Category Archives: Sick-oh

Scarlet Fever is in This Little House on the Prairie

Aitch had been running a fever off and on this past week, plus she complained of a sore throat. I chalked it up to a cold, what with the occasional wet cough and drippy nose that’s been incessant. I’ll admit I was just hoping she wasn’t going to throw up in the car seat (again!) or on the carpet (again!) or the couch (again!!).

She wanted to join her brother at the local Y for Family Swim Night, which was just an extended open swim from the after-school program. I went through the rushed steps of getting her undressed from her clothes and getting her into her swimsuit as quickly as possible so we could make the most out of what little time we had left. I was also distracted by the fact I had to get in the water with her and was no mood to be in a swimsuit without an opportunity to shave.

I slid into the cold water and turned my arms to reach for Aitch who stood at the pool’s ledge arms crooked to her body like a tiny t-rex and I pretended the water felt great. It didn’t. Normally she doesn’t hesitate to just jump in, but once her feet touched the water, she tensed up and would have climbed up and sat on my head if physically possible. I peeled her off me and sat her back on the ledge, annoyed. I had been in such a hurry that I had forgotten to have her go to the bathroom so she stood there, quaking with cold and doing her version of the “potty dance.” I climbed back out of the water, grabbed our towels and we trotted back into the locker room.

As she was sitting there, I noticed how red her hip looked. I lifted the top of her swimsuit and the rash ran all the way up her back. And even though she was shivering violently, she was hot to the touch. It was then she told me she wanted to go home. I knew it was time to take her to the urgent care.

The doctor diagnosed her with strep throat. I asked if he was going to swab her throat to confirm (I think “strep” is just code for “sore throat”, it’s not as common as most think), but he said that the scarletina was confirmation enough. I had never heard a rash described with that word before and didn’t think much of it. We were given a script for antibiotics and we went home. Of course I googled rash and strep throat when I got home and I was surprised to find out that “scarletina” is actually Scarlet Fever.

She has all of the symptoms:

  • sore throat
  • fever
  • rash
  • bright red tongue and throat
  • headaches and body aches

I was expecting it to be just another unexplained rash like when she was a baby. Honestly, I didn’t even think Scarlet Fever was a thing nowadays. By the way, she’s feeling fine. Today both her and Doodicus BEGGED us to take them into town to go sledding down the dam’s hillside, which we did. The girl is a trooper. That’s all I can say.

RASH (no pictures this time) UPDATE

This is a follow-up to the post about my daughter’s rash since I’ve had many hits on it and queries as to how she is not doing:

It’s been what seems like an endless parade to and from a medical office of one kind or another lately. After waiting literally months for ZGirl’s dermatology appointment, it came and went and left me feeling a bit fuzzy in the brain – like I hadn’t ever been to a specialist before – and went away with more questions than answers.

Dr. Eyebrows, the junior of his now retired father who we originally saw last year, took one look at ZGirl and exclaimed how her condition and symptoms were exactly like his own son of the same age. I felt relief. He gave us a script for a cream, advised us to try an OTC antihistamine when things got bad, and swabbed her to see if she was a carrier of nasal staph.

Did you just go reread that last part?

Yeah. That’s where I got derailed at the appointment and failed as a parent to ask WTF. A couple weeks later I got a call from the clinic to confirm that she was positive. We’ll come back to that in a sec. At the time we were to start a nasal antibiotic right away.

For several days, we squirted an ointment up both nostrils of one very pissed off toddler. It would piss me off too.

After the treatment, her skin looked beautiful! I mean enviably gorgeous! And then a week later she was sick again with something viral (aka “cold”) and the rash and redness returned with a vengeance. Then the daycare told us that there were two confirmed cases of staph (I hadn’t told them about ZGirl’s appointment). And then the coughing and wheezing started. And then she threw up. And then the blizzard snowed us in and the in-laws out. And then Christmas came and went. And then this past Sunday Mr. DD bundled her up right away in the morning because she was getting worse and took her to the urgent care: ear and respiratory infection and the beginning of more antibiotics, this time the kind that taste like ass, even when flavored with grape, which resulted in a taste of ass covered in grape jelly.

And then finally, her follow-up appointment with Dr. Eyebrows. One I was determined to get to the bottom of with this staph infection carrier business. I spent free time googling “nasal staph infection carrier” needlessly. The nurse who called to confirm ZGirl was positive did not clarify that she was positive for another kind of bacteria – but NOT staph. Awesomeness.

