If you’ve been visiting my site on and off for the past two weeks, you may have noticed that I’ve been uncharacteristically quiet. The truth is, I’ve been attending to Ryder, my sweet 7-year old, who has discovered a new nemesis in life. And the biggest problem with this particular opponent is that they outnumber him about ten billion to one.
It’s the mosquito.
It all started last October, when he was bitten in Mexico. The bite on his hand, which seemed innocuous enough, started out like any other bug bite – a small, itchy swelling. However, within 12 hours, Ryder’s entire hand was swollen, hot and painful, and it worried me enough to call in the resort doctor, who prescribed an anti-inflammatory and antibiotic to reduce the symptoms. And it worked! So we continued our vacation, and upon returning home I mentioned it to my doctor, who didn’t seem to think it was a cause for concern.
^^ That’s Ryder with his Hulk hand back in Mexico. I often marvel at children’s ability to stay bright and positive through the most distressing circumstances. He’s such a trooper!
Fast forward to a week and half ago, when Ryder was bitten over the eye. His entire face swelled up within hours, and since the eye is such a delicate (and integral) area of the face, we took him straight to the emergency room of our local hospital. Well, you could have knocked me over with a feather when the doctors immediately admitted Ryder to the hospital and hooked him up to an IV! It turns out that whenever anything involves the eye, they don’t take chances; they started him on antibiotics prophylactically and gave him an antihistamine around the clock. Three days later, he was released from the hospital.
I wish the saga ended there… except that yesterday, the same area above his eye began to swell again. What are the odds? Could he have really been bitten in the same area… twice? I didn’t want to take chances, so we took him straight to Sick Kids. It truly is a world-class facility, and we’re so fortunate to live nearby. There, the emergency room doctor was attentive, empathetic, and immediately took an ultrasound of Ryder’s eye to rule out infection. It turns out that he has some sort of allergy – a hive, an area of inflammation, who really knows – that gets triggered and begins to swell. It could just be that the toxin from the previous bite is simply not out of his system. She sent us home with (more) Benadryl and instructions to watch him carefully for signs of infection.
The unofficial medical jargon for people who experience a localized reaction to mosquito bites is Skeeter Syndrome. It is caused by allergenic polypeptides in mosquito saliva. It often affects young children, who have not yet had a chance to build up immunity to the toxin.
Sigh. So that’s how I spent 4 out of the last 10 days in hospitals. And that’s also the reason we were not able to take our Texas Traveller trip – Ryder was hospitalized during the time we should have been on vacation. (Also: thank goodness for trip cancellation insurance. Buy it! You never know when you’ll need it.)
I won’t post a picture of Ryder with facial swelling, because I’ve made a promise to never post photos which would embarrass or otherwise make my kids uncomfortable – now or in years to come. However, Ryder is pretty darned impressed with his Hulk hand above – I’m sure he wishes he could’ve got a few more punches in on his little brother.
Bear with me while I catch up, friends! It’s been an interesting few days – but then, life is never boring, is it?