Monday, July 13, 2009

It's Hip to be Square

I recently posted about an illness that Bella went through that caused her to stop moving and have severe muscle/joint pains. Symptoms were a few days with a low grade fever, pain and discomfort whenever we moved her, no moving on her own at all, and severe pain and screaming/crying all through the night (very out of character for her). After about three days the fever was completely gone and started to regain movement, but continued to have pain in her right hip that lasted for just over a week and caused her to completely stop rolling over, pulling herself up to sitting, crawling, standing up, etc.

It was a terrifying ordeal for all of us and when her discomfort first started (it was mild at first, she only cried at night, but this was so unusual for her that I knew something was up), I took her to her pediatrician who examined her and found nothing. He told us it could be a stomach ache, or it could be constipation, which was what I initially thought it might be because I simply couldn't find anything else wrong but I knew that she was in some kind of pain.

The next day the fever kicked in, her pain clearly got worse, she screamed all night long in agony and we ended up going to the after hours Children’s Clinic on the Danforth (where I will NEVER go again – straight to Sick Kids for us from now on) and basically being told by the doctor that examined her that “everything was fine, it’s 'probably' a virus, and just to 'wait it out'). And because I didn’t know what else to do, I just listened to him and we waited. And waited. And I stressed and worried and cried in frustration every single day.

Thankfully, she did start to get better and we assumed that maybe she had just injured her leg somehow during her "illness" (which we still couldn't explain) and we missed her falling or spraining something and she just needed time to heal. Because her pediatrician was away for the full week after our weekend of hell, we didn't take her anywhere to follow up because I was adament that I would not go back to that clinic. By the time our doctor was back, his wait times were so long that we chose to cancel our appointment rather than put us all through the waiting, and waiting and waiting that would have to happen in order to get her checked out.

Recently a friend of a friend’s son came down with something that had very similar symptoms while they were away at a cottage. He was rushed to emergency where they did a number of tests and determined the illness to have something to do with a build up of fluid around the hip. When I heard about his symptoms and realized sounded exactly like what Bella had, I did some research and discovered that it was something called Toxic Synovitis.

I’m now almost certain that this is what Bella had.

I wanted to share it with all the parents I know because apparently it is something that’s fairly common in children aged 2 - 8 (though can occur in babies and older kids too) but so far I have not run into a single other parent that’s ever heard of it.

In hindsight I know that we should have been more persistent in finding a diagnosis. She should have had some tests done to rule out something more serious like septic hip or another bacterial infection, which can lead to permanent damage of the joint. It's just so hard when life gets in the way and I feel tremendous guilt over the fact that I avoided taking her to the doctor or hospital because it would have interfered with my work day. Instead I just "let her be" as advised by some quack doctor who could barely stand to look me in the eye or give me the 60 seconds it would have taken him to listen to what I had to say about her symptoms.

From now on I will not be concerned about seeming like a paranoid, first-time mom, or about missing yet another day of work because the baby is sick. It literally sickens me that parents are forced to make the decision between looking after a sick child or going to the office - especially since in too many instances the office wins. The pressure is enormous, the resulting guilt is crippling and the bank account is the only thing that wins. From now on Bella comes first, every time, over everthing, plain and simple.

If that's square, then I'm hip to be it.

Anyway – here’s some info about the illness in case one of your little ones ever suddenly stops moving, starts limping or showing signs of pain that you can’t find any evidence of. I should also stressed again that we did not ever get a diagnosis, this is a little bit of me playing Dr. Mom, but if it's not what she had, it's eerily similar, the symptoms are dead on:

On a positive note, after about two weeks, Bella made a full recovery from her illness. She's slowly starting to build up more confidence and this past weekend at my mom's house she even took a few steps on her own walking from Nana's arms to Papa. This is the little trooper last weekend at the cottage - cruising around as if none if it had ever happened at all. We should all be able to forget and move on so easily, no?


Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for sharing! so glad she is all better

Allison said...

Aww poor baby! Glad she's getting better!