I don't even know where to begin. I guess at the beginning. That's good, right?
Over the past three weeks or so, Clark has been off again, on again sick. However, about two weeks ago, he went from a sniffly nose to a hacking deep cough in the span of about eight hours. He also spiked a high fever, around 104 degrees.
I don't freak out when my kid gets sick. I don't like taking him to the doctor. Kids get sick; it's what they do, and most of the time there's nothing you can do about it except wait it out. Their school environment is like a virus factory.
But this did worry me, and so we took him in. We found out he had pneumonia (joy) and he had his first chest X-ray. This brought back a lot of memories for me, because as a child, I had pretty bad asthma. I had pneumonia multiple times, and bronchitis more times than I could count. I learned to sleep sitting up, and as a result, I can sleep pretty much anywhere at any time, much to the envy of some of my friends.
When my son's doctor told us she wanted to prescribe antibiotics, I told her that sugar caused huge problems for Clark, so perhaps she could give us something sugar free that we could crush and mix up with something. She prescribed Augmentin, which is a combo of two antibiotics, amoxicillin and clavulanate, and she gave it to us in a tablet form that was OK to crush and mix with applesauce, much to my relief. I knew the pills would likely contain corn starch, but I was OK with that short term.
My pediatrician, who is a really cool lady, did caution that the antibiotic might cause diarrhea, so she suggested we give him L. acidophilus along with the antibiotic. While that was a great suggestion, I can't find any that's SCD legal locally, and the stuff from GI Pro Health is on back order. So we just decided to wait it out and see what would happen.
After the first dose, I had a nightmare where Clark literally turned into a monster and was eating my hand with very sharp teeth. My husband pointed out that I was afraid Clark would go back to the way he was pre-SCD, and my mind interpreted this literally.
Clark was OK with the antibiotic. He did start to regress around day three or four, much to our dismay, but it wasn't severe.
And then, on about day 7, we got Clark up for school and he was covered in a bright red rash.
Guess what? He's allergic to penicillin. *head on desk*
So we took him in to the doctor while the reaction continued to worsen. The doctor noticed Clark was a little short of breath, so he got a breathing treatment of what I assume was albuterol. Once again, I was hit by memories of my childhood while he sat on my lap with a mask over his face, and I chatted with him while we waited for the medicine to run down.
We were instructed to give him Benadryl, and I mentioned the problem with sugar again. We found him a kids chewable version with NutraSweet, and we tried that. We were sent home with instructions to keep an eye on him for the next 4-6 hours to see if his breathing worsened again.
We ended up giving him two doses of the Benadryl, and it really didn't seem to help him much. He was also getting weepy and emotional and I figured I should switch to something without the NutraSweet and artificial colors. I was also worried because the rash seemed to continue to worsen. So I picked up some generic Zyrtec tablets and crushed one for him. The dosage is the same for anyone ages 6 and up, and it lasts for 24 hours. I carefully checked the package and it didn't say you couldn't crush them, so I figured it was OK.
The next morning Clark was definitely more cheerful, even though he didn't look much better. I had looked up the ingredients on the Zyrtec in the meantime and one of them did have an extended release component. Since I was worried, I grabbed the same product at Target and asked their pharmacist if it was extended release -- it wasn't, and she said it was OK to crush. Whew.
So far, so good. The Zyrtec tablets do contain starch and a teensy bit of lactose, but they are very small and I think Clark is doing really well with them.
The interesting thing is, I realized Clark has never had antibiotics until now, and I wonder if that's why he's only mildly autistic instead of much worse. I managed to explain a little bit about SCD to his regular pediatrician and she was slightly mystified but didn't try to dissuade us.
And now it's my turn. I'm leaving work early today to go to an arthritis institute, and I'm a little nervous about it. See, even though my son and I have only been SCD for a little while, I've been tinkering with diet changes for the past three years because cutting out grains has REALLY helped my arthritis. Every time I go to a new rheumatologist I have to be prepared, because every time I tell them the diet changes that have helped me, and every time, I get the silent treatment because they don't believe me. I don't know if it will be different this time, but I am resolved.