Last Saturday (16th Nov 2013), baby Joshayne was admitted to Bagan Specialist Centre (BSC) after running a high-fever for 3 days. He was diagnosed with “roseola infantum” or in layman’s term, “fake measles” (假麻, jiǎ má).
“Roseola infantum is a viral illness in young kids, most commonly affecting those between 6 months and 2 years old. It is usually marked by several days of high fever, followed by a distinctive rash just as the fever breaks.”
It wasn’t life-threatening, but being first-time parents, Kiate and I couldn’t help but be worried when li’l Joshayne had persistent high-fever, and now, rashes all over his body. At this point of writing, Joshayne still has rashes all over his body (especially his face, limbs and back) but they are gradually fading away. The fever is gone too. Praise the Lord!
We would like to take this opportunity to thank our family members and friends for their concern and support, as well as prayers. A special thanks to Dr Dineshchandra from Bagan Specialist Centre for diagnosing Joshayne’s illness and putting our worries to rest. We would also like to extend our sincerest apology to our colleagues who had to take over our duties during our absence. Thank you for your understanding. Above all, praise be unto the Lord for His grace and mercy over us~
Here’s a chronology of what we went through:-
Wed, 13th Nov 2013
Night: Slight fever – decided to monitor first. We went to bed after feeding him around midnight.
Thurs, 14th Nov 2013
Around 1am, I took his temperature and was shocked to get a reading of 39°C. I woke Kiate up and we decided to bring Joshayne to the emergency unit of Seberang Jaya Hospital. Gave him a quick sponging and applied a KoolFever pad on his forehead just before we headed out.
By the time we arrived at the hospital, it was after 2am. We were relieved that there weren’t too many people. We filled in the registration form and waited for our number to be called. Soon it was our turn. A nurse took Joshayne’s temperature and surprisingly it had dropped to 37.5°C. We informed the doctor that Joshayne had just recovered from cough and flu recently. The babysitter also mentioned that he didn’t have much of an appetite lately. As I was down with cough and flu, the doctor said that it was very likely that Joshayne had caught the bug from me. Aiks.
The doctor told us to continue monitoring his temp and to come back in two to three days’ time if the fever persisted. He prescribed paracetamol syrup, cough syrup and multi-vitamin. We left the hospital slightly after 3am, reached home by 4am, and spent another one hour or so giving (or rather, trying our best to give) him the medicine (paracetamol syrup only) and getting him to sleep. In the end, I only managed to get one hour of shut-eye as I had to be in school by 7.30am for SPM invigilation. The paper for that day was none other than History Paper 3, a THREE-hour open book test! It was a miracle indeed that I did not sleep through it.
Kiate stayed home that morning to take care of baby Joshayne while I was in school. Baby’s temperature fluctuated, but generally it was rather high. Kiate tried to give him paracetamol syrup, but li’l Joshayne had decided that he didn’t quite like taking medicine after all. That afternoon, we had to give him paracetamol suppository to bring down the fever. After lunch, we all konked out due to exhaustion. Late in the afternoon, Joshayne’s fever spiked again to 39°C. Without second thought, we rushed to Dr Teh, a nearby child specialist. Dr Teh gave him diclofenac and it effectively brought down the fever. Joshayne started sweating soon after and returned to his normal active self. Dr Teh also prescribed antibiotic for him because he noticed that his throat was inflamed.
Initially, I was reluctant to give him the antibiotic as he was barely 7 months old then. However, I finally relented because I was more concerned about his high-fever. If the fever was a symptom, then we would have to treat the root cause, right? And so we started him on the antibiotic.
Friday, 15th Nov 2013
Baby Joshayne was still slightly feverish so we continued giving him paracetamol syrup/suppository as prescribed by the doctor. I couldn’t take leave from work as it was the last day of school (I had to close register and settle some admin stuff before the school closed for the long year-end holiday). So, with a heavy heart, I dropped Joshayne off at the babysitter’s place on my way to school. Given a choice, I would have stayed home to take care of him myself. Anyway, I updated Joshayne’s babysitter on his condition and told her to closely monitor his temperature.
