Yes. That MF stands for an expletive. A dirty word. A curse word. Moms curse, too! And there’s just no other way to convey the frustration of the situation, because I thought it was so random and unbelievable. But I mean…leave it to me to contract a childhood disease, right?
Anyway, here’s the story about how I got Hand, Foot, Mouth Disease, and how it’s affected me as an adult.
My family and I recently took a trip to Hawaii. It was a really nice and relaxing holiday, and when we got home, all seemed like it was going to be back to normal (sleep schedules and stuff).
BOY WAS I WRONG.
We got back on the Saturday during Memorial Day Weekend, so we had an extra day to adjust to the time, get some rest, and do some laundry. We left for work on Tuesday, leaving the little guy with his grandpa (my dad), as usual. My dad even sent us a video of the tyke running around and acting like his rambcuntious self. But when we got home I could tell he wasn’t feeling well. He felt warm, and he just wanted to sit on my lap and cuddle.
I took him upstairs to check his temperature, and BAM! 104.1. I started to panic, rushed to make a lukewarm bath, and give him some medicine. If there’s anything you can’t stand as a mother, it’s seeing your baby in pain. It was a rough night, so my husband and I both stayed home with him the next day. We used the Heal app to have a doctor come check him out, and the doctor diagnosed him with Hand Foot Mouth Disease. We couldn’t get him to eat or drink anything until after the Tylenol would kick in. He didn’t even want an otter pop, my poor baby!
I made a follow up with his pediatrician, just to double check him, and when I woke up that morning, I had a sore throat. I didn’t think much of it, as we had to get ready, have breakfast, and head out the door…
When his doctor confirmed that my poor babe did indeed have HFMD, I started to worry. She told me that I absolutely did not want to get it as an adult, and to make sure to be mindful and wash hands diligently. Well thanks doc. Too little, too late. The virus has an incubation period between 3-6 days, and my loving little boy enjoys hand feeding mommy and drinking from her water cup, and I WOKE UP WITH A SORE THROAT THIS MORNING.
We made our way to the pharmacy, because there was no way I was going to let this get me! I hoped taking extra vitamin d and vitamin c would help me stave off this infernal illness. But by the time we got home, my body started giving in. I was amazed at how quickly it came on, too. By 5PM that evening, I had a fever of 102 and couldn’t stop shivering for the life of me. Heroic doses of ibuprofen were the only thing that got me through the night.
Okay, maybe I’ll just get the mouth part of the disease like the kid did. I can deal with a fever and a sore throat. Bring it on! HA! Mother Nature slammed that door right in my face. When I woke up on Saturday morning, my hands were itchy and I could see the rash and blisters starting to form.
Not too bad yet. I can deal with this. I sometimes get eczema on my hands, so I’m used to a little itching and rash. But with a new day came a new symptom. The telltale HFMD rash spread up my arms and found homes on the soles of my feet. One blistered pretty badly, making it painful to walk. And those were itchy too! (Side note: the pediatrician said that when children get this rash, it generally isn’t too much of a bother for them. And now I’m think, “Well, I’m someone’s CHILD, doesn’t that count?!”)
Symptoms developed from Friday to Thursday. I had to stay home from work for the week, because there was no way I was going to be able to concentrate, let alone comfortably do all the typing my job requires. I also didn’t want to infect anyone at work. HFMD is highly contagious. By Tuesday, I was so frustrated by the itching on my hands, I had a full on cry. I looked at my son feeling so guilty for being so short tempered with him that day, making me feel worse, making me cry even more. I have never been so uncomfortable in my whole life. C-Section recovery included. The rashes on my hands just kept spreading, and the only way I could deal with it was either by wrapping ice packs around them or taking Benadryl — which, as an added bonus, made me sleep like a baby!
Yeah, my hands also ballooned up, as my amazing husband kindly pointed out, “Your hands are super swollen, babe. You should probably go to the doctor. Don’t touch me.”
Today is day 12 of this whole ordeal, which is supposed to last for 7-10 days. The blisters on my hands and feet have dried out and are beginning to peel. It’s super sexy.
While scouring the internet for anything that would bring me relief, I found a total of maybe 6 blogs with adults recapping their experience with HFMD. One woman said that soaking her hands and feet in water boiled with guava leaves helped her, but I had nowhere to get them. A relative of mine got HFMD on her honeymoon. She said her doctor prescribed her some heavy duty ointment for the itching, but she had to sleep in a big jacket, knee high socks, and gloves to stop herself from scratching. Another person noted that washing with African black soap helped to dry out the blisters, and Amazon Prime came to the rescue on that one. I’m not sure if it actually helped. I’m still using it, though. It smells amazing. And the last post I found followed someone through 80 days of dealing with the illness and aftermath of peeling. EIGHTY DAYS. And here I am on day 12.
Moral of the story: don’t let your kid touch elevator buttons (or anything in a hotel for that matter), and don’t so lovingly accept when that same kid is trying to feed you with the hands that he’s been drooling all over. It’s not like we don’t wash the tyke’s hands, either. We are very diligent about messes and cleanliness, especially in public. But I guess sometimes it just slips through the cracks.
…at least the itching has stopped ¯\_(ツ)_/¯