December 30, 2008

An Official Diagnosis

About three weeks ago, Savannah came to show me her big toe which had a large red bump on it and was sore to the touch. Tom and I both looked at it, poked and prodded it, felt it for warmth (it wasn't) and decided with our vast medical wisdom that it was probably a spider bite. We washed it, put Neosporin on it, and went merrily on our way.

I've been keeping tabs on it, and while it never looked any better, it really didn't look any worse either. I told her that if it was still bugging her after Christmas, I would take her to the doctor to have it checked out. A promise I made "knowing" that it would be fine by then, and I wouldn't have to spend yet more money on medical bills (this past year has been a red-letter year for that). Christmas day, it actually started looking worse, the red was expanding, and it was getting markedly more swollen. Being the good mom that I try to be, this morning we headed off to the doctor.

There the doctor did the same poking and prodding that Tom and I had done. They took x-rays to rule out a broken toe, and drew blood (a very traumatic moment for Savannah and thus for me) to rule out infection, inflammation, and rheumatoid arthritis. Her diagnosis: "I really don't know." She's too young for gout, especially with no family history. The arthritis is a stretch too, but we needed to rule it out. She called an orthopedic specialist and got us an appointment for this afternoon.

By this time, my worried-mama mind was heading in MANY terrible directions. This afternoon we went in for the appointment with the specialist, prepared for the worst. I think we both expected her to be admitted to the hospital, with perhaps an amputation in her immediate future.

The new doctor listened to the story, looked at the poor, swollen toe and then put a blood pressure cuff on the opposite ankle. "Just for fun" he wanted to cut off the blood supply to that foot for 5 minutes. In "normal" people (he obviously doesn't know us!), as soon as you release the cuff, the blood will instantly recolor the foot. In other people (like Savannah, as it turns out) it will take 7-10 seconds to gradually recolor the foot, and then the entire thing will be a really pretty scarlet.

So what is it?

Vasospastic Syndrome: Definitions:1. an inherited tendency to respond to stimuli such as coldness or emotional stress with inappropriate vasoconstriction or insufficient vasodilatation in the microcirculation.

In English, this means that when her hands and, in this case, her feet get cold, the blood vessels shrink up and block the blood flow to toes and fingers. If it's bad enough you get tissue damage such as what Savannah has. And it more than likely was inherited from me (my fingers are ultra-sensitive to the cold of winter; just one more reason I hate snow). The cure for this is to keep hands and feet warm and dry, covering them with what turns out to be the world's most expensive and hardest to find kid-size socks (SmartWool, only $12 per pair!) and another new pair of snow boots (The last pair were bought, coincidentally, 3-4 weeks ago, right before this problem). The new boots are not nearly as stylish as the old in Savannah's eyes, but at least they're warm, and waterproof.

To sum up: Today I spent $70 in co-pays, $45 for new boots, $20 for wool socks, and Lord only knows how much I'll owe for x-rays and blood tests. But the priceless moment? The priceless moment is having your daughter medically diagnosed as a SPAZ!

Hmmm... what does that say about me?


Lo said...

A SPAZ? Now you know it's inherited. I had it first. Nyahnyahnyah. Tell her I'm sorry about her constrictors. But it could be worse. There are overheating disorders. And you can't take off enough...

Tracy said...

she is a big spaz
savannah d jones

Lorrie Veasey said...

I was so with you on the spider bite thing! Kudos to you for taking her in, and glad that the diagnosis you got was what it was. Happy New Year to you and yours!!!

Becky said...

What a relief though! I am so glad everything worked out and that she is OK. Happy New Year! See you bright and early Monday morning!

zakary said...

This makes me laugh! It sounds like something that would happen to us. I'm glad she's okay! Keep those footsies warm!