Warning! This is going to be one of those warm and fuzzy dad posts, so if you are squeamish about such things you may want to come back for a future post. You see, Lukas has had a pretty tough week and all I can think about is what an amazing little guy this is. And I just have to let the mush spill out. Sorry.
Lukas may have The Mumps! Yes, Mumps as in swollen cheek mumps. Well actually just one mump, if you want to get technical. Even though he had the MMR shot over a month ago he still is showing many of the signs of this now rare virus. It began about a week ago with Luke having an irritable cough which wouldn't quite go away and all signs of a healthy cold. By the weekend he was running a moderately high fever and after an outing to a park on Saturday, his right cheek was red and looked like it had a sunburn. By Monday his temp was around 99 degrees and although he had a bit of a runny nose he seemed otherwise ok, so we took him to daycare.
An hour after I dropped him off, I received a call from daycare that Lukas' right cheek was beginning to swell. It hadn't gone away by the afternoon so I took him to the doctor who diagnosed a blocked salivary gland (most likely caused by a cold virus) and ordered a precautionary blood test for the Mumps - which he indicated was basically a non-existant chance since he had had the MMR shot over a month earlier. We were supposed to try to entice salivation (with sour foods) and use a warm compress on his tender cheek several times a day. None of this reduced the swelling and redness in his check which only got worse as the week progressed. His temperature rose to 102 F and stayed there.
There were more visits to the doctors who were all quite puzzled by his now enormous puffed cheek. They ordered more blood tests but still believed his condition resulted from a virus, so did not put him on antibiotics at that time. After these secondary blood tests came back yesterday they indicated the strong possibility of a bacterial infection so the doctors prescribed the antibiotics. However, they were still puzzled at this fact: None of these very experienced doctors had ever seen viral infection cause as much swelling as Lukas had in his cheek.
The doctors (five consulting with each other at this point) resisted calling his now obviously infected glands a bacterial infection mainly because of Luke's demeanor. "If this were a bacterial infection, he would be acting more sick and upset, and have more tenderness to the touch". My response was "It is tender and he is upset. He is just normally such a happy child that even when he is feeling his worst, he can still manage a smile or a laugh in between sobbing and tears." The doctors just shook their heads, the most experienced saying that he still felt that this must be a viral infection (certainly not the mumps since he was vaccinated) but he prescribed the antibiotics just in case.
And now today, I recieved a confirmation call that the blood test for mumps came back positive for mumps antibodies. The doctors huddled up again and held firm that Lukas does not have the mumps, just elevated anitbodies from his vaccine a month ago. I am not sure exactly what to believe at this point. We will probably never know for sure.
So that is where we are now. I was back at work today, after watching our boy for the last three days while his mother was off doing her job, which involved giving other guys "What for!" for a change (as her beloved late grandmother put it).
This seems very surreal to me, but I just have to say that spending those 3 days with our son reinforced in me what a truly good child he is. Despite his incredibly tough week, with all the fever, upper respiratory infection, extremely swollen face, multiple blood tests (with clumsy phlebotomists, I might add) and loss of appetite he would always recover very quickly from all the poking and prodding. Most incredibly of all he still had several moments of pure unadulterated baby joy. Yes, many of those were followed minutes later by fussing and crying, but the joy in him definitely wanted to find its way out, to manifest itself into a game of imitate daddy being goofy and have corresponding laugh attack.
And that, to me, is an amazing testament to the goodness of my son. Mumps or no Mumps!