Guessing Game

This poor kid. He continues to completely amaze me. He is the toughest little boy I have ever known.

On top of his esophagus being narrow, RSV, and tracheitis, the last three days, he’s had two infiltrated IV’s and intussusception again.

We played a guessing game for a few days with the intussusception. I had a light bulb moment on Thursday morning he was having intussusception again, but you can only catch it when it’s happening. To recap, we know Sam had intussusception in April and again when we were in Cincinnati in May. Needless to say, when we finally caught it on the ultrasound a few days later, I was bummed and felt validated at the same time. Because the intussusception is resolving on its own, there’s not much to do besides gut rest, which Sam’s been doing for the past week.

Thankfully, the first infiltrated IV healed on its own. The second was not as fortunate. His hand puffed up like a balloon to his elbow and because it didn’t heal on its own, they had to treat it. Oh no. This has only happened once in his life when he was a baby. I say ‘only’ because for how many times Sam has had an IV placed, that’s pretty good. I told the nurse, “I don’t want to be in the room when you do it.” I knew what treatment meant. Five needles poked in his little arm at the same time. I didn’t have it in me at that point to help hold him down. Thank you to the nurses who reassured me, it was more than okay for me to step out. We have barely and thankfully avoided another IV since then.

During all the guessing, the hospitalist said, “I always have at least one on the unit. The one who keeps me up at night when I go to bed and the one I think about when I wake up in the morning and that is you this time Sam.” If I had a dollar for every doctor I’ve heard say something like that…

It’s reassuring though. There’s comfort in knowing someone is losing sleep over figuring out your child.

Now we need Sam to start tolerating his feeds. He tolerated the Pedialyte great, but as soon as we introduce formula, he seems to go downhill. In order for us to break out of jail, he needs to be tolerating formula. You’ve got this buddy!

He’s had some pretty rough days, but today was overall good. Praying it’s all uphill from here. Prayers for continued wisdom and discernment for his doctors. Prayers for the intussusception to not come back. Prayers he will tolerate his feeds. Prayers for a restful night tonight.

Sam Strong

Faith Over Fear

The Procedure

Everything went well with the procedure yesterday. Sam’s esophagus was dilated (stretched) and this time, the doctor was able to pass the scope farther down. The last time, they were not able to get the scope through. Progress.

Generally, when Sam wakes up from anesthesia, he’s a champ. Not this time. Thankfully, he has been fever free and breathing on his own, but is pretty miserable and lethargic. We are hoping this is a combination of the RSV and being put under. It also doesn’t help he his culture showed he has a tracheitis on top of everything, which is not surprising for Sam.

He seems to be tolerating the Pedialyte we started yesterday. We are holding onto that!

Prayers he will tolerate his formula when we start it today. Prayers he will stop spitting and start swallowing. Prayers he will turn the corner today and we can go home!

Sam Strong!

Faith Over Fear!

Prayers to Stay Home

They were able to schedule Sam’s next procedure with his GI doctor, surgeon, and ENT for November 21st. Unfortunately, his little esophagus is seeming like it won’t wait that long.

After this last hospital stay, Sam’s respiratory doctor agreed it would be a good idea to keep him out of school until his next procedure. I get it. As much as I want Sam in school, I think the risks outweigh the benefits at the moment. We don’t need anything else on top of what’s going on medically.

Sam is really miserable right now, but we are home. His symptoms are indicating he needs another dilation. Hopefully, that’s all it is.

We called the weekend, on call GI doctor. Thankfully, instead of telling us to take him to the emergency room, she got him on the surgery schedule for Monday morning. I cannot tell you how happy I was about that. My heart was really dreading another hospital stay.

For whatever reason when Sam needs a dilation, he doesn’t tolerate his feeds. We are running Pedialyte at the lowest rate possible to hopefully keep him hydrated enough until Monday morning and avoid a hospital stay.

Please pray Sam will tolerate the Pedialyte and be able to stay home until Monday. Pray there is nothing else going on. This poor little boy could really catch a break.

Prayers for our stamina as we are tired. This fall has been hard. Prayers to calm our hearts as questions and concerns are hard to push aside right now.

I’m thankful to believe in a God who loves my little boy even more than I do, and that He will comfort and sustain all of us.

Faith Over Fear

Sam Strong

An Answer

Sam’s esophagus was barely open (esophageal stricture). This is nothing new for Sam, but it’s been a very long time since he’s needed a dilation. This is the best fixable answer we could ask for. His GI doctor dilated him and wants to dilate again in two to four weeks. Poor buddy.

Praying now he will tolerate Pedialyte. Generally, when Sam is hospitalized, the doctors want him to be successful on his home feeding regimen before we go home. We move very slow to get there. I was able to convince the docs to let him be successful on Pedialyte and let us work on the formula at home. Anything to give us a few less days in the hospital.

Now Sam just needs to turn the corner so we can get the heck out of dodge!

Thank you for all your prayers! Continued prayers Sam will turn the corner, his blood pressure will come down, and that he will not surprise us with anything else.

Faith Over Fear

Sam Strong

We Stayed Home

A few weeks ago, we were very close to a hospital stay. Our normally, very busy little boy was laid up on the couch, miserable for a week. He was blasted with all the hardcore stuff we can give at home and needed some oxygen support at night for a few days.

What was the illness that almost landed him a hospital stay you ask? It was likely a cold. That’s right, an illness I wouldn’t blink an eye for with my other kids. We are so thankful we didn’t land ourselves in the hospital. It’s no fun Sam or any of us.

