Right after Christmas Ben started feeling punk. The in-laws were in town, the house was still full of wrapping paper and toys that go beep, whirrrrr and zoink. But Ben had a fever, and the fever kept getting worse. Since it was the holidays the pediatrician’s office was closed and the calls were forwarded to the UNC hospital phone bank 30 miles away in Chapel Hill. The dial-a-nurse kept reassuring us every time we called that Ben would be alright, that children can endure high fevers and as long as he was drinking liquids and comfortable a 104 fever is nothing to be concerned about. She also said not to worry unless his fever gets over 105. When it got to be 105, we called again and again we were told not to worry, kids can take it.
On the evening of the second I was with my in-laws in the living room watching a game on the television, Ben’s mom traded places with me earlier to lay with Ben keeping an eye on him. It wasn’t long before I heard my name being called, I ran into the room as Ben was being lowered into a tub of water, “His fever is 107, we have to get him the hospital.” So we dunked Ben in the tub, dosed him once again with Motrin, dressed him in a tshirt and ran out of the house to the hospital. I dialed 911 on the way alerting them to the situation and called the doctor.
There were no rooms available in the emergency room, a nurse fumbled with the clip on his finger as Ben lay screaming on the gurney in the hallway. This was not turning out as I had hoped but Ben’s fever had dropped to 106 and was continuing to fall quickly for the next 20 minutes. No call back from the doctor, no doctor coming into the ER so I get back on the phone and start yelling. I believe I said something like, “If my son’s doctor does not call back in 10 minutes and something happens to my son, tell him I will find him and hurt him.”
I immediately got a call back from the doctor, “Get him out of the ER, it will only make him sicker, bring him to my office.” We packed him up and headed across the street to the doctor’s office. Ben’s fever had broken and was back down to 104, we were relieved.
The doctors notes said the fever was most likely viral and appeared “tired and sleepy”. You betcha!
The next day Ben went back to the doctor’s office, still some concern about his well-being. His blood work showed a WBC count of 3,000, normal range is from 6,000-15,000. His Red cell distribution width (RDW) was high at a 14.6, normal range is from 11.5 – 14.5 and his Platelet count (PLT) was low at 131 when the normal range is 150-350. If Ben was a Chemo patient the levels might not cause alarm. We were sent back home with a pat on the head for being such cautious parents.
Now it is important to remember these test levels because when I get around to talking about April 18, 2007, you’ll need to remember this, the doctor didn’t.
The next evening the febrile fevers finally went away, and the following day Ben developed a rash on the trunk of his body. This is what the doctor diagnosed as Roseola. A few months later the fevers and rash returned and over the phone the doctor diagnosed it as a recurrence of Roseola.
Roseola is a generally mild infection that usually affects children by age 2. It occasionally affects adults. Roseola is extremely common — so common that most children have been infected with roseola by the time they enter kindergarten.
Two common strains of the herpes virus cause roseola. Roseolovirus refers to both Human Herpesvirus Six and Seven, both members of the betaherpesviridae subfamily of herpesvirus.The condition typically causes several days of fever, followed by a rash.
Some children develop only a very mild case of roseola and never show any clear indication of illness, while others experience the full range of symptoms.
Roseola typically isn’t serious. Rarely, complications from a very high fever can result. Treatment of roseola includes bed rest, fluids and medications to reduce fever.