icRKphJXQm-ezth8lntKydifkDg The Loose Screw: H1N1 Fun!

Friday, June 19, 2009

H1N1 Fun!

Not really. It hasn't been fun. If you had told me a month or so ago that H1N1 would sweep through our family, I would have freaked out. But, it really has not been that bad, not as bad as I had it hyped up to be in my mind. Granted, ours stayed under control and we got medical attention quickly with a diagnosis, which I think was the key. So, here's what happened:

About 1 1/2 weeks ago, Nick (17) had a sore throat and dry cough one night. Jeff was thinking H1N1, and with my illness(es), was considering putting either Nick or me in a hotel. We decided to wait and see how he progressed. He ended up with a low grade fever, cough, and mild chest congestion. Being as he is the only child with a bedroom down in the basement, we told him he needed to stay there (I hope that doesn't sound cruel). When he occasionally came upstairs, he had to wear a mask and use hand sanitizer. We also prepared all his food/drinks and passed them to him at the top of the stairs. Poor guy, sounds like he had leprosy but we really didn't want this to spread. We did take good care of him, really. We never took him in to the doctors because it never got concerning, so we just figured it was a run-of-the-mill cold/flu.

Fast-forward to one week ago today, Friday. Alyssa had a scratchy throat and dry cough. BUT, she also had her year-end dance recital the day before and had been running around like a wild woman for a few days, so she/we figured she was just over-tired. She spent the day taking it easy and by evening, reported that she felt fine. The next morning, Saturday, it only took one look at her emerging from her room to know she wasn't fine. She looked like death warmed over. She had a fever, cough, sore throat. Since my husband was home from work and we try our best to have me avoid any medical places not necessary, he decided to take her in to urgent care. They did a swab for Influenza A, and it came back positive. Apparently, H1N1 is a subcategory of type A, and as it is the one going around right now in Utah, especially among teenagers, if you test positive for A they assume you have H1N1. There are so many cases right now here that they have stopped testing directly for H1N1. So, she got a prescription for Tamiflu, which is supposed to hugely cut down the illness symptoms and time frame right away. They also prescribed it for me, due to my immune system. Nick, who by now was feeling much better, they said for sure had it but it was too late to give him the Tamiflu as he was on the mend.

The next day, I had a sore throat and felt yucky, but that could have been allergies and my normal junk. I guess we'll never know for sure. I kept taking the Tamiflu and came out fine. Alyssa felt better Sunday, and a lot better Monday. The doctor said that as long as she didn't have symptoms she was not contagious. Well, Tuesday afternoon my teens were to leave for a 3-day retreat in the mountains outside Park City in Wanship, UT. Not tent camping but in a lodge. After calling the doctor yet again and being told she was not contagious anymore, and Alyssa begging, I went against my mother's intuition (big mistake) and let her go. At this point she didn't have 'symptoms', she just had a tight, raspy voice.

This same day, Jeff was feeling like he might have it. He went in right away (major for him, as he never goes to a doctor) but tested negative and was told it was probably a sinus issue. He felt better the next day. All during this time, I was worried about our littlest guy, Chad, as he has asthma and just has a hard time fighting off any respiratory stuff. We were still being diligent with face masks, hand washing, etc. so I'm sure that helped him to never get it.

So, off the kids went on Tuesday, with my intuition nagging at me. Yesterday morning, Thursday, I got a phone call from Alyssa asking me to come get her. She had been vomiting all morning and felt awful. She also thought she had run a fever the day before and had a very tight chest. My first thought was the H1N1, that it had turned into pneumonia. My second thought was what a bad mother I was to not go with my instinct and make her stay home. My third thought was she had probably infected everyone-yikes! Bad mother again!

Chad and I packed up in the car for the long drive. I've never driven in the mountains by myself, so I was a bit nervous. Of course, once we got up into the windy mountain roads and the windy narrow dirt road to the camp, it started pouring rain, hailing, with thunder and lightning. Great. It took about 1 1/2 hours each way to get her, and I did it. Whew. Alyssa was actually feeling better, but I could tell right away how tight her chest was. She also has lots of respiratory problems (seems to be her weakness), so on the drive home I made a doctor's appointment. The entire drive home I was thinking Bad Mother. Bad Mother. Bad Mother.

Surprisingly, the doctor said it was not the H1N1, but rather a secondary bacterial infection in her chest. She had finished the Tamiflu the day before, and the doctor was certain this was not the flu at all. Whew. I was also very relived that her lungs were clear, as she has a tendency toward pneumonia. So, we left with antibiotics and Mucinex and orders for her to rest for two full days before getting out and about again, with more days of rest if needed. She crashed out at home (there's no place like home after you've been sick on a trip!), and we're hoping she improves today.

Through all this, I've wrestled with the whole issue of whether I should have made her stay home or not. I think I should have, but I also think she learned a lesson in all of this. At a certain stage, we have to let them have some input with these types of decisions, and Alyssa is a very mature, level-headed young lady. She knew I had reservations, and now I think she knows to lean on Mom's reasoning a bit more. I could have kept her home, and she would have not argued, and I should have gone with my instinct. I question that instinct constantly, but it almost ALWAYS turns out to be right. Also, I'm relieved that in our case, the H1N1 was not that bad-we've had worse flus, much worse. With my illness, everyone tends to freak out just a bit with things like this, but it all turned out okay. Hopefully Alyssa will be herself in a couple days too.

1 comment:

staciashaf said...

I have a scratchy throat just from reading that! :)
I don't think you're a bad mom and I think you're right, sometimes you just have to let your teens make a decision. No one got sick from Alyssa, so no harm done.