Friday, December 20, 2013

tis the season for sickies

I knew that it couldn't be a good thing when Abi came home from school last week and crashed into bed for the night, eyes full of tears and complains of headaches, sore throat, and body aches. The next day wasn't any better, so I kept her home from school. She spent some of the day in bed, some entertaining the Youngers for me, watching tv, and some of it complaining of pain and being overheated with a fever. It was when she started to develop a rash along her arms that I started to really get suspicious.

I don't mean to come across as paranoid or anything, but when I get notices sent home from school that there have been a few cases of illnesses going around, I start to worry about my own children getting it. Not because I'm fearful of it, but because I'm sure one of my children will!

With her fluctuating fever and red cheeks, and now her red bumpy rash up her arms and her neckline (where it started to be seen), now spreading to her torso and to her legs, I can't help but think there must be a connection. The only problem was that this rash popped up at around 6:45pm and the clinics close at 7pm! Phooey! I spent the evening looking up information on Scarlet Fever and what to do if.... and it all said that you should see a doctor if you suspect it, if the child has a fever of 101 or higher, and/or has developed a rash. Oh great! What I would love to see is medical pages that contains information on 'what to do if it is late and your doctor is closed." I really just wanted to know if she was an emergency case. Could we hold out til morning? Would she get worse? Finally, my Hunny found a page that said that we could hold out seeing a doctor for up to two days, but getting antibiotics sooner is always better. Phew!

We managed to get into the clinic the next day and the doctor said that a swab would be needed to confirm if it is Scarlet Fever, and since it was the weekend it wouldn't get done for a few days, but he was willing to pass judgement on her throat, white-coated tongue and sandpaper-like rash, and he confirmed what I already suspected. Abi had her second bout of Strep Throat and Scarlet Fever!  You may recall back when she was 8 how she had Streptococcal Pharyngitis (which is still fun to say) that turned into Scarlet Fever. The poor girl! 

I learned that not everyone who gets Group A Streptococcal Bacteria will get Scarlet Fever...but that is obvious as I've had strep throat but it didn't give me a rash.  The Strep bacteria makes a toxin and some people are more sensitive to it and that toxin causes the scarlet looking rash.  There is no vaccine for Scarlet Fever but it can be treated with antibiotics. (Abi was on Biaxin, since she can't take penicillin. We found out that she was allergic to it when she had this in '09!) However, there are still complications that can arise with this infection, if it is not treated. Such as heart disease, rheumatic fever, kidney failure, pneumonia, septicemia to name a few.... which is a bit scary to read.  (even if they are rare) When I was reading up on it, I was surprised to hear how bad it was in the past. Agathe Whitehead, the first wife of Captain Georg von Trapp, caught it from their daughter Maria Franziska and died from Scarlet Fever. (Georg ended up marrying Maria von Trapp and the whole Sound of Music and the von Trapp Singers came about.).  Mary Ingalls, older sister of Laura Ingalls Wilder, lost her sight to it. Johann Strauss 1, composer, died from it in 1849. (I like how on Wikipedia it says that he contracted it from one of his 'illegitimate children'. I find that a funny piece of information. Are they stating the illegitimate part to state he had many mistresses and many children were born from philandering? I'm wondering if it would be important to say it came from a 'legitimate child' if that were the case. I'm curious as to the necessity to point out how this child came to be!)  It is also thought that Helen Keller lost her hearing and sight due to Scarlet Fever.  (or possibly meningitis)  It's so humbling to think of! This infection still exists today and is still infecting people, but due to our availability of antibiotics (and perhaps more public understanding of it) it doesn't have those dire results. For that I am grateful.

can you see her rash all over her tummy and arms? she is pouting because it is itchy and painful and she is trying not to scratch!

On Monday, Abi would not be considered contagious anymore and could go to school, but she was still in pain and her rash was so itchy, so I kept her home. On Tuesday, surely she would be well enough, but again the rash gave her grief from being so itchy. I think she may have worried over nothing on that, and maybe I should've pushed her off to school, but I let her stay home one more day. We picked up her homework, and she had three days to catch up on in one night, which she didn't like much. But that's what happens when you choose to let something like an itch keep you from what you're supposed to do!

The good news is that she is healed! She can eat food again and can swallow and talk just fine and is back to her usual bouncy self. Her rash is almost gone as well. It's not as noticeable, at least, and it isn't as itchy so there's that.

