When a child is sick...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Posted by Dharm

Having a child who is sick is no fun at all. Heck, even being sick as an adult isn't any fun but there is something quite 'painful' about having a child who is ill. I say 'painful' because there are no words really to express the worry, concern and multitude of emotions that run through you. Your thoughts run wild and you start thinking about all sorts of possibilities. It wrecks you physically and emotionally as well.

It is quite common for children, especially young children to have bouts of fever every now and again. There is a concept (or perhaps a misconception) in some Asian cultures that fever precedes a growth spurt. I remember whenever I had fever as a child my parents would put it down to ‘growing pains’. You’d think that I’d be a strapping six footer the number of times I used to have a fever!

Now that I have kids of my own, I realise that having a fever can be very dangerous. Especially so if the fever lasts for more than a couple of days. This happened very recently to my little princess. Let me share this story with you.

Sarah is a sprightly four and half. She goes to kindergarten on weekdays and Sunday school on Sundays. Other than that, she spends her time at her grandmother’s house and of course at home.

One Thursday, two days before her kindergarten concert, she developed a fever. It was kind of moderate but since she was taking part in the concert, we took her to visit our local doctor. As expected, the doctor figured it was a bacterial infection and prescribed some antibiotics for her. She showed improvement on Friday and we thought all was well.

Early Saturday morning, Sarah showed signs of fever again but as her spirits were high, we though she may just be over-excited with her concert. The concert went off really well and Sarah was in a great mood - as was the fever. She was hot so we gave her another dose of fever medicine. Her temperature was in the mid 38’s (that’s Celcius which converts to more than 101F.

In the early hours of Sunday morning, her fever suddenly spiked and my little princess started shivering and chattering her teeth. We decided to give her a suppository and this brought the fever back down. Later in the morning we took her back to the doctor who decided to do a blood test to check for Dengue and Chikunya – two serious illnesses that are borne by mosquitoes. All the blood results came back fine so we were told to just watch the fever and carry on with the fever medicine.

Knowing that it wasn’t dengue of chikunya was a relief but we were still concerned about her fever. The medication seemed to settle her fever a little and we all went to bed feeling a little better. The Lovely Wife decided she would sleep with our princess just to make sure she was okay. This turned out to be a good thing.

My wife woke me at around 2 in the morning and I rushed in to my daughter’s room to find her shivering and chattering her teeth again. Her body was burning up and so we gave her another suppository. This brought the fever down a little but it spiked again at 5.30am. We decided to rush her to the hospital.

Her temperature was taken with those hi-tech infrared thermometers they put in your ear and the result was a whopping 40.9 degrees (105.6 F)! Another blood test was done at the hospital and her results were, to quote the doctor, “nothing spectacular”, meaning that her blood tests didn’t show anything abnormal. Fortunately for all of us, the doctor also decided to do a test for Myco Plasma (which at that time I heard as Microplasma). What the heck is that? The doctor explained it’s a bug that can cause flu like symptoms especially high fever. But my princess didn’t have a cough or cold. Only fever. Anyway, who was I to argue.

The problem with the test for Myco Plasma is that it takes some time to do and so we were faced with the issue of whether to admit her or not. We decided on admitting her – especially since she already had her hand prepped for intravenous administration of medication or to draw more blood. My poor girl was uncomfortable with her right hand bandaged up which is what they do with kids so that they don’t dig or scratch at the intravenous tube in their hands.

To cut a long story short, she was admitted and the tests results finally came back to say that indeed she had a Myco Plasma infection. We were advised that it could take some time for the fever to go down even though they had started feeding her two doses of antibiotics. The Lovely Wife stayed with Sarah 24 hours a day during her hospitalisation.

She was in hospital for 5 days and in that time the fever lasted for 4 days. Yes, you read right. FOUR whole days. For the first two and a half days, the fever stayed high at the 38-39C mark even with suppositories. It finally broke on the 4th day and she would have 6-8 hours fever free. It was only on day 5 that she had a complete day without fever.

At the time of writing, She’s been home now for 5 days and is still on antibiotics. She doesn’t have fever anymore and is almost back to her usual self although she doesn’t have much of an appetite which apparently is caused by the medication. We are just relieved and thankful that she is well again.

