Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Flu Flew Through

The whole Riedmann homestead has the flu.

Dad started it.

Jay came home from work Tuesday evening feeling miserable. He carpools to work and said that, had that not been the case, he would have been back home at 9 a.m. instead of the usual 6 p.m. Apparantly, the only thing worse than feeling feverish, achy, and like you're about to hack up a lung - is feeling feverish, achy, and like you're about to hack up a lung while standing in the heat by a jack hammer all day. Poor guy.

Dad gave it to me.

Wednesday night, it started with intense body pains, first in my lower back, and then, penetrating up through my shoulder blades. It had me whimpering and whining - neither of which are characteristic of me (I all but cut off my finger tip off 2 weeks ago with a vegetable slicer - and not a sound out of me!!! And - no drugs for this mama - I gave birth to both of my babies au natural with VERY little moaning and groaning.), but this pain was agony, like someone rolling fire balls around my insides. I tossed and turned most of the night, but felt improved by the time I went to the doc on Thursday afternoon. I'd had a temp of 102 the night before, but was normal at the clinic (of course) and was no longer experiencing the agonizing aches and pains of the night before. I got the okay to attend my SAMmy's mom's ministry finale that night - as I was deemed no longer contagious. Unfortunately, late Thursday night (after SAMmy's), my symptoms returned and today (Saturday) as I write, I am still feeling other the weather. My throat, in particular - and whatever connects my lungs to my throat (is that my esophagus?!) is on fire. It feels like someone took a vegetable peeler to those areas and removed just the outer most layer. Then I have to cough and the phlegm (or whatever) has to travel over these raw areas. Torture!!! And, I'm so tired (went to bed at 7pm and slept until 9am, could go for a nap soon ... ).

I gave it to Tobey.

Tobey - age 8 - began to feel miserable Thursday morning. We kept him home from school. His temp was hanging around the 102 degree point, but then on Friday, it soared to 104, so we took him to the doc.

When we arrived, his temp was a dangerous 105, so more ibuprofen for him - and then the testing ... The doc swabbed his throat and his nasal cavities in order to test for both strep and influenza. This was, in itself QUITE the ordeal. Tobey is generally a doctor's dream - very compliant. This, though, was entirely different. The first attempt to swab his throat was completely unsuccessful. As soon as the offending swab neared the back of his throat, he thrashed out at the doc and pulled away, crying. This meant that now he had to lay down and I had to hold his hands - otherwise, doc threatened, the nurses would have to come in and restrain him and that would be worse!!! Ugh. These are NOT my favorite mom moments ... Instead of restraining his hands, I told him to hold onto my hands and then squeeze them as tight as he could to keep himself from grabbing the swab. This worked - after much, much coaxing from me - and much, much protesting from him. He squeezed my hands, gagged, declared it HORRIBLE, and pronounce this "the worst day of his life". Then, we needed to swab the back of his nasal cavity - and this was like an exact rerun of the throat swabbing event - wrestling, coaxing, protesting, hand squeezing, crying, "worst day of my life".

Doc ran the samples down to the lab to run the tests. Tobey was mad at me.

"You told me they'd just look at my eyes, ears, nose, and throat! You lied to me!!!"

Inside, I groan. I did tell him that. I'd been in with the same symptoms the previous day, and that is all that was done to me. "Yep, looks good. Let us know if it worsens. Off you go." I hate when what I believe to be words spoken in truth turn out to be a lie. I've just been made a liar. Yuck.

I apologize. I thought I was speaking the truth. I'm so sorry. Anyway, now the worst is over ...

The doc returns about 45 minutes later ... (that feels like FOREVER) with the test results. Tobey is positive for influenza A. The doc says that one type of influenza A is the swine flu. Apparently, guidelines for testing for the swine flu has been changing daily, so she needs to determine whether testing is warranted in Tobey's case. At one point, EVERYONE who tested positive for influenza A was further tested for swine flu. After some checking, she determines that only those under the age of 5 and over the age of 65, or individuals who are very ill are candidates for further testing. With a fever of 105, Tobey falls into the "individuals who are very ill" category. This means another throat and another nose swab. ARGHHH!

