Two-for-one: sick kids

Ethan came into my room yesterday morning, complaining about a sore throat. One look inside and I knew it was strep – this is the fourth time in 2012 for him so I’m somewhat of a strep-diagnosis expert these days.

But that wasn’t the worst part of the morning.

When Lauren woke up a few minutes later, things seemed normal. I picked her up from her crib and cuddled her. “Stairs,” she said pointing, indicating that she wanted to go down to see her brother and grandma.

I set her on her feet and she fell over. She stood up, took a few steps, then ran into the dresser. Back up, few steps, fell down.

“Maybe her foot is asleep,” I thought.

“Let’s go to mommy’s room for a minute, Lauren,” I said, holding out my hand to help her down the hall.

It was a weird walk, down the hall from her room to mine. She was pulling to the right quite a bit and was very unsteady. She wasn’t upset or fazed by it, just wobbly.

I carried her down the stairs and called my mom into the room. We watched as Lauren stood up and fell. Stood up, took a few steps, and ran into the wall. Then she threw up. “Ear infection?” I said, looking at my mom. She nodded, “Probably.”

Since I had to take Ethan to the doc anyway for strep, I made an appointment for Lauren. In the couple of hours we had to wait before we left the house, Lauren seemed to get a little better. She wanted breakfast, wanted to drink something. And she seemed to get a little more steady on her feet – she still had to be watched closely, but it was a little better.

The doc appointment was LONG. Yes, Ethan had strep, but the doc couldn’t figure out what was going on with Lauren. Her ears were clear and there wasn’t a fever or any other obvious symptoms. By now, Lauren could walk the length of the hall without help, but she would have to hold out her arm like she was walking a tightrope every few steps. Or she would have to slow down when she was moving to the right uncontrollably. Still, MUCH improvement from the morning.

The doc (not our usual pediatrician, but another in the practice) consulted with the others in the office. A neurologist from the local children’s hospital was called. No one could figure it out. Since she was showing signs of significant improvement, the docs didn’t think there was an immediate, urgent problem (anymore). Thoughts for what could have been wrong included: a virus that was messing with her inner ears, baby vertigo (rare but not without possibility), a seizure, or a form of migraine. (SIDENOTE: I was diagnosed with migraine auras about 20 years ago. I don’t get the pain of a migraine, but I get weird symptoms that last for up to a few hours: numbness in one side of my body, loss of speech, dizziness. It’s scary and almost stroke-like to anyone watching me, but it goes away, leaving me tired but functioning.)

Right now, we’ve been told to wait-and-see if it happens again. The neurologist suggested that we go ahead and do an MRI, MRA and EEG on Lauren, just to have a baseline. Orders for these tests have been placed and we can do them anytime in the next few weeks. I’m a little concerned about the MRI/MRA since she will have to be sedated for the procedures.

This morning, Lauren was fine. Totally back to herself, no indication of difficulty walking. She stayed home from “baby school” so my mom could keep an eye on her, but she seems like nothing happened.

Here’s hoping this never happens again…

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