It’s a scary thing when your child gets sick and you don’t know what’s wrong with them or how to fix it. It’s even scarier when doctors don’t know what’s wrong with your child and can’t tell you how to fix it.
That’s the nightmare that Natasha Durling found herself in when her son Oliver was experiencing symptoms of pain, fever, vomiting, diarrhea and sore muscles.
Now, the mother of two is encouraging parents everywhere to stick with their gut when it comes to getting help for their kids.
After calling the doctor about Oliver’s symptoms, they weren’t certain what was causing the illness. They told Natasha it was likely just a virus and to bring him in for an appointment if his fever got dangerously high or lasted more than five days.
Over the next few days, Oliver’s condition got worse. Additional symptoms caused the little boy to lose his appetite and stop eating and drinking.
“I became worried because he’s never been THIS sick before and usually shakes off viruses by now,” Natasha wrote on her Facebook page.
She rushed her son to the hospital after an unusual rash broke out across his face and neck.
When they arrived, the emergency nurse immediately quarantined them, fearful that the cause was measles.
According to the CDC, measles is still common in many parts of the world including some countries in Europe, Asia, the Pacific and Africa. In 2016, only 70 people from 11 states were reported to have measles—most of which were unvaccinated.
Oliver had previously been vaccinated with two MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) shots. Though his symptoms were similar to that of measles, it was clear that wasn’t what Oliver was suffering from. The doctor verified that it wasn’t measles, and suggested Tylenol and Benadryl.
When the little boy woke up the next morning, he refused to get out of bed, complaining that his leg hurt too bad and he thought he might be dying.
Natasha says he was covered from head to toe in the worst rash she’s ever seen. Even with Tylenol and Benadryl, Oliver’s fever was 104°F, and his lips were so swollen they had begun to crack and bleed.
Mortified, the mother packed up both of her kiddos again and rushed her son to a different hospital, where the three of them were quarantined for measles a second time, only for the doctor to once again suggest it’s just a virus and prescribe Tylenol and Benadryl.
By this point, Natasha had had enough.
Her little boy was in pure agony. He had endured days of muscle pain, fever, constant diarrhea, puking, shuffling from one doctor to another, and had told his mom he thought he was dying.
Natasha demanded that her son, at the very least, gets some blood work done, and that doctors get some fluid into his “obviously dehydrated body!”
She says upon her outburst, the doctor was hesitant so Natasha pushed further and demanded to see a pediatrician immediately.
“After some humming and hawing and getting me calmed down, they finally get Oliver a pediatrician. At this point the pediatrician is very concerned and completely perplexed over Ollie. His rash was unlike anything he’s ever seen. He showed similar signs of measles, but he’s been vaccinated, didn’t have the mouth sores and didn’t have a runny nose, but he decided to have him tested just to be safe.”
Oliver was given an IV once his blood work was completed, and that’s when things turned from bad to worse.
Suddenly, Oliver began to panic. He screamed that he couldn’t see and was going blind, then became stiff and collapsed into Natasha’s arms. The nurse rushed him to the ICU where doctors finally concluded that he wasn’t suffering from measles, but Kawasaki disease. He had all five of the symptoms—inflamed blood vessels that causes pain throughout the body, in joints and muscles, and affects the coronary arteries, which supply blood to the heart.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the disease also affects lymph nodes, skin, nose, throat and the mucous membranes inside the mouth. Symptoms of the disease present themselves in phases—similar to the ones Natasha observed in Oliver.
Phase one often includes: high fever; rash; red eyes; red, dry, cracked lips; red, swollen tongue; swollen lymph nodes; and swollen, red skin on the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet.
The second phase is when you might notice peeling skin on the hands and feet, joint pain, diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.
Kawasaki disease is considered rare, but treatable. It’s most commonly found in young children and infants, who—when treated—recover in just a couple of days without any serious problems.
Oliver received blood transfusions to treat the disease, and woke up the next morning feeling much better. The rash was gone, and his fever was on the decline.
He spent one more night at the hospital before doctors decided to release him, but with mild anemia and the multiple scares she’d experienced because of this disease already, Natasha insisted they stay.
And it’s a good thing she did.
As they were walking around the hospital wing that evening, Natasha and Oliver were approached by a nurse who said the little boy had in fact tested positive for measles—despite having been up-to-date on his vaccinations.
They were quarantined again while Oliver received treatments for measles.
“Ollie is the ONLY know [sic] case of contracting measles while having all his up to date immunizations, and Kawasaki disease at the same time.I have one strong, brave little man! I couldn’t be more proud of him!”
After being released for the second time, Natasha once again refused. She fought to keep her son admitted until all of his tests came back normal. Now she wants other parents to do the same.
“Trust your gut moms and dads. Fight for your kids if something doesn’t seem right! We know our kid’s [sic], so don’t take no for an answer.”
She also says that vaccinations are what ultimately saved her son’s life:
“If Oliver didn’t have his vaccinations, he would be dead right now. The vaccines lessened the severity of the measles while his body ALSO fought the Kawasaki disease.”