Sunday, December 5, 2010

Let's catch up, shall we?

Ha!  The last post I wrote on here was called My newly insane life, and how apt that turned out to be.  My apologies for not having updated recently, but... well... it's been a bit insane.

When I last wrote, my son was still in the hospital, recieving IV fluids for dehydration and the stomach flu.  It was a Thursday, if I recall correctly.  Well, my own father flew in from the UK to spend time with us that Saturday, and it was the same day Little O was discharged.  He came home to see his Grandad, and we were thrilled his doctor thought he was well enough to come home back on a regular feeding schedule.  We were all looking forward to getting some sleep, some food, and spending time with my dad.

That night, Little O took a turn for the worse, and we ended up being rushed to CHOW on Sunday afternoon by ambulance so he could be re-admitted up there.  It was scary to be told your child was in a worse state than ever, just 24 hours after being discharged.  His stomach flu and dehydration had led to a critical inbalance of electrolytes, and everyone was very concerned.  It wasn't until later that I finally had time to sit and think about everything, but it scares me now to consider the possibilities of what could have happened if we hadn't taken him in again.  It's possible we could have lost him.

The doctors on-call up at CHOW told us they would not be releasing him until they were 100% sure he had fully recovered, which implied they felt the staff at All Saints hadn't done their jobs properly and had fixed the symptoms, not the cause.  Little O had blood drawn every hour until he screamed because his veins were so bruised and sore, and his diapers were weighed constantly to see how much fluid he was putting out.  The most frightening score I saw was his weight. Before he was ill, Little O had worked hard to get to 25lb; when he was admitted to All Saints, he had dropped to 22lb, and when they took an initial set of measurements at CHOW only a few days later, he was between 18 and 19lb.  For a little boy like that, losing 6lb is a scary, scary amount.  Most of it was fluid, which he put on again fairly quickly with the IV rehydration, but it's still a significant part of this whole ordeal.

When he started getting better properly, the doctors told me what they thought was going on.  Initially they suspected C. Difficile, which Little O had a few months ago, and we all had to wear protective gowns, masks, and gloves when he touched him.  (I didn't, because I'm his mother and I thought it was ridiculous to wear protection after changing dirty diapers for over a week with bare hands.)  Then those tests came back negative after 48 hours, which meant they settled on a diagnosis of several components:

1. Borderline compromised immune system
2. Catches stomach flu, like anyone else
3. Body can't fight off the flu easily because of the compromised immune system
4. Parents continue to feed liquid nutrition and fluids as instructed by healthcare staff
5. Body tries to absorb fluids but is also fighting off flu still
6. Fluids cannot be absorbed, so get 'washed out' of gut
7. As fluids pass through, they also wash out all the 'good' bacteria and enzymes, which cannot get a good grip because they body is still fighting the flu
8. No enzymes or bactera = no absorbtion = dehydration
9. Dehydration makes the diarrhea worse
10. Diarrhea makes the dehydration worse, which makes the diarrhea worse, which makes the dehydration worse... etc...

So, once Little O was discharged from All Saints and came home on a normal feeding routine again, his body actually couldn't cope and the dehydration got worse.  In order to break the cycle, all food and fluids had to be stopped, and Little O had to be maintained on IV fluids only.  It worked after 72 hours and we managed to get his body to accept small amounts of Pedialyte and formula again by Wednesday afternoon.  He was discharged late on Thursday, after being in the hospital for five days (eight, if you include All Saints).  He now has a different feeding plan altogether, and different liquid nutrition.  It seems to be working, although it's a shame the new formula is made by Nestle, because Nestle is evil.  I'm choosing my battles though, and have accepted this minor inconvenience because it's literally keeping my son alive.  Hopefully it's not forever and he can move onto something less annoying as he continues to recover.

So, I went back to work and things pottered along for a bit until Little O got his cast.  Remember that?  He's wearing a cast for 3-6 months to help improve his scoliosis, and then a brace for another 3-6 months to keep his spine in place as he grows.  The cast is incredibly heavy, and bright green.  It's also a bitch to keep clean, as it comes down very low on the back - almost to Little O's tailbone.  Because Little O has very loose poops anyway (which are further exacerbated by an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine, for which he is now on Flagyl for), the diapers cannot contain everything they need to.  We've had to actually change diaper brands from Target (cheap, and we've never had a problem with them) to Pampers (horrifically expensive) because they're smaller, lighter, and use a different system of keeping the contents of diapers in its place.  It's all very disgusting and technical, and it's such a colossal pain in the neck to deal with.  Changing diapers isn't particularly enjoyable at the best of times, but trying to change one that cannot be secured in the usual manner because there's a giant fucking plaster cast in the way just gets ridiculous.  Thankfully most of Little O's blowouts happen in the middle of the day, so the daycare staff have to deal with it more than we do.  Small mercies, right?

There's more to say but I'm all typed-out for now.  I shall endevour to provide another update shortly on the highs and lows of being back at work while juggling more freelance projects than I've ever had at any one time, and sinking further back into a grey depressive state (mmm... meds...), but for now I shall leave it here.  Little O is home, and healthy(-ish), and it's nearly Christmas.  I am thankful.


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