Saturday, September 26, 2009

Adventures in [possible] swine flu

The green "participant" ribbons were not our only souvenir from the county fair.

We picked up a little bit of the influenza along with our corn dogs.

When I say "we," I mean Jonas.

I'm not sure that's where he picked it up, but the "fun house" is the most suspicious candidate.

Jonas got a fever on Sunday morning; he had been totally fine and normal and then all of a sudden was crying.  He felt hot to the touch and had a fever of 103.  All week he felt terrible when he had a fever, but when I could bring it down he was fine.  As in, running around the backyard and scarfing down dinner fine.  Then the fever spikes and wham, he's back in bed.  For 4 days, he was either in bed or running around playing.  Nothing in between.

I took him to the doctor on Tuesday.  He could not find a thing wrong on a careful and complete physical exam.  His lungs, throat, ears, abdomen, all fine.  We discussed flu, but neither one of us really thought that was it.  Usually with flu you never feel great, even when the temperature is normal. You feel pretty cruddy the whole time.  A kid with flu isn't supposed to run around at all.  And besides, if you're going to treat with Tamiflu it has to be started within 48 hours of the first symptoms, which had already passed.  So we didn't even test for it and agreed to just keep with the Tylenol and fluids.

No fever Wednesday.

Wednesday night, he says his legs hurt, and I notice he's limping.

At first I thought he was just being silly, doing a funny walk for some reason.  And looking back he had done that a couple of times during the day.  But he wasn't being silly, and he couldn't walk normally.  He points to the back of his knees, both of them, as where it hurts.

At this point I freak out, y'all.

I've seen septic joints, and it isn't pretty.  You do not want an infection in a bone or joint; you're looking at six weeks of IV antibiotics at best, and hopefully no surgery.  And the infection can easily enter the bloodstream and make you crazy sick.

This doctor mama doesn't freak out much, but this is one of those things that scares me.

But here's the thing.  I got a good look at his knees, and they really seemed normal.  They were not warm or swollen, and he let me move them around all I wanted.  Kids with a sick knee don't want you to even look at them like you're thinking about maybe touching that knee. And still no fever, since the day before.  This does not add up to a septic knee.  And both knees at once?  That's not right.

Later I got another look at Jonas' legs and realized that the tenderness is in the calf muscles, not the knee joint.  Where he was pointing is the insertion point, where the muscle attaches to the bone, and it only seemed like he was pointing to the knee itself.  So I looked up myositis and discover it's a common post-viral syndrome with influenza.  Benign acute childhood myositis.  He fits the description perfectly.  So I give him ibuprofen and we all go to bed.

The next day I head back to the pediatrician.  He sees him walk into the room on tiptoe, I tell him his calves hurt, and he says "Oh yeah, calf myositis.  Did we test him for flu?"

Sure enough, it was positive.

The rapid test is positive for "Influenza A", which means he has either regular seasonal influenza or the infamous H1N1, which is one of multiple types of influenza A.  The test doesn't distinguish between them, and it really doesn't matter because the treatment (rest and fluids, maybe Tamiflu) is the same.

He's fine now.  He tiptoed around a little bit Friday morning but by afternoon he was normal.  No fever since Thursday.

On the plus side, now he won't have to get the vaccine.



liz said...

so weird brandi!
i've never heard of anything like that...but thanks for sharing so i know what to look for if we ever have the same symptoms crop up.
eliana did have the flu last week, and most likely ezra did too.
she tested positive for flu (but it was just a negative/positive test. it did not tell us what type she had. but we heard that seasonal flu hadn't really started yet and most likely it was swine flu)
she was really really sick. her temp was 105 on tylenol and with cold rags on her head. i really had to watch her.
it all started with a cough, then a fever. then by the 3rd day she started throwing up and her fever spiked like crazy.
(ezra just started throwing up one day, and had a fever that night and the next day, but never as high a fever and got better really quick.)
eliana continued to be sick for a few days.
so weird! and so glad its over!
(of course this all happened while rob was gone:(

and i'm not a big fan of the tamiflu...we all took it as a preventitive, but it made me feel terrible and i stopped it.

i am so ready for fall weather, but not excited about all the sickness this time of year brings!
hope jonas feels much better!
(sorry this is so long:)

Bill O' Rites said...

I've just been discussing "flu knee" with a friend, as we both have the same symptoms of painful & stiff knee joints & pains in the upper right side of our heads.
Can't decide whether it's the flu or something else.

Anonymous said...

I am sitting in the ER right now with my 9 year old daughter tiptoeing around saying it hurts to walk and the pain is coming from both of her calves! She did get diagnosed with the flu a few days ago, so now I am thinking we should just go home! I guess it is a symptom of the flu! Glad I came across your post!