Thursday, June 30, 2005

Red letter week

Or should I say scarlet letter. Ryan was really, really sick back on Saturday - he had a high fever, curled up in a ball on the couch all day, and had a sore throat bad enough that he didn't eat at all (he even turned down ice cream!). By Sunday he was a bit better, though still feverish. Monday he was back to bouncing. That night, as I helped him with his PJs, I noticed a rash. A red, bumpy rash all over his body. Fever+rash=suddenly concerned mommy. He was feeling much better by this point, so I wasn't too worried, but wanted to keep him away from other children (and my MIL who works in a retirement home) if he had something other people could catch.

Off to the Pediatrician the next morning. I love our Ped - she is a no nonsense woman who is fond of using herbs and other nontraditional remedies and who calls me at home when I have questions that need answering. She did the exam, pointed to the rash, and said, "it's scarlet fever - look at the rash. See how it looks like sandpaper?". Um, OK, not the pretty benign childhood rash I was expecting. Oh, and there is a whole host of really scary complications that can happen. And by the way, how long will he be contagious? "He'll be very contagious until he's had 24 hours of antibiotics." She wrote up the prescription and we were off to the drug store.

Normally I am really, really hesitant to use antibiotics for a whole host of reasons. Drug resistance is a big one, but I also feel it's usually best to simply boost the immune system and let the body work. But scarlet fever? My mom became legally blind without glasses from scarlet fever she had as a little girl. I'm not messing with this at all. So we got some of the ubiquitous pink liquid and brought it home. The only problem was, Ryan would not take it. Not with ice cream, not with the highly coveted daddy's Dr. Pepper. This was a lot of medicine, by the way - 7ml, which looks like an pink ocean when you're trying to get it down a 6 1/2 year old boy who will not take it for love or money.. I tried everything to help him take it, from mixing it with the Dr. Pepper to offering it in a milk shake, but got nowhere. Fianlly called the pharmacist to see if there was any other way to take it. Chewables! YES - this could work! They called the doctor's office and set up the prescription. Back to Sav-On's we went. Got the god-sent chewables and had him give them a try. He gagged at the taste, but came up with the idea of taking them like a capsule (he can swallow pills just fine). Out came the water, and he gave it a try. They went down, but he gagged and promptly threw up. Then refused to ever, ever try those again (can't blame him). So much for that idea.

By this point, I'd been trying to get antibiotics in him for almost six hours. Here's where autism gets especially tricky - he was completely focused on that medicine the whole time. I know I'm a pretty stubborn person, but I've got nothing on him. And in his case, it isn't even being stubborn, he was terrified of the medicine in both forms. Anything new is automatically suspect, and the taste or texture of something new can actually be painful to him. And holding him down to take it was just not an option we were willing to consider.

As the day wore on, I noticed that my throat felt funny. No, no, it's not sore. I'm also definitelly not running a fever. Not tired at all, either. No, really. Nope, not sick in any way at all, thank you.

By the time Dan got home, I had to admit that yes, I was sick. My throat felt like someone took a flame thrower and made creme brulee back there. Fever, too. Hmmm....didn't the Ped. tell me to watch other family members for the same symptoms? Sigh. Off to Urgent Care *I* went, while Dan talked to Ryan about taking the blasted antibiotics already.

I knitted away in the waiting room when a man sitting in the corner asked about my needles. Turns out he had seen students of his knitting in class (!) and wondered about the whole process. We talked about the math involved, about how circular needles can knit something flat, and about yarn guage. Then I got called in.

Yep - all the symptoms, right here. She asked when Ryan had started his antibiotics. "Well, not yet, exactly." I told her about my day, and joked that this was a nice break. She laughed and said, "are you sure you don't just want to stay here for a while?" Got my very own prescription for antibiotics, and off I went.

By the time I got home, Dan had great news: Ryan had taken the medicine! He agreed to try the chewables again with some ice cream, and ended up swallowing them with some water. He was quite proud of himself. What a relief! We both would stop being contagious by the next night. Life was good!

Not good. I felt even worse when I woke up yesterday morning. Swollen glands, my throat was on fire, and I had a fever (which felt just great on a hot summer day). All the while, both boys were feeling GREAT - bounce, bounce, yell, scream. Ouch - can you run around while screaming in that room, please? Mommy has become one with the couch.

Today I'm feeling a bit less horrible. The house is a horror and I just don't care. I plan on becoming one with the couch again, with a water bottle by my side. And knitting in my hand.

The silver lining? I fixed the pooling problem. Even got the first half of a sock done, and I absolutely love it. Picture to follow once the camera battery is recharged.