Unfortunately, Sam’s feeds were unsuccessful so he will be getting a PICC line this morning for nutrition. We are going on almost two weeks without good nutrition. This is the next best step. Although we’ll be going home with the PICC, it will help us get home a lot sooner.
He had a test (small bowel follow through) a few days ago and it showed reflux into his esophagus, which shouldn’t be happening with the surgery (Esophagogastric Disconnection) he had back in 2020.
The hope is that his little belly just needs a little more rest. If that’s not the case, then he’ll need surgery. He just needs more gut rest.
Prayers for the PICC line procedure to go well. Prayers for the anesthesiologist and others in the operating room. Prayers Sam’s belly only needs more time to rest. Continued prayers for Sam’s doctors to have wisdom and discernment in the decisions they make for him. Prayers for peace and comfort for me in the hospital and my family at home, who are absolute rock stars.
Sam woke up ‘talking’ for the first time in almost two weeks. It was the medicine this mama needed!
We have landed ourselves in the hospital again. Ugh. He can’t catch a break.
We spent the entire day in the emergency room on Saturday. After all the routine testing and poking, we left with no answers. Grrrr.
He seemingly got better on and off, but overall was not progressing. We spent the entire day at the clinic/hospital on Tuesday getting more pokes and more tests. His pediatrician was a bit concerned. She called me that evening. She was worried. We still didn’t have any conclusive answers.
I don’t like when doctors actually use the word “worried”. It’s not a word they throw around often. It’s going be fine.
Wednesday morning, he seemed like he was getting better. Later that morning, he took a turn for the worse again. We brought him in at around two o’clock in the afternoon, and after about nine hours of waiting in the emergency department, we finally got a room at two o’clock in the morning. So tired. Coffee can cure that.
Thankfully, we were able to get answers after more poking and testing again in the emergency room.
As we were beginning to suspect, Sam has intussusception. To put it simply, this is when the intestines slide or telescope in and out of itself. As you can imagine, this can be very painful. Poor buddy. Sometimes it can fix itself, sometimes enema treatment will fix it, and sometimes surgery fixes it. It’s going to fix itself.
Okay, to anyone reading and believes that prayer can change things, let the prayers begin!
Pray Sam’s little intestines will fix themselves, he will not need treatment or surgery, and we will have a short hospital stay. This little boy does not need to add more surgeries to his already very lengthy list and needs to be home where he belongs!
Sam’s dilation went well. His esophagus was VERY strictured (narrow), almost shut again. The dilation was definitely needed.
As in the past, as soon as Sam gets dilated, his spitting and retching almost instantaneously stop. These are usually the tell tale signs he needs a dilation. Unfortunately, there isn’t anything else that can be done, except put him under anesthesia, and stretch his esophagus.
As of now, surgery will wait to hear from us. IF Sam gets symptoms, they will put him on the schedule as needed. With Sam’s thirty-five plus esophageal dilations, we’ve only been wrong once. There are many, but one great thing about Sam’s care team, is they trust our judgment. They listen, really listen to us. I call the surgery scheduler, who I’m on a first name basis with, and they get him on the surgery schedule ASAP.
We are going to believe Sam won’t need as many dilations as the first time, and even better, he won’t need anymore.
I’ll leave you with a moment from a day in the life of Superman Sam. You just can’t make this stuff up!
We were sitting in “school” with Sam. When Sam does distance learning, we prop his iPad on the kitchen island and he sits on one of the bar stools. I usually stand next to him. His nurse will stand or sit on the stool on the other side of him. All of the sudden, I thought I noticed something about Sam’s mouth. Does he have a missing tooth?!?! With Sam’s camera on, I didn’t want to disrupt school.
As soon as school was over, Sam’s nurse and I pried open his mouth. Yes, we had to do this. It’s the only way to be able to see inside his mouth. Yep, I saw it right the first time, a bottom, front, tooth, MIA! What?!?! Where did it go?!?! Did he swallow it?!?! Was it in his bedroom somewhere?!?!How did I not know he had a loose tooth?!?!
Mom guilt, setting in. And then, that good ole self talk. Stop it!! You have a lot more things to keep track of in the world of Sam, then a loose tooth!!! It’s not a big deal!! He’s clearly okay!!
Mom guilt. Raise your hand if you’re a mom and have had mom guilt recently. Okay, I’m feeling better already. It’s so silly. Why do we do this to ourselves? Because, we’re human.
Give yourself grace mama. To me, giving yourself grace is acknowledging the situation, doing what you can to rectify it, then moving on, and letting it go. It’s knowing, we are not perfect.
From the mama with typical children, to the mama with special needs children, to the mama of a prodigal, and everything in between, give yourself grace, because we all need it, every single day.
Sam was happy, but also nervous at times, when we left the hospital. He walked out with excitement, but would stop here and there, and clench my leg with with fear. I can’t imagine what was going through his head. That’s the thing about having a nonverbal child. I can read his emotions, but I also know there is so much more attached to those emotions and so much going on in that little brain of his. I would love to hear it all. Someday.
Overall, Sam has been doing well. His nights have been rough, but his days have been mostly good. Home care nurses, priceless. Both him and I are definitely happy to be home.
You couldn’t put a price tag on when Sam saw his Abby for the first time, in over six weeks. Let me remind you, Abby wanted nothing to do with having a little sister or brother five years ago. The bond they have now, is priceless.
