’s weight now (22 pounds, 4 ounces!) he needs two shots. Every month, during RSV season (November through March here), he gets a shot in both chunky thighs.
We have a Visiting Nurse who visits the house to administer his dose. I always feel so bad for him on these days. She comes in the morning, during his happiest time of day. Today she arrived when we were finishing up breakfast and he was happily stealing the spoon from my hand to bang it on his tray.
He had no idea.
Those Synagis shots, from what I hear, are more painful than typical shots. Not only do we get the poke twice, but the medicine stings as it’s going in. And, because we do it at home, there’s no chance of simultaneous pokes by two nurses, so he’ll just get settled down from the first shot and then WHAM! there it is again. Setting off a new level of tears and yelling.
I sort of feel bad for his nurse, too. She spends her days making babies cry from taking on this kind of care and Ollie is immediately suspicious when he sees her. His OT doesn’t pull out a stethescope and listen to his lungs, she just comes to play. He knows This Lady is Different. And his mood imediately changes.
He watches as she prepares. He gets weighed and measured. She gets my signature, then sets the shots up. Ollie does that holding his breath thing at first, then really lets it go. BobCat comes rushing in to see what’s wrong.
He gives her such a look of insult and disbelief. Chewing a finger, tears still on his eyelashes, Why did you do that to me, lady?
We do it to keep you healthy, Ollie.
And then it’s over. We got the last dose today for the year. He may qualify again for Synagis next season, he may not. This was his second year of receiving the shots and these are crazy expensive (I’ve heard about $1500 per shot) so the Insurance Company has to approve him. Right now, just this year, he’s had $15,000 worth of anti-bodies injected.
Right now, he’s over it. After a good nap and some snuggles, he’s back to his regular smiley self. All he has left as evidence are the two dot band-aids that cover the sites and lungs that will stay healthy.