Monday, June 7, 2010

Is that all you got?

I got home from Atlanta Friday morning at 1:30 am. After a few hours of sleep, I had to drag myself out of bed to face the day at work. As I was getting the boys dressed, I noticed a rash on Little Dog's stomach. It almost looked like bug bites, but there were too many and spread across his torso. Mr. Dog told me a few bumps had been there the day before but now it was starting to spread. He had no fever, they didn't itch and he was otherwise perfectly "Little Dog". We decided he was probably reacting to something he ate and took him to school. It didn't look that bad and really he seemed fine.

I tried my best to make it through my day without falling asleep, and at the end of the day I picked the boys up from school. Big Dog was first, and when he climbed into the car I realized how shaggy his hair was looking and decided it would be a good day to get their hair cut. I called the kid salon and was told they couldn't fit us in. Next I called the barber were Mr. Dog goes. It's right next door to the kid salon, cheaper and kind of cooler. They scheduled us right then. On the way to pick up Little Dog, I told Big Dog we were going get hair cuts right after we picked up Little Dog. "Ok," he said, "But my throat hurts."

Being a terrible mother I naturally assumed he was trying to stall the haircuts. I told him we'd get a cold drink and he'd be fine. He agreed, so really, how bad could he feel?

We got Little Dog, got their hair cut and then headed back to the house. When I checked on his rash, it had spread to his arms and down his legs. After settling the boys with some dinner, I started to consult Dr. Google. I spent ages looking at all kind of rash photos and descriptions. Nothing quite matched. It looked kind of like chicken pox, but without the blister, and since Little Dog has had chicken pox already that seemed doubtful. A friend suggested it might be a food allergy and sent me photos of his son's rash that looked a lot more like what we were seeing.
Great. I pretty much assumed we'd be heading to the doctor this morning. Another friend suggested I give him a dose of benadryl and see if that helped. If it did, it would point to an allergy, if it didn't it would at least remove that from the list of possibilities.

As I was putting the boys to bed, Big Dog again mentioned that his throat hurt. Being so focused on Little Dog's rash, I didn't think too much about it. Thought it might just be a cold and gave him a little ibuprofen to help ease the pain.

Little Dog was the first one up this morning. We got up and had a nice snuggle. When I checked his rash it looked a lot less angry, but the distinct red bumps were still present. I decided to call the pediatrician and see if I could land one of the coveted Saturday morning appointments. Lucky for me, I could and it just happened to be with our favorite doctor in the practice. Dr. McMahon is wonderful. He is soft spoken and gentle, he takes plenty of time to talk to both the parents and the children and generally gives me confidence as a parent when the kids are sick.

Mr. Dog decided to come along so we packed both kids and both adults into the car for our appointment. When the doctor came into the room, Little Dog started telling him all about his rash. He mentioned that it was from his bubble bath, a theory I had shared at his school the night before, then went on to tell Dr. McMahon that they didn't hurt, didn't itch and that the very little bumps on his wrist weren't part of the rash. He thought they were an owie. Dr. McMahon took this all in, nodding seriously at his patient as he tried to make a diagnosis.

After covering the bases of food allergy, chicken pox and contact allergy he admitted he was a little bit stumped. "Have you been in a hot tub?" he asked.
"Yes," answered Little Dog, completely missing the fact that he has never been in a hot tub.
"No, he's probably thinking of the bath tub," Mr. Dog clarified.
"That's odd," said Dr. McMahon. "There is a rash that some people get in hot tubs from bacteria in the jets, this looks just like that rash."
And then it dawned on me, "Our bathtub has jets. It's a jacuzzi tub. Could that happen with a jacuzzi bath?"
"Yes. Though I'm surprised that no one else has the rash if that's the case."
I'm not, I told him. The kids are the only ones who use the jets. Mr. Dog and I hate that tub and plan on scrapping it as soon as we remodel the bathroom.
After reaching that diagnosis, Dr. McMahon reassured us that there is nothing to worry about. The rash will clear up on its own. We should keep an eye on it just to make sure it doesn't become infected, but in a week it should be all gone. Phew! (Quick word of advice, as interesting as it may sound, don't google "hot tub rash" for images. Turns out a lot of people get this on their asses so unless you're really into rashy backsides it is best to steer clear)

Just before we were leaving, Big Dog spoke up. "I have something to tell you."
"Ok," said Dr. McMahon.
"My throat hurts."
"Just right now it started hurting?" he asked.
Mr. Dog clarified that he'd told us it hurt last night and again this morning, but otherwise seemed to feel fine. We'd more or less forgotten. Oops.
"Well, maybe I should take a look in there then." And he did. "Maybe your dad should take a look in here too," he said, offering a peek to Mr. Dog.
Turns out his throat was red and spotted, his tonsils were extremely swollen.
"If I had to guess, I'd say he has strep," said Mr. McMahon. "Let's do a swab to confirm."
The results were positive so now Big Dog is on antibiotics. We're spending the day watching movies trying to keep both boys a bit mellow. Naturally I feel terrible for focusing all of my concern on Little Dog while almost entirely ignoring Big Dog's complaints. Now I just have to hope not to pick it up before I head off to Beijing next week.
In our house it seems there is never a dull moment...or an entirely healthy child.

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