Most of the time he’s happy with his spoons or forks at his favorite spot in the house, his Elmo desk. Or dancing in the living room to his toddler music.
Sam will have another esophageal dilation tomorrow. Unfortunately, for Sam, this is a routine procedure. We know the drill. I’m not saying the drill is easy, but we definitely have it down to a science. If you’ve ever had a child have surgery and remember the process, it’s quite the ordeal. When you’re asked to be on a committee to make the patient/family experience better, pre and post op (before and after surgery), you must be a be veteran. Yep, true story.
Pray everything goes well tomorrow. Pray for Sam’s surgeon, nursing staff, and anesthesiologist.
As always, Sam Strong and Faith Over Fear!
Happy Thanksgiving! Remember, you can always find something to be thankful for. Focus on what’s good in your life. I promise, there’s something.
I’m happy to report, Sam’s had two great days in a row! Sam is back to swooning all who enter the room. The rough days were due to ANOTHER infection brewing. Ugh. Darn hospitals. Thankfully, we caught and treated it quickly.
The bleeding is less. Although there is still differing of opinions on where the blood might be coming from, it’s not a huge concern right now. They are watching his hemoglobin levels, which have been overall good. If the blood continues, he will be simultaneously scoped by Pulmonology, ENT, GI, and Surgery, which we can come back for.
They have been able to control his blood pressure, with meds we can go home on, and he has been pooping. Today, for the first time in almost six weeks, he did not have any retching episodes! All good things!
The Care Conference could not have gone any better. It’s a bit emotionally overwhelming to sit in a room with several people who have played a role in saving Sam’s life the past four years. We have a good, solid plan that everyone was able to agree on. The tears were unavoidable as they thanked me for the role we’ve played at home, in caring for Sam. When they say, it takes a village, that might be an understatement when it comes to Sam.
I decided to save the best news for last. Drum roll, please. If Sam “follows the rules”, we’ll be home this weekend without the PICC line! Hallelujah!
On top of everything else going on, Sam developed a cold. Poor buddy can’t catch a break. It has been a rough few days. Who am I kidding, it’s been a rough thirty-two days. To be on the safe side, they did a nasal swab and trach culture. The only infection that showed is rhinovirus, aka, the common cold. Big deal, you might be thinking. At least that’s what I thought/think when my other kids caught/catch a cold.
For Sam, the common cold is rough. He’s miserable. We are constantly suctioning his trach (breathing tube). He retches a lot more because it’s hard for him to control all the extra secretions. He is also at a much greater risk for aspiration, pneumonia, and/or bronchitis. That’s where the hard work comes in for us. With continuous monitoring and safe suctioning, we can prevent these infections. Thankfully, he usually gets through the cold without complications, but it’s not easy.
Sam’s next dilation is scheduled for tomorrow at 2:45pm. As of now, he’s still scheduled. The doctors today, said if things get worse, he will have to get rescheduled. Pray for a quiet, restful night, for the cold to be short lived, and for him to be healthy enough for surgery.
Unfortunately, we are still suctioning blood from his trach. In the morning, ENT will do another bronchoscopy. This way, if they find anything, they can take care of it in surgery tomorrow afternoon.
On a good note, he is up to sixteen milliliters per hour with his feeds and we have not had to stop them!
Although this is hard, and trust me, I have my moments, for the most part, I am okay. Even in all this chaos, I am at peace. I truly believe, the more you lean on and trust in Him, the more you will feel an overwhelming peace even in the chaos.
On Monday night we strolled Sam down to surgery again. They discovered his esophagus had narrowed down quite a bit since the last dilation done, only about a week prior. It wasn’t as strictured as the the first time, but enough to have it difficult for things to pass through. They dilated again.
He rested overnight and started feeds the next day. He’s on day two of feeds. The feeds were going well, up until later this evening. We decided not go up on his feeds at the designated time, and try keep them running at the slow rate they are. He’s sleeping well now, without any symptoms. Let’s hope, pray, and believe he can continue to go up on feeds without having to stop them.
Sam’s Surgeon has decided to schedule another endoscopy for early next week. He will take a look and dilate his esophagus again if needed. For whatever reason, Sam’s esophagus thinks it needs to close up post surgeries. We may have to continue this process, which is not new to Sam, but not fun for him either. Pray his esophagus stays open and will need minimal dilations.
Home. I’ve decided not to bring it up anymore. Sam has a great team, who has his best interest at heart. Home will happen when it’s best for Sam.
Again, I wish I could tell you we are on the path to going home.
I wish I could tell you Sam’s feeds went well when we restarted them.
His feeds are stopped again and another plan will be made tomorrow.
Our answer with an easy fix, didn’t turn out so well. The stricture (narrowing) of his esophagus is not the only issue. Sigh. Back to the drawing board.
I can tell you, Sam is otherwise doing really well. As soon as we stopped the feeds, he seemed to feel better quickly.
He’s like a caged animal right now. We do our best to keep him entertained. Thankfully, we can take wagon and stroller rides up and down the halls and we switch out the toys every couple of days. Bottom line, we, need, to, go, home. It’s feels crazy to think we did this for over seven months.
I’ve mentally prepared myself, the PICC line will be coming home. I can still hope it won’t. More than anything, I hope they/we can figure out why he’s not tolerating his feeds.
While I know you are keeping Sam in your prayers, please pray for our other three kids too. Our love for them is no different than our love for Sam.