It’s true, you know… just when you have hit a patch of smooth water and you are clipping along calmly, enjoying the ride, along comes something to mess it up. Em has been doing well, still struggling with fatigue and all the miscellaneous crud that goes along with EDS, but really well nonetheless. Then the virus…
If you are not aware, viruses are hateful little things. Vile. Rude. Hateful.
Lucas (my 19 yo son) has been off at church camp half the summer and spent the week before last at family camp, helping here and there and, most notably, in the nursery… as an outbreak of Hand, Mouth and Foot Disease was spreading through the little ones at camp and throughout the county. He went to work last Monday, had fever and felt horrible. He was feeling better on Tuesday, except for an ugly sore throat and sore fingers and feet and a weird rash on his scalp – he bemusedly showed me and said he felt like he had leprosy. Oh and by the way, Mom… a bunch of the little kids had Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease. And several kids were sent home with strep. So, it was one or the other. One needs antibiotics, one is just craptastic suffering until it runs its course and both are contagious.
Great. Just great.
We ended up taking him to urgent care because it was after hours and he was going to need an excuse for work and, if it was strep, he needed antibiotics. He is my non-ill child – he has EDS but really is perfectly healthy, so it is rare for him to need medical care. On the way to the doctor he mentioned the sores in his mouth, so it was not surprising that the doctor at urgent care said he had HFMD and not strep. (If I had known about the mouth sores, I probably wouldn’t have taken him, tbh.) They gave him a prescription for some steriods to clear up the rash on his scalp, which is not typical of HFMD but the doctor speculated that EDS had something to do with it and I tend to agree. Anyway, 5 days of steriods (which I am not convinced did anything to help, except maybe the scalp rash) later (0r more likely just 5 days for the virus to run its course) and he is fine.
Emily, of course, is not. Saturday she complained of a sore throat and started watching her skin like a hawk for spots like Luke had. I really was hoping she was just being melodramatic. Finally, about 2 hours after we shared a tub of popcorn at the movie, I looked at her throat and it looked exactly like Luke’s did.
Great. Just great.
Her scalp is itchy and her legs are covered in spots – hivey spots that itch like crazy til she scratches then they just bleed and hurt. Neither of those symptoms are typical, but her throat is bright pink and her hands and feet are sore and she generally feels horrible. The spots are between her toes and under her finger nails, in her ears and in her nose. No fever yet, but her autonomic systems is predictably out of whack and I think she is just at the beginning of this nasty virus. She probably has at least another week of misery to suffer through, maybe longer if we are on EDS healing time. The rash on her fingers and feet are just getting started – we are really looking forward to the blistering of said rash.
I don’t think she needs to see a doctor – honestly, it is a virus and there is nothing to do except try and keep her comfortable – but I am keeping an eye on her and will make a run to the doctor if needed.
So, yeah, poor kid – things are going great and wham, she gets hit with this nasty disease that knocks her down. Not only am I trying to make her feel better but I am anxiously analyzing every swallow I take and worry over every itch and twinge that I feel, which, of course, just makes it worse. I feel like I should be exempt from HFMD but I suspect it doesn’t work that way. With luck, I could have it and not have any symptoms. Am I that lucky? Time with tell…
Take Aways for You:
Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease is not highly recommended by my family. Seriously, quarantine yourself if you hear of an outbreak near you. Take up hand washing as a hobby.
Googling images of HMFD is also not highly recommended. Seriously, don’t do it. (You’re gonna do it, aren’t you? Don’t say I didn’t warn you! The pic of the eye with sores got me…)
If anyone tells you only little kids get it, they are lying.
They say it is not ‘highly’ contagious… As far as I am concerned, it is on par with the Black Plague, but I could be biased.