Just when I thought that all the 2018 opening salvo drama is over, after an honest driver returned Jeff’s black bag fiasco, here comes hand-foot-and-mouth (HFM) disease.
It started three days ago with a feverish Jeff Junior. Ate Joy told me that the resident cutie pie is sick and we are running out of liquid paracetamol for children. I went to the pharmacy to buy the medicine. JJ’s temperature went down after he took some meds and I thought that was the end of it.
Two days later, we noticed rashes of discolored spots and bumps below his lower lip and on his hands, arms, knees, legs and soles.
I initially suspected it was HFM disease because I saw several children in the US who had it when we were in and out of Kalispell Regional Medical Centre in 2015.
JJ was his usual upbeat self though; no fever and his appetite for food was great so Jeff and I decided to observe him the entire day. We agreed to take him to the doctor the following day if the rashes get worse.
They got worse.
By the time I was home at midnight from work, his hands are all read. JJ speaks kept on telling me that the rashes are “sakit” (painful) when he meant “katol” (itchy). We applied calmoseptine cream on the affected areas which temporarily addressed his discomfort but we knew that we needed to take him to the doctor first thing Monday morning.
At 7 a.m. on a Monday, Nicholas woke me up and announced that he is warm and that he is sick.
He already had fever.
At home, I am Dr. Mom so I announced to Jeff and Ate Joy that we are all going to see the doctor at Mendero Medical Center, located about 20 minutes away from our home.
We arrived 30 minutes before the pediatrician showed up so we were the first in line. Dr. Darwin is a pleasant doctor who always know what to do with sick kids. He confirmed my suspicion. JJ has HFM disease (not to be confused with foot-and-mouth disease which happens to animals).
HFM is contagious and is common among children below five years old. The twins are four years old, JJ is two.
Toni was not yet sick when we were at the doctor. By the time we got home though… she was hot and miserable.
I suspect that JJ got the virus, which causes HFM disease, from the stray cats which Jeff feeds every day. He usually have them enter the house to develop a relationship with our children.
I do not have problems with cats but these cats are not our cats and we don’t know where they have been before they entered our home and what things they touched. Worse, Ate Joy told me that two of the cats which JJ played with have wounds all over their bodies.
Jeff did not see these details. The angry me, being the boss of the boss, made it clear that no cats are allowed to enter the house and that feeding of cats is now prohibited. The cat food has been handed to our wonderful neighbors, Noreen and Rey.
Sorry, cat lovers (Jeff included), my children are more important than the feline creatures.
So today, a Monday, I took a leave from news work and donned my Dr. Mom cap. JJ is nursing his rashes which really look disgusting and painful. Nick and Toni have fever; spots are visible on their soles and legs.
I am on a 24-hour shift.
The work of a mother never ends.
P.S. I wrote about the honest driver and the entire black bag fiasco in my CDN column last Saturday, January 6. Apologies that I could not answer your individual questions. I wrote the details about it here: Nanay Says: (Honest Driver).