Saturday, March 28, 2009

Daddy calls him the Scarlet Pimpernel

(This is a long one, I apologise in advance)

So ...

Wednesday morning, I'm making breakfast, Boy wanders in, and hear those 4 words guaranteed to chill an otherwise upbeat mother to the bone: "Momma ... I threw up."


So I run him to the couch, nest him in a mass of pillows, blankets, and many many towels to cover all, tuck a puke rubbish bin next to his head, and sail back in to finish breakfast and get everyone else off to work/school.

He threw up all day and by evening was just retching painfully into the bin.  The next morning he was feverish, dehydrated. I tried a bit of ginger ale. Nope. Right back up.

By noon he was able to sip a bit of liquids but his fever was sky high.  In the afternoon I noticed the rash.  It was a fine bright red rash over the tops of his cheeks and the bridge of his nose.  I'd never seen anything like it.

I Tweeted my Twitterlings and got back "Fifth Disease"*  I had thought of that first but, damnit, the rash just looked wrong. It was a malar rash, a 'butterfly' rash. Fifth Disease produced a rash on the cheeks, like they've been slapped. It just wasn't right.

Here's a pic of Boy's rash:

Well, by mid afternoon it had spread downward and I gave up and decided Fifth Disease. I emailed his teacher, who is pregnant, and rang my husband.

In the meantime, Boy's fever raged on. I gave him Tylenol and that helped a good bit.  He was drinking pretty well, so I decided to see how things went.

Then, late afternoon, the breakthrough came. Boy had been sleeping pretty much all day. He woke up and, to my delight, his fever had broken.  I asked him if he wanted something to drink and asked him if anything hurt. He said: "only my throte".

"Your throte hurts?"


"Let me see your tongue!"

(He shows me a tongue, bright red, with the classic white coating.) I quickly searched under his shirt and sure enough the fine lacy rash was everywhere. Scarlet Fever!

More phone calls and emails, one to the doctor for an appointment, and the mystery was resolved. But our own Hell Week wasn't over. Friday turned out to be a DAY.

Ever had one of those days where Every. Farkin. Wee. Thing seems to go wrong?  That was my Friday.

I had been sleeping badly since Boy was ill. He was sleeping on the couch and I'd get up 10 times in the night to check on him. So Friday morning I was groggy and bumping along in low gear.  I was trying to catch up on my tweets/emails when I realised that it was 20 minutes after Bodog should have been up. I dashed upstairs to find him having a low blood sugar episode.

(If you've never experienced this, it's disconcerting. He can't control his muscles so he can't sit up in bed or stand or walk. He'll look at me but can't respond. Once I get his blood sugar back up he's shakey and confused for a half hour afterwards.)

I finally got Bodog going and he'd made it into the shower so I could start breakfast and make lunches. I got the rest of The Brood up and managed to burn breakfast trying to run down the hall and tend to Boy. Finally I got all the schoolies fed breakfast #2 and dressed and  then basically shoved my husband and daughters out the door (they were terribly late by that point).  *whew*

Then I dressed the baby, helped Boy get dressed (He was so weak. He hadn't eaten in 2 days.), and the boys and I jumped in V for Vandetta and headed for Columbia.

Two hours later (waiting in rush hour traffic, waiting in the doctor's office, all on top of a 45 min drive), the doctor confirms that it's Scarlet Fever. Whee.

Now here's the catch. I live between two tiny towns on a big lake. Go around the lake one way and you get to our local 'City', Columbia SC.  Go the other direction from my house, toward the upstate, and you get to our local 'big town', Newberry SC.  Opposite directions.  AND the only way to get from one to the other is to track back, basically through both tiny towns and almost right past my house. You can't shoot straight in between because the lake is in the way.

So, I'm in Columbia, but my pharmacy is in Newberry. PLUS I needed to get more children's Tylenol and gingerale for Boy and we needed feed.

So off we go, back the way me came, and onward into Newberry.

