On Friday, Ella woke up with what appeared to be herpes. After some "intense" research, I discarded my herpes diagnoses and went with impetigo- treatable with antibiotics. I put a heavy dose of Neosporin over her mouth sores and stuck her in bed, fully expecting everything to be fine in the morning.
Alas, Ella woke up with more sores around her mouth, ugly hideous sores that prompted my husband to mutter things like “living here is like living in a 3rd-world country” and “flesh-eating virus.” John, as I may have previously mentioned, takes the half-glass-empty approach to any kind of sickness, whereas I have generally misplaced the glass or spilled it all over my pants. (Kids have funky rash. Holly’s diagnoses: Probably dry skin. John’s diagnoses: Leprosy.)
John has also accused me of being a very poor detector of fevers.
“She has a fever, Holly. A high fever.”
“Nah. She just woke up. They’re always warm and lethargic when they just wake up.”
“The thermometer says she’s at 103.”
“Huh. Well, I stand corrected.”
Despite my laissez-faire approach to treating my sick children, pus-filled sores on lips gross me out, so I decided to haul Ella off to Urgent Care. To my chagrin, the local Urgent Care is walk-in only, meaning one could be sitting there for a long time. We probably waited 45 minutes before we saw the doctor. In that 45 minutes, Ella’s legs turned tomato red, which I thought was odd. Good thing we were at the Urgent Care facility! They would know what’s up, being doctors and all!
They had no idea what was up. Ella’s sores and a spotty rash on her hands looked like Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease. The bright red legs with a lacy rash “confounded” the doctor. That was the word she used. “I’m confounded. I find this very concerning.” She was confounded AND concerned. Ella was running around the room like a looney-bird, with a very low-grade fever and ample spunk, so at the moment, I did not share the doctor’s concern. I had come in for some antibiotics; the doc freaking sent me to the emergency room. A pediatric emergency room, of which there are only two in Rochester. And on Saturday’s, they are very much like 3rd-world countries.
Ella and I stopped home for some supplies, i.e. sippy cups and cereal bars and teddy grahams and books, and high-tailed it through the snowy tundra to Golisano Children’s Hospital, which beckoned us with its screaming babies and feverish grade-schoolers puking into their mother’s Tupperware. For the first half-hour, there were no seats in the waiting room. I finally scored a chair next to a highschooler who had injured himself snowboarding. Every once in a while, a nurse would come out and give the waiting kids popsicles or juice or animal crackers. Ella was having the time of her life eating and playing with goopy-eyed kid. I spent a good three hours saying, “DO NOT TOUCH ONE ANOTHER!” Because goopy eyes plus flesh-eating rash would be a bad thing. Goopy-eyed kids' mother sat listlessly in the corner repeatedly trying her cell phone, though there was no reception. She had a newborn in a car seat sleeping soundly, oblivious to the woes of those around him. Goopy-eyed’s mom turned to me,
“Can I ask you a favor?”
“Sure!” I responded.
“I need to make a phone call. Can you watch my kids while I find a spot that has reception? I’ll be about two minutes.”
“Okay!” (I try to be accommodating when possible.)
Thirty minutes later.
“So, did you find cell phone reception?”
These are the sort of people you meet in the ER.
Meanwhile, Ella had taken to wandering into the hall to yell at the nurses:
“MORE JUICE! MOOOORE JUUIIICE PLEEEASE!”
“They never gave me any juice,” the highschooler mumbled. Because the ER is also an all-inclusive freaking resort.
We finally got a room. An hour after we dozed on a cot, a young resident came in and diagnosed Ella with Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease. But he wanted his attending to take a look at her. Two hours later, the attending came in and looked at her and diagnosed her with Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease.
Seven hours in the ER. We read “Moose’s Loose Tooth” about 10 times, watched countless episodes of Scooby-Doo, drew pictures of various vegetables (because vegetables are one of the few things I can draw), and played ER hide-and-seek with Goopy-eyes.
Guess what the treatment is for Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease?
Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
Now Daniel has it, too.
Life is beautiful.