THE BACKGROUND: My son has recently been battling a cold and just as it was getting better it got much worse. I put him down to sleep as usual at 7pm Saturday night. At 10:30pm he woke up crying and when I went into his room he was laying down crying which I thought was odd. I tucked him back in, sang him back to sleep, and then went back to bed. Fifteen minutes later he was awake again and this time inconsolable. I decided to get up to observe him and try to understand what was bothering him. While we watched Monsters, Inc. I saw that maybe it was his butt bothering him, or maybe his stomach, or maybe his head.
He felt warm but I wasn't sure if it was sleepy-warm or fever-warm so I waited and checked but it definitely was a fever. I gave him some pain reliever for the fever around 11pm then put him back down around 11:45pm. He slept until 2:00am and was awake and crying every 15 minutes until 4:30am, each time he was laying helplessly and not standing up. I'd rock him to sleep and that would help until I put him in the crib. I also tried bringing him to bed with me and that helped only as long as it had been working in his crib, fifteen minutes.
He slept from 4:30am-6:30am and was up for the day. It was clear right away that something more than just a cold was wrong because his limbs were shaking, he couldn't walk around or support his own weight, and was inconsolable again. It was really scary as parents to see this. I gave him some juice (something I rarely do) since he didn't want milk or water and also some cereal. That gave him some energy but he still broke out into crying fits for no particular reason.
I took him to the local walk in clinic only to be turned away because his primary care physician didn't refer him to that clinic and had to go to the insurance companies clinic instead. It was 20 minutes away.
THE ASSESSMENT: He was doing ok but was burning up and of course he hates going to the doctor. Initial diagnostics were done by a nurse and then we were brought to a room to wait for the doctor. The doctor came in and Dylan was at his worst... bright red from fever, crying, drooling, just in so much pain. She took a quick look in each ear using a lighted otoscope and discovered that he had a double ear infection.
THE TREATMENT: He was put on amoxicillin 1tsp twice a day for 10 days, 1tsp pain reliever every 4 hours, and ear drops every 4 hours. (He is 20 months old)
Practical Points: My son never tugged at his ears or did anything specific to make me think it was an ear infection. I now know that he wasn't standing up in his crib because his head hurt so bad, thus laying there and crying was much easier. He also had a decreased appetite along with an inherent avoidance of dairy product (both milk and yogurt).