Last month, I found myself in a position I never thought I would be in – pushing for my son to be prescribed antibiotics.
Tyler had reacted badly to some mosquito bites, as he always does. He gets an allergic reaction to them – not anaphylactic, but lots of swelling and about a week or so of pussy, festering blisters on the affected area. It’s always pretty uncomfortable, and pretty gross. But this time, things were a little unusual. I began to question whether his symptoms were just that of a worse-than-usual allergic reaction to the mosquito venom, or whether there was an infection taking hold.
I found myself sitting in the doctor’s office of an after-hours medical centre, being told contradictory things.
1) Doctor said it could be either an infection or an allergic reaction (duh! I told you that, you’re supposed to tell me which one it is!), but he uhm’d and ahh’d and seemed really unsure, then finally prescribed anti-histamines.
2) When I asked for a swab to be done, to test for an infection, the doctor told me there was no point – if it was an infection, he needed antibiotics now rather than in two days when the swab would be back (duh! but you’re not even treating it like an infection, and meanwhile I would like some kind of process in place because I think you’re wrong!).
By the time we left, my mummy gut instincts were screaming at me that this just wasn’t right. So we headed to the emergency department to get a second (more competent) opinion. At that point, I knew Tyler would be prescribed antibiotics. At that point, I wanted a prescription for antibiotics.
You see, as it turns out, Tyler did have an infection. In the two hours waiting at the doctor’s clinic, his symptoms were worsening. By the time we were seen at the hospital, they had worsened still. Long story short, we headed home at about 1am after T had been given a double dose of oral antibiotics, prescription in hand for more antibiotics in the morning and under strict instructions to bring him in if things hadn’t begun to improve by the afternoon, as Tyler had an infection that got in his open mozzie bites and had started to spread in his body.
But it doesn’t end there. By the time the afternoon rolled around, the infection was still spreading – not as quickly as it was the night before, but still spreading all the same. So back to emergency we went. Tyler was admitted for 48 hours of IV antibiotics and I was happy about that.
I don’t like antibiotics. I think they are health-destroying and over-prescribed. BUT unfortunately, sometimes, they are necessary. This was one of those times – when never becomes now.
And that’s how we ended up in hospital last month, antibiotics pumping through my son’s body via a vein on his hand every 6 hours. Antibiotics destroying everything he and I had worked so hard for, depopulating his gut wall and upsetting the balance, irritating his body, and beating up his liver and immune system. Honestly, that felt like
shit. (Sorry for the swear word; it’s the only way I can accurately articulate just how angry/frustrated/depressed I felt when I thought about the internal damage taking place.)
I’m trying to look at all this as an opportunity to start from a clean slate. Trying. But we keep things real here, and I want to say – I am still struggling with that concept. Tyler has ongoing immune & digestive issues since the antibiotics, and it’s a bit overwhelming sometimes. But we are here, and here we are – on a renewed path back towards gut health. Eventually.
(I’m wrapping up this post here, because it’s getting long enough and ranty enough as is – but keep an eye out for more posts in the coming weeks about hospital food (the good and the bad!) and hospital staff (some pleasant surprises here!), and my short-term and long-term plans for fixing T’s gut & immune system.)
Thank you all, so SO much for your support. I received some beautiful messages & comments of support from readers, and it truly meant a lot to me. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – you guys ROCK.