PSA #382: WHY OUR CHILDREN SHOULD WEAR HAZ-MAT SUITS UNTIL THEY'RE 34
For the last week, I have been in some righteous pain. I woke up a week ago and nearly ploughed into my dresser because my ankles and knees forgot that they're supposed to help my feet with this whole walking business. I toddered into the kids' rooms to wake them up, trying to walk like a 40-year-old rather than a 140-year-old. It's hard to act nonchalant when a whole part of your body is rebelling against you.
So, for two days, my feet and knees checked out on me. Pain, swelling, numbness, it was ridiculous. In addition to that, my elbows felt creaky, my shoulder blades felt cranky, and my hands were just revving up. I gave in and went to my doctor who promptly threw prednisone at me and demanded blood as payment in return.
By Monday, my feet and ankles were OK, but it was my right hand that had decided to form a labor union and call a strike. Have you ever tried making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with a hand that won't grip the knife? Because when you guide your hand toward said knife, the pain receptors start yammering and won't shut it? Yeah, it was tons of awesome and tons of painful. Several hours later, my doctor called, told me my inflammation levels were off the charts, and threw around words like lupus, sjogren's syndrome, autoimmune, and rheumatologist.
I cried for the rest of that day and resisted calling 911 to report a short-of-breath panic attack at Wellesley Crest Drive.
By Tuesday, I had my appointment secured with a local rheumatologist and I had accepted my fate as one of the autoimmune masses. I kept telling myself that it would be OK. I would be OK. No one dies from lupus, my sweet, upbeat brain whispered to itself, You're going to be fine. But then that little negative bitch brain would whisper back Oh yeah? Well, plenty of people die from pneumonia and that's what's going to happen when you start suppressing that cunt of an immune system we got down there! Which is what was going on when I picked J-man up from school on Tuesday. I started talking to his teacher about what was going on with me and she looked at me with shocked eyes and rounded mouth and said...
OH MY GOD, HEATHER! YOU HAVE FIFTHS DISEASE!
She explained fifths to me as I hustled J-man to the car and on the way to the twins' school, I furiously Googled fifths disease during stop light pauses and called up images and started to do the math.
J-man - complained about headaches and tiredness two weeks ago - he wasn't finishing work at school because he said he was too tired
Miss-Miss - had two days of fever the same time my pain started - just fever, nothing else
Bubba - in the middle of my pain, his cheeks turned bright red in what we thought was an allergic reaction to some body crayons - redness remained despite repeated doses of Benadryl, making him look like the Google images of kids with fifths
Me - had two days of fever, two days of calm, then extreme joint pain and swelling with a rash on my abdomen
I added all of this up and discovered our house was most likely patient zero for a parvovirus outbreak.
Where's a veterinarian when you need one?
So, to sum up. I have gone to the rheumatologist, who agreed that it could be parvovirus, but she still took eight (ZOMG EIGHT!!!!!!) vials of blood in an effort to narrow down what's going on. My inflammation numbers were off-the-danged charts high and that concerned her. So, for right now, I'm taking pain killers and not much else. My joints are back to being stiff, swollen, tingly, and uncooperative, but so far, no major pain. I'm going to take this next week as the perfect opportunity to let the relatives raise my kids while I sleep.
And just after the new year, I'll know if my immune system is doing its job and fighting off a childhood disease that makes adults suffer or if my immune system is being a dick and attacking me for no reason.
I'll keep you all posted.