So what exactly it this Myco Plasma? It seems it’s a kind of bacteria that doesn’t have a cell wall. This makes it resistant to many types of antibiotics since most antibiotics attack the cell wall. It also seems that this bacteria is ‘in the air’ and is easily communicable especially in schools, kindergartens and other community areas.

So the next time you or your child has a fever, make sure you watch it and take them to the doctors as soon as possible. There didn’t seem to be all these different viruses and bacteria when I was younger and I as sure as heck have never ever heard of Myco Plasma before.

Any new bacteria or viruses you have had experience with and would like to share?

This Post was written by Dharm

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Glad she is better, Dharm. Can't imagine the terror you must've felt!

Deepika said...
November 12, 2008 at 4:33:00 PM GMT+1  

Hope your daughter and all of you are feeling better. I know how hard it is for the whole family when a child is ill and afterwards you all feel so drained emotionally and physically as you live on adrenalin while it's all happening.

November 13, 2008 at 10:25:00 AM GMT+1  

I hope your daughter makes a full recovery.

As an adult I suffer from FUO (Fever of Unknown Origin) and I know how bad fevers can be. I have hospitalized for over a month a time because they just couldn't get a fever under control. Crazy stuff.

Karen said...
November 13, 2008 at 1:51:00 PM GMT+1  

How terrifying! This time of year in the US, with kids spending more time indoors, we really start to stress
* Frequent handwashing
* Cough into your elbow
* Keep a feverish child home.

November 13, 2008 at 3:06:00 PM GMT+1  

Oh, Dharm... I'm happy your little princess is now fine!!! Really!
I've experienced this feeling so many times when my daughter was a baby and a little girl.
This is the first time I hear about Myco Plasma. Four days at that temperature is too much for a little girl!!!!
I've spent many nights with my daughter having a cold cloth over her front and putting her inside the cold water bath to make her temperature drop.

I CANNOT stand seeing her sick. I understand you so well :D

NĂºria said...
November 13, 2008 at 8:36:00 PM GMT+1  

So glad your daughter is better...what an ordeal for all of you. Never heard of that particular bug...and I used to work for a Pediatrician, but it was years ago. If she tolerates it, feed her yogurt with live bacteria...it will help undo the poor effect antibiotics have on appetite and digestion. So, so glad she came through it OK.

Elle said...
November 14, 2008 at 5:15:00 AM GMT+1  

So glad your daughter is better...what an ordeal for all of you. Never heard of that particular bug...and I used to work for a Pediatrician, but it was years ago. If she tolerates it, feed her yogurt with live bacteria...it will help undo the poor effect antibiotics have on appetite and digestion. So, so glad she came through it OK.

Elle said...
November 14, 2008 at 5:15:00 AM GMT+1  

Thanks for all your comments and well wishes. Yes, she is so much better except she is still on meds and doesnt have much of an appetite.
Yoghurt? she is the Yoghurt QUEEN and loves eating just plain yoghurt with rice - its an Indian thing!! :)
But you know she is not really feeling well when she doesnt even feel like eating yoghurt and rice

Dharm said...
November 14, 2008 at 7:03:00 AM GMT+1  

You must have been a basket case Dharm - 40.9 is a pretty high fever and although children seem to tolerate high fevers more than adults, you're lucky she didn't start convulsing. I understand that whole feeling of being helpless to help your own child, especially as a parent you're supposed to fix everything. I'm so glad she's feeling better.

giz said...
November 14, 2008 at 8:10:00 PM GMT+1  

I'm glad she's better, and that it wasn't something which sounds similar (a mycobacterial infection, which is the family of disease including tuberculosis).

November 15, 2008 at 10:44:00 PM GMT+1  

Dharm, I admit when your child is ill you are in "pain" I hope your daughter is getting better soon! Give her a huge hug from me.

I also appreciate such posts - it makes me realize as a parent that it is OK to be nervous and fuss when your child id ill. I do not remember we had all these funny bacteria and viruses when we were growing up wither - it's freaky!

Meeta K. Wolff said...
November 17, 2008 at 2:30:00 PM GMT+1  

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