An hour later we're there. 20 min after that we're in the Wal Mart. I'm thinking I might have to carry my 7 year old Boy. He's exhausted and dragging along behind us.

Then came the clincher: It would take an HOUR to fill our scripts.

So we wanderd around the store. Boy refused to either be carried or ride in the cart.  I bought waaaay too many garden plants. I examined dairy products at great length that I couldn't eat because of the sugar content. I watched with undisguised awe some of the grotesquely overweight, wheezing, limping denizens of Newberry county**, buy chips, frozen convenience foods, snack cakes, and loads and loads of sodas.

I wandered back by the pharmacy. "20 more minutes," they said. We chose to just sit. Boy was as limp and pale as uncooked bacon with that bright red rash standing out on each cheek.  The small boys, Bulk and Fiver were bored and wound up and being gleefully bad. My Blackberry battery was dead.

Finally I stood up and went purposefully over to the clerk.  Resisting the urge to grab him by the throte and drag him closer, I leaned in and said, quietly, in my best Dark Knight Joker voice: "Y'know, I understand that it's only fair to fill scripts in the order they came in, but if you're filling a script for someone who won't be picking it up for 3 days and I'm standing here with my sick, contagious child ... well, that just doesn't make sense, does it?"

It'd have been great to have some dynamite strapped to my ribs, y'know, to use for emphasis, but it did the trick anyway (I was wearing my Evil Genius logo t-shirt which has a bomb on it, LOL). Miraculously, mine were the next 2 scripts filled.

So that was my crap week.  I didn't mention almost running out of petrol (twice!), dropping my CD player AND the camera, and spilling my coffee (twice, again!), but this post is just too long as it is. 

I hope your week went better than mine!  Here's a comparison pic of a Scarlet Fever rash, advanced down the face and mimicking Fifth Disease:

*For the record people, It's FIFTH disease not Fifth'S. Just like it's DOWN syndrome not Down'S.
**This is by no means unique to my own county. You see it everywhere. Go to the Lexington SC Wal Mart. Dear god. The horror.

PS: Fifth, parvovirus b19, is not generally harmful to infected kids (it IS dangerous for pregnant women, though). It runs it's course uneventfully in most kids. If, however, you suspect your child has Scarlet fever, which is a group A strep (a bacterial infection), you should take said child to the doctor for antibiotics.

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 6:10 am   7 comments


At 8:23 am, Blogger jif said...

Hugs Blue! Hope things get better.

At 9:35 am, Blogger Ann said...

Lordy! -BLUE !! First Pam and now YOU going through this Scarlet Fever episode. ( I swear I haven't heard of anyone having Scarlet Fever since my Grandfather had it back in the late 1800's) Maybe I'm outta touch but I raised two kids. . .??? BIG, BIG HUGS! Ann K.

At 10:02 am, Anonymous Tink said...

I got Fifth when I was 21. No idea how.
I do remember the doc saying "Parvovirus" and me saying "Um, isn't that what puppies get?!"

I had the lacy rash all up and down my arms (and later my trunk) but my face was totally clear. It was the weirdest thing... but that's why I didn't think your poor Boy had it. Scarlet Fever though... UGH. Never knew anybody under 50 that has caught it!

At 10:48 am, Blogger MrsEvilGenius said...

Thanks so much guys! *mwah!*

I was so distant on thread and twitter the last few days, I decided I'd better just blog it.

I also thought that Scarlet Fever was a thing of the past! When Pammy posted about her little man I was really startled.

Now to see if any of the others get it. *sigh*

At 1:30 pm, Blogger Mrs. Chili said...

YIKES! Scarlet fever?! That NEVER, in a million years, would have crossed my mind as a possibility.


I hope everyone is feeling better - especially YOU!

At 6:41 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

omg! so sorry to hear about it *hugs*


At 3:42 pm, Blogger McMGrad89 said...

I just wish I had read this on Monday. It would have saved a week of worry.


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