Thursday, November 12, 2009

Tamiflu, Swine Flu, and YOU (well, me)

I was going to do a post about all the quirky terms in my Google search history. Then I came across this one:

"Tamiflu baby cries all day"

and decided it deserved its own post.

(Actually, the first search term listed is "babt tamiflu cries all day," which is the kind of typo you make when you're holding your baby and she's been crying all day.)

The girls both had swine flu last week. At least, I'm 99% certain that's what they had, along with every other kid in the neighborhood. I think they (and every other kid in the neighborhood) picked it up at a Halloween party. By Monday afternoon last week, they were both coughing, feverish wrecks.

I called the doctor's office to try to get Magdalena in to the pediatrician, just because she takes sickness hard and I was worried about her. I ended up being put on hold call after call, for 20 minutes at a time, while my baby wailed loudly as I held her in my arms. The irony is that the office was so busy because they were running an H1N1 vaccine clinic. Ha.

It was getting so ridiculous that I finally packed up the girls and took them to Urgent Care. This entailed carrying Magdalena out to the car, buckling her in, shutting and locking the door, and then going back up to the house to get Miriam and carry her out to the car. Bundled up against the cold, no less, and both wracked with chills.

I pulled into the Urgent Care parking lot and it was FULL. There were no spots. There were cars parked on the grass. Yeah. So I called the pediatrician again, from inside my car, and I'm not sure what was different (the desperation/tears in my voice? the crying baby in the background?) but I got Magdalena in for an appointment later that day. So we left Urgent Care without even checking in, thank goodness.

That's where this story really begins because the doctor prescribed her (and Miriam, in absentia) Tamiflu. I had only recently heard of this miracle drug, and everything I read about it online before filling the prescription was completely, glowingly positive. I was so excited for both girls to take it, not only so they could get feeling better, but so that I could get some sleep. This, despite the fact that I tend to not be excited about giving drugs to my kids. But I was making an exception for this one.

Miriam took her first dose of Tamiflu and vomited almost immediately. Seriously - she went from wolfing down her dinner with a great appetite, and not feeling too bad, really, on account of the Tylenol I'd given her - to barfing it all up and practically collapsing into bed. I didn't even try to give her another Tamiflu dose to replace the one she'd puked up. I told myself we'd try again the next day but she refused to take it and I didn't push it (see reluctance to give kids drugs, above).

Magdalena, on the other hand, took her Tamiflu every dose, no problem. For the first few days she seemed to be getting better, from the flu at least. About a day before she was done with her five-day course, she started crying all day. Like, crying even when I held her, which she insisted I do, all day long.

At first I thought she was just fussing from being sick. But soon I could tell that she was in actual pain. She would kind of writhe and wiggle and kick her legs up and down while she screamed. So I Googled "Tamiflu baby cries all day" and found page after page of information submitted by regular people saying that severe abdominal pain was a major side effect of Tamiflu in small children. My poor baby! Swine flu was bad enough, and now I'd unintentionally given her a constant tummyache to go with it.

I'm not saying this would happen to every kid who takes Tamiflu, but I want to add my account to the (apparently growing) corpus of accounts of abdominal pain in pediatric patients. I wish I wish I wish I hadn't made Magdalena take the Tamiflu. It might have helped her get over her sickness a little bit, but a cough and runny nose and maybe even slight fever would be infinitely preferable to her being in actual physical pain all day.

Today (Thursday) - four days after taking her last dose of Tamiflu - she appears to be over the crying fits. She still has a runny nose, and Miriam still has that occasional cough that sounds gross but is really just kind of leftover and harmless, but we're on our way to being well again. No thanks to Tamiflu.


JackJen said...

When I was on a pretty heavy dose of Tamiflu in April, it made me INCREDIBLY nauseated as well. I actually had to take an anti-nausea medication BEFORE the tamiflu to just keep it down.

So Magdalena, I'm with ya.

Suzanne Bubnash said...

Dr. Bueffel says that even if you think you have had the swine flu, get the vaccine anyway. There's thought that it is going to hang around for a while through the spring. 3 of us might have had it in October. What we talked about as a bad cold just hung on & the cough was so persistent. Who knows? I got the shot last Saturday.

Melody said...

My little sister has the swine flu right now. The Dr. prescribed tamiflu for her, but my mom won't give it to her. She's heard of too many side effects, one of them being behavioral changes. With a daughter that is bipolar and a son that is schizophrenic you can't blame her right?

Crys said...

Wow, good to know! Not that I could even get my hands on it if I wanted it. In our city you have to be literally on your death bed at the hospital before you can get Tamiflu. I was at the doctors six times in the last two weeks for varying crap (with three kids what do you expected). They won't even offer you the choice. I'm going to steal your idea and post about Sadie's eye medication :)

Susanne said...

Thanks for letting us know about this. I'm sorry your children have been sick. Hopefully you all are getting better rest at night now.

The Harker's said...

Good to know Bridget. I had not heard of this, but will steer clear of Tamiflu in the futire. Glad you guys are doing better. It was fun seeing you at the park where we all froze today though!

Amanda said...

She looks so miserable. Poor kid.

Katie said...

Man, I sure hope your kiddos feel better soon (and that you're able to get some good sleep). That all just sounds miserable.

Laura said...

I am so sorry that your little girls got sick. What an awful experience. Thanks for sharing about Tamiflu.

The Ensign's said...

I'm sooo sorry to hear that the girls were sick. That's the worst. I thought my month of sick kids was bad, but they weren't throwing up more than one night. Then it was just recovering. So it sounds like you had it alot worse. Glad they are feeling better and I hope your finally getting some sleep. cause we all know how important that is. If mom's grumpy EVERYONE'S grumpy!!!

Kristen said...

Oh, I am so sorry. I guess all you can do is try to look on the bright side. I mean, big picture, things could be a whole lot worse. :(

Liz Johnson said...

That's awful!!! I hadn't heard anything but glowing reviews of Tamiflu, but there was something about it that always rubbed me the wrong way... wow, that is terrible. Poor Magdalena!! I'm so glad that they're feeling better. What a miserable experience.

Mikael@starter home to dream home said...

That sounds TERRIBLE! I am sorry you had to go through that. Sick kids is hard enough, but when the meds MAKE them sick, that must totally SUCK! I thank the Lord everyday for our health over here (we have been really lucky.... hopefully my luck will not end) and we are so good and well. Lets hope no more sicknesses hit your household (for your sake... wel, and your kids...)


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