Thursday, March 3, 2011

3. C is for Complaint

Day three!  Things are going well.

When we brought Little O home, some of his... ahem... presents... were left behind so the lab could run some tests.  In the event we had further problems at home and would need to bring Little O back for more IV fluids, the lab would already be one step ahead and we would have a clearer picture of what we were dealing with.  Well, it turned out that my son actually DID have something else wrong with him: C. Difficile.  AGAIN.  Jeysus.  C. Difficile lives in your gut normally, but is a superbug that is resistant to most antibiotics.  If, like Little O, you have been on antibiotics for some other reason (he'd had bronchitis in January), then that can kill a lot of the good bacteria in your system as well as the bad.  Because C. Difficile is resistant, however, and the good bacteria is being removed, it has the opportunity to grow quite rapidly and essentially take over the entire gut south of the stomach.  This means the good bacteria cannot get back in once the antibiotic treatment has finished, and you get stomach cramps, diarrhea, a fever, etc.  If left untreated you can potentially get very, very ill, and it can even kill you.

So, we had to go back to Little O's regular doc and get ANOTHER presciption... which has been successful and we have seen no further signs of illness or diarrhea.  At that appointment he also checked Little O's arm and told me how disgusted he was at how it happened.  I told him I had very strong feelings about it, but that I was going to be polite and keep my language clean.  He suggested I complain to CHOW's Patient Care line, and I told him I already had... :)  In fact, after I brought Little O home from the hospital and made sure all of us got a good night's sleep, it was the first thing I did on Thursday morning.  I spoke to a very nice chap who listened carefully to my concerns, and then started apologising and apologising, over and over again.  I told him that I needed to know that the staff who had treated my son were going to be spoken to, and that this would not happen to another child, and he promised me that all the staff concerned would indeed be "interviewed".  Because this might take a while I might not hear back for several weeks, but I have already had a letter at home telling me the investigation is ongoing and that I will be contacted when it is resolved.

Result!  Malpractice lawsuit not withstanding, that's basically the best outcome I could hope for.  I wanted someone to take my concern seriously, and for the staff at CHOW to know that their neglect (for that is what it was, essentially) did have consequences.  It's not as though I could get my money back, or coupons off my next visit (although that would be SWEET, given the cost of healthcare in this country), so making everyone aware that they need to do a better job listening to parents and paying attention to the cries of tiny children in pain is all that matters.  Job done.

Little O's arm is now almost healed, two weeks after the incident.  We kept applying that magic stuff, Vaseline, to the sore to create a barrier without using cotton wool or gauze (the threads could have gotten stuck to the wound and caused an infection), and it seems to have worked.  The swelling took about three days to go down completely, but the scabs fell off earlier this week and we now only have some pinkish scars in the crook of his arm to remind us of that awful day.  We also haven't seen any more diarrhea or signs of other gut problems... but we have been giving him more water than usual to help things heal faster anyway.  The only problem we have now is that his ear has been draining what looks like green snot... and that isn't a great surprise, seeing as he has a minor cold and ear tubes helping his ear canals keep clear of infection.  But it's still REALLY DISGUSTING, and I do gag when it's my turn to clean things up.  I can't help it!  Blood, poo, wee and vomit I'm fine with.  Bogies from the nose, eyes and ears are HORRIBLE and they make me retch.  Gah!  I'm turning green just thinking about it.

I need to lie down.


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