It took two attempts to clear Sam’s PICC line, but they were able to do it. Thank you Lord.
We were able to come home today as planned! I packed for a week and mentally prepared for longer. It feels so good to be home. Fortunately and unfortunately we were able to leave sooner because Sam is on TPN and has his PICC line.
We will give his tummy time to heal and then the real test begins. When we get the okay, we will start feeds very slowly through his g-tube (feeding tube). He is going to tolerate feeds and the PICC line will be a thing of the past.
Day one post-op was not great, but anyone who has a major surgery would not be great on the first day. He had a really rough first night. Sleep was at a bare minimum for both of us. He needed a lot of suctioning (his trach) and had a lot of retching (throwing up).
Day two was rough with some good sleep periods, but he was miserable when he was awake. Overall, he slept good that night. Progress.
Day three he showed a glimpse of hope in the morning. He melted some hearts with a few smiles. He went downhill fast later in the morning. At first, it looked like a curve ball, but then as I payed more attention to his symptoms, a light bulb went off. Intussusception. Ugh. Poor guy. I prayed the intussusception would resolve on its own so we wouldn’t have a real curveball.
We tried so hard to stay away from the morphine, but by late afternoon I caved per his nurse’s gentle nudge of encouragement that’s it’s probably a good idea. It was a good idea. It definitely helped. Intussusception comes and goes in waves and is apparently very painful. Your small intestines are not suppose to telescope in and out of each other. The only thing to do is wait and hope it resolves on its own. With a few more doses of morphine that day and throughout the night, he slept really well. It was looking like Sam would hit this curveball out of the park.
Day four, he woke up happy and sat up for the first time! He was playful in bed the whole morning and had fun with music therapy. Music therapy. It gets my heart every time. She started singing the “Hello” song and the tears dripped down my face like a faucet. I couldn’t control them if I tried. It’s the same song I’ve heard the last six years from several different music therapists. Moments of Sam’s little life flash through my mind like a trailer for a movie. I feel every emotion possible in a matter of seconds so deep in my soul, I can’t control the lump in my throat and the tears that follow. After it’s over, they are good tears, the ones that have to happen once in a while to keep me going. I’m thankful for a God who meets me right where I am at.
In the afternoon Sam got a break from all his cords. I decided to try get him out of bed. He didn’t want to. He sat on my legs as I knelt down to the floor, but once I stood up with him and held his hand, he had an ear to ear smile and walked to the door. He played in the hospital playroom for about an hour before he tuckered out. My heart was full and I know his was too. He fell asleep early tonight. Overall, it was a great day.
Here comes the curveball. Sigh. It’s 9:30pm and the nurse is about to start his TPN. I take an overdue shower while there is someone in the room with him. I step out of the bathroom and a few moments later I hear, “It won’t flush.” Crud. A PICC line that won’t flush is not a great thing to hear. Now we hope we can clear the line that is likely blocked by a formed blood clot. The good thing is that it’s highly unlikely we won’t be able to clear the line.
So, prayers the PICC line will clear and flush easily.
I believe it will and I’m also very hopeful Sam will sleep good tonight and we will get to go home tomorrow.
Holding our breath. Surgery is done and it went really well. It took a little over three hours. Exhaling. His surgeon crossed both fingers in the air and smiled as he walked out of the room to let us know things went well. His surgeon has been with Sam since he was a baby. Sam has a very special place in his heart.
Sam came out of recovery very sleepy and when he has been awake, is in a lot of pain, but overall, doing really well.
Now holding our breath again. Here’s the part I have to speak away my fears. Here the part where Sam likes to throw curve balls.
Just breathe. He is not going to have any complications. He is going to sleep well tonight. We are going to keep his pain controlled. He is going to recover quickly.
It’s been eventful. The x-rays on Sam’s hips I asked for prayer for showed no change from the x-rays he had in January. Whew. Even though the x-rays showed no change, they were really concerned about the limp he had developed after being sick. Hmmm.
When we saw his orthopedic doctor a week after his x-rays, his limp was gone so she was not concerned anymore. She was convinced he had Transient Synovitis. What the heck is that?! Apparently it’s a very common cause of hip swelling and limping in kids after a viral infection. I have four kids and this is the first I’ve heard of it.
The first line of defense is ibuprofen to help with the swelling. Of course, Sam can’t have ibuprofen. Ibuprofen is on his allergy list because of his chronic kidney disease diagnosis. In this case, his nephrologist okayed the seven day course of ibuprofen. I realized/remembered a few days in, you’re not suppose to have ibuprofen before surgery. Shoot! His procedure to see if his esophagus was strictured (narrow) was only a few days away. Oops. So many things to remember with these kind of kids! We stopped the ibuprofen until after his procedure.
His procedure went well. Unfortunately, his little esophagus was very strictured. I was told I must feel validated. I’m not so sure those were my feelings, but I am glad the procedure gave Sam relief and I wish it didn’t take a procedure to fix the issue.
The way he bounces back from sedation amazes me. I asked a nurse if this is normal and her response was a quick, definitely not. He walked out of that surgery center like nothing even happened.
He made it to school two days before things went downhill again. Per Sam’s home care nurses, he was greeted with the sweetest welcome back from his classmates, teachers, and many others. He hasn’t seen them since October. They were elated to have him back. Many of the kiddos colored Lego Superman pictures for him and wrote the kindest notes that would make anyone choke back that lump in your throat you can’t control when you feel happiness and sadness all in one.
Our Easter was nice and low key with family. The rest of the week was not so low key. We spent two nights in the hospital. Poor guy was miserable. His little esophagus was very narrow again. It’s only been a week and half since the last one! This poor kid! He had another esophageal dilation and we went home the next day with a happy boy.
There are many missing details, but it is clear Sam will need another surgery to hopefully fix the underlying problem. Something has to be done. Feeding intolerance is an issue. We had been working so hard on trying to get rid of his PICC line. We had made so much progress on his feeds. Now we are back to square one until after his surgery on 4/28. Until then, he will only be on TPN (bloodstream nutrition/food) and be out of school until he has recovered from surgery.
I loved the response I received regarding his recent events from one of Sam’s hospital nurses he had when he was a baby.
Dude definitely loves a good comeback story! The ultimate miracle.
Another. Major. Surgery. Ugh. As I said, when it comes to minor surgeries/procedures, Sam is a rock star. When it comes to major surgeries, he doesn’t have a very good track record.
This time is going to be different. This time he will not throw any curve balls. This time he will recover quickly. Thank you for believing these things with us. I can’t wait to tell you the good news a few weeks from now.
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.