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Stealth Strep and the Giant Tonsil

We had a great time with my family over Christmas. My parents, all of my siblings, their spouses, and all of my nieces and nephews were under one roof for a full week and it was really nice to be together. We shared stories, played games and shared germs with a great familial love and came home feeling not quite right.

I’ve been tired with a scratchy throat and a sinus thing, Magoo’s been pasty, and Wanda has been clearing her throat a lot and eating far less than usual. The most compelling physical symptom that any of us has shown is Laylee who has at some point developed one giant tonsil. This was pointed out at a recent visit with an Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist and she’s been spending a lot of time staring at it in the mirror with a flashlight and giggling ever since.

A week and a half after coming home from Christmas vacation, my sister called to tell us that her family and my brother’s family had all been diagnosed with Strep A and that we should get checked out. So Magoo, Wanda and I headed to the doctor. None of us had clear symptoms. There were no red throats or fevers, just basic ickiness and exhaustion.

Magoo asked if he would be getting a shot at the doctor’s office. “No way,” I assured him, “They just want to look at your throat.” First thing they said when we got there was, “Why don’t we give him the H1N1 booster while you’re here?” Apparently, I am a liar.

The pediatrician swabbed Magoo but said Wanda looked fine. I guess little babies don’t generally come down with strep. Magoo’s quick in-office strep test came back negative. My doctor said I seemed asymptomatic for strep as well. Sweet.

With the infection ruled out, I started to worry that maybe I was inexplicably pregnant again. First trimester pregnancy is the only time I feel that kind of corpse-like tiredness. This had me worried. Not only do I not think my body can handle another baby again ever, I KNOW my sanity cannot handle another baby 12 months after the last one.

So, 4 days after Magoo’s initial test, we got a call from the pediatrician’s office. Apparently the second test done by the lab showed he DID have strep after all. So I pulled him and Laylee out of school and took all three kids back to the doctor. Laylee and Magoo both asked if they would get shots. I told Laylee that she might need an H1N1 booster but Magoo was safe.

Again, I am a liar. When we got to the office, they pointed out that Magoo had not had his seasonal flu vaccine so he ended up getting that and Laylee got both. Nice.

My favorite part of the stinkin’ long appointment in the 3’x4’ holding cell came when the doctor leaned in quietly with his little light to peek at Laylee’s throat. She held still. She stuck out her tongue. She said, “Aaaaahhhhhh.” And just as he was crouching and looking into her mouth, she suddenly and loudly exclaimed, “GIANT TONSIL!” with a huge grin on her face.

The startled doctor jumped about a foot in the air and then started laughing so hard that he had to hold his aching sides as he choked out, “That’s exactly what I was just thinking. What a big tonsil you have!” Totally classic.

The in-house swabs showed both girls to be bursting with strep germs, although Laylee insisted that she felt totally fine and Wanda insisted, “Gurgle, gurgle, squawk, laugh.”

So, four office visits, 5 prescriptions and 3 doctors later, we are all on the road to recovery and ain’t life grand. GIANT TONSIL!


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