I'm home sick today. That's at home, sick. Not homesick. I hate calling into work. But that's another post for another day. Or actually, probably not. Can't imagine that would be very intersting to read. Anyone have Tor Eckman's number?
When I was but a lad, maybe eight years old, (I called Mom to ask and eight was her guess) I was in the bathtub one evening. All stories have a great opening line, right? It was the best of times... Anyway, I felt my knees lock up. That's the best way I know to describe it. I don't know if I tried to get up. Maybe I did. But I knew I couldn't. I started screaming.
Dad came to see why I was screaming. He thought I was just trying to get out of going to church that evening. So he yelled at me to get up. I still rag him about that to this day. I wasn't that creative. I couldn't walk. I was bedridden. And Mom or Dad had to carry me everywhere. I never remember it being a painful thing so much. Although it may have been and I could have forgotten.
The doctor first told my Mom he thought it was just "growing pains." No lie. What the crap? Finally, he said it might be rheumatic fever, and that it usually lasts around six weeks. Six weeks? Mom called school to tell them that I would be out for awhile.
I don't remember exactly how long I was bedridden. At least a week. No more than two. Then one morning I woke up and just knew that I could walk again. I hopped out of bed and, sure enough, I could. I ran to tell Mom. And I'd never been so happy to go to school.
Looking back, I can't imagine how worried my parents must have been. Not getting a definite diagnosis. Probably wondering if I'd ever be able to walk again. That thought never occurred to my young mind. Today, I can still remember very well that awful feeling of my knees locking up and refusing to move.
Since then, I've always wondered what that was. It didn't last as long as rheumatic fever usually does. And I remember the doctor saying I would probably have a heart murmur. But I never did. So I've never been sure. As I've gotten older, I have read more about it. Two things in this article caught my eye:
An inverse relationship between severity of joint involvement and risk of carditis appears to exist.
Carditis: This occurs in as many as 40% of patients and may include cardiomegaly, new murmur, congestive heart failure, and pericarditis, with or without a rub and valvular disease.
The first would seem to explain why I've never had any heart problems. The "joint" part of my ARF (acute rheumatic fever) was very severe. And the second just indicates that not every ARF patient will have heart problems. From what I understand.
Other things I have read say that patients should be put on continuous antibiotics for ten years or until they are 18. I was never told that. And also that ARF is sometimes difficult to diagnose. And doctors are hesitant to diagnose patients with it. Because it leads to lifelong complications, and can make it difficult for them to get insurance. So maybe he did me a favor.
Also read that ARF patients are more susceptible to future attacks and future bouts of strep throat. I've had strep throat at least a handful of times, although it's almost never accompanied by a fever. My throat started getting scratchy this past Tuesday night. And is much worse today. I hope that's not what it is.
So basically, this whole post was born because I had a sore throat. It reminded me of this childhood story, and I thought I'd share it. Aren't you glad?
So here I sit. Sick. By myself. As I've said before, that's the absolute worst part of being single. When you're sick. No one to bring me juice. No one to make me soup. No one to rub my forehead with a cold washcloth.
Maybe I am homesick :)
"I can't sleep sometimes but I've been told. It's a lonely condition called growing old..."