A Close Call

April 10, 2008
By Michael Paul, Littleton, CO

I have overcome many challenges, this is one of them. On a Tuesday night at about 11:30, I woke up. I was only eight years old at this time. Both my hands and feet itched like they had been dragged through poison ivy.

Quietly, I crept into my mom’s room and gently nudged her. She woke saying, “What is it?” All I could manage to say was that my hands and feet really itched. All she said was to try and ignore it and go back to sleep. This process went on for more that four more times. The last time I was told to go and get an ice pack from the freezer. The ice did nothing. I finally just started scratching. The itch didn’t go away no matter what. It was just an itch that wouldn’t go away.

The next morning, the itch was still there. I ate nothing for breakfast and didn’t drink anything either. My tiered mom took my temperature and told me I wasn’t going to school that day. That day I sat around playing video games waiting for my older brother to come home from school.

When my brother came home, I still had a fever, still hadn’t eaten anything, still had no liquid, and still had the terrible itch that wouldn’t leave. That night was as bad as the first, but this time I stayed in bed. The next morning was the same thing. No food, no liquid, high temperature, and a terrible itch. Still no school for me that day. That day felt longer to me than the first, probably because I had no sleep. That day my mom started to become worried. I hadn’t spoken very much and didn’t move much either.

As the days went on, I became weaker and weaker. Finally, that Friday, my mom started calling for a doctor. No one could see me because it was a Friday afternoon. The one doctor that could see me didn’t because he thought that I was seriously sick and should be taken to the hospital. We ended up going in that Saturday. They gave me medications but didn’t give me and IV. I still hadn’t drunken anything since Tuesday night. They thought it was a bad cold that was contagious. This was not right because my brother had been around me for almost a week and he was fine. So that hospital did nothing for me.

The next day I went into a second hospital. They did some lab work and gave me an IV. The doctor said that all the tests looked fine and I should be getting better, so he sent me home. I felt even worse the next day. Finally, Sunday night, I was admitted into the hospital. By this time, I was very week. Still I had no food, a very high temperature, and very itchy feet and hands since Tuesday. The only liquid I had was from the IV from the previous day.

I spent a week in the hospital. The doctors did countless tests on me to determine what was wrong. By the time I was admitted, I was so week I could not stand. There were X-rays, catscans, and many more tests. The doctors didn’t have any diagnosis by the second Thursday. All the IV’s did was make me swell up. My organs had almost stopped working altogether. The finally decided what was wrong on the second Friday. I had Kawasaki disease. This is a very rare disease that usually infants have. It was even rarer that an eight year old boy had gotten it.

No one has yet explained how this disease is caused. Once they finally knew what was wrong with me, they could treat it. I was finally discharged from the hospital on that Monday. I was finally able to walk. I didn’t have a temperature, I had the slightest hunger, and was a little thirsty. The first thing I had eaten in a week and six days was a box of Milk Duds. It felt so good to be home. I remember when I was pulling into the driveway seeing a huge gift bag sitting at my spot on the table. It was from my best friend.

With the disease over, I had a huge appetite. I ate all day every day for the next week. I had to gain the pounds I lost some how. The next Tuesday, exactly three weeks from the day I had gotten the disease, I went back to school. All my friends wanted to know what happened. I told each of them individually about my experience. My teacher, who I really disliked, knew all about what happened. I guess she didn’t like me a lot either because the first thing she said was, “Good to see you back. All your make-up work is on you desk. Take a seat.”

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