I just told him that the worst is over. I'm a liar all over again!!!!

We have to repeat the earlier scenario all over again - crying, coaxing, hand squeezing, gagging, more crying, "worst day of my life". This time though, Tobey has lots of questions before we even get to this point. Questions like, "Why don't you do this to my mom and dad? They're the ones who got me sick?", "Why can't you use the swabs from before?", "Can't anyone else do this before me?"

The doc asked him, "You mean we should do this to your brother first?" Xander is sitting patiently, innocently, and healthily in a chair watching.

Tobey shrieks, "YEEEESSS".

The doc suppresses a smile, and continues to insist that he lay back - or the scary nurses will have to come in and pin him down ... (actually, she didn't say "scary", but the implication was there that this would not be good ... ).

The end result - we get the new samples. They'll be sent out, but not until Tuesday (long Memorial Day weekend coming up) - and until then Tobey must be quarantined in our house. That stinks.

At this point, swine flu is no more dangerous than any other seasonal flu. The concern (and reason for all the fuss) is that this virus might mutate at some point into a decidedly more dangerous and fatal viral form. The swine flu virus closely resembles that seen in the Spanish flu which first showed up in the spring of 1918 as a fairly mild-mannered virus, but by fall it had mutated into a very dangerous new form that often proved fatal within hours of symptoms, killing 21 million worldwide. Check out the following article:

Until at least late Tuesday, we won't know whether what we've got is swine flu (based on symptoms, we've all got the same thing. Apparently, Jay and I are no longer contagious? Or we're not at risk of dying so we don't need a "swine flu" label for "cause of death"? I'm not sure). The good news is that whether it is swine flu or not, the effect on us should be no different than if we had the flu by any other name. An added bonus, if you will, is that should the swine flu mutate, odds are very good that those who've already had the swine flu in its milder form, will be immune to the new mutation.

The doc told us that it was entirely up to us whether we wanted to share that Tobey is being tested for swine flu. If he tests positive, the press will know that another person has been confirmed with swine flu in the community, but no details will be released.

Tobey gave it to Xander.

Last night, Xander got the cough and the fever. Today, it was 103, so we are watching him. Fortunately, we are now pros at administering the acetemenophen and ibuprofin to keep down the fever and are keeping the liquids coming.


  1. Oh, Honey! Prayers go out to your family. My heart goes out to you, because I know it's the Mom who is the one who takes care of the sick ones in the house! May you continue to have the strength and compassion to "make it all better" and may your family be healthy soon! Love ya, Sista!

  2. Oh, thank you SO much for your prayers, Pennie! We are all beginning to feel better. Saturday night - I ended up in the ER with dehydration, elevated temps (104.5) due to whatever flu strain I'm carrying around AND bronchitis. I had the MOST miserable body aches, and after recieving meds and water via IV, as well as oxygen (I was low)and several tests (blood, mucus, x-ray), I was sent home with vicatin for the pain and an antibiotic for the bronchial infection. So, my poor hubby (the healthiest of us all) ended up serving as nurse maid all weekend!!! And, bless his heart, I KNOW it was a struggle for him to maintain a high level of compassion and patience as we all asked for one thing or another.

    You know, something like this is such a GREAT reminder to be thankful for my everyday good health!!! SUCH a blessing. And, Pennie, this all happened right after the last day of Sunday School for the season AND the last day of SAMmy's for the season - coincidence?! I THINK NOT!!! :-)

    Love you, too, sister!!!

  3. Just a quick note - the test result came back Thursday a.m., and was negative. No swine flu for us! But, whatever we had - boy, it was yucky!!!

  4. i love the way you write! It's so entertaining - i can just hear you talk =) Glad you guys are feeling better!


Related Posts with Thumbnails