Saturday, October 31, 2009

Hypochondria and H1N1

As mothers go, I am of the species hypochondrae. In other words, when it comes to illness, I often find myself thinking that whatever current illness is ailing my children is worse than it actually is. Red, itchy eyes? Must be pink eye. Vomiting and diarrhea? They'll probably get dehydrated and have to go to the hospital for IV fluids. Twisted ankle with a limp? It might be a hairline fracture! I can't tell you how many times my mind just goes into overdrive when the kids are sick.

All this being said, I must admit, then, that I have wondered, more than once, if my children, myself or my husband have had H1N1. We are active and healthy people. But we are exposed to LOTS of people on a regular basis, so it's not unlikely that we have been exposed to the virus more than once since it's arrival in town.

As hypochrondrae mothers go, I have repeatedly searched the internet for information on this "horrible" virus. Funny thing, the symptoms turn up the same on every search. The one I've found interesting is this: it is estimated that at least one-third to one-half of H1N1 cases do not include a fever. This is why I have thought that someone in my family (or more than one someone) could have already had it. You see, so far this fall, all of us have had the following: sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headache, body aches, and fatigue. The missing symptom has been the fever (and associated chills). This is otherwise known as a cold.

So, imagine my surprise (and comfort) to know without a doubt in my mind that one of my children is currently suffering from the H1N1 virus. Does the word comfort sound strange? Well, as a hypochondriac, one of the things I find comfort in is just knowing for sure what the ailment is. So, you probably think when I say "for sure" that we've been to the doctor's office and been tested and its been confirmed, right? Wrong.

When they get H1N1, you just know. I don't know how to explain it except that you just know. I don't need a doctor to tell me that a fever of 102 with a headache, chills, aches, and a horrible runny, stuffy nose is the H1N1 flu. I just know. And, according to the news and websites, many doctors aren't even doing the tests anymore anyway. They are just diagnosing based on symptoms.

So far, my little one is handling it well. No problems with her breathing, her fever is being controlled with ibuprofen, and though she's been very inactive, just laying on the couch, she's still coherent, laughing at jokes and enjoying the company of her family.

So, for now I'll just be Dr. Mom, and enjoy the duty of caring for my little one while I wait to see if it spreads through the entire family.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, I've had to be DR Mom before too... I can totally relate to this post. :)