I hate vaguebooking, posting on Facebook for drama (ie asking for prayers) without details, and yet I did almost the exact same thing here on our blog earlier this week. I mentioned Tess has been sick, Happy New Year 2019, without details. Partially because it’s up to Tess & her privacy, partially because I really just wanted to wish you all a happy new year and partially because we don’t know the details.
Tess gets sick often. A cold, a sore throat, minor for most, escalates into weeks of bed time for her. Usually it is multiple visits to the doctor, the first ones we are always ignored:
“She’ll be fine.”
“Rest & fluids.”
But she’s not fine. It gets worse. Her pain increases daily. Until finally it becomes a bacterial infection, and she gets antibiotics (which make her sick), or a serious viral infection with side effects.
That’s what happened this time. Her sore throat got progessively worse over the course of 1-2 weeks, until she woke up the Friday morning after Christmas. At first it was just hives on her left thigh. Large, red angry hives, but just one leg, one spot. That lasted a whole hour.
An hour later the hives had spread to both legs, arms, back & stomach. Tess was one angry, red hive. We immediately packed up to go to the ER, our urgent care was closed. Hives do not require an ER visit but Tess had been sick well over a week, and she’s had hives followed by anaphylaxis before (she stopped breathing at 3 due to a reaction to Penicillin).
The ER took us very seriously, and she was skipped to the head of the line, hooked up to machines & IV in the beat of a minute. She got lots of cortisone and after a couple of hours, without a diagnosis, we were sent home. I watched her all night. By morning it was worse.
The hives spread to her head, her face, her hands. Her joints were all swollen, especially her hands, and just bending her arms hurt. We went back to the ER, repeated the process, and waited. They had no answers. She shouldn’t be worse with all the steroids & drugs they were pumping her full of. They were worried, but they couldn’t help. They sent us home with three tablets of predisone & instructions to go to the university hospital in Tübingen if it got worse. A couple of hours later it got worse. She was wheezing, her throat was swollen, off to Tübingen we went.
They couldn’t diagnose. Couldn’t help. They gave us an EpiPen, in case it got worse. They sent us home.
It got worse. In between the hives, the rare spots she wasn’t covered in hives, she turned purple. In desperation I called the Americans up at Landstuhl. They couldn’t advice us to drive up there (it’s 2+ hour drive) but they did promise to treat her if we drove up. We drove up.
By the time we got to ER, it got worse. The doctor talked me through giving her my first EpiPen shot. Poor Tess screamed & cried. I don’t think from pain, but just sheer panic & exhaustion. This time we got a whole regiment of drugs to help combat the allergic reaction (titrated doses of predisone, anti-itch and stomach meds, the drugs are a lot on a stomach and four more EpiPens). They still had no definitive cause, but they did refer her to full allergy testing.
We stayed another six hours. The purple fading away, the hives going down. We checked into medical housing next door to the emergency room & stayed overnight. Making sure she was getting better. At least not worse.
Today it’s four days since the last new hives appeared on her body. The hives are gone, just red scabs were she scratched them open. The swelling is mostly gone, her joints are still a little poofy, still a little sore. She is now fighting me on rest & fluids. I don’t like fighting, but I love that she’s fighting me. It’s a good sign.
She was better enough Thursday night that I risked taking her out of the house, just up the hill, to take some quick family photo’s. I wanted one shot of the five of us before my moose, my Cole baby, left to fly back to the states. Back to Ft. Bragg. Back to being a soldier.
I got more than one shot I love.