Well, neither had I. It's usually characterized by a mild rash and is often referred to as 'slapped-cheek' illness because of the obvious rosy appearance. I had no idea when Spencer was diagnosed the week before school let out how it would affect me, so I thought I would share. I'd never heard of this condition or it's real name...Parvovirus B19.
Here's the email I sent to my friends who knew I've been ill for weeks:
I'm using the cross posting method to let you all know what I found out at the doctors today. As most of you know, I've been ignoring the computer in lieu of sleeping and trying to feel better. After a visit to three doctors, the final one being an internist, I discovered that I not only had a severe urinary tract infection, I had contacted a virus usually associated with Dogs. Yep...I tested positive for Parvovirus B19.
I'd never heard of it before, but it's the human strain and quite contagious. I didn't put two and two together until I looked it up on the internet and discovered it's also called "Fifth's Disease," something Spencer was diagnosed with right before school let out for summer. You think the school would have issued a warning to the parents, but... in children it's mild...(also known as 'slapped-cheek' syndrome because of the red rash), but in adults, it takes on an entirely new meaning. Every joint in my body was swollen, stiff and ached. I itched all over but didn't have a rash. I could barely get up and down. Couldn't flex my fingers or toes, and my hips hurt like hell.
Thankfully, I'm feeling so much better today, and I think Nr. Nachnani tested me for about everything. I love the man and I'm so happy I found him because the second doctor just handed me a handful of anti-depressant samples and sent me on my way. I'm sending him a note with hopes he doesn't discount his other female patients the way I felt he discounted me.
Parvo B19 usually takes four-six weeks to run its course, and I'm about midway. Horrible fatigue and diving blood pressure are the other symptoms. I've never felt this bad before and it scared the crap out of me.
I also learned that my Vitamin D was at the bottom of the barrel, so I'm taking one pill (50,000 units) a week for eight weeks. My test also came back positive for Lupus, but the doctor believes it may be the result of the parvo virus. I hope so, because that's an autoimmune disease and horrible. My sister Gwenn has it. When she gets sick...it's with multiple problems. Another reason the school district should have sent home warnings when symptoms manifested themselves in the children. Where's the accountability?
I have to have this whole battery of tests again in two months when I'm free of the virus. Anyhow...I haven't totally fallen apart, just mostly.
Of course, all the way home, I muttered to myself about being the butt of a joke for having a disease associated with canines when everyone else is worried about Swine Flu. Of course my husband lived up to my expectations and proved my point when he asked if I'd been sniffing crotches. God, I hate him sometimes. :)