*cough* *sneeze* *sniffle*
I hate being sick. But that's not what this post is about.
At lunchtime on Tuesday, I got a call from the school. The secretary said that J had been stung by a bee, that his hand was really swollen, and she wanted me to come over and look at it. When I got there, his whole hand was huge, he couldn't bend his fingers, and the tip of his little finger, where he was stung, was black and blue. He was trying not to cry.
I took him home with me and put some ice on it. By dinnertime, it seemed like the swelling had started to go down and since he wasn't showing any other symptoms, I wasn't too worried about it. I figured it was just a matter of time.
He went to bed at his usual time but got up a couple of hours later, crying. I gave him some acetaminophen and put more ice on it and eventually he went back to sleep. He was up for a while before Ice went to work, then went back to bed, and when we all got up a few hours later, it didn't seem to be bothering him too much. I kept him home from school though.
I put more ice on it but, by noon, the swelling looked worse than the night before and even his arm was somewhat swollen right up to the elbow. I called the local clinic and they said to drop by anytime between 4pm and 7pm.
We got to the clinic at 4:05pm but still had to wait. The doctor that we ended up seeing was young. He looked at J's hand, listened to the story, and said to keep doing what we were doing. He said that an antihistamine wouldn't help at this point, that I should give him an anti-inflammatory instead of acetaminophen, and that J should keep his hand elevated. We were getting ready to leave when he decided to look under J's arm and noticed there was redness on the inside of his upper arm and into his armpit.
This seemed to concern him quite a bit, so much so that he decided J needed antibiotics. And not just regular old pills either. IV antibiotics. He said we were to go over to the emergency room at the hospital where they would get him started on an IV and that we were to return there every eight hours for the next two days for more IV treatments and, after that, he could have the antibiotics orally.
This kinda freaked me out.
We went over to the emergency room and I filled out the forms and tried to keep J entertained while we waited. Before long, the emergency room doctor came over, introduced himself, and said, “Want a second opinion?”
He said that antibiotics were overkill and that IV antibiotics were way over the top. He said that if J was his son (“and I do have a son”) that he would not put him through the trauma. He said the best thing to do was to give him an antihistamine, to not bother with an anti-inflammatory because it would do nothing, to give him acetaminophen as needed, and to just wait it out. The exact opposite of what the other doctor had said. He explained what was happening and why, he said that hands, feet, and faces swell much more than other parts of the body, he explained why the redness under his arm wasn't a concern (if it was something serious, it would have been a bright angry red instead of a dull pinkish colour), he explained that it was going to take three or four days and that J's hand wouldn't be completely back to normal until Monday.
All the things I had expected to hear when I visited the first doctor.
Doctor #2 (as J calls him now) said he knew he was putting me in a bad position, having to choose between conflicting advice, but that he would be working all night and if I had any concerns at all later, I could call him and he'd talk to me. He said he'd be on until 8am and, if I wanted, I could run J back in before then and he'd take another look.
I decided to follow his advice because it made more sense to me. The nurse gave J some Benadryl, wrapped his hand in a tensor bandage, and we left. I called Ice from the payphone at the hospital, then met up with him at the shop. I explained what had happened and he completely agreed with my decision.
J started feeling better almost immediately, partly because of the Benadryl but mostly, I think, because a doctor had looked at it. I kept him home from school for the rest of the week though. The sting was on his left hand and since he's a left-handed kid, there wasn't much point sending him.
The swelling is almost entirely gone now.
In other news
I felt like hell all week. When I took J to the clinic on Wednesday, I sounded worse than any of the other people in the waiting room.
Friday was a PA day for the kids. Mom & Dad picked us up and we drove to where Ice is working. He joined us for lunch and then we all watched him climb around underneath this enormous bridge, too bloody many feet up in the air. The kids thought it was cool.
Posted by Ripley on September 27, 2003
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