Vector-borne disease – the term commonly used to describe an illness caused by an infectious microbe that is transmitted to people by blood-sucking arthropods.
After a decision that invisible stinging skin, electrocution by cold water, and a secretly broken tongue may require more than a Benadryl, I make a flurry of calls on my way to the closest clinic because, of course, it is the weekend.
Clinic woman: “We can’t help you here. It might have something to do with your bug bites but we don’t do blood work here. And, I don’t really know about the Benadryl and the baby.” Seriously! Buy a book, lady. I graciously thank her for nada ting and grab a bottle of formula on my way out. Just in case.
Racing home to feed the baby. In my fear of transferring this virus to him and my reluctance to even hold him, we used up all the bottles that I brought back from the island. I need to get me or this formula back there asap. My return flurry of calls begins.
Lactation person – Do not stop nursing unless you start a medication. You cannot give the baby a virus that way.
Pediatric nurse – Do not stop nursing unless you start a medication. You cannot give the baby a virus that way.
My doctor – Sometimes you can get neurological symptoms with a virus. Come to see me on Monday. Keep nursing. Take the Benadryl. If it gets worse go to the emergency room.
Within hours the unseen stinging crawls slowly, but certainly, up my arms. I confirm that I can feel my tongue but I cannot taste anything. Rather, everything that I taste is the flavor of fizzing, tonic water. My mouth and face sting like I’m headed, full speed, down the highest mountain at Snowbird. And now, that pain vibrates from my shoulders to the tips of my fingers. It starts as if they have been dipped in rubbing alcohol, then slathered in hot peppers while baking in the sun. And that lower GI situation, still exists.
I do not know what it feels like to have a stroke and honestly, I feel like whatever this is it is progressing and moving fast. Of course, after a week away, we have exhausted all of our babysitting resources. So D stays with the girls and I drive myself to the ER. I have the baby with me so that I can nurse him. Who knows how long I will be waiting, especially if it’s for a freaking psych consult?! This is not the type of “running” that I intended to hit the ground and do. Not in my wildest dreams.
Driving. My hands are burning up. I’m sweating and that turns my arms on fire. Should I be driving? Half of me wonders if there is some kind of screening protocol about driving yourself to the ER. I mean, if it’s so emergent, should you really be driving? Should I pull over and call an ambulance? What if I crash with the baby in the car? My mind is racing and the baby is quiet. Extra quiet. Four levels lower than the church mice quiet.
Suddenly, I am parking. Then re-parking and re-parking this ridiculous pick up truck in this spot the size of a Tic Tac container. OMG is this place serious?!
I hesitate before going in. Do I really want the baby in an ER? I spot the friend I called who dropped her own two kids and everything else to meet me at the lobby doors. I hand him over to her and end the internal dialogue. I am tired. Running on fear. I need someone in scrubs to assure me that my brain is not going to leak out of my ear tonight.
Keep walking, I command myself. You need your brain.