The Horror that is HSP

Jack has HSP. Five days ago we had no idea what that was and even the doctors at Childrens' Hospital (the 3rd best in the nation!) don't know what the hell it is. The best we know is that HSP is where your immune system reacts badly to an illness or other trigger. This leads to blood vessels breaking down causing horrendous bruised spots, and then leg and arm joints swell. It's very painful and in some cases leads to kidney failure. The most common triggers are strep throat, a reaction to medicine or food or an insect bite. I'm thinking mosquito bite but I'll probably never find out.

HSP causes symptoms in this order: Intense stomach ache & constipation (and possible kidney problems), followed one week later by unique bruise-like spots on the legs, then joint swelling (mainly knee, ankle, elbow), & then excruciating pain so bad that they give the patient morphine. Jack got all of this last Wednesday 9/29/10, minus (THANK GOD) the kidney failure.

This is the early appearance of the leg spots. His left foot swelled so bad that angry red stretch marks appeared on top. His foot then turned purple with the bruising.

A moment of happiness (it's surprising what morphine can do). Visitors helped too. If you asked Jack what the worst bits were he'd say the pointy shots (drawing blood and inserting the IV) and the fact that his legs hurt. He was also upset that they wouldn't let him out of his room because they convinced themselves he must have had strep throat, even though all tests were negative. Yes I know this hospital is supposed to be awesome and that might be the case when they know the illness, but when they play guessing games they are no more intelligent than I am, only with not as much common sense. Crikey, you can tell I've had a few rough days can't you.

His left knee and ankle, taken on Friday 10.1.10.

After 3 days he felt good enough to walk so we got discharged and thought we were in the clear. Hurrah! Even posted as much on Facebook. Then at 7pm last night, boom! Back to square one, but this time with the right leg.....

This morning he woke up right as rain and can walk again and I have to calm myself down and tell myself what I seem to have learnt so far: This could go on for MONTHS. The bruising, swelling, & joint pain I can handle. The constant threat of kidney failure is something that worries me to death.


One bright spot in all of this is the huge support we've had from family & friends. Friends have baked us food, brought toys, offered to babysit and most importantly, visited Jack and jollied him along. So thanks to all of you. We love you and hope we can return the favor some day. X


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