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A couple of weeks ago, my dad-in-law, Dan, came down with what everyone thought was some type of flu. He had a fever (that eventually spiked at 104 degrees), vomiting, weakness, and a weird rash on his shoulder. He visited the emergency room twice and each time was sent home, the doctors saying he had some type of virus they couldn't identify. Trouble was, he wasn't getting any better and he was dangerously dehydrated. My husband and his sister pestered him about seeing the doctor again, thinking he really needed admittance into the hospital for fluids. My husband got pretty stern with Dad over this, and finally my brother-in-law drove Dad to the doctor.
The doctor ran some tests, then admitted Dad into the ICU. By the end of that day, the doctor announced my dad-in-law had acute renal (kidney) failure and pancreatitis. This was much more than your average virus. In fact, the doctors were so concerned, and so lost as to the underlying cause of his organ failure, that they wanted to send him to a better hospital in our biggest city. It took them an entire day to arrange that, and in the meantime, my husband traveled two hours to get to the hospital, thinking this might be the last time he'd see his father alive. He was happy to see them pumping fluids into Dad, but the doctors were afraid to do anything else until they had a better diagnosis; if they gave Dad the wrong medicine, it could completely shut down his kidneys. And did I mention Dad was hallucinating, too?
Yesterday, they finally got Dad into what is probably the best hospital in the state and spent literally all day running tests on him. My mom-in-law and husband were (and continue to be) right by his side. He was (and is) weak, withering away, feverish, and confused a lot of the time.
By the end of the day, the specialist in charge of his case said they did not yet have a definitive diagnosis. They would have to wait on test results for that. But the doctor's current working theory is that Dad has Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever - a disease caused by tick bites. As far as Dad knows, he wasn't bitten by a tick, but he had been working in the woods behind his house shortly before becoming ill. Ticks aren't a huge problem where he lives, but all it takes is one infected tick to spread this horrible disease.
Last night, the doctors began giving Dad antibiotics. It will unfortunately take up to a week for the lab cultures to tell the doctors whether or not their current diagnosis is correct. In the meantime, Dad is so weak, he can't sit up on his own.
If it is Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Dad is by no means out of the woods. He's getting a late diagnosis - about 2 weeks into the symptoms. It truly is a miracle he's survived this long without treatment. (Although if he hadn't ended up in the ICU when he did, he'd be dead, no question about it.) Almost certainly, quite a lot of damage has occurred in his body. It's not uncommon for this disease to cause bleeding and clotting in the brain or other organs. It can also result in amputated digits or limbs, and life long health problems like neurological issues or permanently damaged organs. Best case scenario, Dad will be in the hospital for weeks.
Again, this is not yet a confirmed diagnosis, but for now, the doctors are treating him as if he has this disease.
To top it off, we as a family are suffering other, far less life-threatening health problems. My sis-in-law has mastitis with a terrible fever; my daughter ate a store bought cookie yesterday and shortly after, her face broke out in terrible red welts; I am having horrible sinus issues, with pressure and pain, am barely able to rinse my sinuses at all, and am dizzy and off-balance; my mom-in-law is still a bit sensitive from her bout with stage 4 ovarian cancer years ago (which God miraculously has kept at bay), and we are worried about her stress levels and lack of sleep.
So please continue to pray. Please pray that God will preserve Dad for a family that isn't anywhere ready for him to go to Heaven yet. Please pray for a full and speedy recovery, with no long term side effects. Please pray for our family as a whole. Thank you.
I will do my best to keep you updated.