Last week (April 24th-ish) Maeve started running a fever. No biggie. It knocked her down for 2 days and kept her home from ballet, but by Friday (the 26th) she was back to her normal self. I worried for a minute about Henry and Stella getting it, but shrugged it off... afterall, it was only a fever.
Saturday, on the way home from a great morning at the beach, Maeve piped up from the back. "My mouth has a boo boo." Ryan and I took it with a grain of salt- afterall, Maeve will tell you she broke her leg if she bumps it on the sofa.
It was about a 30 minute drive from the beach we were at, and about every 5 minutes she reminded us her mouth hurt. We assured her we'd look when we got home.
And look we did. Our mind was blown.
Maeve had a DIME sized lump on the inside of her gum, almost like something was growing out, between her teeth.
"Oh my GOSH. Ryan I think she's got some kind of mouth infection!"
We both scrambled around the house, googling and calling (mom & dad of course) to try and figure out what would be making her mouth swell like this. I found some pictures online, and decided it was either an abcess... infected.
Maeve was crying, and her face was swollen from the lump. We called the after hours doc and he said it sounded like an infection and put her on a zpack. She started it Saturday night and continued it until Monday morning.
Monday morning, Henry and Stella woke up with fevers. And Maeve woke up with a puffier cheek. Time to go in.
I called my mom to watch the younger two, and brought Maeve into the doctor.
Dr. Cline took two seconds to look in her mouth, then turned and said "hand, foot and mouth disease."
Instinctively I took a horrified step away from my own child. Good God, WHAT? Hands and feet and mouths... gahhhhhhhhhhhh.
The doc showed me Maeves mouth and I couldn't do anything but cry. Her entire pallate was filled with sores. The back of her throat had at least 3 bulging spots that were beginning to ulcer. We looked at her hands and found a tiny blister on her pinky. On her feet there were several red bumps. I felt awful. How does one contract such a disgusting disease?
I mentioned to the doctor, "Hey, um I have two other kids at home with my mom and they're both running fevers...." She smiled at me, obviously sorry for the news she was about to deliver, "You're in for a week."
I had no idea.
The good news about HFM, is its not serious. The bad news? It's a virus, and you can only treat the symptoms with tylenol, motrin and a mixture of malox and benedryl. In other words, it was a solid week of my kids crying through the night in pain. Sweet Stella June would just scream and scream, sticking her fingers in her mouth, obviously in tons of discomfort from her mouth sores.
We JUST turned the corner yesterday (Saturday). The kids still have sores covering their bodies, but they're starting to scab and peel. They seem to itch a bit, but they're not causing that gut wrenching, screaming/crying pain.
In my free time this past week (haha...free time-aka insomnia) I've done a lot of researching on HFM. Here's what I found out
It has nothing to do with dirt or filth.
Spring is the peak season for it.
It's spread like any other virus.
I'm positive we picked it up at chickfila. The combo of many kids + enclosed quarters + eating while playing... yeah... not good.
It isn't anyones fault- including mine! haha :) This was a big one for me to grasp.
It was super hard seeing the kids suffer so much. And all I could think of was "I don't keep the counters clean enough." Or, "Maybe I'm not as vigilant as I should be when they're brushing their teeth." Etc. ETC. ETC.
It was certainly a bad week. And I wouldn't wish that (or any kind of suffering) on any child. It's just wrong.
But I know, those kids are my world. They may not have the shiniest teeth on the block, and Maeve might forget to wipe after the potty every now and then (we're working on that!) but we are normal. We are functioning. We are this family of little ducks, figuring things out as we go. Learning together, and loving the whole way. Owning up to what is ours, and relenquishing control of what isn't.