Mom vs. Hand Foot and Mouth Disease

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**WARNING: There are graphic pictures attached to this article to show my progression and recovery with Hand Foot and Mouth Disease.**

So, as the story goes when things are going too smoothly you should be waiting for the other shoe to drop, because nothing lasts forever. Right? Let me tell you a tale about how my family survived Hand Foot and Mouth Disease at the end of Summer. 

Let me start by saying that my husband booked a beautiful family vacation for us in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. It was our fist vacation as a little family of 3 and I was looking forward to watching our son experience the beach for the first time. I was a little nervous about taking a 1 year old on a plane, but I was prepared for anything. He was a perfect passenger. I was actually shocked at how well behaved he was as a lap child. He had the time of his life on vacation and we were all sad to go. We had plans to return home to visit friends who welcomed a new baby, see family, and enjoy the last weeks of Summer doing outdoor activities. If you are envisioning these blissful thoughts about the plans we had- scratch the record, because life had other ideas!

The day we arrived home wasn’t marked with much other than some tiredness. We attended a family party that evening, and our moose of a son wouldn’t eat dinner which is very unlike him. We did not realize this was the first step of our descent into madness. Fast forward a few hours and he has a fever right before bedtime. But he is also a teething toddler, so no bells and whistles went off. The following day he had a high fever that was not able to be broken down with Children’s Motrin, so we took him to a Children’s Hospital walk in clinic to find he was diagnosed with Hand Foot and Mouth Disease. We were thankful that it was not anything more serious, like Malaria, Zikavirus, or something crazy since we had just spent a week in a foreign country. Of course being that is is viral, we could only offer fluids, rest and more Motrin for fever and pain. We were told that adults don’t get it, so not to worry. I did have this once before as an adult, and it was terrible, but we were assured that IF we got it at all it would be a mild case that didn’t seem noteworthy. 

In the days to follow, I had to take our son back in as he hit the peak of the illness, but did not start to come back down. He was then upgraded to “severe HFAM Disease and it was noted that he looked like a pretty bad case as he was covered in the blisters. (Great) Around then I had had a sore throat and achy muscles with a few of the blisters for a few days and thought that was the worst I’d have it. My husband followed suit. At one point we were all infected, self-quarantined because of how contagious it is, and miserable! I cannot emphasize enough how miserable we (thought) we were.

Finally after a few days both my son and husband turned the corner. I, however, fell into a black hole of HFAM- the likes of which nightmares are made of.

Here is a little diary of how this went:

Day 1 – Our son gets a fever

Day 2 – Our son gets a higher fever that won’t break down with medicine, later is diagnosed with HFAM, he has a few blisters 

Day 3 – I notice some blisters on my leg- no symptoms

Day 4 – I start feeling achy and tired, no new blisters or fever. Our son is covered more than the average in blisters, upgraded to sever HFAM

Day 5-6 – My husband starts showing symptoms and then has to leave work, I still feel tired, and my hands are now getting the blisters.

Red dots are where the blisters are forming. They begin and are extremely itchy.

Day 7-8 – Our son and my husband start to turn the corner and appear to look much better. I wake up feeling like I have the flu (body aches), strep throat (can barely swallow), and poison ivy all over my body (I have lots of blisters and they itch non stop!). Went to a walk in clinic since I get worse by the hour and get prescription anti-itch cream so I can sleep.

Scalp covered in bumps and scabs

 

Day 8: the eruption

Day 9 – Visited the ER because now I am in tremendous pain and this is supposed to only last 7-10 days. I cannot sleep, the blisters have reached the soles of my feet and I cannot stand or walk without extreme pain.

Day 10-12 – The ER said I was also an extreme case and gave me a prescription for the pain and I can barely function while my husband continues to take care of the house, our son and me while working full time. I start to feel better with the worst part over.

Progress on day 10

Day 12-15 – Scabs form and heal and are starting to disappear, still not feeling less tired, but I can function without medication.

Day 16-18 – My face is finally healed enough to look normal again! (Thank you Jesus!)

 

Oh, I am not turning into a zombie after all!

Day 19 – My hands feel like wax, I have no feeling in my finger tips. I see that all of my hand skin is turning into a giant sized (regular) blister.

The white parts are where the old skin is dying and waiting to come off… gross.

Day 20 (yep…day 20) – My hands start to molt like I am a snake who has outgrown his skin.

Day 21-26 – My hands will not stop peeling. There is constant new skin coming off and now where there is “raw” new skin exposed it hurts to touch anything. I am back to not being able to do much of anything while that heals. My feet also start peeling and look just like my hands {no pictures on this, as feet are just not for everyone}, and also hurt to the touch. 

Here are my hands today, Day 26. (I can’t believe I am on day 26 of a 7-10 day viral infection!)

I am still peeling. My feet are peeling in large patches and it is painful when they come off! I imagine that I might have another week or 2 of healing, but if I can impart anything to anyone about HFAM it is that the internet and everyone who says adults do not get this are in on some cosmic joke! (insert a wink and smirk here) I joke about this now, and will probably laugh about this nightmare of a month for years to come. I wanted to share my story of misery to make you feel better about your situation, show you the reality of what was supposed to be a “mild case” for an adult and how quickly life can take a turn, and to let you know that despite the biggest disruptions to your family routine – there is always an end in sight!

Stay healthy this cold and flu season and if you wind up in the trenches like us, take it one day at a time and try to be glad in the fact that you will have a reason to binge watch Netflix from your sick bed!

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Deanna is a life long Beaver County resident. She is a first time, stay-at-home mom. She and her husband are teaming up to raise an entertaining and energetic little boy, Roman, who is turning one this summer. We share our hearts and home with a rescue Labrador Retriever, Geno, who completes our family dynamic. Deanna has spent a handful of years as a Pre-Kindergarten daycare teacher, and studied Early Childhood Education during that time. Part of her work as a daycare teacher was to plan events in and out of the classroom setting. She found a calling in this and went on to become a certified Event Planner who enjoys hosting various themed and somewhat elaborate parties for close friends and family. Before motherhood, Deanna had become a voice in the PCOS community, sharing tips and information on the subject to provide hope and support to other women like her who have experienced or currently experience infertility. Spreading awareness on the subject is something she is passionate about after being diagnosed in 2016, the same year she was able to conceive thanks to her faith, healthy lifestyle changes, and medical intervention. After becoming a Mom, she has gone on to create and Administer the Facebook page, "Beaver County MOB (Moms of Boys)" exclusively designed for activities in the tri-county area for boys ages newborn- Middle School. She also began a recipe blog for busy moms who just want to get dinner on the table at www.mealswithmommy.com. Also in early 2017, she became a page editor for a small business Facebook page, Beanster Goods. In her limited spare time she volunteers for a card ministry through her Church, enjoys binging on Netflix or Hulu series, reading during middle of the night breastfeeding sessions, is a Pinterest enthusiast, likes trying new restaurants with her husband, traveling to new places, finding age appropriate activities in the community for her son, practices Hygge, trys to stay active outdoors, while occasionally hosting get togethers for her neighbors.