Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Continuing Adventures of Life in the Nephrotic Zone

*Brief caveat: I am not railing on Friend Jennifer or her son. This is not the first time that the twins have had this exposure. I am merely sharing our latest adventure. Are you listening, Jennifer?

Ok, so Thursday night I read that sweet Zeke, the little boy with whom the twins adored playing during camp, had come down with chicken pox. Chicken pox is the one thing that Dave cannot get. Because of his immunosuppressed state, untreated chicken pox could kill him. So he and his twin have gotten the shot (although they would not have if it wasn't so dangerous for Dave to have the pox). When I read about Zeke's problem, I was sad for him (he's a darling little boy, full of vim and vigor) and not very concerned about the twins. I do, however, have a healthy fear of something happening to one of mine because of my happy-go-lucky attitude toward parenting. So I made a note to call the nephrologist Friday and just let him know what's going on.

Friday came and I had stuff to do. Finally, midday, I was making a bank and grocery run and called the nephrologist while we were driving. In the meantime, David had been complaining about the itchy bumps on his belly. He had scratched them clean down to bare skin (ouch) but they looked like bug bites to me. Given that we are outside much of the day these days, I wasn't surprised.

When I talked to the nurse at the nephrology clinic, she looked up all the specifics and said that, although it was unlikely that David would have contracted chicken pox from Zeke, I should keep an eye on him. Ok, fine, not a problem since he's underfoot all day. As we were about to hang up, I casually asked, "What is it that I'm looking for, in specific?"

"Itchy bumps, fever, rash, that sort of thing."

"Oh. Well, he does have itchy bumps but they..."

"What do they look like?"

"They're small and not filled with fluid."

"But they itch?"

"Well, yeah."

"Ok, hold on."

So I waited for a while longer until Nurse Julie came back on the line. Since they could not determine the nature of the bumps over the phone, they wanted me to go to the pediatrician's office and have medical eyes see them. O-kay.

By this time, we were going to our favorite Chinese buffet. I called the pediatrician's office and got a receptionist who sounded all of about 9, which did not inspire confidence in me. I told her what was going on and she gave me the explanation that, since chicken pox was so contagious, they did not see children with the pox in the office and I should just keep him home and observe him. Although I didn't want to take him in, I did get a little peeved with the chick. I'm sorry, weren't you listening to me?

"Ok, let me repeat to you. My son has nephrotic syndrome. I have been on the phone with the nephrology clinic at Children's Hospital and they told me to come to you to have this diagnosed."

That seemed to get her attention a little more. "Ok, let me take this to the clinical staff in the back and I'll get back to you."

"That's fine, here's my cell number. Please make sure that they know that he had nephrotic syndrome because chicken pox could be fatal to him."

"Oh, ok."

You weren't going to mention that were you? Sigh. Ok, forget about the receptionist. We were digging our Chinese buffet, talking and cutting up. About 30 minutes after my initial call (and smack in the middle of the first plate of food), Dipsy Receptionist calls back and says, "Ok, the docs want you to bring him in, like immediately [yes, she did say "like immediately"] and you need to come in the back way, ok? Thanks..."

"Um, where is the back way? We have never seen a back way."

DR proceeds to tell me, in confusing language, how to get in the back way. I say ok, figuring that I can find the back way myself and we continue eating. Sorry, but he's not in immediate danger and we're finishing our food, thank you very much. The twins concurred with my opinion.

After lunch, we go to the doctor's office, and, as instructed, go in the back way, after asking a couple of other office workers who were taking a nicotine break outside, if this was the back way into the pediatrician's office. We finally got buzzed in, Dave got his vitals taken, and I was told that the doctor would be back as soon as she could. Knowing that we were in for a long wait, I attempted to keep the twins entertained. One of the things I taught them was how to play Simon Says. Well, sort of. They didn't exactly get the concept of not stopping if Simon didn't say to stop. But it did eat up a lot of time and that was the point.

When the doctor (for whom I have a lot of respect and affection) came in, we talked, she looked at his spots (and the new one that had popped up on his leg) and said, "Hmmm. I'd like to call Dr. Long in for a second look." I must have had a surprised look (or something) on my face, because she hastened to add, "I don't think they're chicken pox but I missed it on one of my daughters so I just want a second opinion."

Okey dokey. Long story short, Dr. Long didn't think they were pox either but she wasn't entirely sure. They called nephrology and our wonderful nephrologist was on call and he told them to just send David home, with special instructions, and have me watch him this weekend. If he did break out more or if the bumps started looking more like pox, I was to call Dr. Nephrologist, bring him down to Children's, and he would start getting IV antiviral meds after admission. Oh yay.

The special instructions? He's not to go outside all weekend nor to have contact with other children, to lessen the chances that he'd get whatever. In short, we're in quarantine.

The last funny thing that happened was when we were leaving the office. Dr. Pediatrician said, "Ok, you shouldn't go up to the front so I'll take your paperwork up there." She proceeded to open the door to the room for us and then opened the back door as well. She then asked if we could leave through the back hallway and I told her that, since we'd come in that way, we'd leave that way as well. I told her that it was a bit like having the plague, wasn't it, and she agreed. It made me wonder what they would do to fumigate the examining room after our departure.

So, the first day of summer will be spent indoors, avoiding further bug bites and other children. I hope it's not a harbinger of things to come.

Hey, happy Midsummer to my Swedish cousin Monica and her family and happy summer to those of us in the Northern Hemisphere!


Gina said...

My kids had the shot. Ward ended up in the hospital when he had chicken pox. No one was willing to go out on a limb and assure me Ward had a freak experience and our kids would be OK. I've always wondered though about the long term effectiveness of the shot. Your experience doesn't inspire confidence.

msta62 said...

I am keeping all my fingers and toes crossed for you that it isn't chickenpox!! I hope he is feeling ok? Thanks we had a good Midsummer eve's feast at our friends. No midsummer pole to dance around (phuu, I am glad to say!) But they did find some competitions for us to do "team-wise".... We lost obviously. No rain during the evening - but quite some stormy winds. Take care! from Cousin M.

robinrobin said...

Hello Miss Lori! I am praying that sweet David will be good as new very quickly.

It is so good to "see" you again. I often think of the time we really saw you when we were picking up our Poodle, 2½ years ago. I always think of you when I read my Passionate Vegetarian book, that's for sure! I am actually becoming more of a vegetarian these days. Not completely, as I will eat fish, though. I love that cookbook!

Have a wonderful week, hugs, Robin

reneegrace said...

sounds like a crazy crazy day.

It has been a long time since I've been by... somehow I've missed your blog for a while, so I've been reading and catching up.

Good to 'read' you again.