Why Are Physically Sick Children Labeled as Mentally Ill? A first step toward empowerment of patients in decisions that affect their own lives

By Jessie Bedrinana

M y daughter was nine when symptoms started after a long summer of hiking and camping in Southern and Central California. She was previously an outdoorsy, active, happy child who loved school. Her symptoms started with fatigue, weakness, and knee pain (after a brief flu-like illness) and then the pain migrated.

lyme disease red itchy rash and hivesShe complained of stomach aches, headaches, shooting/stinging pains around her body, periodic congestion, and a dry cough. A few months in, she got strep and the symptoms worsened. She had a horrible reaction to amoxicillin (swollen, debilitating painful joints, red, itchy rash and hives, fatigue) that would not quit.

Her ANA levels were high with the original onset of symptoms, then soared up to 1:1280 at the height of her illness and beyond. We went to her pediatrician, two ERs and a rheumatologist, who was concerned enough to have her admitted to a children’s hospital.
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