Saturday, 16th Nov 2013
Kiate had to go to work so I was alone with baby at home. That morning, he seemed fine to me – active and feeding well. I thought he was recovering. However, I was shocked when I took his temperature at around 10am – it had risen to 39°C again! I quickly administered diclofenac (suppository). Around 10-15 minutes later, Joshayne decided to poo-poo and out came the partly dissolved suppository.
Our JB church friends dropped by to visit around that time. We were supposed to meet up for breakfast that morning but we had to change plan at the last minute due to Joshayne’s condition. Instead of meeting outside, they came over to visit us at home and even “dabao-ed” food for us. Unlike the usual ‘chit-chat over a cup of tea’ visit, we spent most of our time together trying to give Joshayne his dose of antibiotic for that morning. As his fever did not subside, we also tried to administer paracetamol suppository but all to no avail. I was at my wits’ end and I had no other choice but to call Kiate to come home. It was around 12.30pm then.
I updated Kiate on Joshayne’s condition and we both decided that the best thing to do would be to bring Joshayne to a private hospital. Initially we planned to go over to Penang island, but decided against it when we saw the massive jam (due to Penang Bridge Marathon the next day). So upon a friend’s recommendation, we went to Bagan Specialist Centre in Butterworth instead.
After a “long and torturous” wait (i.e. 1 to 2 hrs), it was finally our turn to see the child specialist, Dr Dinesh. Surprisingly, Joshayne’s fever had subsided. Nevertheless, Joshayne was admitted for observation and scheduled for a blood test the next day. And this marked Joshayne’s first hospital stay!
Joshayne’s fever was brought under control, albeit with the ‘help’ of ibuprofen syrup at 6-hour intervals. I learnt from the nurses how to give medicine using an oral syringe in three simple steps – i. let the baby lie down, ii. squirt the medicine between the tongue and the side of the mouth (try to get it done as quickly as possible), and finally, iii. comfort the baby. I nursed Joshayne after giving him the medicine because it helped to calm him down.
That night, all three of us stayed at the hospital. With the fever gone, we began to relax and even joked that we were on our ‘first’ vacation with baby – staying at a ‘hotel’ with a view + room service etc.
Sunday, 17th Nov 2013
Dr Dinesh came to check on baby at 8.30am. Joshayne gave him the ‘serious’ look and refused to respond to the doctor’s attempts to amuse him. I suppose Joshayne is the “日久深情” type; it takes him a while to warm up to ‘new’ people.
Later, after the doctor had completed his morning round, he came back to take Joshayne’s blood sample to be tested. Joshayne cried so pitifully that my heart almost broke.
Don’t be alarmed by the above pictures – Joshayne didn’t break his arm. It was the standard procedure here to leave the branula in place just in case the baby had to be put on IV drip or antibiotic later on.
Since Joshayne’s temp had stabilized and there was nothing else to be done at the hospital, we requested to go back and rest at home. The doctor gave the green light but we were required to come back the next morning.
Monday, 18th Nov 2013
We woke up rejuvenated after a good night’s sleep but we were shocked to discover rashes all over Joshayne’s body, especially on his face and behind his ears. We assumed that his condition had taken a turn for the worse. We hastily packed for an extended hospital stay and headed out.
When Dr Dinesh saw Joshayne’s rashes, he said matter-of-factly, “It’s ‘roseola infantum’ – just as I’ve thought. You can go home today.” The doctor explained that it was a viral infection and that the rashes would go away in a few days’ time. We needed not do anything about it. I told my family about the diagnosis, and later learnt from my sister that my nephew, Dylan, was diagnosed with roseola too earlier this year. He also had similar symptoms – persistent high-fever followed by rashes.
While waiting to be discharged, we read up online about the illness and were greatly reassured that Joshayne would be fine. Apparently, it was quite common and definitely not life-threatening. For more info on ‘roseola infantum’, you may refer to the following web pages (which I found very informative):-
And here’s the bill for our two-day “vacation” :-