The same Monday that Abi was recovering from her Scarlet Fever, Eden became sick. It started out with a runny nose and cold-like symptoms, along with a bit of a chesty cough the week earlier, but that day she started getting a high fever and her cough sounded terrible and then suddenly she was puking! We were at the school picking up Rhys from preschool when she puked out of nowhere. I cleaned her up and all was ok, other than her being hot and sleepy. Half an hour later and she's crying for me again (this time we're parked at the middle school to pick up the boys and to watch my friends' girls until she can get them after work) and I get that feeling it wasn't a good type of cry. Yep, as I pick her up she's throwing up all over me and herself! Four times! I manage to open the van door and get her to puke outside at least, but wow, the damage was done! I had it down my shirt, right down into my bra, and over my jacket and scarf. She was covered from her jacket, to her shirt, pants and her boots! I gagged a few times, but did get her cleaned up, and I was so thankful that I had wipes with me and a new outfit for her to wear, and that she didn't end up getting puke in the van. (we carried the brunt of it)  I was also grateful that she didn't puke again after that! So maybe she ate something funny, maybe it was from her fever, or maybe it was cough-induced or even from all the phlegm she was swallowing. 

That night, her cough got worse, so I spent time again researching Dr Google on different types of coughs in toddlers. I couldn't decide if hers was croup or bronchiolitis, though. She barked, but didn't have that intake sound, and she wheezed. It was scary. Plus she had a fever and rapid breathing. It's hard when your child is sick and you don't know what to do. It's harder when you've been down this road so many times before with other children that your mind doesn't think "What if we end up at the hospital" but "WHEN we go to the ER."  That's how I think now. So I mentally start to prepare. I think of what I should pack now (diapers, wipes, books and toys to keep her occupied) and wonder if I should pack much for myself (in case we end up being admitted) and I try to figure out when would be the best time to go to the ER. How long can I hold out at home? Should I go now or wait? What can I do for her now to avoid a hospital trip? I decide that even though she hasn't had any asthmatic episodes before, that her wheezing makes me nervous, so I pull out the nebulizer and the medication for it. Just in case. And I wait.

At 12:30, her coughing is terrible, and she's crying and she's wheezing. I take her from her crib, and the wheezing coming from her is starting to scare me. I want to thump on her back to get another chest-clearing cough out of her, trying to will her to get her airways cleared. So we start out nebulizer treatment together in the chair. (she didn't like it too much, but I managed to get some into her without having to put the mask on her. It's fun to play with, but not so much when it is really being used.) However, I still can hear her wheezing badly, so I start to gather our stuff to head to ER. (like our jackets from the dryer after her barfest) I put her onto my bed, her coughing and such, so I can get dressed. (I"m hoping Hunny will wake up and offer words of advice or comfort. ...Yeah, not so much though.)  She's getting tired and she starts to ask if we can lay down and go to sleep, and I start to realize that she isn't wheezing anymore! Woohoo!

By 3:30am, Rhys is in our bed too (and that is not comfy, my friends. A toddler and wiggly preschooler do not fit into a Queen sized bed along with two adults. There are way too many legs kicking around.) and he's coughing and in my very sleepy state I can remember thinking with fear that I've got two children having asthma attacks, and who do I help? (apparently they were well enough and I was sleepy enough, so I didn't 'help' either and fell asleep for another hour.)  At 4:30, she was coughing and wheezing again and I debated on going to the hospital again, but the nebulizer helped again. But it was our last nebules, so I was already thinking ahead that at this rate, we'd need to go by around 7:30am. Yay.

But that never happened. She slept and all was fine. No more wheezing! In fact, when I managed to get her into our doctor, she couldn't hear a wheeze at all! And ever though she heard her wet cough, her lungs were clear too! What? That surprised me!  She did, however, discover that her left ear is red and infected, and that her tonsils are huge with tonsilities. So that explains the fever. She's on antibiotics now too! 

I'm not too sure about her wheezing. Was it from an asthma attack? Should I have taken her into the ER? (we have a new prescription for nebulizer meds and for an inhaler, in case she'll take that easier.) Do I need to watch out for her and an eventual asthma diagnosis? How sad.

 I'm happy they are both are starting to feel better though and hopefully it will all be gone by Christmas. Blech!


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