Monday, June 16, 2008

I Think My Son May Have Lyme Disease

Really, I do. And the worst part is that we are in Brazil right now and I know that the doctors here wouldn't know which antibiotics to prescribe for him and how to really diagnose the disease.

Scary, huh? And why, you may ask, do I think he has Lyme disease, of all things? The answer is very simple. Three weeks ago K found a tick on Kelvin's ear at bedtime and he told us that a friend at school had removed a tick from his neck earlier that day when they were playing outside. I was scared because there Pennsylvania is known for the abundance of deer everywhere and his school is located near a large meadow where deer are often seen. I worried a bit and even considered calling the pediatrician before we traveled, but there were so many things to do and think about that I didn't do it.

Last Wednesday, however, Kelvin complained of something at the back of his head, more precisely, close to his hairline and, lo, and behold, there was a huge tick there. I shivered, thinking that the crature had been living in (and off) my son for over two weeks! My dad removed it with tweezers and it is now in a small jar full of rubbing alcohol -- it is huge and it looks precisely like the deer ticks pictured online. I kept looking at the back of his head and a few days ago I saw a small rash, similar to the one you can see pictured here, only much much smaller. He doesn't have any other symptoms, but I think that is enough, don't you think?

K is flying back home tonight and he'll call the pediatrician as soon as he gets home. Hopefully he'll be able to prescribe the antibiotics even without seeing my son, and meantime I'll take photos of the rash and bring the tick with me when we travel back on the 25th. It's all I can do. I just want him to be able to get started on the antibiotic as soon as possible, that's all.

I'm not really scared or upset, but it is unsettling and makes me feel guilty for not having checked his whole body for ticks, including his scalp. My son is becoming very independent, and at 6, he likes to take showers by himself, even washing his own hair. Had I washed his hair once during these two weeks I might have found out earlier... oh well.

8 comments:

Prisca said...

Ack! Definitely unsettling, Lilian. What a pain to discover it while you're so far from your usual doctor. I hope Kelvin remains symptom free other than the rash. I'll keep my fingers crossed. I know what you mean about 6 year olds and bath time independence. The same thing could EASILY happen at my house. I'm trying to foster my eldest's interest in washing her own hair etc. You remind me, though, that in this season it's important to check behind ears. I simply would not have thought of that.

Dawn said...

Ugh -- we have ticks out here in Ohio and I never check the kids. I depend on Brett to do it. Ugh again. I hope that you get a (happy!) answer very soon.

Cloudscome said...

Oh dear! I hope you get the antibiotics from your regular doctor. I've had Lyme disease twice and it's a tricky bug. The rash is a strong indication. Glad you got a picture of it because they fade fast.

I am trying to teach my kids to check themselves for ticks but it's hard because I am so inconsistent. I can't even remember the sunscreen for myself half the time.

Sounds like you are enjoying everything else about being in Brazil!

Keiko said...

Ai Lilian, que coisa! Estas coisas com nossos pequenos sobre as quais não temos controle...
tomara que dê tudo certo,

beijinho,
Keiko

kate said...

Oh, dear, Lilian. Is there any way you can take your pictures, tick, and printouts from the internet to a local doctor and have him/her get you the meds while you're still in Brazil? I guess if your husband is going to be talking to the doctor soon he will be able to tell you what to do.

Let us know!

Alice said...

Oh no! I know all about this since it's a problem here in our area as well. As far as I know if it gets treated in time it's not a big deal. It's a problem when it gets chronic but that means months and months of no treatment. Good luck to your little one! This reminds me that I should be checking my kids more often as well (I am not good at this either).

Left-handed Trees... said...

Lilian,
My son had Lyme Disease which progressed into Lyme Meningitis a few summers ago. He still has effects from this and I think that the rash is definitely enough to alert you to an issue. There are no 100% effective tests for Lyme, so my advice (since I have been there myself) is to be agressive and get him on those meds! My son was very ill and never got a rash at all...in fact half of Lyme Disease sufferers never get the rash so that your son did is a good thing--a warning sign. I say this not to "scare" you in any way but because I know what happens when Lyme isn't treated quickly enough first-hand and if I can help a blogging-friend out by telling what *my* experience has been I certainly will! Shoot me an email if you want to chat about it or to get any additional info I have. I wish you all the best...
Love,
D.

M said...

Oh, Lilian. I will be thinking about you and Kelvin, and I hope that K can get the meds to you quickly.