Yet again, our little world is disrupted whilst Tykling (formerly know as Toddler Tyke) suffers another bout of Strep throat.
We seem to have got ourselves into a Winter cycle of fortnightly high temperatures with every third becoming a full blown dose of strep. We went through this all last winter and it seems that we are repeating the pattern this winter too.
For several years, Tykling has been suffering with random and regular very high temperatures that we could not explain. Initially, we put it down to teething but, once he had all of his teeth, we quickly ruled this out. The one thing Tykling has never done, is complain of a sore throat.
After a particularly severe bout of high temperatures a couple of winters ago, I had a mad rush to A and E one evening when Tykling (then Toddler) was screaming in agony due to stomach pains.
I cannot stand to see my little boy in pain, and feel so helpless when he is suffering. On that particular night, I was convinced that Tykling was suffering some terrible, life-threatening illness. I had visions of ruptured spleens and all sorts of horrible scenarios. I'm not a nurse. I avoid the doctor's at all costs. The noise coming from my child on that night sent me into pure panic mode. Once we arrived at the hospital and they finally had Tykling's temperature under control, the doctor made his diagnosis of Strep throat. I felt terrible. How did I not know that my son had a sore throat?
I asked plenty of questions, and along with a good session of googling, I learned that Strep Throat does not always present itself as a sore throat. Suddenly it all made sense - those high temperatures, the stomach pain, the stiff neck - it was all Strep throat. My son had been suffering for months and I had been putting it down to teething.
With my new found knowledge, I now knew what to look out for. The first symptom Tykling will have is a high temperature that comes out of nowhere. This is usually controlled with Calpol and Nurofen but that doesn't fix the Strep. After a few days, Tykling will complain of stomach pains. This is caused by the swelling of the lymph nodes in his stomach. Around this time, he will start to get terrible breath as his tonsils become covered in white spots and start to weep yellow pus. By this point, I have usually seen a doctor and got him some antibiotics. After that, he suffers with a really stiff and painful neck as the lymph nodes in his neck become hugely swollen.
So, here we are again. Tykling saw the doctor today who confirmed yet another dose of Strep and prescribed antibiotics. Within 4 hours of starting the antibiotics, Tykling was a new child. He was eating, he was playing with his toys and he went to bed without the aid of Calpol. Whilst at the surgery, the doctor we saw confirmed that he did indeed seem to suffer with regular bouts of Strep, and that his tonsils were scarred from repeated infections. She also recommended a tonsillectomy. This was the news I was waiting for! The thought of someone operating on my baby is horrible, but the thought of him suffering every few weeks like this is worse. Now that he is at school, he seems worse - he is missing out on so much through this illness. I really worry about his attendance.
So, back to the title of this post - frustration! A couple of hours after seeing the doctor, we had a phone call informing us that she was no longer able to write a referral letter. According to guidelines, there are a certain number of times that Tykling has to suffer before he becomes eligible for a tonsillectomy. Apparently, my child has not yet suffered enough! Despite the fact that his tonsils are permanently enlarged and scarred, he still has to suffer another 3 times before they will be able to do anything about it.
Whilst I fully understand that whipping out tonsils on a whim is probably not a good idea - afterall, tonsils form part of the body's natural defence system, surely my child's history is evidence enough that his are not doing the job they are designed for and, infact, causing him more problems that they solve. Why can't these cases be looked at on an individual basis? Why does my boy have to suffer at least another 3 times before they look at him? Frustration indeed!