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.