Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I could have had a slightly easier re-entry into the working world...

It's been an interesting couple of weeks here at DwL headquarters. As you know, my first day back at work was a week and a half ago, on the day that London and parts of England received the biggest snowfall in 18 years. The knock-on effect was that last week, things didn't really seem "normal" since most people had been unable to get into the office on Monday, and then worked from home on Tuesday. I did my best to get settled in but it was a strange ol' week.

But who would have thought of the curveball we'd be thrown this week? After a lovely weekend in Faversham, Kent, visiting Michelle, Adam and Sam, we woke Blake up on Monday for nursery and found he had a bit of a rash on his back; we chalked it up to some new moisturisers we'd used in his bath on Sunday. I guess that was wishful thinking, because at about 11:00 that morning, the nursery phoned to say they'd taken Blake's temperature a few times, and that it was a bit high, and that he wasn't really "acting like himself". Fortunately Matt was able to take a half-day and go get him, while I stayed in the office and tried not to worry too much. When I got home that evening, Blake seemed cheery, but the rash that had been only on his back that morning had definitely spread to his face; his right eye also seemed to have conjunctivitis, not something he's ever had before. I went online and looked up several things that I thought might be the problem, namely measles and rubella (German measles). Some of the pictures looked a little like what Blake had, but his didn't seem as bad. Maybe I was just being a worried mother...

When we woke up on Tuesday, however, it was pretty clear that his rash was not good - and more than the previous day I thought, "Oh boy, this is definitely either measles or rubella." A quick trip to the doctor (avoiding the waiting room for the fear of spreading it) confirmed that it was either a "mild case of measles or rubella". We await a swab test today to confirm which it is. In the UK the standard age for the first of the MMR vaccinations is 13 months, so Blake was just about to have his (he will still have it, to protect him against the other two). The vaccination, however, is contentious due to bad press it received from a study that showed the MMR jab was linked to autism, so it seems that some parents do not have their children vaccinated. The US seems to have a stronger policy regarding children getting immunized.

The good news is that Blake has actually seemed pretty well, despite having a temperature, the rash looking awful, and his eye emitting the most unpleasant goop. We've been giving him Calpol and he's been sleeping pretty well (but not excessively, since I think drowsiness is something to be worried about). When the doctor gave me some literature on measles, he told me not to read the "Complications section" as it would just make me worry. Of course I did, and then wished I'd listened to his advice.

I was very fortunate that my work has been understanding and have told me to work from home if I can, but on Tuesday I felt like my head was going to explode from stress and exhaustion. I would have had enough to worry about had I just been concerned about Blake's health, but I also had to phone/email everyone we'd seen in the past week (of course the nursery had to know and I felt guilty that we may have brought it to anyone there, and we'd also been to a 1st birthday party on Sunday where there were quite a few people...if it's rubella, then the biggest risk is to an unvaccinated pregnant woman, but it's of course not always obvious who falls into this category, and it's also obviously wrong to assume that all children above 13 months will have had the MMR jab, so that when I thought it was a good thing that Blake was one of the younger ones at nursery, I realized that didn't necessarily mean that the older ones will be ok).

And so, getting back into work full-swing has been tricky. The main thing I'm hoping for is that sweet little Blake is ok, and that fingers crossed it hasn't spread to any of the other kids at nursery or our friends.

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