Tuesday, November 1, 2011


It's 2:45am. I can't sleep. One part longtime insomnia since giving birth. One part overemotional weekend. My body, my nerves are still attempting to unwind.

My son has been battling what I was told was an ear infection since Thanksgiving weekend. But it turned out to be a very serious viral illness. I could not figure out why the amoxicillin he had been put on was not eradicating high fevers at night. Two weeks ago he vomited at daycare. I took him to a walk-in clinic. He had already been on a high dose of amoxicillin for 5 days and I thought it had resolved the ear infection.

Again, he was put on amoxicillin and, by the following Wednesday, his body broke out in what was thought to be hives. I took him to an after-hours clinic: third time he'd seen a doctor in 2 weeks. I was told to lather him with aveeno natural colloidal oatmeal to help with the itching and give him some benadryl.

at my friends' cottage in September

Two days later, his body had changed dramatically and I took him to emergency. He was whisked in ahead of everyone else. The doctor wasn't quite sure what we were dealing with and asked us to stay for an hour. After the hour had passed, he said we were going to do bloodwork. After the bloodwork, he told me he'd asked the pediatrician on call to come see him. She diagnosed it and said, "it's not hives. He is not having an allergic reaction to a drug. He's fighting a bacterial infection. A mycoplasma."

He was admitted to hospital. They kept him in for two nights to rule out whether his symptoms were related to two other conditions that were lifethreatening.

I can't exactly describe how it feels to look a doctor in the eye as they tell you they have to rule out some lifethreatening conditions for your child other than to say its hell on wheels. Your heart, where it normally beats beneath your left breast, moves up into your throat so you can't breathe so easily and you forget about everything in your life. Nothing else matters but that your child is suffering and that he become healthy again.

lounging in the sonroom

He was put in isolation and visitors had to wear masks and gowns. Not because he was contagious but to protect and strengthen his own immune system. I didn't leave his side, of course. I didn't even shower or change my clothes. My hands just kept lathering him to help relieve the need to itch. He was not dozing off for more than an hour before he would awake again to scratch himself and cry out, "itchy! itchy!"

He has always had clear skin and how his body had transformed scared the shite out of me. His little feet and hands and face swelled up like tiny balloons. His entire body from his scalp down to his toes was covered in raised, red-purply welts with white centres which eventually changed and merged together in a blotchy pattern, not so raised anymore but with brown/bruised looking patches on his skin. He was fighting fighting fighting this mycoplasm and now I knew that this hadn't been a simple ear infection which is why the amoxicillin hadn't resolved it. He'd been fighting this thing for 3 weeks, really. And what a brave little man he was. What a stellar patient. Thanking the nurses and doctors in his sweet, little voice, "Sankyou!"

On Sunday, they ruled out the two more lifethreatening conditions and we were released. Today was the first day he smiled in what felt like weeks. He played; he joked, even. On doctor's orders, he must stay home for the week to further strengthen his immune system as daycare can be riddled with germs. I am still coming down from the crazy emotional chaos I went through this weekend, watching him suffer and not knowing what it was exactly he was fighting and praying (yes agnostic-me) that it was not one of these other two syndromes.


The markings and itching have diminished considerably. He is returning to his happy, playful self. Children are so resilient and their inner strength amazes me. As quickly as he appears to be recovering, I think it's going to be a while for me. I'm nowhere near over what we went through yet. There was no Hallowe'en today. I didn't want him exposed to a gazillion kids with potential colds and flus ringing the doorbell after what he just went through. He was showered with treats without dressing up. This weekend had been scary enough for both of us already!

But I am thankful. I am so thankful. For the love and support of my family and friends. And for a smiling, happy, playful son today whose skin is clearing now. I know there are parents out there right now in hospitals dealing with worse nightmares. Where the kids actually have the nightmare conditions ruled out for my son. Or any kind of illness that is lifethreatening. Some of them likely don't even have hospitals to care for their kids. Free health care. Clean water never mind a hospital bed. My heart is with them this night. I only had a tiny, bitter taste (and it was blessedly brief) of what they are going through.

Sonshine is going to be just fine. And has begun to shine again from the inside. Leonard is singing, Hallelujah, as am I.

He is home. He is safe.
Safe and sound.


Brian Miller said...

i am glad he will be fine....having your child hurting or sick is quite horrendous at times...you can relax now...get some sleep mom

Tricia Orchard said...

My god Nancy! I had no idea! I am sorry I didn't know sooner!

I am SOOO relieved to hear that he is going to be fine!


Carrie Snyder said...

Thanks heavens all is well, Nancy. I hope he recovers quickly at home. And that you get some sleep!

Ellen said...

I am so very happy that there was a happy ending to this post. At the beginning I was worrying. I thought of how you must be dealing with this and though I have never been through what you have, as a mommy I know how protective I would be. Who cares how you look, who cares if you haven't eaten, or drank any water, because when mommy patrol is on all you want is to see your little one back to their playful self.

What a time you have had...so I am sending many healing and soothing thoughts your way....

Kerry O'Gorman said...

Life can throw us some crazy wrenches! Sometimes it's a miracle we survive as parents when we have to watch a wee one suffer such as this...good to hear he's winning the battle...take good care.

Anonymous said...

So deeply relieved to know that Sonshine is recovering well... it may take you some time to recover (possibly longer than it does for him). That is a painfully frightening thing you just lived through- sending healing thoughts to both of you and wishing you and him the very best of health.