Monday, November 15, 2010

When it Rains it Pours

Today (Sunday) KC and I went to the hospital with the assumption that we would be discharging Jacob from the Hospital.  He had responded well to the Lasiks and they were going to put him on two more medications for his heart.  We showed up at the hospital with a new outfit in hand and walked in to see our 3-week-old baby boy swaddled in his blanket in the bed sleeping so peacefully.  It was so nice to see him there so calm after such a hard weekend. 

Bucklee, our nurse, came in and introduced himself. He let us know that they had just given Jacob his latest dose of meds and tried to feed him, but he only took 1 ounce, so if we wanted to hold and feed Jacob that should be fine.  I, of course, immediately gathered my baby into my arms for a little bit o' lovin' and cuddled with him for a while.  I tried to offer him his bottle, but he just would have nothing to do with it.  Pretty soon, his heart monitor began spiking.  His heart rate would peak to the 190's (normal for Jacob is the 130's), setting off his alarm, then would go back down.  It did this several times over the next 1/2 hour, and I began to feel Jacob getting warmer and warmer. 

By the time Bucklee came back in to check on us, the monitor had alarmed almost 10 times and Jacob was beginning to look a bit listless and pale. The nurse took one look at him, broke out his stethoscope and began his inspection.  He suggested I put Jacob on the bed so that he could inspect him more.  Just as I began to lift him up to put him on his bed, Jacob began vomiting large amounts of formula.  Bucklee got him onto the bed and began calling for backup.  The alarms began sounding off, the cardiologist was paged repeatedly, and a frenzy of medical workers began working on our baby boy right before our eyes.

One person was trying to suction the milk from Jacob's mouth, nose, face, etc.  Another was putting a tube down his nose to suction any milk from his lungs, etc. Another was monitoring the heart rate and calling for an EKG. Another was checking his temperature (102.5 F), another was calling the cardiologist, another couple were trying to draw blood (to no avail - that boy just doesn't bleed!!!), and another was giving directions and making sure that all the bases were covered, etc.  It was chaos.  Finally, they got him stabilized and immediately took him back to Pediatric ICU.  Obviously our baby was NOT going home today.

After thing settled down a little, they took his EKG, took more X-Rays, Tylenol was given to bring down his temperature, and they were finally able to draw blood for almost 1/2 dozen different tests, it was determined that he most likely had the onset of some sort of infection and they needed to find out what it was and put him on antibiotics.

All KC and I could think about was how lucky we were to still be in the hospital when he 'tanked' like that.  Imagine the catastrophe it would have been if Jacob was home and that happened.  Yes, what happened was HORRIBLE.  I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy, but it occurreded in the one place where it could be managed and stabilized by knowledgeable people quickly before any real harm or damage occurred. 

Eventually, KC and I quit hyperventilating, began talking to the doctors to assess what the 'episode' meant and where to go from there.  We let the nurses do their thing, and we tried to gather as much information about Jacob as possible.  Eventually, they put a tube into his stomach to help with the distention of his stomach, put Jacob on IV fluids and began feeding him through IV's until they were sure that he wouldn't throw up and inhale any fluids into his lungs.  They told us that as long as the IV was in, Jacob would be fed all the nutrients he needed, but he's still be hungry and would want to eat. 

So, when he began to cry, I picked him up to try to comfort him with a Binky.  That worked for a few minutes, until Jacob realized that it was me who was holding him and he decided he wanted to be fed NOW!!!  He began rooting around for food and getting madder and madder.  He was twisting as far around as he could, arching his back, stiffening up, etc.  Then, all of the sudden, his heart rate spiked again,  he stopped moving, his eyes rolled back, he immediately went limp in my arms and then became unresponsive.

KC immediately called the nurse, we put him on the bed and the nurses began again working on him to get him to wake up.  The doctors were called again, more assessments were made, more blood tests were taken, and we spent much of the rest of the evening shell-shocked.  The nurses came in to do more blood draws and I "took a walk" because I didn't think I could handle listening to another 1/2 hour of his screaming while they tried to draw blood from his little body.  KC stayed and rubbed his head to calm him while I wandered the halls for a while. 

When I came back, he told me that Jacob 'passed out' at least twice more while I was gone and was so lifeless during the blood draw he didn't even wiggle or cry.

We eventually found out that his platelets had fallen to below 17,000 (they had been 72,000 earlier in the day) which meant that they wanted to give him a platelet transfusion.  They still thought he had an infection, but didn't know what it was. They sent several blood tests out to for cultures, which would take about 3 days before we could get results, and they wanted to do a lumbar penetration, which basically meant that they wanted to take some spinal fluid from him in order to rule out meningitis. 

We met with a hematologist (blood doctor) and he explained to us the issues with his extra thick blood and their planned course of action (of course he ordered a couple of blood tests as well).  We talked to the cardiologist a few times and they decided to take Jacob off of two of his three medicines until he was stabilized.  And we had several nurses constantly coming in and out of his room over the course of the rest of the evening.

By the time we went home at 7:00 PM this evening KC and I were emotionally and physically spent.  Jacob was absolutely exhausted beyond belief as well.  But, to their credit, the hospital staff seemed to get Jacob to the point where he was turning a corner and beginning to get a little bit better.  We left that evening knowing that he was in good hands and counting down the minutes until we could see him again in the morning. 

Hopefully today will bring us much better news and a much healthier baby...

Donate to the Allred Hearts - for people with Congenital Heart Defects

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