After an hour of being home----- Rotavirus kicked in high gear and didn't stop! Hannah first had diarrhea and then she talked about her tummy hurting and how it was grumbling loud. Of course this all had to start at bedtime- everyone is tired and I hadn't even unpacked from our Washington DC trip. Within minutes from her first episode of diarrhea , the vomiting began and continued for 19 hours straight. Poor Hannah threw up every 5-15 minutes throughout the entire night and Sunday morning. She was so sick, weak and exhausted. Many times she was having diarrhea and throwing up at the same time. Of course, fever always comes with illness. When my husband finally got home (worked 24 hours then goes straight to church) I called the pediatrician. He recommended me taking Hannah to the Emergency Room if it didn't slow down within the next 3-4 hours. Nothing slowed down and I wasn't able to get any fluids to stay down more than 5 minutes. My husband and I made the decision to go ahead and take her to the emergency room for IV fluids and meds to help her to stop vomiting. As I was carrying her to the car-- she rolls her eyes back and tells me "she can't move her fingers and they were tight". I looked at them..... I panicked! I yelled for my husband to come.....neither one of us could open her fingers, they were so contracted and very tightly closed in her palm of her hands. Then she opens her eyes and says in a panicked voice, "Mommy, it's happening to my feet and knees, too". She begs for me to stop it from happening. I had no idea what was going on...... I thought to myself, did she have a stroke on me?
I couldn't get to the emergency room fast enough. She was in/out of consciousness in between throwing up on route to the ER. Luckily, the staff was kind and let us go directly to a room without any wait. The usual questions are asked, medications discussed and it was obvious I should have been here many hours ago. Nurses had a difficult time starting a IV to administer fluids and zofran for nausea. On a good day, Hannah has bad veins and this is always challenging for nurses to start IV's. Finally, after several attempts.... IV started to initiate blood draws and get some fluids in her. Rectal swabs needed to properly diagnosis what we now know was rotavirus. (Hannah didn't like this- but who would?) Meanwhile, the doctor examined Hannah and asked me how I felt about sending her to Shands for hospital admission?? I assured her LRMC will be able to give her fluids and she'll be fine. Within an hour, the doctor shared with me that she was positive for Rotavirus and needs to be admitted. By now.....Hannah is finally resting and the vomiting has slowed down.
I was ok with rotavirus...but wanted answers as to why did her hands and feet contract up so tightly?? This was something new and I had never seen his happen to Hannah. As more tests came back- it looked like her calcium was low and may have caused tetany. Neurologic symptoms can occur in severe cases of rotavirus which results of electrolyte imbalance (i.e., low calcium). Hannah was given calcium, potassium in her IV as we wait for a bed available in pediatric unit.
As the doctor kept checking on her, she explained more about rotavirus to me. It was then that I figured that Jake has it, too. Jake hadn't been feeling well, abdominal cramps, throwing up after some meals and diarrhea. I totally contributed this to his new medications. I had even researched more about Orencia and figured it was one of those lovely side effects. Jake had his first dose of Orencia about a week and 1/2 ago. I NEVER thought he had any type of stomach bug or rotavirus. The guilt kicks in.....and then I look back and feel bad that we walked all over capitol Hill with him complaining about his tummy, came home throwing up and sent him to school the next day. I knew if I kept him at home his teacher or school administration would think I kept him home because he was tired from trip. I find myself constantly evaluating and trying to put pieces together....... Why is it happening? What meds did we change? Is this part of JRA or something else? This time I was absolutely wrong- had no idea Jake was sick and positive for rotavirus!
The norm to expect from rotavirus is fever and vomiting for 2-3 days, then diarrhea for the next 4-5 days. The virus typically lasts 10 days. The common treatment is simply to replace fluids and electrolytes. Dehydration is the biggest concern for the children without any other medical issues. For children like Jake and Hannah who have a immunodeficiency, it may cause persistent infection lasting for weeks to months. This is exactly what Jake and Hannah's pediatrician shared with us-- it can take several weeks before kids are back to themselves, expect decreased appetite. And what always comes with a common illness..... A JRA fare-up! There is a rotavirus vaccine, but this is one of the many that Jake and Hannah can NOT have ever because of the medications they both take and because of immunodeficiency diseases.
|Hannah's favorite visitor- her brother, Jake!|
Four days later, Hannah was discharged from hospital. Happy to return to home, but still not feeling the best! Jake returned to school, per doctor's advice. We certainly hope we didn't share this virus with any friends at school or especially our JRA family and friends. These poor kids have such a suppressed immune system, not as easy to fight a common cold or flu or a virus like this one. Nobody wants to have rotavirus, I am sure of that!
|Hannah was happy to be headed home!|