The Curse of the Evil Pain Stick

When it comes to immunisation, it would appear that there are three kinds of parents in the world. Those who are for it, those who are against it… and those just do what they’re told by Mr. Jab from Governmentland. I am unashamedly pro vaccine and Devilboy had been dutifully kept up to date on all his jabs until the dreaded triple whammy 12 month injection extravaganza, which we had to postpone as he was teething and already miserable when they were due. But after a nasty little reminder/veiled threat arrived recently in the post – off we went to the doctor for the jabathon.

All forgotten. By us both.

But that was then and this is now and quite frankly, I think Devilboy may have been better off dealing with with the considerable risks of measles than what he has been through in the past week. In fact, I think he may have been better off being injected with ebola virus. On Sunday morning, Devilboy broke out in a rash. A rash bad enough to take to the local medical centre where he was diagnosed with a garden variety case of hives – probably from an unknown food allergy and sent merrily on his way. No biggy, one would think.

That same afternoon we noticed that the rash had spread but had been warned this could happen. So, with a still mild fever, we tucked him into bed with a wee dose of paracetamol and figured that morning would bring us a healed and happy Devilboy.

We figured wrong.

After a fairly disturbed night he woke to a fever of 39.5 and a body covered in scarlet welts.  I took him straight to our GP. Approximately 10 seconds after arriving he was on his way to the emergency ward at RNS Hospital, as the red welts magically turned dark purple before the GP’s eyes.

After an hour or so we received confirmation that we weren’t dealing with meningococcal and I recommenced breathing… but we still had no answers and no guarantee from the Doctors that he would be ok.

As the day progressed his skin discoloured more and more. As his eyes and throat started to show signs of swelling, Devilboy was admitted and placed under observation. The following morning his hands, face and feet had also begun to swell and by afternoon had turned into tiny little balloons and he was unable to even bend a finger. His throat too had swelled and this had the hospital on high alert as there was a possibility of his airways blocking.

We sat by helplessly for DAYS as Devilboy was paraded about the hospital to a cast of thousands so they could all point and gawk and generally treat him as a sideshow freak, and us as irrelevant. None of them offered anything more intelligent than “Ewwww….That’s weird.”

There were plenty of this “might be’s…” but we didn’t want ‘might’, we wanted a confirmed diagnosis and the little lovely treated before he got any worse.

Three full days and a constant 39 plus degree fever later we were finally delivered a diagnosis of “blahdyblahblah-impossible-to-pronounce-unheard-of-medical term.” In layman’s terms he’d suffered a massive and potentially deadly allergic reaction to a medication or virus. Given that the only medication or virus he had been exposed to were the immunisations – we have a fairly obvious target when it comes to where to point the blame. And point I will! Even if it is rude.

These pics don’t show the rash in all its fluorescent glory as by the time it spread and he swelled up like a balloon  thoughts of snapshots weren’t top of mind…. but you’ll get the idea.

Monday Morning

Tuesday Morning

Postscript: Devilboy had to go back to the hospital for a follow up and the doctor admitted (though absolutely off the record), that it was almost certainly a reaction to his immunisation. When I took my boy for his 4 year immunisations = not a single doctor would administer them (though they had towed the it wasn’t the immunisation line). He was eventually sent to a specialist in adverse reactions who diagnosed him as suffering from severe serum sickness from his MMR and advise he not be given it again as the risk of a worse reaction was too high. I’m all for immunisations (my daughter is fully immunised – but doctors avoiding telling the truth about blatantly related reactions really isn’t helping the cause)


Filed under Devilboy, motherhood, tests

7 responses to “The Curse of the Evil Pain Stick

  1. That happened to my little sister after she had the measels shot more than 30 years ago.
    It’s one of the reasons I spread out all the vaccinations separately and did them over two years rather than one.

  2. oh, it hurts me to see little man in such a horrible state!! You guys have my utmost sympathy.
    Not going to comment on the debate as I am theoretically opposed to you on this one, but it’s totally beside the point! Poor raffy, poor you, poor husband! I am so so glad he recovered. What a scary and dangerous situation.

    • the one of him in the little gown breaks my heart. Too small to be experiencing this.

    • I absolutely respect your stance on immunisation. It is a personal choice and there are certain immunisations I would never argue with – like polio.
      I guess after an experience like this it jars you into questioning the validity of some of them. Really my objection now is less to the individual immunisations themselves and more to how they are administered.
      I think spreading them out instead of delivering them in such extreme concentrated bursts is a much more sensible option.
      Given that by law I can’t NOT have DB immunised (in spite of my angry diatribe stating that I would refuse)it is stretching them out that I will insist on. That way, it lessens the likelihood of such an extreme reaction and if there is any we’ll know precisely to what.

  3. Anonymous

    Measles and immunisations

    I understand your new stance on immunisations but I think that the reaction that little Raffy had (as awful as it was) was not as bad as the reaction my little sister had to measles (as a result of not being immunised due to bad timing with colds etc). It developed into encephalytis and mum and dad were told to pray for her to die because the best that they could hope for was for her to be a vegetable. She pulled through but is a 14 year old living in a 35 year olds body. She had significant frontal lobe damage which is probably the most frustrating brain injury as it means that she knows that she is intelligent but just can’t put that knowledge into action. To look at her you would never know that she has a disability but live with her for a while and you can see it. I would never, ever wish her life on anybody. It is a great sadness for me, for my brother and is heartbreaking for my mother who blames herself.

    • Re: Measles and immunisations
      Hi Lis,
      I’m sorry your sister and family had to go through that and your story does offer irrefutable evidence of the need for immunisations.
      And despite my rant to the contrary I am not really totally against them. My stance has softened and I guess, theoretically at least, I am for most of them. (Some are a little ludicrous and unnecessary in my opinion)
      My post hospital diatribe was written, purposely, when I was still in self righteous angry mummy mode. That’s when I rant most effectively 😉
      But I am back to my thumb twiddling indecisive fence sitting self again now.
      I’m for them on one hand but still very much against the way they are administered on the other.
      Interestingly childcare yesterday told me I would be shocked at just how many kids have adverse reactions to the 12 month injections. It’s a lot – though obviously not often as severe as DB’s, which was an anomaly. IT’s just too much for their little bodies. They also said what most people don’t realise that even if the kids are vaccinated it doesn’t necessarily make them immune as the immunisations are only about 90% effective. Which is better than nothing I know. But as an example: There were three cases of whooping cough last month at his centre and all cases were kids who had been fully immunised.
      Anyway DB WILL be receiving his immunisations in future but he will be jabbed and stabbed when and how I want him jabbed and stabbed. I will make sure he has them administered individually and witha decent space of time between them so we can watch for individual reactions. No more uber viral cocktails for my little devil.
      Thanks for writing about your sister. It’s right that we should here both sides of the debate.
      Hugs to DB’s girlfriend. 😉

      • Re: Measles and immunisations
        whoops make that “HEAR both side of the debate”. I wish there was an immunisation against bad spelling and punctuation. I’d have that one happily 🙂

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