Saturday, November 13, 2010

My queen of the Rash

UNLESS you are Juliette.

Juliette a.k.a. the QUEEN of the mysterious rashes.

The first time she got a weird rash, I panicked. We were on our way to Montreal for an overnight trip and it was AWFUL timing. We ended up calling telehealth, answering a ton of questions and then being reassured that it didn't sound dire and we could still go to Montreal; if it wasn't gone in a day or two to head to the doctor. And by the next day it was gone. No explanation, but a lot of relief.

Since then, it has happened three other times. Each time, the rash looked different. A couple of times we've gone to the doctor.

Once, it was hives. Hives from what? Nobody knows!! But it was scary looking! And then they went away.

I was a rashy kid, so I thought I understood rashes. They're itchy, you generally need a lot of cortisone type creams, you can take medication to help with it sometimes, it's uncomfortable, etc. I get it. I am obviously well suited to deal with rash issues in my children. It's almost like my specialty.

So this week when a new rash appeared, I wasn't about to get all worked up about it. Did it look like any of the other rashes she's had? No, but no two have looked alike. I figured it was just another one of her mysterious rashes, what the doctors like to say was "probably just a virus that appeared as a rash for her".

Thing is, this rash didn't start going away after a couple of days... it was kind of spreading...

And I started feeling guilty about having her out and around other people. Maybe it was something bad? Maybe I was wrong to just assume it was another crazy Juliette rash?

So yesterday afternoon I made an appointment with the doctor and I brought her in. I was lucky enough that Vicky was able to stay with Quinn while I quickly ran to have this rash checked out. Thing is, there was nothing quick about it. The doctor saw her rash and immediately looked "concerned". And then he sent us to CHEO. With a do not pass go (as in you can't go home first and get stuff, go STRAIGHT TO CHEO NOW!!) order. Because apparently this rash was actually burst blood vessels which could be a sign of something much much worse.

Much much worse turned into all kinds of terrible and horrible outcomes in my head on that drive to CHEO. Fortunately Eric works at CHEO so I picked him up on the way. We got to emergency and guess what? Everyone there was ALSO very CONCERNED. Concerned us right into isolation where all nurses and doctors had to don all kinds of protective gear to look at her. Fear and guilt levels were sky rocketing by this point. Oh, and I had to figure out what to do with my other kids in the meantime! (I am so grateful I have friends and family that can help out in times like these!)

The doctors and nurses asked us a zillion questions about how she was doing, but our answers were always the same. She was completely and totally fine, except for this rash. And it became apparent fairly quickly (to me) that whatever it was that they thought she had... she probably didn't. Because if she'd had the TERROR rash for three days (instead of whatever it is she had) she would be deathly ill, and not running laps around the isolation room, climbing on the chairs, and spinning in circles for the thrill of getting dizzy.

The doctors were obviously figuring this out too, since one doctor popped in through the main door instead of the isolation chamber to tell us someone would be with us again soon. I told her everyone else was using all the isolation gear and she said "that's because they think she's sick, but they briefed me and I don't think so". So slowly they all relaxed. They were still perplexed, but they relaxed. And so did I.

Juliette didn't get to relax though as they drew blood, put in an IV (just in case they needed to give her medicine later - I would fight this in the future fyi, it was a waste of time and not worth the incredible grief that came with it. lesson learned) and generally poked and prodded at her. And 5.5 hours later they sent us home.

Diagnosis? "Probably just a virus that appeared as a rash for her." I am telling myself "better safe than sorry. better safe than sorry." and not "oh for crying out loud, I KNEW IT!"

But just in case, if you ever see a rash that looks like this, head to CHEO quick, because it could be the sign of a really dangerous blood infection. Or, it could be nothing. But, better safe than sorry. :)