Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Mono

Well, my almost 10-year-old son has been sick for two weeks now.  Started with flu-like symptoms.  I assumed it was the flu, although I had my reservations because everything I read online said that September was too early. So I kept him home and expected him to be better after 3-5 days.

On day six of fevers and aches and pains and exhaustion, he woke up with his eyelids swollen.  That was enough of a deviation from the flu-like symptoms that I took him to the doctor.  She took a throat swab thinking it was Strep and said that we could wait for that to come back or we could just start him on amoxicillin.  I opted for the antibiotics because he really wasn't getting better and she said he was redder and more swollen than he should be with a virus.  Three days later the results came back positive.  So ... on the mend, right?  We also did a urine sample, because with Strep, the kidneys can be affected, and with swelling in the eyes, this was a possibility.  Hello hospital lab!

Well, the day after the Strep results, on the way out to dinner with friends, I noticed a little rash starting on his face.  My "Mommy Instincts" kicked in and I knew that we'd be headed to the emergency room after supper.  I have a penicillin allergy, so why wouldn't he, right?  He was so tired during supper that he put his head down on the table to rest.

An hour and a half after getting to the hospital (which really is not a bad wait), we had steroids, antibiotics and the recommendation of benadryl.  They take allergic reactions very seriously (as they should) and they were very concerned.

I posted our travails on Facebook, and a teacher friend of ours noted that people with Mono can develop a rash with penicillin (specifically amoxicillin on one web site, but it might be other strains of the antibiotic, too) and not really be allergic to the medication.  So I called the doctor again yesterday and we were up to the hospital for the third time in a week to get a blood test.  If you live in Wetaskiwin and ever need a non-fasting blood test, go between 3 and 4 in the afternoon.  There's no wait.

And then last night I was reading that in the first few days with mono, eyelids can swell!  And Mono tends to go hand-in-hand with Strep!!

Okay - so I'm pretty sure he has mono.  The length of time this is lasting, as well as his utter exhaustion (which is just not like him) just makes sense.  I'm sorry we didn't think of it before, but there's not much else we can do for the mono except wait for it to pass and take it easy.  (On one website they said that if it's too early in the disease, the test might not show positive, so I'm not even really counting on that).

Hopefully, it will be gone before we go on vacation in a couple of weeks.

Anyhow, I'm posting this because I didn't know about these things and it's not a bad thing to get educated about - especially for the parents of kids in my son's class (share this if you happen to know us and know them).  For one thing, I didn't realize that the symptoms can be very different in a child than in a teenager or adult (and can be quite serious if you are over 40).  I also didn't know that Mono is most often caused by the Epstein-Barr Virus.  And I did not know that by middle age (which I am) 95% of us have been exposed to the virus at some point - some without any symptoms at all.  Getting a allergic reaction to the Amoxicillin simply because of its reaction with the virus was also an unknown to me, as certainly was the eyelid swelling.

It's been a long two weeks, but I have to say that my son has been very brave.  This is by far the meanest rash I've ever seen - far worse than any I have ever had - and it's not going away easily.  He's exhausted and worn out, but through it all he's been really brave and in pretty good spirits.  (I'd post pictures, but I'm not allowed - and I'll respect that).

For now I'll keep him home when he's tired and take him to school when he can manage it.  And with luck he won't get too far behind in his school work.

Prayers and well-wishes are most welcome.

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