Saturday, March 26, 2011

Chickenpox...or maybe not?

Last Saturday, we were hanging out at home and I noticed a few red spots on my neck. Since I have a pretty severe case of Eczema that I've dealt with my whole life, I didn't think too much of these spots and passed them off as probably just another eczema flare up. Sunday afternoon though, we gave Tyler his first bath, and then I started feeling sick. I got the chills real bad (fever), and was really sleepy. I took some Tylenol, ate dinner and laid down on the couch to rest. I woke up Monday feeling a little better, but not completely. Monday was a weird day though with all the rain, it was dark outside and Tyler slept most of the afternoon so I got some good naps in that afternoon which helped me feel a little better. My spots however hadn't gone away and in fact had spread a little more and were starting to look like something other than Eczema. I decided I probably should go see a doctor just to be sure.
(Monday afternoon)

Since I'm not an established patient at any primary care office I knew it was going to be quite the chore to get in same day or even next day, and that was only if I could find an office around here that took AHCCCS. I did find an office who took my insurance, but their first new patient appt. wasn't until April 5th... not going to work. I finally called the Dr. my parents see who is in their ward, but forgot they only do same day appointments and it was already 3:30 pm. They said if I called back the next morning, I should be able to get in then.

So I did. I went to the doctor's office, where I was loosely diagnosed with chickenpox. They weren't anywhere else on my body except my neck and a couple on my face, but they said "yeah those look like pox to me". So I left the office crying the whole way to the car in fear that my precious 3 week old baby was doomed to get the chickenpox. I was running the awful thought of him suffering with them and there being nothing I could do about it, plus it being my fault he had them in the first place all afternoon. They gave me a prescription for Acyclovir which would supposedly "clear it up quicker", but I was also told there was no research on taking that medication while breast feeding, so I would need to "pump and dump" for the time I was on it. Being that the antibodies in my breast milk was the only chance Tyler had at avoiding this awful virus, I wasn't too excited about taking him off of it. I researched the medication a little more and everywhere I found said it was really only effective if taken within 24 hours of the rash developing... and since it had now been 4 days that I'd had these lesions, I figured it wasn't worth it to take Tyler off breast milk so I could "clear up quicker". So, I didn't fill the script.

Wednesday, I was starting to feel pretty bad. I was so exhausted, I felt like I couldn't do anything. But I had to make a trip to downtown Phoenix to get fitted for my bridesmaid dress for my step sister's wedding next weekend. My friend Marie was nice enough to come and drive Tyler and I down there to keep us company and keep me from having to drive. We got home, our wonderful friends Wes and Tiff brought us dinner and when they left, I just fell apart. I was just laying in bed sobbing because I had no energy to care for my baby, I felt like I couldn't do anything, and the skin on my neck and lower half of my face felt like salt was being poured into an open wound. I was in so much pain, no medicine was working to take it away, and I was exhausted. I was out of options for what to do. My mom came over around 11pm that night with a bunch of hopeful remedies to make me feel better. I had tried Calamine lotion, Aveeno Hydrocortisone cream, A&D ointment, and nothing had worked. My skin felt so dry (which is usually is on my neck anyway from my Eczema) almost like it was crawling, and I didn't know what to put on it that wouldn't bother my lesions but would moisturize my skin. My mom brought some Vitamin E oil that actually worked wonders that night. I was so relieved, and went to bed soon after.

The next few days just seemed to get worse and worse. I kept thinking to myself that this couldn't be just the chickenpox. I never remembered being this miserable as a kid when I had the chickenpox. I knew they say it's worse when you get it as an adult, but I had just had a baby 3 weeks prior, and I felt like that was a walk in the park compared to this.

We had various family members out to help me during the day while Dan was at work. Finally on Friday late afternoon (Dan had worked a half day and was home taking care of me), after receiving a Priesthood blessing, my fever spiked. Throughout the week I'd been taking Tylenol as needed for my fever and it always broke it within 30 minutes or so. But Friday around 4, I took Tylenol and by 5, I didn't feel any better. I then took 2 Ibuprofen, and still felt no relief. Dan then took my temperature...104.2. He then called his mom to come watch Tyler so he could take me to the ER. By then, the few spots I thought were Eczema and the Dr. thought were Chickenpox had progressed to this...

(Friday Afternoon)

We went straight to the hospital and after getting checked in, the Dr. said he wasn't sure, but he thought I probably did have chickenpox at the beginning, but that I had a large staph infection of the skin known as Impetigo. They hooked me up to an IV and started giving me large amounts of fluids to help get my fever under control, and also some IV antibiotics to begin the treatment of the infection. I was discharged after about 3 hours total, and after filling my prescription for the antibiotic as well as Vicotin for the pain in my skin I showered, drugged up (Vicotin & Benadryl...I was out) and went to sleep in the rocking chair that Dan had moved into our room for me.

This morning when I woke up after a bag of IV antibiotics, a nice warm shower and a full night of sleep, this is what I looked like...
(Saturday Morning)

So, I suppose I'm on my way to healing. It's just going to be a slower road then I'd like I think. The nurse said the infection should be cleared up in about 10 days, and that I should start to see improvements in 2-3 days. The only other bad thing, is that this infection is also highly contagious. Only through direct contact, and the bacteria has to enter the skin through an open wound or scratch. So, I'm basically quarantined to our bedroom and am washing my hands 20 times a day at least. We'll see once all the infection clears up, if there really was chickenpox underneath or if it was just Impetigo the whole time.

I'm just anxious to be back to normal, to look like normal, and regain control of my house/family/life. I am so grateful for all of our family who has been willing to come help do my dishes, clean my house, get up with Tyler in the middle of the night to feed him, etc. I'm just ready, after 4 days of sitting in bed looking like an Ogre, to get back to taking care of my own family. I'm anxious to get back to my little boy, who has done very well with everyone else caring for him but I can tell that he knows it's not mom and it breaks my heart that it can't be.

I'll tell you, I don't get sick very often, but when I do...

1 comment:

Tara said...

oh, Jill! I am so sorry, I hope it clears up and you get back on your feet quickly! Thank goodness for family and friends close by to help take care of you! :)