Basically, ZGirl just has very sensitive baby skin and moisture followed by sudden dryness (like snot dripping and then subsequently being wiped away with a sleeve) will cause her extreme irritation. The prickly rash she gets on the rest of her body is her skin’s reaction to infections, which really does make sense when you consider the skin is the largest organ of the body. She should outgrow it eventually. Until then, if she gets really rashy about the face, we are to slather her with A&D ointment at bedtime. And that’s it.

If you are still seeking answers to your child’s unexplained rash, ask about getting a culture for staph done. Try A&D ointment, generously applied. Ask about steroid creams or try a mild over the counter cortisone cream. As for the body, moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. Aveeno for baby works great. Avoid highly perfumed lotions. If nothing else, vaseline after a bath. Good luck.

SKIN DEEP

As ZGirl’s pediatrician predicted, ZGirl’s rash on her body cleared up within a week as did the other symptoms of a viral infection.

Unfortunately, her facial rash, which he suggested was contact dermatitis, a catchall for “hey, we don’t know what kind of rash it is or what the root cause is” kind of rash, has – as you can see – only proceeded to get worse.

2009 002

See how it’s even on her eyelids??

The picture captures one of the worst days. In the morning it looks less inflamed, but it’s definitely there. I try to put on a light coat of 1% hydrocortizone cream with a bit of vaseline over that, per doctor’s order. However, I haven’t seen any improvement whatsoever. I don’t know if it itches or burns as she doesn’t seem to scratch or rub at her face, except when she’s tired and she rubs her eyes, which is probably how it is getting transferred in the areas it is. At the onset of these symptoms, I did a little inventory of whatever I have changed. As I said in my first post about the rash, nothing has changed, except she’s on more regular foods and whole milk now.

We have her 15 month check up in a month. I’m not sure whether to ride it out until then or try to get an appointment with another dermatologist (which could take a 3-4 week wait anyway). I keep thinking tomorrow she’ll wake up and it’ll all be gone. And then I think it again the next day, and the next. It doesn’t seem emergent, but how long do we let this go on?

Thank goodness those gorgeous blues distract me.

2009 043

(BTW, the picture immediately above was taken August 24th while the first one was taken September 14th)

IF I HAD TO HAVE PAID FOR THAT VISIT OUT OF POCKET, IT WOULDN’T HAVE BEEN WORTH THE $100 FEE. GOOD THING I HAVE INSURANCE, HUH?

Well, it’s not…

  • Chicken Pox
  • Fifths Disease
  • Hand, Foot & Mouth
  • Roseola
  • Shingles
  • Molluscum Contagiosum

But he does think it’s viral, especially since at the last visit a week ago to the pediatrician, the other guy said she had an ear infection (but I’m still rolling my eyes at that one) and the loose stools.

The rash on her face is most likely contact dermatitis, a.k.a.: Drool Face.

I know. The suspense was killing you. But now you know as much as I do about ZGirl’s rash, which really if you were to sit back in your chair and gaze up to your ceiling and contemplate, it wouldn’t be much at all.

So, uh, yeah. Carry on with your weekends, people.

RASH (’cause I can’t come up with a more clever title)

Did I mention here that ZGirl has another rash of some type or another?

After her week off from daycare while Mr. DD was in Boston, the Sunday before her return back to daycare (this is important), I noticed little tiny bumps under her chin, but lots of them. A couple were even on each of her cheeks, above her mouth, and on her sweet little eyelids. Her EYELIDS.

We took her to the see the pediatrician right away who diagnosed her with a teething rash. Try some hydrocortisone and vaseline, he said. Since he’s not ZGirl’s regular pediatrician, I was skeptical. He’s always been off on her past diagnoses.

The days passed and they got worse. As I described on facebook last night, she looks like a PMSing, 15 year old girl. She’s a wreck. A hot mess. Not only that, the rash has spread to her trunk, groin and upper back. Like a prickly heat rash.

The daycare noticed that when she first shows up in the morning, she doesn’t look bad. By the end of the day? See the “Hot Mess” comment above.

HOWEVER, I have to admit that I don’t think this is daycare related. Remember how I said they started showing up after her week off from daycare?

It was suggested that it might be a yeast rash, which it kind of looks like. Another suggested was hand, foot & mouth infection, which I don’t think it is because the sores don’t open and she eats well (no inside mouth sores) and no fevers.

I’d post pictures for you M.D.’s out there (or M.D.’s via Google), but I haven’t had much time to do more than eat supper when we all get home for the day. I’ll try to later as once we figure this out, it might be helpful for the next person.

