Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Let's Talk Valley Fever

Not, to like, be all, like totally Valley and stuff, but this, like Valley Fever thing is totally grodie.



I misunderstood what Valley Fever is. I thought it made you talk like a Valley girl.

As if.

What it does do is a bit worse. Not much worse, mind you, just a bit.

For those of you not in the know - although a few googled Valley Fever which totally made me feel all warm and fuzzy to know you want to know what my baby girl has - Valley Fever is a fungus that lives in the soil of a big chunk of California, Arizona, New Mexico, and parts of South America. When it gets disturbed, it gets airborne and people breathe it in.

Not everyone who breathes it in gets Valley Fever. And not everyone who gets Valley Fever gets it right away, Some people get it, never even know they have something other than the flu, and that's it. Other people get it and it sends them to the hospital.

Symptoms run from fevers, coughing, weight loss, headache and swelling to light sensitivity, neck stiffness, severe lung issues, and joint swelling.

In other's a crazy little fungus.

From what they can tell, the doctors believe E has a mild case and the odds are, we've seen the worst of it. But...

There's always a but.

Because she's under five, she has a higher chance of recurrence during the next year. And the tricky bit is that it could sneak up. A fever or a cough could be a cold or a recurrence. And little ones get sick. A lot. So, to make sure we keep a handle on it, Dr. N is sending us to the leading expert in our state who will monitor E's blood work and chest x-rays.

Because we'll be doing a lot of those over the next year.

And he wants to see her for regular check-ups. In Fresno. Which means..road trip!

I'm keeping my fingers crossed he only needs to see her once or twice. And I'm keeping my fingers crossed her cocci (that's short for coccidioidomycosis, Valley Fever's longer name) levels are low and stay low.

The biggest question I keep hearing from friends and family is how did she get it? We don't live in the Valley. Well, apparently the wind is just that good because she did get it here and she's not the only one. They're seeing an increase in cases.

And because Elizabeth is determined to give me gray hair, she got it.

Shut up. I totally don't have gray hair. Yet.

And it's not because I dye it.

So the little pumpkin who has been to the hospital for stitches, burned her hand with a pot of boiling water, has had more trips and falls in two and half years than Joseph has had is six, is now going to be getting chest x-rays, blood work, and trying to wrap a new doctor around her tiny little finger.

Should be interesting...


Anne@AlwaysHalfFull said...

Oh momma.  Best of luck!

Mandy Dawson said...

Thanks. I'm breathing a paper bag. A lot.

Sandra Larson said...

Your writing skills and your audience may be a great help at increasing awareness of the disease. Did you know sea otters get valley fever? Several deaths of otters in the 1990's were determined to have been caused by cocci. It is very important for mom's to know the symptoms, and to be prepared to ask the doctor to rule out valley fever for any illness that persists as many doctors don't think of it, especially if not in the area where it is hyper endemic. We have a primer at our website written by Dr Hans Einstein for patients and there families.

Mandy Dawson said...

I had no idea she had to do that. I can't even imagine how much "fun" that would be. :(