This is the continuing update on our son Dashiell’s condition, for distribution to all!
The last three days have been a rollercoaster, but the overall movement has been positive.
What we have discovered so far is that there are a trio of unusually debilitating non-flu respiratory viruses running through Upstate NY children this year. Together, they are responsible for the majority of child pneumonia cases. Our overachieving tyke has managed to contract all three simultaneously! In addition, he also managed to become infected with group A streptococcus (group A being the one that gives you strep throat, but not for our little boy…).
The working theory is that he contracted one of the viruses, and had a strong enough immune system to suppress all symptoms, but not to beat it entirely in the short term. This weakened him enough to allow the other two to gain a foothold. The three together were only able to give him a runny nose and slight cough, but served to depress his immune system to the point that the Streptococcus was able to invade both his lungs and chest cavity.
The result of all this was that his lungs were weakened at the same time that his chest cavity began to fill with fluid. This caused his left lung to almost collapse. Simultaneously, he presented “scarlet fever”, meaning he experienced spikes of extreme high-fever (up to 105, that we caught), and the toxins produced by the strep bacteria produced a hideous, body-wide rash that weirdly moved slowly around on his body, sometimes engulfing his face, his torso, his arms and legs, etc. (By the way, no medical professional here has ever even heard of a moving rash associated with any known disease before, which gave us serious cause for concern early on!).
Fortunately, we were already at the hospital before the worst of the lung collapse and scarlet fever hit, so he was kept from complete respiratory failure, and the scarlet fever only had a few hours to work before it was knocked out by the antibiotics, which meant that he was never as close to death as he might have been, despite how terribly ill he was.
In the last three days, he has had a chest tube installed to drain the fluid, and been treated with multiple antibiotics to combat the strep. There is nothing the doctors can do to cure the viral infections as they are no susceptible to any known antivirals, but his fever is well controlled, the strep is losing the fight, and his lung function is back up to about 90%.
We are not out of the woods, and best case will be staying in the hospital for another week, but we have moved from condition “Terrified he’s gonna die” through condition “Concerned he might die or have serious future medical problems” and on into condition “Still worried there might be an unexpected downturn, but expecting a full recovery”
For his part, Dashiell is annoyed he can’t get out of bed and go to the potty on his own, and confused why people keep sending him toys and balloons when he “already has enough”.
Mommy and Daddy are stressed and emotionally exhausted but grateful for wonderful family, friends, and neighbors who have helped and supported us in our time of need. We love you all!