Saturday, April 19, 2008

School Vacation - time to be sick, right?

***Disclaimer - do not look at last pic if you have a weak stomach!!!***

So it's the final vacation until Summer gets here, and Pal and I could not be any happier! The weather today was great...except that I was on the couch all day with a cold. I managed to escape all of the Winter sicknesses that went around, and of course because I am also on vacation from work - it's time to be sick! This can just be added to the saga of the last 2 school vacations....let me explain:

Christmas vacation - the Dean of our division at work gave us the day before and the day after Christmas off and I was pumped. This meant hubby only had to take 2 vaca days to stay home with Pal. See, I cannot take vacation during December and January since it is our prime college application processing season. (I hate those High School Seniors who wait until midnight on December 31st to hit the "submit" button on their applications...aren't they supposed to out getting sh*tfaced???? It's New Year's Eve - That's what I was doing at their age!!!) I digress...

Pal wakes up on the day after Christmas and says "Mama, I have an itchy spot on my hip and my leg..." We had seen some weird skin "pimples" appear on some unmentionable areas of his backside a few weeks earlier, but they went away with some Desitin. Now these little pimples on his hip and leg looked more like a horrible spider bite. So off to the Pedi, not our usual Doc but he had to be seen. Fill in Doc tries to scrape the "bite" but gets nothing, so he prescribes an antibiotic to kill whatever skin infection this is. Finishes antibiotic and skin gets better. Here's what it looked like at this point:

4 weeks goes by, and it is my birthday weekend and we decide to go to a nice hotel for the weekend where Pal can swim and we can relax. When you have an only child, who loves to swim, this is key to being able to relax. So, Friday night and Saturday morning are blissful as Pal and Dad lazily swim while Mama gets to read by the pool. A book - I read a book - and only had to look up every 30 seconds or so for the requisite "Mama, LOOK". Pal gets out of pool for lunch and is immediately itchy from head to toe. We shower him off and go get some lunch...or try to, seeing as Pal is now exhausted from swimming, itchy all over, and falls asleep in the bench at lunch place! He's 8, so naps are looooong gone. He wakes up miserable, and we head back to the hotel for some R & R. I decide to cover his body in Desitin to stop the itching, and see the blooming "pimple" on his leg - same as before. BACK to the Pedi - this time OUR Pedi. He says it doesn't look like a chlorine/bromine reaction (our initial thought seeing as he swam for hours in a strange pool). Nor does it look like a spider bite to him. Of course in the meantime I've scoured the internet for pictures of spider bites and skin infections (DON"T ever Google images of Spider bites unless you want to BARF!) and am convinced he has some rare disease by now because I can't find anything similar, and the Pedi seems stumped. More antibiotics, and we're through with this skin "thing" again.

Another 4 weeks goes by and it is now February vacation, and Pal says on Tuesday "Mama, I've got another one of those itchy things on my leg!" ARGHHHH!!! What the heck is going on?????
This time I am not going back to the Pedi, so I call and tell the Nurse that we need to see a dermatologist (they wanted us to come back in to see the Pedi - NOPE!). She gives me a couple of numbers for referrals, and of course I have no luck. One place told me 6 months waiting list!!!
So I call Pedi Nurse back and tell HER that SHE is going to get MY SON an appointment with a DERMATOLOGIST TODAY. She says, "Oh, okay, let me see what I can do". She calls back in 20 minutes and says "Is tomorrow at 11:00 acceptable? That's the best they could do for us." Okay, now we're getting somewhere. So, Pal and I go off and visit with my best friend and her kids, and another friend we hadn't seen in a long time stopped by for a visit with her 2 boys.

Wednesday dawns and we head to the Dermatologist. They take one look - ONE look, and say "Oh, we have to do a nasal swab test to see if this is a certain kind of bacteria that can live in your nose and cause skin eruptions like this." WOW - someone actually KNOWS what this could be? No way. It's only been 2 and half MONTHS! They tell me to call on Friday for the results and if his leg gets any worse he needs to be seen again by them. So, because I still have NO idea what this is, I head up to my sister's house - 100 miles from home. Stupid idiot. Of course, Pal has no idea that my brother-in-law got him a snowboarding lesson at the ski mountain he works at for Friday morning. Thank God I didn't tell Pal that! Because in true fashion, he wakes up Thursday and his leg looks like this:

YUCK!!!! I can barely look at this. It is SO nasty. But, the realist in me says "Well, the new antibiotics haven't had a chance to work yet, so let's see how this afternoon goes." DUH. Idiot, again. We go out for dinner with my sister, and Pal tells me (while I'm eating) "Mama, something warm is running down my leg". Off to the bathroom and it is not only pussing but bleeding too. BLECH!!!! YUCK!!!! I cannot handle this. We call Dermatologist and they tell me to bring him in first thing in the morning. Well, since we are 100 miles from home, and there is a HUGE snowstorm forecasted for Friday afternoon, I head back first thing Friday morning and bring him to the Dermatologist. They take one look - ONE. Look at results of nasal swab, and turns to me and says "You're going to the hospital. It's MRSA."

HUH????????????? What the &^%$ is MRSA (pronounced MERSA)????

Well, it turns out that MRSA stands for Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus. It is THE worst type of staph infection to get, because it is resistant to MOST common antibiotics. Contagious only if someone touches the puss/ooze/blood. Thank goodness, considering all the visiting we'd been doing!!!! My first question, after the contagious one, was WHERE THE FRIG DOES SOMEONE GET MRSA FROM???? Apparently, there is a new type of MRSA called CA-MRSA, or Community-Associated MRSA. He could have gotten it at school, at the hotel pool, anywhere that kids tend to expel bodily fluids......YUCK. I am so totally grossed out at this point, because this "super bug" as they call it, has been living in my sons body for 2+ months!!! Why the heck didn't the Pedi's know what it was? The number 1 mistaken diagnosis of MRSA is a SPIDER BITE!!!! ARGHHHH!!!! I told BOTH Pedi's we thought it could be spider bites. SO aggravating. So off the the ER where we were treated like lepers (which turned out not to be so bad, we never sat in the waiting room, but ushered right into the pediatric ER and sat through 7 hours of IV antibiotics and Benadryl and hours of Spongebob. Shoot me. The snowstorm raged all around us and we finally left at 9 p.m. to drive home in un-plowed snow. It was pretty, but treacherous and just what I did NOT need at the end of a loooonnnnng day.

So, you can see why I am not surprised that this cold presented itself yesterday morning...because WHY would we have a school vacation without some drama????
I guess I should just be happy that Pal just tested negative for MRSA!!!

Happy vacation....good health to you and yours!



dani said...

OHhhhhhh! Be acreful with that! My daughter had to spend three weeks in Lebonheur's Children Hospital in December. She broke her arm on the school bus and the MRSA set in her bone. She had 3 surgeries in 3 weeks! Take all the meds the doctor gives you and clorox, lysol, and clorox some more! That is dangerous! Don't mean to scare you, just givin you the heads up!

dani said...

Sorry, I just read the rest of your post! That was something you had.... not have. Still be careful, because I can come back!

G said...

Dani - thanks for the advice, because it DID come back.....we are going today to have the re-test to make sure it is gone (again). The infectious disease doctor is involved so hopefully this is the last time we will have to deal with this. It is so scary, and we haven't even had to deal with it being in his bloodstream or bones. You must have been so scared for your daughter. Good luck, I hope she's doing better now.