Baby Reid: Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever?

Well, this morning what’s really on my heart is my little grandson, Reid Solomon, who is pictured here perched on his mother’s knee at their church’s Easter morning service.He is the youngest of their Three Musketeers, and a happy, charming tot,very independent and full of me-too-ism. After Aaron took the older boys skiing, for weeks when we would talk to Reid by skype, he would remind us boldly, “I shee! I shee!” (Which, by interpretation, means: “I want to ski too!”)And, of course, he was dead serious, and we all knew it, since he actually took his turn riding a horse at Yellowstone last summer during our family reunion.Until Gerlinde, Kathy, and Grace gave birth this spring,Reid was the Armstrong family’s baby, and we’re all totally in love with him! So, when Reid developed a severely high fever (read 104°+) and broke out with a rash this past Saturday, we were very much concerned!  The worst of it was that they’d found a tick buried in his neck, so they were particularly concerned about the possibility of a tick-related illness. Aaron and Carleen took him right to the emergency department (E.D.).However, the E.D. treated him with Tylenol, did some blood work, and sent him home after his fever started to respond to the medication.

By late in the day Saturday, Reid began to eat again and seemed perky for awhile, but shortly after returning home, he became dull and spiked another high fever. Aaron and Carleen talked to the pediatrician on call for Reid’s doctor, but she thought it was probably just a viral infection and wanted them to watch Reid through the night, trying to control the fever with Tylenol. Aaron started doing online research, and at about 1:00 am Sunday morning he called Alan to discuss the possibility of it being something unusual, such as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF), which can be fatal if not treated quickly although it can’t be diagnosed 100% until the blood work comes back—in 2 weeks—which is too late. They decided to hold through the night and hope the pediatrician would see Reid in the morning.Convinced that Reid just had a viral infection, the pediatrician didn’t want to see him…she’d already seen too many “similar” cases over the weekend.By this time, I was feeling rather desperate! I wanted our happy little guy back! I asked Alan if he couldn’t prescribe something over the phone, but he couldn’t, since he isn’t licensed for the state where they live.Aaron and Carleen tried to keep Reid content and the fever controlled with Tylenol, but by Sunday afternoon they noticed that Reid was not only lethargic and feverish…his fingernails and lips were turning blue.They took him to another E.D. department, praying fervently that someone would take his illness seriously. It “just so happened” (which we believe was by God’s provision) that there was in infection specialist there who said he did not believe Reid had an infectious disease. This doctor had seen Rocky Mt. Spotted Fever just once in his life—25 years before—but said once was enough to remember, and he felt that Reid had a classic case. He started Reid immediately on IV motrin, saline solution for his severe dehydration, and then doxycyline, which isn’t harmful if unneeded, but will save Reid’s life if he actually has RMSF.   Reid has been feeling better, although he’s definitely not out of danger yet.   By suppertime Sunday, he was doing very well, but then he got worse during the night with discomfort, more high fever, and vomiting.On Monday and then through last night he was up and down too. He has had some abnormal lab studies that could suggest the possibility of complications.We are waiting to hear the doctor’s report from this morning, but if you think of little Reid, would you please pray for his recovery? Thank you. As it turns out, RMSF is extremely rare but has shown up in nearly all the 50 states over time. It is lethal if not treated, but almost impossible to definitively diagnose until it’s too late. If you or anyone you love breaks out in a rash with a high fever…you may have one of a myriad of illnesses, but if you find a tick on the ill person’s body in conjunction with the symptoms I’ve mentioned, you might want to check out the below website to consider the possibility of RMSF. It’s definitely worth being presumptively treated as a classic example of “Better safe than sorry.”

“The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the LORD.”

Proverbs 21:31