A couple of weeks ago my 8 year old daughter developed a rash. We took her to the medical center and the doctor sent her home saying it was SLAP FACE and that SLAP FACE is a virus so antibiotics won’t help.
Four hours later, after she vomited everywhere we had her back at the medical center with forty degree temperatures. “It’s not SLAP FACE, I think you need to take her to emergency at the Hospital, she either has HAND FOOT & MOUTH or KAWASAKI’S disease.” This time we had a different doctor, and thankfully this Woman gave us a referral that contained the word KAWASAKI.
In Emergency she was seen by at least three different doctors and a couple of Pediatricians. After spending the whole day in emergency she was discharged and sent home to get over whatever virus she had. Still with temperatures that were bordering on forty degrees. She was radiating so much heat that you could feel it several feet away. Just before she was discharged the nurses crowded around her and roasted marshmallows on her tummy while singing Kumbaya.
That night my four year old daughter started coughing uncontrollably like she had WHOOPING COUGH. She couldn’t breath at all. If we had called an ambulance I dare say that she would now be dead. I drove at light speed to the hospital, the same hospital we had been at all day with the other child and the little one was rushed in and treated for CROUP.
The youngest was discharged and we all breathed a little easier. But the eldest just seemed to be getting worse. Her rash, now all over her body, was going dark like it was bruised. And we couldn’t get that temperature down.
So we managed to bully our way in to see her GP, usually a two week wait. “I would have discharged her from Hospital too. It’s either just a virus or it’s KAWASAKI’S disease. If her joints start to ache then I’ll give you a referral for the Children’s Hospital.”
Several hours later after being asked every five minutes if her joints were hurting, my daughter says “I think my ankles are hurting.” We waited an hour or so “I think my knees are hurting too.”
“What do you mean you think they are hurting?” I asked. “Either they are or they aren’t.”
“I suppose they are.”
My wife telephoned the GP and the GP said. “You’re just putting words into her mouth. If it gets a lot worse call back and I’ll give you a referral.”
Two hours later my wife called the GP back and was put on hold for twenty minutes.
“Sigh, I’m sure she’s fine but take her back to the Children’s hospital if you must.” No referral.
My wife took her to Emergency at Randwick Children’s Hospital where it took them all night before she was even seen. When she was eventually seen she was sent home. “It’s just a virus, there’s nothing we can do. Take some Panadol to keep her temperature down.”
This is where I would have given up. But to my wife’s credit four hours later when my daughter was vomiting and looking still worse, maybe even a bit puffy, my wife took her back to the Children’s hospital emergency department and eventually she was admitted into the hospital proper.
Finally teams of specialist hovered about her, all speculating on what disease she might have. The team of dermatologists were convinced that it was KAWASAKI’S. Had she been kissed by someone with HERPES? Our Rabbit scratched her. They looked at all the possibilities.
That night when I saw my baby in hospital her head had swollen to the size of a soccer ball and she was barely breathing. Her kidney’s were failing so they gave her fluids intravenously.
They still had not yet begun treatment. The doctors didn’t know what disease it was and any treatment would only mask the symptoms if it were in fact KAWASAKI. They could not treat it until the fifth day, when more symptoms would show.
By the fifth day her body had started to win whatever battle it was fighting. The consensus was that they were pretty sure that it was KAWASAKI’S so she received steroids and immunoglobulin. The positive effects were almost immediate. After the tenth day KAWASAKI’S starts to attack the vascular system and more specifically the arteries that lead from the heart. If it is not treated there is a good chance of heart attack or heart damage.
She spent the next week in hospital and needed a second dose of the immunoglobulin. Now, several weeks after being discharged she is still suffering from red eyes and muscle and joint pain, but she is alive and for that I am truly grateful.
The last night she spent in hospital she was moved into the ward where they look after children with cancer, usually undergoing chemotherapy. The other beds contained brave little toddlers with no hair, their mother’s sitting by their bedsides often crying. Unlike many of these little kids my daughter got to go home.
It turns out that the cure for KAWASAKI’S is not a couple of Harley Davidson riders with a Tyre-iron, it is in fact the team of outstanding professionals at the Randwick Children’s Hospital and breakthrough medical science.