Sam’s g-tube (feeding tube) feedings are going really well. He’s tolerating the small amounts we are giving him. To put it in perspective, we are slowly giving him about a med cup and a half three times a day. The mixture consists of puréed green beans, infant oatmeal, and his specialized formula. Yum.
We were very excited to finally be able to start the diet Cincinnati Children’s had told us about last May. It’s a diet they came up with for gaggy/retchy kids who don’t eat by mouth. This is Sam to a tee.
Sam’s dietitian (who is the best) has put a lot of work into figuring out this whole thing after collaborating with a Cincinnati dietician only a few times. Everyone here is excited to try it and see the results.
There are many reasons for us to hope he tolerates his feedings, but obviously, we ultimately want to avoid another surgery.
Because we are going so slow with his feeds, it will be a while before we can get rid of the PICC line. As I’ve told you in the past, bathing Sam is a two person job and downright scary. Sam LOVES the water and is constantly trying to drown himself, literally. With the trach, he can’t be fully submerged in water, but because he has no idea the consequence is deadly, he continues to try. With that in mind, washing his hair has become an art for us. Now, add a PICC line on his arm that can’t get wet. Hmmm…
Before last week, Sam hadn’t had a real bath since November. Yes, you heard me right, that’s over two months ago. For all you mamas out there who feel guilty your little ones have gone too long without a bath, don’t. Sponge baths can only go on for so long though.
All that writing was before we ended up in the dreaded Children’s emergency department (ED). Sam’s skin at his PICC site was looking fabulous. Last week, we noticed some irritation. As the week wore on, it didn’t get better. Bummer.
After we sent another picture of Sam’s arm to his infusion nurse, she called right away, “I’m so sorry, but I think you need to take him in.” Exactly what you want to hear on a Friday at 4:00. He had zero symptoms so it felt very odd taking a happy little boy to the ED. In a weird way, it felt good to have the folks in the ED see what Sam is like when he’s himself. When we bring Sam to the ED, it’s because we have exhausted all of our home treatments and he’s miserable.
Thankfully, we only stayed one night. In Sam’s history of hospital stays, a one nighter has only happened three times, and the first two were day surgeries when he was a baby, because they didn’t quite trust him yet. He was treated for cellulitis at his PICC site and twenty-four hours later, we were on our way home. Of course, everyone was happy to see him on the in patient side.
The next day around 4:30 p.m., Sam fell asleep on the couch watching his iPad. Uh oh. This is not like Sam. I hooked him up to his pulse oximeter (checked his heart rate and oxygen). His heart rate was a little elevated. Shoot, but not too concerned. As his heart rate went up, he started to develop a fever. Crap. Oh, Lord, please don’t let it be sepsis. After a few phone calls to the infusion team and his doctor, we were advised to bring him back to the hospital. Sepsis is always a cause for concern with a PICC, but the risk goes way up when you have a skin infection at the site. We packed ALL the things again and headed back to Children’s. My fear was trying to set in, but I was pouring my faith into my heart.
We checked in, they got his vitals, and we were in a room in record time. The nurse set up the blood culture labs before the doc even saw us. She was ready. The doc came in and ordered the necessary tests. They drew labs and swabbed for all the viruses. Side note. One of the beauty’s of having a PICC is not having to get poked. We waited.
The doctor came in the room and my heart beat a little faster. At that point, Sam’s labs weren’t concerning, but Sam was positive for Covid. Thank goodness!! He likely picked it up at the hospital when we were there, but who knows! Poor buddy. If you’re wondering why I was so happy about Covid, it’s because I’ll take Covid over sepsis any day. We packed everything up and headed home. It was a four hour round trip and another late night, but record ED time and we got to go home.
Other than a low grade fever, Sam’s rocking Covid so far. Praying it stays the course it is.
Thankfully, through all this, he’s still tolerating his feeds.
Faith Over Fear