I did get some new detergent, dye and perfume free, and rewashed the clothes and blankets she was going to use today. We’ll see what happens.

OOOH! I just had another thought: she on whole milk exclusively. Could that possibly be it? Regular formula and she drank whole milk in limited quantities before. Her colon has been on overdrive as well, going from one regular BM to now at least 4 to 5. Thoughts? Opinions??

BTW, in 30 minutes I’ll be at the dentist’s with XBoy. I’m going to find out if they can give him something other than (or in addition to) nitrous since I think we will go ahead and get those baby teeth pulled, but not today.

RACING EBAY VAN TO SPECIALIST FOR ADHD

I’ve been pretty irritated with my husband lately. Actually just on the weekends. He’s been racing* every weekend for the past 4, which goes against what I thought we had agreed to when racing*season started: he’s races* one weekend; I get to do what I want the next weekend. Easy, right?

When I whined to him about it, he told me I “need to get a hobby.” So tonight when I sat down at my laptop, he asked what I was doing. My “hobby”, Mr. Observant.

* as in radio-control electric car racing

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I have been dealing with a nightmare on a simple $15.00 ebay purchase. I found the seller (who won’t respond to my emails or send me my mofo purchase) on another site via google, because some people are stupid and use the same username all over the web. If it wasn’t for the fact I used my husband’s ebay account, I would be all over that bitch like a fly on shit. My husband says that’s harassment. I say it’s internet justice.

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Speaking of crappy service, wait until I tell you about my foray into warranty work on my vehicle. It’s a comedy of errors compounded by two survey phone calls. The last survey caller even had the gall to make up excuses as to why the dealership screwed up not once, not twice, but three goddamn times. I just don’t have the energy to talk about it now.

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More service problems: I took a two hour drive down to The Metro to see a specialist for ZGirl. Long, long, LOOOOONNNGG story short? She’s fine.

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What people who don’t have children with ADHD don’t understand is that a child who suffers from ADHD isn’t just one who is “overly active”. XBoy’s ADHD is not manifested in physical over-activity. It is him being constantly on mental overload. Like having a power plug with every outlet being used plugged into ANOTHER power strip. That’s XBoy’s brain.

For a “normal” child, you can tell them, “It’s bedtime. Please get ready for bed.” and off they go. Fifteen minutes later, you can walk into their room and they’ve changed, completed their nightly toiletry, and might even be in bed.

It doesn’t work that way with XBoy. If I tell him to take a bathroom break, sometimes he’ll get up from the living room couch walk into the hallway and then turn to his bedroom. From the time he heard the request to the time he’s walked to the hallway, he’s forgotten what he’s supposed to do, maybe due to a distraction of a toy laying on his bedroom floor.

To get him ready for bed, it’s simple commands that have to be repeated a couple of times before the task gets completed. The nightly conversation goes a lot like this:

Go take a bathroom break, please (follow him into the bathroom, and lean against door jam).

Lift the ring, please.

Flush, please.

Put the ring down, please.

Wash your hands, please – use soap.

Shut off the water, please.

Dry your hands, please.

Brush your teeth, please.

Put away your brush, please.

Shut off the lights, please.

Go get dressed for bed, please (follow him into the bedroom).

Put your clothes in the hamper, please.

Get into bed, please.

Each command must come separately or else after the first one, you may find him 15 minutes later playing in the bathroom sink with a hairbrush and q-tip and water pooling up not only on the counter but the floor as well.

We are tired of it. He’s certainly tired of it. Unfortunately, we can’t leave him to his own devices. There are times, more often than not, that in the morning, we can tell him to get dressed for the day and we’ll walk into his room ten minutes later and find him standing there buck-naked and playing with his Star Wars action figures. If we ask, “What are you doing?!” he’ll respond, “I’m just playing!” as in “duh! what does it look like I’m doing??”

So yeah. If a friend tells you that their child has ADHD, don’t just think it’s a kid acting like a rabid weasel on meth.

If only it were that easy.

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Feel free to pick a topic, any topic, and advice away. Sorry about the schizo title.

DAY-COULDN’T-CARE(LESS)

It was on a Sunday evening that I started rethinking the rash on ZGirl’s chest. I told Mr. DD that it could be ringworm, but after googling it and finding several sites that addressed it in daycares and that it wasn’t anything to keep a child home from, I didn’t think twice about it Monday when I readied her for drop-off. In fact, when I arrived, I mentioned it to one of the staff that it might be ringworm and asked her to just keep it covered, a supposedly easy feat considering its placement.

