Have you heard of Kawasaki Disease? If you're a Grey's Anatomy fan you may have. There was an episode in Series 9 where Sarah Chalke (Elliot Reid from Scrubs) plays the part of a mum who's son is sick with a mystery illness which eventually turns out to be Kawasaki. I had watched the episode, but I don't watch Grey's Anatomy for educational purposes.
Then a couple of weeks ago, on the plane on our way back from Vienna to be precise, Adam's temperature spiked. He was on fire and very uncomfortable. He had been cranky throughout the entire holiday but we thought it was just down to the cold weather.
I'm not one to rush my kids to the doctor when they have a fever. It's usually a virus which passes within a couple of days and it's not worth the panic. So I gave him Paracetamol and kept an eye on him. Two days later, fever still high (sometimes as high as 41 degrees) we took him to the pediatrician. She checked the usual suspects... ears, chest, throat were OK. It probably was just a virus.
His lips were chapped and quite red - but then again, mine were still chapped from the cold weather in Vienna too.
Then in the afternoon, his fingers and feet turned a dark pink and looked a little bit swollen, as if they were hot. I thought this strange so turned to Dr Google and Kawasaki Disease popped up. When I looked at the pictures, however, it all looked SO much worse than Adam's symptoms, and let's face it - Dr Google is usually the last thing you should trust, so I closed the page and carried on. Hours later, his hands and feet were back to normal and the next day even his eyes weren't as red. Obviously Dr Google was making a big fuss of everything yet again.
But by the afternoon he was so not himself, the moaning hadn't stopped all day. Nothing interested him, he didn't want to eat or even drink. I was exhausted and in tears and called on a friend for a hug, and she convinced me to take Adam back to the doctor. By that point, I wasn't quite thinking straight. It had been a long week, and everything seemed to be blurring into a big irritable mess.
The doctor took one look at Adam's eyes and began to check for other Kawasaki symptoms. Having read up on it the day before, I realised what she was looking for. I turned cold. How could I have ignored it?
Kawasaki needs to be treated within ten days or risk of permanent heart damage increases significantly. We were on day seven. She wrote up a report saying that she suspected it was Kawasaki and sent us off to Latifa Hospital. We possibly owe her Adam's life, and she has been thanked. Repeatedly.
He has had a follow-up ECHO (heart ultrasound) in the meantime which shows that there has been no damage to his heart and his blood results look the way they should for the second week of Kawasaki Disease. He is on a low dose of Aspirin for two months (during which we need to try and keep him as healthy as possible because any virus could cause further problems) to avoid an aneurysm, and he will be monitored throughout. But he is very much himself again, my cheeky car-crazed monkey.
It's been a hard few weeks and I'm not writing this to drag it out any further. I do want to remember the way it unfolded, but I also want to put this story out there for anyone in a similar situation who might one day read it.
These are the signs of Kawasaki Disease:
HOWEVER. Adam's lips looked nothing like that. His lymph nodes were nowhere near that swollen. His hands and feet were nowhere near that red. His eyes were redder, his rash looked like it's pictured above. But symptoms don't always happen at the same time and they are usually gone by day ten.
So just know that these symptoms showing up within a certain time period may mean danger and ask your doctor. It's rare, but it does happen.
No one knows how anyone gets KD, it's not contagious and it usually affects children below the age of 5, but there have been exceptions.
We are fine. We are surrounded by some awesome friends, and I am so grateful to everyone who helped in whatever way they could... be it babysitting Emily, visiting me in hospital with goodies, talking on the phone, hugs, hugs, hugs, and also putting up with the way my brain has become a sieve since this happened. Thank you. Love you all.
This blog is now closed. The story continues over on Flip Flops and Flying Carpets.
Thank you for reading.
Thank you for reading.