The Mystery of the Reappearing Cough


Ever since watching the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer movie last week, that has been all Caden has talked about. He asks to hear or sing the song every time we’re in the car. He’s in love with “Rudolph the red reindeer nose,” as he mistakenly but cutely calls him.

So Saturday, in the JCPenney sale ad they had stuffed Rudophs for half off, plus an extra percentage off. It was my idea to take him to get one, and the joy on his face while hugging his Rudolph was priceless.

Later that night he was coughing really bad and couldn’t stop. He has asthma so we used his albuterol and gave him benadryl thinking maybe the dust from getting out the Christmas tree was bothering him, or sometimes being around someone with heavy lotions or perfumes can bother him like that.

Sunday the cough was still around in the morning so we did another breathing treatment and this time gave him Zyrtec (it doesn’t make him as sleepy as benadryl.) During the day he seemed better. At night, the cough returned. John was wearing a new Navy uniform both days and the timing was close enough that I thought maybe there’s something in the new uniform that’s bothering him.

Same thing happened Monday night/Tuesday morning, except this time his dad was not around, so it couldn’t be the uniform.

This morning, at 5 a.m., he was coughing his head off and I called him to come to my bed. Tucked under his arm is Rudolph, who he’s been sleeping with every night since we got him, and after a few minutes my eyes start to feel scratchy. Then I smell it. Perfume. Musky perfume. On Rudolph. And then it hits me and everything makes sense.

How sad for him though to be allergic to his new favorite toy. He cried when I took it away and tried to explain that I think Rudolph was what was making him cough. While I went to get him medicine he snuck Rudolph back. I explained to him again to which he responded, “I think you’re right,” and then handed him over. :( I think in that short time apart and brief reunion he might have been able to tell that he felt different with Rudolph vs. without.

So now the challenge is how to fix it. I could try to wash Rudolph, but because he also plays music water immersion therapy might kill his song. I could also try to shop for a new Rudolph that isn’t so “fragrant,” but that would require time and money and some other store having such a Rudolph. Don’t know yet what I’ll do. At this point I’m just glad to have solved the mystery.

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