Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Mononucleosis

My daughter has not been feeling well for a couple of weeks now--actually, since around Christmas. She's stayed home from school a couple of times, left early a few other days, and hasn't been terribly energetic any of the time. She's been managing to go to track practice and participated in a couple of meets, but hasn't been herself, and she's been dropping weight. Last night, she finally went to the walk-in, and discovered that she has mononucleosis.
The doctor's note said that if she is fever-free, she can go to school if she feels up to it, but she is not to do track or softball workouts on the weekend for two weeks. This morning, she doesn't feel up to it, and I can't say I blame her. I'm not personally concerned too much, despite how contagious mono can be, because I've had it, back in 1996. And hers has been caught early enough, I hope, that she doesn't end up suffering like I did. My tonsils got so swollen that I had to go into the hospital for four days, because I could not sleep if I laid down because my airway in my throat was so constricted. I think I must have caught a concurrent bacterial infection, because I was on a penicillin drip for three days until the tonsil swelling went down (I still have my tonsils, by the way; they wouldn't remove them because they were so swollen, and then after they returned to normal size, they told me there was no reason to take them out. The logic of that reasoning escaped me then and now).
But that's not what I remember about my bout with mono. It was the fatigue. For weeks afterward, even after I returned to work, my energy level was sapped. I would go to work in the morning, and be fine for several hours--and then suddenly grow so tired that I had to rest or sleep, like a toddler that runs out of gas when he sits still for two minutes. I almost drove off the road a couple of times because I was falling asleep at the wheel on the way home.And to make matters even dicier, I contracted mono while my then-wife was six months pregnant with Jessica. It was not a good time to be a just-turned-two Rachel; I had no energy and her mother was waddling around seriously pregnant. By time delivery day came, I was back to about 95% of normal--but those late spring/early summer months were not good.
And my mono had an indirect role in the direction my life soon took. I had snorted cocaine more or less recreationally for nearly fifteen years at that point; there were some episodes of unmanageability and some physical issues (I remember a very frank conversation with my doctor when she checked out my nasal passages as part of dealing with the throat miseries, and I wonder to this day whether some of the refusal to remove the tonsils was either as a punishment or a safety measure because of the awful state of my sinuses), but I had not been indulging a whole lot for a few years before the mono hit. But I was so tired so much of the time, especially after Jessica was born and the house was in the sort of sleep deprivation mode that occurs when there is a newborn, that I began, surreptitiously, to use it more often at first, and then, after it was proving impractical to do lines around the house, I eventually was introduced to and began to smoke crack. And that's when the train started to go off the tracks...No, mono was not the cause of my addiction. But it was a factor.
I don't think that's a risk factor here. I don't know if Sabrina has never indulged in anything, but I am totally certain that she does not do drugs of any kind on a regular basis. I'm more worried about the disruption it is going to cause her academically and with track. If it had to happen, I suppose this was as good a time as any; there is Regents and other testing for four days next week, so she isn't going to miss as much class time as she otherwise might have, should her illness linger. And my bet is going to be that it does; it was getting worse up until yesterday, and my memory is that the symptomatic part of the illness lasted two or three weeks before I ended up in the hospital. I don't think it's going to last that long for her; she's younger and healthier, went to the doctor a lot sooner than I did, and isn't going to have to do as much while sick as I did at the time I had it.
But it's a pain in the butt for her, and I feel bad for her. We just went to Best Buy yesterday and bought a TV for her. I was planning on finally dumping Time Warner yesterday--but when I got on the phone with both DirecTV and Dish, their advertised special prices were so loaded with conditions and fees that I would have ended up paying as much or more than I can get with Time Warner. I'm going to talk to my friend that works for Time Warner tonight, and hopefully we can get something set up for an upgrade here by the end of this week. Between Sabrina being sick and Lauren coming here to live for a while when she comes home, more and better TV is--not quite a necessity, but both of them are much more into television than I am. I'm paying almost a hundred dollars a month for (mostly dependable, despite my occasional bitching) Internet and five freaking TV channels. If I can get decent cable for thirty dollars or so more a month, and keep the other two people living here happy, I might as well go for it. And Sabrina will be able to take her TV with her when she goes to college in the fall (I got a new one for the living room, too, and Lauren has one already that is here with the rest of her belongings), no matter where she goes.
But she has to get through this first. She hasn't slept well; she woke me up at midnight to tell me I was snoring badly, and I've been hearing her since I got up an hour-plus ago. But she is going to be more or less bed-ridden for the next day or three, and with some chamomile, Motrin, and Gatorade, she should be able to manage reasonably well. But I feel bad for her; it's not fun to have a Life Altering Event occur in the middle of your senior year in high school, another subject I can relate strongly to. Fortunately, it's something that will extract a small cost and then be done with--and she won't have to worry about contracting mono ever again.

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