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What?

by on November 24, 2009

So who out there can tell me what the light red line means?  I clouded it just in case you think it’s a figment of my imagination.  Click on the photo for an enlargement if you still don’t believe me.

Last night Jillian had a drippy nose and a 103°F temperature pre-Motrin.  For all those non-Parents out there, Motrin is the medicine of choice to reduce fever.  After Motrin, Jillian was a sleeping 99°F.  It works wonders and I love it.  Kandice was just a bit drippy.  So far, no big deal.

This morning I decided to take Jillian to the Pediatrician since she was congested and obviously miserable.  Kandice was mostly asymptomatic but a bit drippy so I took her too.  I hit Jillian with a dose of more Motrin before we jumped in the van.  By the time we got to the office, Jillian was her normal playful self and again 99°F.  The doctor looked her over and thought it as minor as I did.  As a formality, she decided to perform one extra test.  What a shocker…

Jillian has the H1N1 virus (“Swine Flu”).  The above photo is of the test strip used to confirm it.

The doctor was also shocked since Jillian’s symptoms were relatively minor.  She recommended that we treat both girls since Kandi is likely only a few days behind in the cycle. 

Luckily we found a pharmacy that had Tamiflu in stock but only in the solid tablet form.  They had to grind it up and put it in a liquid suspension for the kids.  As soon as we got home, they started treatment.

[Let me digress for a moment to complain about our supposedly wonderful insurance.  They cover liquid Tamiflu but with the ongoing flu epidemic, it’s impossible to find.  Strangely, they don’t cover the tablet Tamiflu.  I’m not a conspiracy theorist but what the hell?  In the end it cost me over $200.  The pharmacist unsuccessfully called them to appeal.  After all of the tens-of-thousands of dollars of cancer treatment, it sure seems petty to limit Tamiflu.  I’m going to appeal it again.  I guess I should be happy that we actually have some Tamiflu in the first place.]

Surprisingly, the treatment is only 5-days.  Their prognosis is excellent but our concern is Satomi-She cannot catch H1N1 while she is immuno-surpressed.  Doing so would likely put her in the hospital.  We called our Oncologist but she was not comfortable with a prescription as she was not familiar with anti-virus drugs.  In the midst of all the many doctors, Satomi doesn’t have a primary care physician for something like this.

My solution to this problem is to isolate Satomi in her room for the next 5-days and everyone wearing surgical masks.  Her exposure to the kids are limited to a goodnight hug and kiss so I am hopeful that wasn’t enough to infect her.  She feels (relatively) fine so we’ll see.  We’re monitoring her temperature.

It looks like we can’t host Thanksgiving Dinner here as we had originally planned.  The delay sucks-with all the BS going on in our life, I was looking forward to giving thanks and spending time with friends and family.  This is just another thing that get’s screwed up by bad health.

I spoke to my doctor and realized that I can also get infected.  Before knowing that Jillian was H1N1 positive, I’m sure that I was exposed during my care for her-getting sneezed on, wiping her nose, giver her medicine, etc.  If I get a fever, I’m screwed.  The incubation period is less than a week so I may get sick in the middle of the Holiday weekend.  The same goes for Satomi but in her case, it’ll be another trip to the ER.

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[Update 12/3/09] 

I was doing some research on these BinaxNOW test kits.  The test’s manufacturer, Inverness Medical, states clearly on their website that this test DOES NOT DISTINGUISH BETWEEN COMMON INFLUENZA-A AND THE H1N1 STRAIN OF INFLUENZA-A. 

There was also an interesting article here:  http://www.cdc.gov/eid/content/15/10/1662.htm.  According to the study, this test is not very accurate as it only detected ~11% of H1N1 of known infected samples.  In other words, you can get a negative test but still be infected.  

With this new information, I really don’t know if all of us had H1N1 or the common Influenza-A.  When you consider the short 48-hour window for Tamiflu treatment, the time required for laboratory genetic testing, and the extent of the H1N1 epidemic, a positive BinaxNOW test, with all of its flaws and limitations, is still reason enough to treat it as H1N1.]

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From → Medical Update

One Comment
  1. Akemi permalink

    My kids and Matt all had swine flu last week. It’s too bad it’s going around. They’re doing fine and it’s been relatively mild, also. Hope everyone is doing much better at your house. Yes, surgical masks and droplet precautions (i.e., lots of handwashing, covering nose mouth when coughing/sneezing) are really important. Give my best to the family and hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving!

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