Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Bittersweet Father's Day


I’m back. Did I miss anything? You're sure not going to believe what I’ve been through especially in the last week and a half…

First of all, Happy Father’s Day to all of the Dad’s that do make a difference in their kids lives. Father’s are more important than ever these days and make a huge impact on children’s well-being, abilities, achievements, social behavior, and character among others. Don’t believe me? Check this out.

I’ve been fortunate and blessed to have a few men in my own life. Shining examples of Fatherhood that made a huge impact on me countless times, some still, and have now shaped the way I Father my own kids. My Dad, grandfather Marci, best-friend Steve’s Dad Kurt, best-friend Mike’s Dad Joe, and longtime childhood friend Sharm’s Dad Moy – from me a whole-hearted “Happy Father’s Dad” and “Thank You!” These guys deserve more than a medal and the last few deserve grandkids, as they’ll make amazing grandfathers.

Now the tough part…

A warning before moving on: I’m going to get a little detailed here for those looking for information on this disease as it may help others.

Over a week ago I was in Denver for work and discovered something strange on my scalp the morning I left; a few large bumps that hurt when touched. When I got home that night I felt nauseous and went straight to bed around 5pm. The next day I woke up feeling nauseous, like a hangover, and my wife discovered weird boils on my forehead and behind my ears. Later that night a few boils started showing up on my chest and I lost my appetite. That night I couldn’t sleep and moved into the spare room as our newborn is sleeping in a bassinet near our bed.
It was really hard sleeping that night feeling nausea, feverish, and irritated. When I woke up around 3am my face had swollen and more boils had appeared on my face, chest, and neck – around 20-30 maybe.
The next morning I was the first at the urgent care and 3 doctors had to evaluate me, as they could not figure out what it was. I was prescribed some antibiotics, cultured, and blood was taken. Later that day I got even worse, I couldn’t stand up in which I got a callback from a nearly 30 year practicing infectious disease specialist that saw me and diagnosed me with Chicken Pox, something he hadn’t seen in an adult in a few years.
So that next morning, my head literally felt like it was on fire. I lost most of my hearing in both ears, my fever was 103, and I won’t even go into detail about the number and size of boils on my face, scalp, neck, chest, arms, legs, and ears. Things got better at the ER. They were able to get the fever down, I wasn’t feeling as nauseous, and the Vicodin greatly helped with the extreme pain.
To my doctor’s credit, when I returned home, he called nearly every 5-6 hours checking up on me. He even contacted my kids’ pediatrician at diagnosis and was rightly concerned about having a 3-week old newborn that can’t be vaccinated with this vaccine until he’s at least 10-weeks old. My wife had been vaccinated while in college and is breast-feeding, which evidently sustains the baby. We’ll find out and I’ve been away from him in isolation and they’re monitoring him nearly daily just to be sure. That’s the part that’s keeping me up at night these days. We won’t know if he has it until another 2 weeks or so.

A thing about Chicken Pox, it can be fatal for adults and is now rare because of a vaccine that was developed back in 1995. Problem is I was getting out of college in 95 and every single doctor I’ve seen in the last 15 years never asked “Have you had Chicken Pox?” The ER doctors told me that it’s assumed that if you’re over 32 years old (I’m older) that you have had the mild form of childhood Chicken Pox.
If you’re reading this and have never had Chicken Pox, I’m begging you PLEASE go get the varicella vaccine.

The toughest part about this whole experience is knowing that it was completely avoidable and now I’m hoping more than ever that my newborn doesn’t get it. Especially with all he’s been through already.

16 comments:

Awesome Mom said...

I am glad you are feeling better, I will keep my fingers crossed for your baby.

nonlineargirl said...

Wow, I am glad you are feeling better. Your story pretty well trumps my chicken pox tale (I came down with it on my 11th birthday).

handstowar said...

Wow. I got chix pox when I was 15 and I thought that sucked.

I recently got Hand, Foot and Mouth disease from my little one... something that's not supposed to happen in adults but I guess I was one of the lucky ones. It was hardly as bad as your story though. Glad to hear you're okay!

Kurt Onken said...

So sorry to hear about your recent turmoil. Nasty stuff. I've never had chicken pox, either, but got vaccinated before I went to China back in 2006. Hang in there!

Mac and Cheese said...

Sounds like a terrible ordeal. Sorry you're going through this.

radioactive girl said...

I will think good thoughts for both of you. How scary!

My mom never had chicken pox and she got the shot but not right away because like you, no one suggested it because it was assumed she had had chicken pox.

Amrita said...

Happy Father 's day Tony

for a different kind of girl said...

How very scary! I had chicken pox twice as a child, and have forgotten how dangerous they can be when an adult contracts them. Glad you're starting to feel better, and I hope the baby stays healthy, too.

painted maypole said...

oof. hope you are feeling better soon, and that your son avoids it. i have heard that it can be rough in adults, but never knew any adults who got it. i had shingles last fall... which is a recurrence of the virus. it wasn't fun, but wasn't nearly as bad as that!

Dad Stuff said...

Wow! Very scary. Take it easy and recoup.

Kellen said...

My sister got the chicken pox when she was around 24-25. Not as bad your symptoms, but still bad. When I was 24 I had my first child. When it was time for her to get her vaccine, I told the doctor that I thought I should get it as well since I had never had the chicken pox and my sister contracted as an adult after already having it as a child. The doctor proceeded to argue with me and tell me that I didn't need it because there was NO WAY I hadn't had the chicken pox as a child. I just didn't remember it probably. Stupid doctor. I called another doctor, told them the situation, and they gave me the vaccine without arguement; in a "better-safe-than-sorry" manner they took care of me. Thank God for doctors who really care.
I hope you feel better soon. Blessings!

IzzyMom said...

I've never had chicken pox and I've heard it's dangerous for adults. You've convinced me to go stand in line at the health dept and get the damn shot. I think it was the boils *shudder* Glad you didn't die :)

Bob Brody said...

Well, call it coincidence because I guess it is one. Just as you had a lovely Father's Day followed by a threat to your personal health, so did I. Slightly detached retina requiring emergency surgery. I consider it a handy reminder to stay humble. Everything is going great -- what the Robert DeNiro character in the Scorcese movie "New York, New York" calls "hitting a major chord" -- and then you're laid low. Bam! Keeps it all in perspective.

Kelly said...

Holy crap, dude. No joke. That sounds bloody awful. I'm hoping you're back on your feet again soon and back to normal. And that your delightful little guy escapes it.

Sue said...

Talk about scary stuff!

Darren said...

I can relate a little. I got chicken pox in college, broke out over my entire body, and was hospitalized. At least I didn't have small children around though.