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When Natasha Durling from Granville Ferry, Nova Scotia, noticed that her son, Oliver, wasn’t feeling well last month, she assumed it was probably some kind of gastrointestinal virus.
The poor little boy had a high fever, sore muscles, red eyes, and was weak from vomiting repeatedly. But when Oliver’s condition didn’t improve and got even worse, Natasha was convinced that something was seriously wrong with him. If she hadn’t trusted her intuition despite doctors disagreeing with her, Oliver might not still be alive today. Now she’s sharing his story to encourage other parents to always listen to their guts when it comes to their children.
Between Thursday, May 18, and Sunday, May 22, Natasha says that Oliver’s symptoms worsened to the point that she called 8-1-1, a Canadian phone number for non-urgent health services. They told her to make a doctor’s appointment if his fever lasted more than five days.
The next day, he wasn’t eating or drinking anything at all, and his eyes were bloodshot. Natasha took him to the hospital, where he was put in quarantine for a possible case of the measles. However, the doctor who examined him said it wasn’t measles and likely just a virus, as Oliver was up to date on all his vaccinations, including two measles shots. They were sent home.
By Tuesday, he was in so much pain that he couldn’t even get out of bed and said he felt like he was dying. Nastasha says he was “covered from head to toe in the worst rash I have ever seen, his fever (with Tylenol and benadryl) was past 40°C and his lips were so swollen that they were cracked and bleeding.” She took him to a different hospital where she was told the same thing.
At that point, she’d had enough and refused to leave. She demanded to see a pediatrician, who finally decided to run a measles test to be safe.
After the dehydrated little boy got some much-needed IV fluids, he was able to get up and use the restroom so the nurse could get a urine sample. But as he was relieving himself, something horrifying happened. “As he’s peeing, he starts to panic yelling that he can’t see and that he’s blind, then gets right stiff, shakes and drops in my arms,” Natasha said.
After this, the doctor determined that he had Kawasaki disease, a rare childhood condition that causes inflammation in the walls of some blood vessels. With blood transfusions and treatment, his rash was gone the next day and he was feeling a lot better, but it didn’t end there.
The urine results showed that Oliver actually did test positive for the measles. By Friday, it was confirmed that he was suffering from both conditions, which is extremely rare. “Ollie is the ONLY know case of contracting measles while having all his up to date immunizations, and Kawasaki disease at the same time,” Natasha said.
With the proper treatment, Oliver is no longer contagious and is doing much better now. But even though his vaccinations didn’t stop him from contracting measles, Natasha says that they’re the reason he’s still alive because they lessened the severity of the disease and gave his body a chance to fight the Kawasaki disease.
Though it was a frightening and horrific experience for Natasha and Oliver, she’s sharing it with other parents in the hopes that it will save lives. “Trust your gut moms and dads. Fight for your kids if something doesn’t seem right! We know our kids, so don’t take no for an answer. And for the love of God, vaccinate your kids! Measles was supposed to be a dead disease.”