What's going on with Isaac? [Part 1]

I have been waiting for a window of time to be able to sit and write about our Isaac (12), and some of the health issues he's been facing over the past month, but particularly this past week.  It's early in the morning and the kids are still sleeping, so I'll snatch this moment.  (If you aren't fond of medical details, you may not want to read beyond this point.)

More than a month ago, Isaac mentioned that he was having diarrhea.  I'd noticed his frequent trips to the bathroom and we tried to pinpoint together when it had begun.  I figured it would work it's way through his body and he'd be fine.  A couple weeks later he made a comment about it being "weird diarrhea".  "Weird" meaning clear, gel-like diarrhea, and he was going 4-5 times a day.  I'd never heard of that, and I agreed that it was strange, and I had a niggling concern.  (Apparently sometimes there was "regular diarrhea" with it, but every time there was this "weird diarrhea" going on.)  He talked about a churning sensation in his stomach.  No pain, but definitely nausea, and while he felt sometimes that he would throw up, he never did.  We prayed lots at our house for Isaac's stomach, I told him to eat yogurt (for probiotics) at least once a day, we tried to avoid certain (spicy) foods, and I began asking him more about it, and generally paying more attention to his body and what might be going on.  I did notice a decrease in his appetite, but for the most part he seemed normal.  Right around the same time as the diarrhea began, he also complained of a persistent sore throat, but had no spots, no fever, and he was still eating and drinking (though wincing sometimes as things went down), and some days it appeared to back off and not bother him at all.

As of a couple of weeks ago-- so maybe 3 weeks out from the original mention of diarrhea-- Isaac's trip to the bathroom had decreased to maybe 2x/day, and we thought things were settling down.  It was then that he was hit with a cold.  Runny nose, (no cough) and his eyes were gunky in the mornings.

Last week Wednesday (April 6), he woke up with hives.

Day 2 of hives

So I spent a few days trying to determine what had triggered the hives.  He's only had hives one other time in his life: several years ago after a camping trip with Mark, his uncles and cousins, and they had all come home complaining of the mosquitoes.  At that time I chalked it up to a reaction from all the mosquito bites.  He wasn't itchy that time.  So fast-forward to last week, after writing down all the food he'd eaten and ruling that out, I settled on it being either a reaction to some sort of insect bite, or a reaction to some new soap (licorice) of Ella's that Isaac had used in the shower. And I got him an antihistamine and we rubbed aloe vera on his skin (his preference, over Calamine lotion, Caladryl, and hydrocortisone cream).

Right along with the hives came plugged ears, and general pressure in his ears.  I put some mullein/garlic drops in his ears, and paid closer attention to that, watching for pain, fever, etc.   (Poor kid, huh?)

His hives were awful, he wasn't sleeping, his throat still hurt, he was still having diarrhea a couple of times a day, and he had a cold.  Isaac's a really easy-going kid, and he's not a complainer at all, so his spirits were good.  He just kept taking one thing at a time and assuring me that he would be fine. 

On Saturday night (April 9), I went to check on him at bedtime- asked him to hop up so that I could see his hives--  and he said he couldn't get up.  Huh?  He explained that when he and his siblings had watched a movie earlier, he had sat in a certain position the whole time (the way all kids sit, on their haunches, but leaning on his arms, apparently) and that since then his joints had been hurting.  Particularly his ankles and wrists and shoulders.  He did get up- struggling to do so- and sort of hunched forward so that I could see his hives.  I aloe-d him up and he went to bed.

The next morning (Sunday) he walked like an old man.  Slowly, with careful movements.  He still had hives but thought they were better (less splotchy that morning, not as itchy as they had been.)  I thought he should stay home from church, but he wanted to go.

Sunday night: It was family night and we were going to play a game, and he could barely get to the table.  After one game, I turned to him and started asking him about his joint pain.  (At this point I'm thinking there's NO WAY we can still chalk this up to a weird position he'd sat in the night before.  He's a healthy boy, and sits that way all the time.)  I looked at his wrists, they looked red.  I asked him to put his ankles into my lap, and one was very swollen, and they were both red (and his feet looked purple).  I tried to look at his knees but had a hard time because I couldn't pull his pant legs up easily, so I asked one of the other kids to go get him some pajama bottoms and asked Mark to help him to the couch so that I could look at his knees better.  They also seemed red and swollen.

This was the first time I became concerned that maybe all these symptoms were related somehow, and the pain he was having moving really troubled me.  I called my friend Michelle who is a pediatrician, and tearfully filled her in.  She encouraged me to get him into the doctor the following day to try to get some answers.

[Part 2, in which we see the doctor, and spend a day at Children's hospital, coming just as soon as I can type it]


  1. Oh my heart is aching. I'm so sorry that your son is suffering and I can understand the mama heartache that goes along with it. My now 19 yo suffered greatly with hives (like every 19 days) for 2 years (from birth to age 2). It was a horrifying experience and my heart broke with each occurrence that my little one suffered. Please know that we are praying for your son and family.

    1. Oh, wow. That's so strange-- that pattern of every 19 days! I'm so sorry. They are awful. I had them myself after a surgery on my ear (and an allergic reaction to iodine dye) and they were AWFUL.

    2. Thank you for your prayers!

  2. I'm on the edge of my seat waiting to hear. I hope you got some answers!

  3. Oh my goodness it's heartbreaking to think of your child suffering. I'm hoping and praying that he's feeling better. Looking forward to the rest of this story.

    1. It is so hard. Thank you for your kind words and your concern.


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