Within a few hours, the director called and told me that since it does  appear to be ringworm, I would have to come and pick her up. I was miffed, but I looked at it as an excuse to spend the afternoon with her. I did run her to my FP to get a confirmation and treatment advice, which yes, it was and he said to simply keep it dry, covered, and apply lamisil or a similar product. When I asked if I should keep her home from daycare, he also said I shouldn’t need to since that’s where she probably got it from, but keeping her home a couple days during treatment would cut down on someone else getting it. So, that’s what I did.

By Thursday, I figured she should be good to go back to daycare. I dropped her off and thought nothing more of it.

It was when I picked her up after work that things started getting ugly.

I turned the corner to her room of the center and there was ZGirl sitting her carseat outside the door in the hallway. The gate was up in the door and a caregiver was seated on the other side of the gate. When I asked why, she said that she didn’t want to get ringworm. The director was also in the room and she said that her staff was susceptible to it since they had had it once (“No, duhhhh. That’s why ZGirl has it now,” I said in my head.). Then she asked if ZGirl would be back tomorrow and I told her yes, and walked out. I was so angry to see my daughter put out like a nasty bag of laundry that I could barely see straight.

When I got home and told Mr. DD, he wanted to call the director himself to a little butt-chewing. I actually convinced him to just sleep on it, but we both agreed it was time to find a new daycare.

Friday morning I was running late so Mr. DD offered to take ZGirl to daycare for me. I had just arrived at work when he called me. He said that he walked in the doors and there was one of the staff telling him that ZGirl wasn’t welcome since she had ringworm.

Mr. DD demanded that the staff member call the director, who wasn’t even there yet, to ream her out. Once on the phone, the director voiced her concern over how we weren’t treating ZGirl’s infection; how she was understaffed and she couldn’t afford to have staff out with ringworm; and how she had informed me the night before that if ZGirl still had any signs of ringworm that she couldn’t come back until it was finally clear.

Mr. DD responded that it was due to her staff’s carelessness that ZGirl was infected in the first place. He told her that ZGirl had been receiving treatment since Monday and that the doctor said it was no problem for her to return. He told her that her lack of staffing was not his concern; his only concern was his daughter.

The director finally conceded that ZGirl could be left there only after they stripped her down to see if she had any other flare-ups. This bit of news only fueled my anger since I am sure they weren’t doing that to the other children in the daycare.

Finally, Mr. DD told me that when he brought ZGirl into her room at the center, the staff member there seemed irritated that ZGirl was going to stay. This made us both wonder how she was going to be treated over the course of the day, but we refused to give in to their irrational judgment.

When I went to pick her up, the director pulled me aside and asked to speak to me. She told me how another child was sent home with ringworm that morning and how ZGirl probably gave it to her. I corrected her by telling her that ZGirl, who cannot walk, cannot crawl, most certainly did NOT give ringworm to anyone. It was the staff that is transferring it because they are failing to take the simplest precautions. I defended our decision by telling her that every day we come to daycare and see multiple children oozing green snot out of every facial orifice, spewing and smearing pathogens on everything and everyone without recourse, but yet my daughter, who has a fungus that spreads by deliberately touching her and then someone else without washing (in which they would have to undress her as well), has somehow attracted their misguided attention.

I told her that I was highly offended seeing ZGirl the day before in the hallway as if she was a leper, and that they certainly turned face on us considering that the same staff member who dropped ZGirl on her face – who couldn’t put her down for days following that accident -now avoided contact of any kind. The director told me not to take this defensively, but there are other options for care out there, to which I replied that we were most certainly aware of our options and that they were being pursued.

Now before someone tries to play devil’s advocate on me, reminding me that if the shoe was on the other foot, blah blah blah, yes, if I was a parent, I would be very irritated that my child is being exposed to a contagion. In fact, I am a parent who ends up finding out that my child is exposed every day to something at the center that could be entirely preventable if the staff was taking standard precautions. This is why ZGirl has had in the past two months an ear infection, bronchiolitis, RSV, another ear infection, pink-eye, another  ear infection and then the ringworm. Let’s not even discuss how she yet again has a runny nose and mattering eyes. Guess how many times Mr. DD, XBoy or myself have had signs of an upper respiratory infection or pinkeye or ringworm/athlete’s foot in these past two months? Zip.

