4 min read

Out of the Woodwork

Several days ago my son complained of neck pain when he woke up.  I took note of it, wondering if he slept funny and had a crick in his neck. (I also jumped to meningitis in my mind, but decided to watch him all day). He did just fine. The next day he complained of neck pain and then of a headache to the point where he was crying so hard and begging me to make it stop. All I had on tap was infant motrin. My Hubby wasn't home and I couldn't take the kids out to get more medicine so we rode it out. The kids went down early and Boogie woke up around 8pm full of tears and warm body. By 9pm his temperature continued to rise. I called the advice nurse hotline and was given some tips about what to do, but no appointment.

The next day, my son continued to complain of neck pain and a headache, along with pain in his ears, cheeks, under his arms, knees, legs, and toes.  Being 4, he is able to describe everything. Hubby had bought Children's Motrin before coming home the night before and give it to Boogie in the morning. It seemed to make the pain more bearable, but it did not make it go away.  After some back and forth, I decided to call the doctor. The whole neck pain thing really worried me. I went to college around the time of the meningitis scare where several people had died. I remember several classmates in college going to the health center scared of having meningitis and getting checked out.  So I was ultra-sensitive about Boogie's concern about his neck.
When I called the advice nurse again, she made an appointment for us and also encouraged me to tell the doctor about the tick bite my son had had a month ago.  Unfortunately, my regular (and wonderful) pediatrician was on vacation and we were given to a nurse practitioner who had never seen us before.  We went up for a rapid strep test in the lab and came downstairs to pediatrics. We love the ladies in pediatrics. I've been there so often for Buggy's ear infections and well-baby check ups that they know us all by name. We were checked in and waited.
By this time Boogie's medicine had worn off and he was achy again and getting grumpier. He was less than helpful with the nurse practitioner and she snapped at him at one point. (Me, not happy).  Buggy was getting antsy and I was juggling both kids. While we were there the NP spoke to another pediatrician and she came in for another examination.  They said they were concerned and wanted to do a spinal tap on my 4 year old son. They also said something about meningitis and brain (all that I didn't process because my mind went to active mode of what needed to be done next).  They said they wanted to a Lyme disease test first and do some blood work. And then would move forward with the spinal tap. Being late in the day they would call us with the results and more than likely send us to the hospital.
As soon as we finished the lab work, I headed home and started making plans. I needed someone watch my daughter so that my husband and I would be available to go to the hospital.  My parents weren't home from work yet and I needed someone who watch her in the interim.  I absolutely hate asking for help because I never want to impose on anyone. Everyone else has their own families and I would never want to be an inconvenience. I have one friend who lives just minutes away that I could have called in a pinch, but she was already away on vacation for the summer.  I did what I thought best and posted on FB to see if anyone was available. It was the best way to reach a large group of people and at the same time, no one would have to feel awkward that they would have to say no.
I am very blessed. People came out of the woodwork to offer support. Whether it was to watch my daughter or to say prayers, they were there.  I am so touched and so blessed that people would take time out of their day to write something or to offer help. While all were friends, some of them were colleagues who I haven't worked with in years or maybe haven't seen in at least a year if not more. All were people that I kept in touch with on a regular basis through FB.  All were caring and supportive. I am so grateful. The first call that came in was from a good friend who is a volunteer firefighter at a nearby firehouse. He was at the firehouse at the time and offered to come immediately. Having daughters just a year older than my little one, I knew that he would be fine. Another friend offered to come and spend the night if needed. Several sent me their numbers (as our only form of contact had been FB), and others said to call them anytime. Others offered prayers. I feel so relieved that I had group of people to fall back on when I felt completely frightened and drained.  
A few moms posted the possibility of a viral infection. Never having experienced a viral infection before, their information was very helpful and made me realize that Boogie's condition could be less serious that first thought.  Come to find out all of the lab work came back negative. My son is definitely fighting an infection. But the instructions that came back were: if the conditions worsen, call us back.
My son seems to be on the upswing. He has more energy and his appetite is slowly coming back.  He is still complaining of aches and pain and he even walked himself upstairs to his room for a nap yesterday.  He is still fussy, but seems better overall. We're still keeping an eye on him.
I feel foolish alarming friends and family. But at the same time, it was all a real possibility of having to take my son to the hospital without having someone to watch my daughter.  While feeling foolish and posting the results on FB to let everyone know, I received many reassurances that I was not foolish.  That was really nice because I really do feel quite foolish.  I believe in the power of prayer and I believe in the love and support of friends. I had all the above. My son is doing better and so is my heart. I am so grateful for the many friends we are so blessed to have. Thank you!