Saturday, July 14, 2007

Annual Check up & !#@%^! Tuberculosis

Katherine & Derek had their annual check ups this week.
I hate it when they ask if they are getting shots. I can't lie. So I had to say yes for sure to Derek but I didn't know for Katherine. Derek's was also his Kindergarten checkup and after 2 kids you know they get a lot of immunizations for that.
Of course, they didn't want to go. Going to the Dr. is so hard. I hate needles, and what mother wants to subject their baby (oh those tiny 2 & 4 month olds) or even your 4 & 7 year olds to shots. I know there's a huge anti-immunization group out there, and I held off for a long time past the due date for James' chicken pox shot. But I go along with the immunize the kids program.

Derek had 3 shots, the MMR included the new Chicken Pox booster. I hadn't heard about that one. But I wasn't feeling up to arguing about it or postponing it. So that was one shot for Katherine. She would have gone home with none if that didn't exist.

However, last year at James annual check up in April 2006 his PPD - Tuberculosis test came back positive. Then mine came back positive. YUCK. That was not a fun month. Both of us had chest x-rays and we were fine. But the routine is that we had to take antibiotic medication for 9 months! Isoniazid (INH) it is called.
Derek had been tested the month before - but there was no writing on his shot record - - so I don't think I brought him back in for the check..... duh! If I did, which I hope I was responsible, I may have forgotten the shot record and so the results were not recorded. SO he was considered negative and it was too early to retest. Katherine & Geoff's tests were negative.

I explained all of this history to the Doctor and we agreed that Derek & Katherine needed to be retested.
Since I'm writing this much later I can tell you that 2 days later we spent 3 hours at Kaiser on a Saturday because Derek's test turned out positive (WHINE) & Katherine's was negative again (YEAH!)

Derek had his chest x-ray which was fine, and then we had to do the see the doctor routine for a checkover and discussing the INH medication that he now has to take for 9 months. BOOO!!

Even though that was 5 days ago, I still haven't started making him take it. I'm avoiding the battle. The first 2 days I was waiting for his immunizations to feel better. They were so red and swollen and hot I was giving him Tylenol. And he had these weird spots on his legs which the doctor looked at on Saturday and thought they were an allergic reaction to something and wanted me to wait out 3 days to see if they went away -- it took 4 days.

So now you're wondering...... how did we get exposed to TB. Well that is a good question and believe me it kept me awake for weeks with worry and wonder.
TB is out there, everywhere. My first guess is the airplane ride to Hawaii. You're stuck in a box of recirculating air from hundreds of people for 6 hours???
But it could be from a sneeze in an elevator, a cough in the grocery store, a movie theatre, at church....... Because we live near Mexico it is prevalent in San Diego.
Even though we never travel there nor are acquainted with anyone living there.
We did spend 7 months in and out of 3 nursing homes and hospitals when we were taking care of my father. These are all possibilites.
A bigger question is for that sick person .... what the heck are you doing out of bed, out in public spreading your dangerous germs...... arrrrghhh! And spreading them to me & my kids Oh, &^%$#@! curse words.

The weirdest thing though is that the kids & I all travel together. It was unusual that only James & I reacted last year. It was not that unexpected that Derek would react once he was retested. Now it seems an anomaly that Katherine has escaped all of this.

What does it mean? Well, not to speak down to anyone, but this is how I explain it to the kids.
The bad TB germs jumped onto us and entered our bodies. This is good education for washing our hands and keeping our hands off of everything they walk by :)
Thank the Lord, our bodies were great and strong and healthy and the good cells in our bodies were able to fight off the bad germs and we never became sick.
However, since there are possibly still bad germs inside of us, we have to take the medicine for 9 months to make sure all of them get killed.

What about the future? The 3 of us can never be tested by PPD again. It is possible we would have severe reactions. If a TB test is required, especially when the boys are adults and in their careers (teachers, nurses, police) they will always have to have chest x-rays for their testing.

SO more than you ever wanted to know about me & my kids and Tuberculosis!

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