As for trying to understand why I am working myself up about this when it was just three months ago that a staff member dropped her? I wish I could explain it to you, but I don’t feel anger or malice over that accident. Maybe it’s because I am just so bloody thankful that she’s OK when I find myself imagining the worst; that she could have died in the arms of a stranger. I just expected the care center to feel guilty enough to be more cautious with her and realizing instead of providing extra care, they seem to have just stopped caring. All the other actions are accidents, but to deliberately provide subpar-care? That’s intentional, and in short, unforgiveable.

WELLNESS CHECK

My dad is doing well, all things considered. Today, just four days after the accident, they are discharging him to the nursing home for intensive physical therapy. Sunday they introduced him to a walker and it was a miserable first attempt. He has had carpal tunnel in both wrists for years and while one wrist was operated on, it continues to be bothersome and since he felt little relief, he didn’t bother with the second. His upper body strength does not lend itself to a walker. However, Monday he proudly announced that he made it all the way out to the hall. Considering that his first attempt got him standing only, it was a vast improvement.

BTW, if your man has a magazine subscription, I beg you to bring his old issues to the local hospital (if they accept). I went on a hunt through the waiting rooms for something for him to read only to find Vogue, Good Housekeeping, and endless other feminine reading materials. Or if your husband doesn’t have anything, buy a subscription that appeals for men to be delivered to a certain area of the hospital out of the goodness of your heart.

My mom had also brought him some things to make him feel human: a razor, clean underwear, and his glasses. He did opt out of her bringing his dentures. He only wears them for trips into town anyway.

Speaking of teeth, right now my daughter is sitting on the floor cursing the teeth that are yet meant to be. Baby-cussing is awesome.You know it’s baby-cussing when they frown while they babble and it crescendos into a screech.

The spot of ringworm, which as OvaGirl pointed out is in fact NOT a worm but a fungus of the dermis, is at the top of her chest, directly below her chin. I actually noticed what I had thought was a rash created from the incessent water-works dribbling from her mouth a couple weeks ago. It almost disappeared last week and then Saturday is was back with a vengeance. Crusty and the size of a nickel, I even said to Mr. DD that it might be ringworm.

Thump me on the head now, because when I dropped her off at daycare Monday morning I pointed it out to one of the staff and instructed her just to keep it covered and dry via a bib. Apparently, she pointed it out to the Director who called me and said it was in their handbook that children with ringworm could not be in the center.

Funny how the kids are allowed to come and literally seep their snotty noses all over each other via the handling of mutual toys, or even their personal blankets in a non-stop snot-fest, yet this – fungus – is something to quarantine. Both are contagious, obviously, since she also then confirmed that another child had had ringworm a couple months earlier (jeez, a heads up would have been nice), but I would think the kid who wipes their snot on everything in sight would be more of a health hazard. But, whatever. The deed is done and frankly, so are we.

I filed an official complaint today even though I had pangs of guilt. I know I shouldn’t feel guilty, but seriously? Ever since she joined the 4-18mos old, she’s been sick non-stop. And would you believe that when I tell people about it, I’m asked if I breastfed? Makes me want to poke a sharp stick in their eye. Proof positive that breastfeeding your kid doesn’t NOT make them uber-immune.

If I make it through the rest of Lent without dropping the f-bomb here, it’ll be a minor miracle.

OH-OH-OTITIS!

Had typed out one of my funniest and informative posts ever and wordpress kicked me out because I walked away in the middle to go eat my sloppy joe.

*insert swearing here *

Summary:

ZGirl has had some seriously high, high fevers – 101+ – over the past couple of days.

Two weeks ago, doctor visit: just a cold.

Last week, a doctor visit: pink eye, chest congestion.

Last night, doctor visit: influenza (nope, swab was negative); pneumonia (nope, negative chest xrays); she’s got an infection.

This afternoon, a doctor visit: ear infection, again! In both ears, again!

This time I remember to tell the pharmacy to flavor the AB. Unfortunately, didn’t realize that the doctor who saw my daughter, who knows we go to a day care, who prescribed nebulizer treatments 3x a day, also decided to write the script for albuterol in the mix-it-yourself variation. *insert more swearing here*

Maybe I’m just crabby because I have a UTI, the first in oh, 20 years? And all I had to do to get a script was call my OB.

Nah. I’m just darn crabby.

THROW ME ONE

Dear Karma,

While I’m not quite sure what to think yet about the job loss, I can say without a doubt that after my daughter’s acquisition of not only a double ear infection, but now bronchiolitis and RSV per the ER physician’s confirmation this morning in response to my baby’s inability to breath, you seriously fucking owe me one.

Yours only out of spite,

Without A’bone