Friday, June 15, 2012

Hand Foot Mouth Elbow Knee Tummy Butt Disease

Nothing says summer like a highly contagious illness. Some families take vacations to the beach, but we just get sick. This usually ends up saving us a lot of money (as long as no one lands in the ER). Last year in June we went to the ER three times, so that was not as cost-effective as I'd like. Pink P was introduced to the wonderful world of asthma (and by wonderful, I mean totally crappy), and my gall bladder decided to move to Mexico. It sucked and we were hoping for a much quieter summer this year.

And at first, this summer vacation seemed better. The kids various life-long ailments were under control, I was no longer spending every waking hour on my dissertation, and Ren's back was on the mend. For a brief, shining moment, all was well.

My first-sign we were in trouble should have been Ren's back (and technically the trouble started before we realized it, so there was really no brief, shining moment--you can let a girl fantasize, though, can't you?). The day before my defense, he "re-irritated" it. (BTW, "re-irritated" is my denial word for "he completely screwed it up again"). In his defense, he didn't do anything he wasn't supposed to be doing. His back is just bad. Very, very bad. We are moving headlong toward another, much bigger, surgery. (But, I don't want to talk about it right now. I'm in denial.)

That thing I am denying is a pretty good sign our summer plans are shattered. But just in case I had delusions of salvaging even the tiniest shard of hope for a "normal" summer, the boys came down with Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease. (I love that just the mention of HFM makes people feel phantom pains and start to see spots. Just like saying "pink eye" causes people rub their eyes. Oh, and CHICKEN POX!)

Anyway, where was I? Oh, right. Stow and Pink P went to a birthday party for a friend, and it turned out that the birthday girl had HFM. Sigh. I'm totally not one of those parents who gets worked up when someone's sick kid hangs with mine. They are all little petri dishes and the world is full of germs, so I've accepted the fact they're going to get sick. Oh, but I wish Sky and Stow didn't get HFM.

First of all, Sky couldn't get over how someone could possibly do such a thing to him. He ended up missing most of his week at hiking day camp and lamented his plight daily by recapping (quite dramatically, I might add) how his brother and sister had so callously brought such awful germs home to him. Sky's week of quarantine was especially rough on Ren.

But the worst part was poor Stow. The HFM virus caught up with him when he was already battling a double ear infection, so he got the worst case of HFM I've ever seen (granted, I've only seen it a couple of other times in other people's kids, but still...). His hands, feet, mouth, arms, legs, buttocks, elbows, knees, neck, and ears had red spots that became little blisters that turned into ginormous blisters that that then erupted into angry-looking red sores which eventually scabbed over.

(Stop reading here if you have a weak stomach or are particularly sensitive to rash pictures--though I guess that last sentence might have done some of you in already. Wimps.)


Awww, what a sweet sleeping bab....





Wait! Agh! What's that?








Hurry up! Do something! The aliens are trying to get out!!

...

You get the picture. It was ugly. It was painful. And it lasted a long, long time. We couldn't take him anywhere because even when he was no longer contagious, no one would believe it.

I mean, look at him:




So, two weeks into summer vacation, and I am pretty sure it will not go as planned. Not even a little.

14 comments:

sandra timmerman said...

Life with kids means always (unexpected) surprises..We still have to wait another 5 weeks before holiday starts over here. But ours always means my husband being ill 1.5 week of the three..
So I want to wish you lots of patience. Take care!

Katie said...

Oh gosh, we've had that a few times. Just hope YOU don't get it. Like chicken pox, its even more horrible as an adult. I've had strep I don't know how many times, but it's NOTHING compared to the giant horrific throat ulcers you get with HFM as an adult...

Anonymous said...

Oh, I'm so sorry to hear this was in your household. Your poor boys. My son and I had it earlier this year. He was one of the last kids in his day care class to come down with it (just when I thought we'd avoided it) and then he got the worst case of all the kids there. His fever started on April 19 (our wedding anniversary) and just now, two months later, I'm starting to the believe that the red blotches of scar tissue may eventually fade. A few weeks ago people were still asking, "What happened to his legs?" I found it so frustrating to hear from friends who gave the nonchalant, "Oh, my kid had that. He had a few spots on his hands." No, we had them everywhere! My son even had them in his belly button and up around his eyes and ears. And then I came down with a fever and felt horrible. I thought I was on round two of a sinus infection and dealing with simultaneous return of thrush, but no, it was HFM. Turns out, if you're a breastfeeding mom who has never been exposed to HFM, in rare instances it can transfer to two highly sensitive areas of the female body. You can also regularly slice your nipples with razor blades and grind them with crushed glass for a similar experience.

Mom on the Edge said...

Yes, we still have the scabs and leftover spots (but no more blisters, thankfully). Poor kid has been confined to home for two weeks now!

kuri, ping & the pinglet said...

I feel your pain! DS had it around age 1 and like your son, he had it EVERYWHERE. He looked like a monster and we were confined to the house for about 2 weeks (in the summer as well!) Glad to hear that he's on the mend and hopefully your summer will start looking up. :)

Kianwi said...

Oh, those poor kids. I had HFM disease as an adult and it was the most miserable week of my life. Now every time I hear a kid has it, especially a baby, I feel so bad for them. I have found, though, most babies are much less of a baby about it than I was!

FMBMC said...

Can't you just go to the pool like the rest of us?

Louise said...

I find that it is easier if you think of plans like a rough outline for a paper. It could turn out as it looks, it could change here or there, or you could get totally swept up and a small section will take over and redirect the paper (or your life, as the case may be).

icansaymama said...

We had HFM disease this summer, too, and it just SUCKS!

Mom on the Edge said...

At the very least, they should rename it. Maybe they could call it: "Your Entire Body Hurts and You Look Like an Alien" Disease

kevin smith said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

There is a new and worse strain of hfmd and it looks like you are immune to that one now :)

LinG said...

Oh great! My grandson has it on his feet. But.... yesterday, I noticed a grouping of about a dozen "pimple-like" blisters by my elbow. If it was cold weather, I'd cover up, but it's hot out here & I am at a new job. Sounds like going to the doctor won't do any good, but if they spread to my face, won't be able to work. Lots of hand washing & hand disinfectant gel in my future for next couple weeks.

Joy Page Manuel said...

I'm so glad I found your post as I was reading more on HFM. And of course the reason I'm reading on it is 'cos my 7yr old son has it. Yes, 7! Unbelievable! But I guess even adults can get it sometimes *knock on wood*. Anyway, thank you for posting about this. I am relieved to know that it does happen that it can spread beyond the hand, foot and mouth. I was beginning to get concerned that my son has some blisters on his elbow and one on his ear. I hope it heals soon. *SIGH*