Rash decision

Mar 27, 2011

Erin and I had already made the decision for Erin to cut back to half time at work to allow us to take Oliver out of daycare (he goes to the splendid Childcare Matters, successor to the Holy Family Daycare that took such good care of Anna and Malia when they were younger), but last week was a prime example why we need to slow our lives down a bit.

Amid our engaging jobs — I’m loving my role at the Duke Department of Medicine, and Erin is thriving as an attorney at Smith Moore Leatherwood — our juggled drop-offs and pick-ups schedule, ongoing side projects such as ScienceOnline2012, visiting friends and a house to keep clean, Oliver came home from daycare with a rash. One look and we knew it was serious.

Right away, looking at the rash around this waist, I figured it was the diaper we’d borrowed from our neighbors. Yes — we had to borrow a diaper because we’d run out in the house, a good indicator our life is a bit nuts. But when Oliver’s armpits looked inflamed, Erin focused on the baby food, which has some new alphabet-like vitamin additive.

In the morning, Erin took Oliver to the pediatrician, who took one glance and asked, “What medication has he been taking?”

Of course. Oliver had just finished a course of amoxicillin for an ear infection. His rash was an allergic reaction, and we should have known from our own previous experiences with some very severe reactions to medications that this was more probable than a different type of diaper or a nutritional additive — another indicator that we need more time to focus on our family.

Oliver has been struggling with this reaction through the weekend, and it’s been painful (and sleep depriving) to watch. He’s got a great disposition, and in the hours that the antihistimine works, he’s been walking through the house, alternating kicking the small pink soccer ball or bouncing his small basketball. Yes, he’s only 11 months old and already playing soccer! (The subject of this NYTimes Magazine article, A Soccer Phenom Puts the ‘I’ in Team is a high school girl who also learned to walk and kick a ball at the same time; Anna and I are looking forward to watching her when she comes to UNC to play.)

Every time I look at Oliver’s angry rash and pained smile, I know we’re making a wise decision to find better balance in our home. Here’s to a summer of fewer allergies, more futbol and happy and healthy parents and kids.

Anton Zuiker

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