The Scientist and Mom: At War Over a Virus
About 3 weeks ago, Number 3 was diagnosed with mono.
The scientist part of me says neat, he has Epstein Barr virus. It’s a herpesvirus, so just be definition, it’s cool. It’s kind of hard to work with in the lab, but it has incredibly complex mechanisms for maintaining itself in the host after the initial infection. It is also associated with several different diseases, some dependent on where you live in the world – opening up the possibility of studying the effects of different environments and exposure to other pathogens on the outcome of infection. Awesome things to study, if you ask me.
And hey, while we are at it, we can knock another virus off the list. Because chances are, all of my children are going to be infected with 2-3 herpesviruses in their lifetimes anyways. It’s unlikely that mono is going to be that serious, so why not get it over with? Let Number 3 lay low, take it easy and he will be back to normal soon enough. I’ll probably be wishing he had a lot less energy in a month or so.
But then the mother side of me says, WTH, EBV, I just want my kid to stop being sick. Leave him alone.
I am not a parent that rushes to the doctor over every fever, rash or cold symptom. I am a strong believer in good preventive medicine (vaccinate your kids!) and then letting your body do the rest of the work naturally, when it can. I monitor my kids and let their behavior dictate when they need to see a doctor. I don’t give my kids antibiotics unless it is warranted (e.g. strep throat). I hate that schools want you to treat all cases of pink eye with a prescription, when a lot of the time it is caused by a virus that is not susceptible to the drug.
But this virus has knocked us around. So far, I have taken mono boy to the doctor not once, or twice but four times during the course of this still-continuing illness. That’s more times than he usually sees a doctor in a year.
- Trip Number 1: he first got sick and I thought he had strep.
- Trip Number 2: he still wasn’t better and I knew something was really off – he was diagnosed with mono.
- Trip Number 3: he got hit in the stomach at school and was laying in bed screaming that his stomach hurt and all I could picture was his poor spleen smashed to smithereens. It wasn’t.
- Trip Number 4: he erupted in a rash on his cheeks, arms and upper torso. He had the mono rash, but he was still complaining of a sore throat, so I had him checkout out.
What happened to my calm, scientific approach?
Looks like mommy brain has won.
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