My youngest son has been sick with one thing or another every 1-2 weeks for the last month.
It started with Strep throat, which he apparently had for almost a week before anyone noticed. I swear we aren’t terrible parents. We thought he just had a cold because he wasn’t complaining of a sore throat. He was eating and drinking like normal. It wasn’t until he got a fine, red rash (known as Scarlet Fever), that I decided to take him to the doctor, and he tested positive for Strep. Oops.
Next, less than a week after the Strep diagnosis, he got very congested and started coughing. Cough and congestion are not typical Strep symptoms, so we took him back to the doctor, where they did a Complete Blood Count (CBC) test, to confirm that his immune system was functioning properly, and diagnosed a simple cold virus.
As our doctor was explaining the CBC test to me, and confirming that our son’s immune response looked completely normal, my son was crawling around on the floor of the doctor’s office. Before you judge, we’d been there for a long time, he was restless, and I was trying to be patient and choose my battles. Anyways, our doctor was explaining that viruses are opportunistic and that, since his immune system was down from battling strep, he probably just came into contact with something else and picked it up, too.
As these words departed the mouth of our family pediatrician, we, the doctor and I, looked over at my son and simultaneously witnessed him stand up from the tile floor, and lick his hand. While I stared on, frozen in horror and contemplating the myriad of germs that must exist on the floor of a pediatrician’s office, our doctor chuckled and said “Yep, that’ll do it.”
A week and a half later, on a Sunday afternoon, he woke up from his nap crying hysterically, complaining of a stomach ache and with a fever that read 106.2 on our temporal thermometer. The temporal thermometer almost always reads high, so his fever was more likely at 104 or 105. Still, very high. Since he was upset and we could not seem to calm him down or tell what was going on, we packed off to the ER. They could not find anything wrong with him. After a dose of Motrin and a couple hours, his fever retreated and we went home. The next day, his stomach pain gone, he was lethargic, had chills and was holding himself stiff, as though his muscles hurt. I took him back to the pediatrician where they ran another CBC test (results were normal), diagnosed the Flu and prescribed Tamiflu.
Within 48 hours he was a new kid, healthy and happy and symptom free. This sounds strange to say, but I felt a little better when, a week later, my husband caught the Flu and it looked just the same as it had when our son had it (stomach pain followed by fever, chills and body aches). Seeing him get it, reinforced our pediatrician’s words which had explained that our son isn’t catching or contracting strange mystery illnesses, he is just catching run of the mill viruses back to back, while his immune system is too over-worked to wage a battle. Sorry honey, but thanks for getting the Flu.
Just this past weekend, about 2 weeks after our Flu diagnosis, his nose started running and he started coughing. No fever this time, so it seems to just be another mild cold virus or, with the weather doing crazy Midwestern things, it could even be allergies. Either way, it looks like we’re not done with our run of winter maladies. He was in good spirits all weekend though, and the weather was nice, so we spent some time playing in the driveway with a sensory box full of colored rice. When play time was over, we came inside to wash our hands. I was tidying up in the bathroom as my son stepped up onto his step stool, but I looked over just in time for him to lock eyes with me… and lick his hand.
Send help. And Lysol.