Recently our sweet Bubba was unfortunate enough to contract some sort of infection. He came in one Saturday night, scratching his entire body as he walked.
“Mommy, I’m itchy.”
At first glance, I noticed what appeared to be bug bites of some sort on his back. He needed to clean up, so we helped him shower and Spunky tried to apply Tiger Balm to his itchy areas. The Tiger Balm hurt, so she stopped applying it and we waited until morning.
When I saw Bubba the next day the redness and itching had spread all over the body with the exception of his face. The spots from the night before appeared to be raised. We are blessed to have a nurse on staff here at Destiny Rescue, and after church I let her take a look at Bubba. She advised applying calamine lotion. We bought that as well as an antihistamine lotion; both eased his itchiness when applied.
On Monday, the redness and itchiness had increased and spread to his face. Even the lotions were not helping enough so we took him into the doctor. Here in Thailand, the clinics aren’t open until the evening. So if you need to see the doctor you go straight to the hospital. The doctor said he was experiencing an allergic reaction to something, but the cause was unknown.
Tuesday Bubba appeared to be doing a little better with the medicine, but the redness and welts weren’t going away.
Wednesday Bubba woke up with a fever. Later in the day the fever is gone but the redness and welts are looking the same. That evening we spoke with a doctor from American who was visiting on a team trip. He mentioned giving Prednisone to Bubba as a way to overcome the rash.
Thursday morning I took Bubba back to the doctor in the morning when we he woke up with a fever again. I mentioned Prednisone and they wanted to do bloodwork first because of the fever to see if he had an infection. They drew blood and determined he didn’t have a fever. Prednisone was prescribed. That night he took the first dose. Oh, and this was also Thanksgiving. We seem to have a knack for landing in the hospital on Thanksgiving!
On Friday morning the redness and welts were much, much better. Bubba was still itchy.
Sometime during this week Bubba had started saying his hand was hurting. We examined it and could find nothing out of the ordinary. Within a few days of this he started mentioning his legs hurting. Sometimes it seemed that he was having trouble putting weight on his legs. Again we could find nothing wrong.
The following Tuesday night Bubba started complaining of leg pain in the evening so we gave him children’s Tylenol. At about 11:00 he woke up screaming in pain over his right leg and foot hurting. He couldn’t put any weight at all on his legs and was intolerant of any touch on his right leg. We took him to the hospital. They examined him in the ER and decided to admit him. He was given what we think was ibuprofen and cried the majority of the night in the hospital bed. We asked several times for something stronger for the pain but the nurses said they couldn’t give him anything until the doctor came in the morning. This is the point when I felt like I was living one of my worst nightmares. The hospital has private rooms, but they were all in use so we were sharing with one adult and two young boys. The two young boys sobbed and screamed all through the night.
Wednesday morning we saw a pediatrician and he recommended that Bubba see the bone specialist. The specialist came later in the day and said that he believed Bubba had arthritis, and he prescribed Tylenol and Ibuprofen as well as muscle relaxants. He wanted to keep Bubba in the hospital but we could see he wasn’t able to rest there with the other crying children in the shared hospital room.
Bubba continued to be in immense amounts of pain the next couple of days. We saw the specialist again on Friday, and he said it was reactive arthritis and said Bubba needed to rest and continue on the medicine for the next 10 days.
Keeping a nine-year-old autistic boy down to rest is incredibly tricky. It was easy when he couldn’t walk, but as soon as he’d start feeling better he wanted to race around and play again. It was tough to see him play and then pay for it with hurting legs.
Despite the fact that every doctor we worked with spoke English, neither Ethan or I felt 100% comfortable with leaving things the way they were. Fortunately one of our fellow volunteers has a brother who is a pediatrician in America, and he has been corresponding with us to talk over specific symptoms and treatment. We were able to get Bubba’s blood test results and rule out some of the scarier possibilities. I never realized before how comforting it would be to speak to an American doctor!
Bubba seems to have made a full recovery but we will probably take him to a pediatric rheumotologist when we are back in the states just to be on the safe side. Thanks to everyone who prayed for him and for us during this trial!