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Owl coughs.

He’s been doing it for months and months. Ever since he got croup, really. It’s practically part of his personality, now. We hardly notice it. His nose runs, and it gives him post nasal drip, and then he coughs, mostly at night when he’s lying down and we’re trying to sleep.

(Incidentally, this is hilarious, especially when you’re really tired.) 

At first I took him back to the doctor for it. Each time the doctor told me it was “probably viral” and that colds are common in the first winter in daycare.

“He’ll basically have colds non-stop all winter,” said the pediatrician jovially (my pediatrician looks exactly like a human sized Oompa Loompa. Not the weird orange men from the Gene Wilder film but Oompa Loompas as described by Roald Dahl).

How I imagine my doctor’s family must look

Plus Owl tended to pick up worse colds from his visits to the doctor’s office. So I gave up.

But Daycare Lady didn’t.

“I’m sure he needs antibiotics or something,” she said. “He’s always coughing, and it sometimes sounds like there’s boiling water in his chest.”

Every now and then the coughing gets worse.

It happened again this weekend. His coughing was so bad that PH was up with him again and again in the night, and gave up entirely at 3 am  when he handed me Owl in bed (usually it’s between 4:30 and 5:30 am when Owl joins me in bed).

Even in the car he’d cough and cough. When he breathes his chest sounds like it’s percolating coffee.

After the third night of this PH said, “take him to the pediatrician.”

Daycare Lady wholeheartedly agreed.

“You have to PUSH them. My brother is a pediatrician and when my little girl was small he told me that from what I was saying over the phone, he was sure she had pneumonia. I took her to the ER and the ER doctor said she was fine! Viral! Go home! So I said “you PROVE to me it’s viral!” and I insisted on an xray and the xray showed pneumonia!”

So I went in determined this time.

When Jolly Doc came in I explained that he has been coughing for months. Sometimes it’s worse than others but always THERE.

“Does it get better and then worse again?” he asked.


“It’s a cold.”

“An eight month long cold?”

“No, he just keeps getting colds one on top of the other. Happens all the time in daycare in winter.”

“But it’s June!”

“The cold season seems to be lasting longer than usual. We’ve had a cool spring.”

“But there’s only four other kids at his dayhome and none of them are sick!”

“You can’t tell me that the other kids never get colds.”

“No, they get colds occasionally, but they get sick, with stuffy noses and coughs and fevers and then a week later they’re over it. Owl’s symptoms are non-stop, and his nose rarely gets really clogged. It’s just constantly draining clear or yellow snot.”

“Because he keeps catching new colds before the old ones are done! I see this all the time. There’s no point in doing tests and no medicine will help you. His lungs don’t sound asthmatic, and I don’t think it’s allergies – you say it happened all through the winter, so it’s not likely seasonal.”

“Some units in our complex have had problems with mold, but we vacuumed and washed his bedding…”

“Yeah, and he hasn’t had a history of lung problems or breathing problems. This doesn’t look like allergies. It looks like a cold.”

“But he always looks like this!”

“Yes, well,” he laughed, “we call them “snot-nosed kids” for a reason!”

He DID say he would refer me to an eye doctor about Owl’s clogged tear duct. He said they usually resolve on their own but after a year he gets them dealt with “you’ve been surprisingly patient.”

Yes, well, considering my child is constantly coughing, a teary eye hasn’t really been high in my priorities.

I left feeling so frustrated.

How does he know that Owl hasn’t had the same persistant infection ever since October? Maybe he fights it off for a while and it keeps coming back. Why is he the only kid in his daycare who is constantly coughing up phlegm?

would you like some snot with that?

But I’m really frigging tired and I don’t see why he is constantly suffering from colds that no one else seems to be giving to him, or catching from him.