icRKphJXQm-ezth8lntKydifkDg The Loose Screw: June 2009

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.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Alyssa's dance year!

It's about time I post on Alyssa's dance, since it is a big part of her life. This year, as in the past 5 years we have lived in Utah, she took dance at Starz Unlimited, a non-profit cooperative dance studio, with a large number of homeschool families. http://www.starzunlimited.org/ It is a great studio, focusing on modest music and costumes, and everyone working together to make a great experience for the kids. I've helped by doing the accounts receivable for the past three years, and this was my last year with that job. It will be strange to not do it anymore, but I'm hoping to find a new job to help with.

Alyssa has taken ballet, pointe, lyrical/jazz, and clogging at Starz. The past three years she has been on a competition clogging team, and quickly moved up to the championship level this past year! This year she was on an all-girls team, with a variety of ages, Alyssa being the youngest at 14, and the ages ranging up into married young moms in their 20s. This was the first year she was not on a mixed boys/girls team, which she did miss. For the past two years, Alyssa has been involved in another dance studio, Mountainwest ballet's, Nutcracker performance, which is a big time commitment from September through Christmas, with multiple weekly classes, and then rehearsals, costume fittings, performances, etc. Due to the Nutcracker schedule and her regular Starz ballet/pointe teacher having a baby, she decided to wait to take any ballet/jazz/pointe classes until after Nutcracker. Then at the beginning of the year, she decided she wanted to take a break from her crazy dance schedule and only be in clogging for the rest of the dance year. Clogging alone can be quite busy during competition season (Feb-June).

Competition season went great, and Alyssa's team got ALL 1st place high gold on both their dances (Ladies choice and A Little Less Conversation) at all four competitions, including Nationals! She had so much fun with these dances and the group of girls on her team. Each year, they have a new dance and do the previous year's new dance for a second year before it is retired. So, next year they will do A Little Less Conversation again plus their new dance. They also got to perform at Starz' end of the year recital last week.

Alyssa was also a teacher's assistant for a 3 year old ballet class of girls and boys. She has really enjoyed doing that this year and hopes to assist again next year. Their dance at recital was adorable, and the kids had the audience roaring with all their cute antics!

This summer Alyssa will be getting back into ballet/pointe/jazz with Starz' new teachers, and decide if she will continue with ballet/pointe next fall. She also wants to try ballroom dancing, which I think she would be good at.

Here are pictures from recital, some from the class she assistant teaches, from her clogging team, and one from this year's Nutcracker. In the two team pictures she is in the front. I'm sure I sound like a typical bragging Mom, but I/we really think she is a beautiful dancer, and has so much talent and potential. We're proud of you Alyssa!!!
I really need to learn how to arrange pictures on this blog!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Sleep Study

For several years, I've had various medical professionals suggest I get a sleep study, due to my fatigue/sleepiness. I always brushed it off, thinking who wouldn't be sleepy/tired with all the medication I take, most of which has drowsiness as a side effect? Then when I got my autoimmune diagnosis last year, it made even more sense that I was so fatigued-that's one of the biggest symptoms of autoimmune disease.

Well, in April when I had a stomach bug I went in to the doctor, and my regular PCP was not available. I got a new doctor to the practice, who specializes in sleep disorders. He right away mentioned that my airway is extremely narrow, and started talking about a sleep study. After thinking it through, I decided it couldn't hurt to get it done. Then at least when the next doctor asks me, I could say I had it done and don't have a sleep disorder.

The night before memorial day I went to the lab to have it done, super anxious about if I'd even be able to sleep. I got all hooked up and tried to get to sleep. The lab was very comfortable, it was like I was in a bedroom. The problem I was having was with the thing up my nose-just like the oxygen one that has the prongs in your nostrils, yet this measured inflow and outflow. It was sooooo annoying. Anyway, I guess about 1 1/2 hours later I fell asleep. They woke me at 5am to go home. I felt like I had been a little more restless than a normal night in my own bed.

Anyway, I got the results a few days ago-sleep apnea! The doctor said I stopped breathing at least 10 times per hour, plus I NEVER had the deep REM sleep. So, no wonder I'm tired! Now I'm super excited that maybe I have the chance to feel a lot better once I get on the CPAP machine. I will have to go back in overnight for them to get the pressure right on the CPAP, and then I'll get my own machine later that week.

I know it probably seems wierd to be excited about this, but I really am! Honestly, I thought my life would always be the way it is now due to meds and my illnesses, but now to have something that can actually be fixed/helped-wow!! I don't have my appointment to go back to the sleep lab yet, but I should get it within the next week or so.