Saturday, February 12, 2011

Hookworm Update!

[This is an update about J's hookworms. My previous posts about this are here: part one and part two.]

J has had hookworms for almost 12 weeks now.

He was sick for about 4 weeks. He has been better now for about a few weeks*. While he was sick, J was absolutely exhausted. He slept about 11-12 hours per day. His guts hurt. He found that Hydrocodone was the most helpful for pain relief.

At about his third week of having worms, J's pain became so intolerable that he had to choose between getting rid of his worms and taking Prednisone, which is an immunosuppressive drug. It worked extremely well, but it is also very dangerous, so he only took tiny doses. He took it whenever he was really hurting, until week six.

J didn't miss much work while he was sick, but there were a lot of days where he would come home early in the evening, or take very long naps during his lunch break, because he just really didn't feel well. For pretty much all of our weekends he slept for the majority of the days.

Honestly, we were kind of frustrated with his sickness. We felt like we had an unclear expectation of what his "worm flu" was supposed to be like. Up until J actually got the worms, we thought that he would probably feel slightly sick for the first few days he had the worms.

After we met with Garin and the doctor, I don't know whether we just misunderstood or what, but I think we expected that about two weeks into having worms J would experience mild discomfort for a couple weeks. After J became sick and had been sick for a little while, the expectation was that it would become much better very suddenly at about week six. J says about 85% of the suffering happened between weeks 2-6. After that he got better over the following two weeks, until he was not having any pain from them at all.

So far, the results are:
1. J would never, never get 30 worms all at once. He suspects 10 at a time would be ideal, and 15 would be acceptable (because going to Mexico each time is a hassle.)
2. As far as allergies are concerned, J has occasionally been friends with our cat to see how he is improving. At the beginning, J would touch the cat and have a very delayed (and reduced) allergic response. Partway through his sickness, J discovered that he could touch the cat (but not really cuddle her and rub her against his face) and he would have no allergic response at all. Now, as of yesterday, if he rubs the cat in his face, he does still have a small allergic response that is somewhat delayed. Of course it is nowhere near where he started.
3. J was also seeking to improve some mild joint pain. It is totally gone.
4. J used to wake up with a stuffy nose every day, and now his nose is always dry in the mornings. This started at two weeks.
5. J thinks he may be interested in increasing the number of worms he has at some point in the future.
6. People we know have also seen J's improvement; J's parents and my sister both have cats, and we have visited them successfully, with no allergic response. Members of each of our families have approached us with interest in learning more about worms. We recommend Garin as a provider of hookworms.
7. J underwent surgery yesterday and all of the doctors and nurses involved were careful to accommodate him. Garin was a great resource for J as he tried to work out the anesthesia. A couple of the doctors were especially interested and asked J a lot of questions. They seemed to think that it was unusual but great that it was working for him.

[Note: I've written another update about the hookworms. It is here.]

* "During which I got a cold, and a broken bone, and surgery! So much for being well, eh?"


krebscout said...

Explaining "Car Crashes" -

Elliot has toy cars that he likes to crash into each other. Thus he thinks car crashes are fun, and I only image search for "car crash illustrations," so as to avoid anything too grim.

b said...

i see it has been 3 months since the last hookworm update. would love to hear the latest news if you've got the time!

Emily said...

b -
Actually, I did give kind of an update about the hookworms on another post since then:

J had surgery and it affected his treatment.

Maybe an update is in order? We're planning to maybe go back for more sometime this summer.

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