A cold has been slowly progressing through most of the family for a week. Also, Margaret insists on staying at preschool for the whole extended day even though my contract just ended. She likes getting the extra time to play with the toys and it's only two days a week, so I humor her. Sadly this means the pick-up still happens during the evening rush, and occasionally she falls asleep for an unscheduled nap on the way home, with the sort of terrible up-until-4AM havoc that can result. That happened on Thursday, so when I picked her up on Friday I wasn't initially alarmed to learn that she'd crashed at 5 PM, given that she'd had the sniffles and a screwed up sleep pattern that had involved midnight Lego houses. I was more concerned about the sticky red substance all over her. Apparently they'd had popsicles.** I loaded my sleeping child into the car and drove home wondering how I was going to get her day-shifted again.
As the evening progressed it became increasingly apparent that she was Not Well. She was hot to the touch, and when I opened her lunch box I found that she hadn't touched her lunch or her snack. She drifted in and out of sleep. Then, in the middle of the night I was woken up by her calling for me. She'd had to use the potty, but hadn't made it all the way on time. I cleaned up, and reassured her. Margaret normally has excellent bladder control, unusually so in a kid her age. She does not have accidents. She was also shaking with chills, and moving stiffly. When she had a second potty accident I was really freaked out, and I made a call to the urgent care line. When the nurse called back she asked a few questions that seemed geared at ruling out whooping cough, and told me to give her tylenol in a tone that indicated it wasn't serious. I ended up spending the rest of the night in Margaret's bed, as that was the only thing that helped.
Margaret was awake and cranky in the morning. She wanted to go to the
Warren happened to be downstairs when I got Margaret out of her bath and was cuddling her & drying her off. We both claim to have seen it first, which I think means that we saw it at the same time as her newly clean right leg came into view. We also both immediately worried about Lyme Disease, and Warren's quick check of the internet showed the mark was consistent with that. I called urgent care again with the new information. Again the nurse was dismissive, but did concede that if I really thought it looked like Lyme disease she should probably be seen the same day.
Margaret was even less happy with seeing the doctor than the urgent care nurse had been to give us the Saturday appointment. My favorite protest: "I'm too sick to go to the doctor!" That proved pretty accurate, once we got there we were the clear winners in the 'least likely to be wasting the doctor's time' category, and a couple of times during the visit the doctor we saw mentioned the emergency room in a way that suggested she was considering sending us there. In the end she didn't. She did check Margaret's ears, swab her throat, take a urine sample, and agree that the bite did look like Lyme Disease. We left with antibiotics and instructions to make sure Margaret took in plenty of fluids.
A few days and one follow up with Margaret's regular doctor later everyone thinks it almost certainly was Lyme (with bonus ear infection), but we won't ever know for sure. The rash has faded and Margaret is feeling much better. Treating Lyme early is good for dodging those nasty long-term effects, but it means that tests won't show for certain if she had it. It's a good thing I know that the nurses on the urgent care line are calibrated for discouraging people from coming in unnecessarily. I know this is a needed function in our society, but it still makes me irritable when I encounter it aimed erroneously in my direction. As we say in our house, "If you're scaring Mommy it really is dangerous."
*Spell check claims that stranglely isn't a word, but it totally should be, at least if there are other people out there who sometimes feel that someone really deserves to be strangled, at least a little bit. Maybe that's just me and Darth Vader.
**Why does every school talk about healthy eating and then advocate for sugar-water? I mean, sugar water is sweet and yummy, but it's not healthy and my kids drink water. Also they ban all nuts including the ones that are really good for you and that few people are allergic to.