Parenting: So, my teenage son has mono...

February 25, 2011 7:42:48 AM PST
I'm going to totally mortify my 14-year-old son, Billy, by writing about mono this week.

But he's got it and that's forced me to learn more about this illness in the past couple of weeks than I ever wanted to (and yes, for you regular readers, Billy is the one who broke his arm twice and had two surgeries to have plates and pins inserted since May. Clearly this is not his year?)

Mono's known as the kissing disease. I am not going to speculate on how my not-yet-15-year-old son contracted it, other than say that if you read the recent Philly Magazine article on what goes on at school dances, you may find a possible explanation.

Or perhaps he had a little bit too much fun at the teen club on our Bahamas vacation.


But I digress. Billy was dragging for several weeks. His appetite wasn't right, he was complaining of a sore throat, he had a low-grade fever from time-to-time and he was complaining he was either too hot or had chills. Now, as I've mentioned, I'm a tough football Mom and unless you're about to drop, I'm pretty much going to give you Tylenol and send you to school. And that's what I did for a couple of weeks. Then he started going to bed around 8:30 - the same time as his 10-year-old brother.

Now, this is a kid I usually have to drag off Facebook and video chat at 10:30 or 11:00, because he wakes up at 6 to go school. So, that's when I got concerned. I suspected mono and took him to the pediatrician. She said there were a lot of viruses going around and the kids were getting one after another and with his vague symptoms, she suspected that's what he had.

A week later, he was still dragging. So, we took him back to the doctor and this time they sent him for a blood test. As he was boarding a plane for a five-day service trip to Biloxi and New Orleans, the test results came in.

Mono it was.

But there really isn't anything to do except rest when you're tired and drink a lot of fluids, so he left with his synagogue friends and Youth Advisor to help out in the areas of the Gulf Coast still ravaged by Hurricane Katrina. His Youth Group advisor says he was a trooper and he did learn a lot on the trip. But after several weeks of plugging through with mono and then the stress of traveling, he was knocked out when he got home.

He slept for 20 straight hours and his throat was so sore he could barely swallow, which made it hard for him to take pain relievers and drink fluids. So we went back to the doctor - again.

This time they gave him a prescription for a steroid. He's had a few doses and has perked up considerably and gone back to school. He's not allowed to lift weights for football (he'd just gotten cleared to go back to weight room after the second arm surgery), for fear he could rupture his enlarged spleen, which is one of the problems that mono causes. He's still planning on an 8:30 bedtime, but he's likely more than half-way through his course of this illness. So, we're hoping he'll be able to keep up in school and feel better within a few more weeks.

And I'm also hoping maybe he's learned a lesson about - ahem - too much fun?

For more information on mononucleosis and teenagers, check out these links:|21761|mononucleosis||S|b|7170168552&gclid=CObc2cuXoacCFQ687Qod3ywLQQ
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