Monday, February 24, 2014

The Strep Test

Megan is famous for praying sickness on herself at bedtime, so she can stay home from school the next day. She's even gone as far as licking things she knows Amanda's mouth has touched, in hopes of catching whatever illness her older sister was "lucky" enough to have contracted.

A couple nights ago (read 3:00 AM), she was crying with a fever and sore throat. I tried to comfort her by sleeping lying next to her in her twin bed, which suddenly felt more like the size of a preemie, than a full grown twin. In between her tears ...

Meg:  Remember all those times I prayed to get sick?

Me:  I do.

Meg:  I never thought it would be this bad.

Cue the sound of my heart breaking. Obviously that's all she needed to say, for me to stay put. 

Well today was Meg's 4th day with the fever and sore throat. I'm not one to immediately run to the doctor, but when she woke up again this morning in tears because of the pain, I made the phone call. They wanted to see her to rule out Strep.

She was all smiles as we waited in the examination room, until it dawned on her that she had no idea HOW they test for Strep. So she asked me, all nervous like, how they do it. In a split second the following debate took place inside my mommy brain ...

Oh boy. It's just a little swabbing of the throat, but is that gonna freak her out? 

Is she gonna start crying and bolt for the door when I mention the giant Q-tip? Probably shouldn't use the word GIANT.

If I downplay it and it's the worst thing she's ever had done at the doctor's office so far, then what? Is my credibility forever shot? 

If I make it sound bad, then .... no, that would be lame. What mom tells their child that the doctor is gonna totally hurt them? ACK!!! WHAT DO I SAY?!?! And more importantly, WHY ISN'T HER FATHER IN HERE TO ANSWER HER?!

Just go with the truth. That's what you would want.

Me: Well, they'll have you open your mouth and stick out your tongue, and then they'll take a Q-tip and get a sample from the back of your throat.

Meg much more nervous than before: They put a Q-tip ALL the way down my throat?!

Me: Not all the way down, just towards the back.

Meg:  It's gonna hurt, isn't it?

Me: It doesn't hurt. I used to get Strep as a kid all the time. It might make you gag a little, but it doesn't hurt.

Meg:  Couldn't I just spit for her instead, 'cause what if I throw up on her?

Me:  Well ... that's a very good question. How 'bout if I ask her when she comes in?

Meg:  Okay, but if she doesn't let me spit, can I get something for having to do the other thing?

Me:  Jamba Juice?

Meg:  Okay. And they'll probably let me have a sticker too, right?

Me:  For sure.

I did ask the physician's assistant if Meg could spit up a sample for her, instead of going through the whole swabbing process. Meg's eyes were so hopeful, but we were told that while they can test for the FLU from what one produces by blowing their nose (WOW), a spit sample would be too diluted by saliva to test for Strep.


She had Meg lay down, explaining that she might feel like coughing when the Q-tip touched her throat, but that's all. Mental note: The word 'coughing' sounds much better to a child than the word 'gagging'.

Meg held onto my hands tightly during the throat swabbing. She did cough a little, and then it was over, and the relief in her eyes was priceless.

The rapid culture came back negative, so hopefully that's that and the worst is over. Though if I'm being honest, there's that part of me that wishes she was already on an antibiotic.

Oh, and the sticker she picked out had a picture of Tweety Bird on it and said, "HUG ME!! I DID GREAT!!"

And I did, because she did. :)

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