Antibiotics: How Do YOU Roll?

My Sick Little Man

Need a little help here, PLEASE: My Big Little Man (who is smaller by 5 lbs now than My Little Man) got that back-to-school cold going around. For us, that means an imminent sinus infection as his compressed sinus cavities — a trait common to those with Down syndrome — makes him prone to this particular affliction. In addition, he’s inherited my lousy sinuses, which I got from my mom, so he’s got a double whammy! This is his thing!

So there I was at my VERY trusted Doc on Tuesday for a preemptive visit. My Big Little Man was already congested to the point of no in- or out-going passage in either nostril — read: no drip, no air… just STUCK. He’d already had several nose bleeds — the beginning signs of infection for us… EVERY time — and he was talking like he’d swallowed giant marbles. The cough was developing, sounding croupish, so I knew we were starting down the slippery slope from cold to bleeding sinus to chest congestion to bronchial infection… too often leading to pneumonia. We know the route well as we’ve been down this path several times already.

So my Less-is-More Doc — a characteristic I absolutely LOVE about him, most days — takes a looks and says he can’t see any sign of infection… YET. Still, I KNOW it’s there, maybe in a smallish way now but growing fast! But, because Doc can’t SEE it… YET… No antibiotics are prescribed… NOT YET  ANYWAY!

Fast forward two sick/missed school days: His cough is significantly worse and he’s had 12 thick, dark, coagulated bloody noses in 36 hours. Five of them just this morning. (We’re sliding!)

So I call the Doc and explain. Though I can’t see him nodding in agreement through the phone line, I know he was expecting this call. He listens and immediately says he’ll call in the script, warning me that if the nose bleed doesn’t stop we’ll have to go get it corterized. I know deep down that this won’t be necessary… It’ll stop bleeding once we get those darn antibiotics in him!

Yes, we’ve been down this road more than a few times. And, it’s the same trip every time… though, thankfully, most of the time we stop short of a bad ending, like nearly 3 weeks of hospitalization in the NICU for pneumonia with a partially collapsed lung. For the record, I DO inherently trust my Doc so switching is not an option I will entertain. I just wish we could address this particular, highly repetitive scenario a little earlier maybe. Because I know that every time we wait, My Beautiful Boys are missing school and playtime — both critical to their development — and, most importantly, that letting it go puts them at risk for developing a more severe illness, recovery from which is always precarious.

So, here are my questions: Do you have a child with Down syndrome and do you have/how do you combat the sinus issues? Would YOU push your pediatrician to give you the meds earlier because you pretty much know what’s coming (it has happened literally every time)… even though you might be risking the overuse of such drugs making them potentially less effective for your child in the face of “real” illness? Or, would you wait, like I did, until your child is sick enough for the pediatrician to see it and write the script? Finally, it recently occurred to me that perhaps the reason the pediatrician can’t see the infection early on is because of the compressed sinuses in My Beautiful Children who happen to have Down syndrome. Perhaps early onset is just more visible and diagnosable in children without compressed sinuses, without Down syndrome! Does anyone know this to be so? If it is, that is a good reason to get the script and meds at that first sign of illness.

Agree? Disagree? What’s your secret to addressing sinus issues? And, what’s your advice for addressing the pediatrician going forward? To script or not to script… early. THAT is the question! I would LOVE to hear what you all think… based on your wisdom and experience… because I know this may be our first ride down the slippery slope this school year but it sure won’t be our last. Thanks, in advance, for ALL of your help!

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