A Real Life Encounter With Dracula

Halloween is almost here. There are tons of stories out there about monsters, witches and ghouls. I have a few of my own, and since this is a page about Juvenile Arthritis, I figured, hey, why not give you the real life version, as it relates to JA?


We have extensive experience with real life monsters. Its called “any kid on prednisone.” Prednisone is known in our circles for its awesome ability to control raging disease fast, but not without a cost. It can (and will) turn your little Dr. Jekyll into a raging Mr. Hyde. Predinsone can cause physical changes (such as extreme weight gain, moon face, and a fatty “hump” at the back of the neck) along with emotional changes that can include wild mood swings, rage, anger , tantrums and depression. Ask any mom who has dealt with a kid on corticosteroids. After a few tantrums, all will agree, this drug IS a tried and true monster maker.



I say this to be polite. After all it is an, ahem, family blog. Witches are those women who listen to the trials and tribulations of your life with JA, and offer judgements or snide remarks in return. It can be the neighbor who finds it too taxing to grab your kid from school when they are picking up their own IN THE SAME PLACE (nevermind that you are held up at a dr appointment with child number two, her focus is on your scheduling inefficiency) or it could be that family member that keeps insisting that you are making mountains out of mole hills. This category doesn’t need much explaining. I think we all know what I am talking about here.



These are the folks that have a creepy interest in the medical goings on with your child. “Oh, they just had a port placed? Can I see?”  or “I had an EGD a few years ago- did you get pictures when (insert your kid’s name here) had theirs?  It would be cool to see how they compare.” Really? It would? Ew. No lie- true story. Some things are just too ooey, gooey, slimy, bloody, and laced with other body fluids to share…not sure why these “ghouls” really want to know, but when you have a chronically ill kid, it seems like they come out of the woodwork.


Last but not least, lets talk about Dracula, the inspiration for this whole post.

The real life Dracula was born Vlad III, aka Vlad the Impaler, a Romanian Prince. He had a reputation for cruelty, and it was upon this real life person that Brahm Stoker based his 1897 novel Dracula (click on the orange Dracula if you would like to access a FREE version of the novel for your kindle, click here Bram Stoker’s Draculaif you are the movie type: ) These works, and others like them have given us the familiar blood sucking count we have all come to know and recognize.

We in the JA community recognize a DIFFERENT, real life, Dracula. Well, we recognize that there are THOUSANDS of them, and we see them all the time.


The modern day version of this blood-sucking icon is none other than the hospital/clinic phlebotomist. Although unlike Vlad, we have not found a cruel one yet. Nevertheless, these poor folks, charged with sucking multiple tubes of blood from our children, elicit more terror than the rest of the entire medical team combined. Take a normally brave child. Often they will be transformed into a quivering pile of goo at the mention that yes, today HAS to be a lab day. Others turn into screamers, belting out the most blood curdling shrieks imaginable. The last group glumly accept their fate, emerging pale and fatigued, drained of their life-sustaining force. Labs for JA usually run in the 4-6 tube quantity per visit, but there have been times that my kid has suffered through a record 18 tube draw. Tell me that dude who did it, wasn’t a real life Dracula- kinda like this guy in the Geico commercial:

In closing, if you know a JA family and would  like to be less like the Halloween characters above, and more like the house that gives out the full size candy bars, just try to listen, understand and help. Its hard enough for us dealing with these characters year round. Give us a treat!

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