Sunday, November 25, 2012

Appearance Vs. Reality

“Appearances are often deceiving”—Aesop

In last week’s blog entry, “Temporary Bump,” I described dealing with Alex’s recent various health issues.  After fighting yeast overgrowth for months that invaded his mouth in the forms of thrush and cheilitis, we were coming to the end of a month-long run of taking the antifungal prescription drug Diflucan daily, which we hoped would finally mark the end of dealing with candidiasis. After fighting a cold for a week, I was back to feeling good and was thankful that Ed and Alex seemed to have avoided my germs. After taking Alex to the Minute Clinic on Saturday for a sore on his scalp, we believed that he had folliculitis, an infection of the skin easily treated by antibiotics. However, the appearance of a few blisters on his skin made me wonder if something else could be happening. After I posted my blog on Sunday morning, I assumed anyone who wanted to read it could access it online.  What a difference a week makes! I discovered this week that what appeared true last week was not exactly reality.

First of all, some friends and family have told me that lately they have been unable to access the most recent installments of my blog. They can see the picture and the title, but what follows is the text of the previous week’s blog instead of the new entry. Apparently, the old entries are visible, and if they wait a week until I post a new entry, they can then read the entry that did not appear the previous week. However, the newest entry again cannot be seen, other than its title and picture. Trying various browsers, I found that Google Chrome, Safari, and Firefox had no issues showing the blog correctly; the culprit seemed to be Explorer. Because Ed is more tech savvy than I when it comes to online publishing, I asked him to figure out what was wrong with the blog when someone uses Explorer. He found that many blog websites have been having issues with Explorer not showing the complete text, and fixing the problem is not a simple matter. Therefore, I recommend that any readers of my blog use a browser other than Explorer to read the entire text in a timely fashion.  However, those who are devoted to Explorer can just wait a week until the old text decides to make its appearance with the new title and picture.

Aside from the blog posting glitch, this week we finally received the results of Alex’s yeast tests that were done a few weeks ago. A swab culture of his mouth and a blood test to determine the presence of candida antibodies both came back negative, which suggests that he doesn’t have yeast overgrowth, after all. Basically three possibilities exist for these test results: false negative results, successful eradication of the yeast by antifungal medication, or something else has been causing the sores in his mouth. The nurse practitioner who prescribed the month-long use of Diflucan gave us a referral to an ear-nose-throat specialist who might be able to diagnose the problem. With the Thanksgiving holiday, Ed and I decided to wait before making an appointment with the specialist, especially since Alex’s mouth looks much better. Taking him to a doctor without any symptoms seems pointless, and we’re hopeful that he is, indeed, healed of the condition that two doctors and three nurse practitioners diagnosed as thrush and cheilitis, forms of candida overgrowth. Also, Alex has a weird fascination with ear-nose-throat doctors, whom he refers to as ENT’s, because he researched them a few years ago when he wanted to have his voice surgically altered. If we can avoid taking him to an ENT, we may be able to avoid the obsessive conversations about his desire for vocal cord surgery that doesn’t even exist. Mainly, we just pray that that the yeast overgrowth and whatever caused it is finally gone.

Last week’s appearance of a nasty sore on Alex’s scalp sent us to the CVS Minute Clinic, where a nurse practitioner diagnosed him with folliculitis, an infected hair follicle. After giving Alex oral antibiotics and treating the sore with antibiotic cream, we have been amazed and pleased how quickly this infection has healed. The evening after we took him to the Minute Clinic, we discovered a small blister behind his ear and two on his shoulder. After some Internet research and consulting with my mom, sister, and sister-in-law by phone, we diagnosed Alex with chicken pox. Moreover, we suspected that the sore on his head might have also been a blister that was knocked off accidentally and became infected. Even though Alex had the chicken pox vaccine when he was younger, apparently mild cases of chicken pox can occur in up to ten percent of people who have had the vaccine. We watched Alex carefully this week; fortunately, he had no more eruptions of pox and didn’t seem bothered by those he had, which are healing nicely. Perhaps this light case of the disease will finally give him the full immunity he apparently lacked.

After we seemed to be done with illness, a couple of days ago Alex started showing signs of the cold I had last week. Thankfully, he seems to have a mild case, as I did, but he has a little bit of congestion. With his various contagious ailments, we decided not to risk exposing anyone to whatever Alex might have that could be catching, and so the three of us spent a quiet Thanksgiving at home. Among the blessings for which we are thankful are the doctors and nurses who have helped us find ways to make Alex healthy again and for the improvements we have seen in him. I’ve heard people say that fear is an acronym for “false evidence appearing real.” Even though I first heard actor Gary Busey say that on the reality television show Celebrity Apprentice, where his behavior was a little scary, I think he makes a good point. So often, we worry about things that seem really frightening, and in the end, they are not what they seem.  I have fretted too much over various symptoms Alex has shown, and I need to remember that God is taking care of him, making sure he’s going to be fine. No matter whether Alex has thrush, cheilitis, folliculitis, chicken pox, a cold, or any other illness that looks like these conditions, he’s on his way back to health. For that, we are truly thankful.

“But all who listen to me will live in peace, untroubled by fear of harm." Proverbs 1:33

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