Yes. Evan's got it.
What, you may ask, is this "molluscum?" Well, apparently it's a pretty common, low-level virus whose only real symptom consists of a collection of raised, pox-like bumps on some part of the body. The full name of the virus is "molluscum contagiosum."
My first thought when Evan was diagnosed was
"hmmm . . . molluscum . . . sounds like some sort of exotic sea creature."
And when the doctor had asked if she'd been swimming shortly before the bumps appeared, I thought, "yep, it's from the sea all right."
But no. I was completely wrong. The molluscum, it seems, is in the wart family.
Ah, not nearly as romantic as I was thinking . . . more toad-like.
This leads us to the ailment's second name -- "contagiosum."
"Sooooo," I asked the doc, in as nonchalant a tone as I could muster, "I suppose this, um, molluscum, is . . .
uh . . . somewhat contagious?"
"Oh yes. Very."
Okay then. Immediately I thought back to the last time I'd shared a bath with my daughter-- when she was in that "horrible-fear-of-the-tub phase." I couldn't recall if the bumps were there at that time . . .
All righty then. "How does one treat the molluscum?"
"Well, there are a number of options. We can freeze the bumps with liquid nitrogen, treat them with an electric needle, scrape them off with a sharp instrument, or apply what we like to call 'beetle juice,' an acid that causes the bumps to blister."
Did I mention that these bumps were on Evan's bottom? And, did I also mention that I sat listening in absolute horror to this very soft-spoken pediatrician as she calmly described how she could get all medieval on my daughter's butt? That's right, she wanted to go after these buggers with a vengeance, because hey, they're in a very delicate region, one more prone to irritation and further infection.
"There is an alternative to topical treatment," continued the doc.
"Yes?" I looked up, hopefully.
"We can give her a systemic drug that can kick-start the immune system . . . get it to recognize this low-level virus, and attack it."
Okay now, most of the folks who read this blog will recognize the big red flag that appeared the moment this doc mentioned "kick-starting" the immune system.
"Well, I'm not too crazy about this option because, well, my son has type 1 diabetes, and since that's an autoimmune disorder, and we really don't know if Evan might develop it, I don't want to do anything that might stimulate her immune system."
"Well, then. Let's just stay with the topical treatments. Since she's so young, we can just apply a liquid that will encourage the bumps to dry up."
And so we did. Evan was a real trooper, laying across my lap as the doc dabbed each bump with a little liquid. It was all going so well, until she dabbed a particularly large, reddened bump. Evan began to cry.
It was at this point the doctor informed me that the liquid she had just placed on my daughter's bottom would cause each little pock to blister, somewhat painfully, over the next several days.
And we were to re-apply in the next seven to ten days. (No. I don't think so.)
As I sit typing, Evan is curled in my lap, still whimpering from the pain.
And angry, larger-than-expected blisters have already formed on my little girl's bottom.
All I can say is:
"A pox on the molluscum!" and "on the doctor who treats it!"
Thursday, September 22, 2005
Yes. Evan's got it.