Sam going to school or not, has been an on going discussion in our house. If it were up to Sean, Sam wouldn’t go to school at all. He thinks every time Sam goes to school, he ends up in the hospital. There is some truth to that, but there have been plenty of times we’ve been able to keep him home. Mind you, keeping him home and out of the hospital, is not an easy feat. I see Sean’s point, and also don’t want to keep him in a bubble.

I have to admit, during this last illness, keeping Sam out school crossed my mind a few times. When a common cold debilitates your child for a week, and keeps him out of school for two weeks, contemplating sending him to school or not becomes a thing. Faith over fear.

Until Sam’s doctors tell us to keep him out of school, we will continue to send him. I believe we were designed for human contact. Keeping Sam out of school might mean I am stealing from him what he can give to others. And Sam makes people better.

More on Cincinnati and Update

King Sean and Prince Sam

Before Sam’s surgery, we had some fun at the Cincinnati Zoo again. Sean was nervous about Sam and being around all the people, but it was nice to be able to do something “normal” with Sam since we had to have him in a bubble the month prior. Doing normal things with Sam always tugs on my mamma heart. Sam was more interested in trying to pull leaves off trees, and snatching my sunglasses off my face to throw in the ostrich cages. And, of course, his nose (filter for his trach) went flying too. So, if you go to the Cincinnati Zoo anytime soon and see the ostriches wearing sunglasses…

Our hotel didn’t have a bathtub so we had to improvise. Sam thought taking a bath in the kitchen sink was great. It was a lot less stressful for Sean and I too, because Sam LOVES the water. If he was able, I think he would have his head under the water all the time. He has no idea what would happed if he completely submerged himself in water. He is very brave around water and is constantly trying to put in head under, which makes bath time and water in general, pretty stressful for us. My heart skips a beat when I think of Sam without a trach and the day he can completely submerge himself in water. I think he will be a fish. Oh happy day.

When we knew we had to cancel our flight home because Sam was misbehaving, I instantly started looking for one way flights. It was not looking good.

We found out on a Wednesday evening, Sam would be discharged the next morning. The soonest flight out I could find was on Friday morning at $835 a piece! Not happening. The flights for the following week weren’t much better and we did not want to be stuck in Cincinnati any longer. Will and Abby were perfectly fine at home with my niece holding down the fort. I think they would have been happy if we were gone longer.

We decided to keep the rental car and drive home. We quickly packed Sean’s things at Ronald McDonald House (RMH) after Sam discharged, but couldn’t pass up the free toy from RMH for Sam. Of all the toys, he picked the doctor set.

Sean and I had to play a little Tetris to make everything fit in the SUV, but we did it. We were definitely homesick.

Sam does not travel lightly. And there were still six boxes waiting at the hotel for him!

Two days later, we made it home. Sam did surprisingly well with two full days of driving in a car. Sean and I were exhausted and very happy to be home. Sam was happy to see his siblings.

It has been almost six weeks since Sam’s surgery. We wait one more week to find out if the surgery worked or not. When I asked the doctor in Cincinnati if he thought it was a zero percent chance the surgery worked because of what happened, his response was, “The only person who knows that, is not in the room right now. We just have to wait and see.” Hmmmmm. Faith over fear, Jamie.

Sam’s ENT trained under the ENT who did the surgery in Cincinnati. Thankfully, we don’t have to travel back to Cincinnati for Sam’s bronchoscopy to get the news. Our expectations are low and our hopes are high for the news. It’s yet another sedation for Sam. Prayers everything goes smoothly next Friday.

Like my friend said, ”I figure no news is good news.” Yes, since we’ve been home, Sam has been doing great. We’re still moving slowly on his feedings, but he started at twenty-four hours a day six weeks ago, and is now down to eleven hours a day! And barely any retching! Progress!

He has had zero signs of intussusception. We’ve all questioned if the intussusception was happening longer than we think. It’s a hard thing to catch because they can only see it on ultrasound or x-ray when it’s happening. It’s likely the other feeding tube (j-tube) is what was causing it, which then makes its less likely to happen again. Continued prayers Sam will not get intussusception again.

And BIG Happy Birthday to my sweet boy today!!!!! We’ve kept you alive for six years now! Everyday we get with you is a blessing we didn’t think we would get from day one. I’m incredibly thankful we live where we do, knowing in many other places, you would not have made it past the first day. Keep doing what you do best, by making other hearts a little bigger.

Faith Over Fear!

Sam Strong!

Looking Up

As of right now, Sam will not need surgery. Thank you Lord!

The surgeons were pretty convinced yesterday morning Sam would need surgery based off the six ultrasounds he had throughout the night on Sunday. As they came and pressed on his tummy throughout the day yesterday and rested his belly, they became less convinced Sam would need surgery.

Today we started some Pedialyte at a very slow rate in his g-tube. Those of you who know Sam, you read right, I said his g-tube, not his j-tube. After the misery of the getting the j-tube inserted in radiology (not surgery here), surgery pulled his j-tube that evening possibly thinking it was instigating the intussusception. For a few reasons, this could be a disaster or a blessing in disguise.

One reason is the j-tube has often kept us out of the hospital when he gets sick and is not tolerating Pedialyte or formula in his g-tube (stomach). Another reason is that he is currently dependent on his j-tube for half of his daily feedings. The blessing would be, he will tolerate ALL his feedings in his g-tube and not need the j-tube. We would absolutely love only a g-tube.

The surgeon and nurse laughed at me in the middle of the night when the j-tube was pulled and the g-tube was put in when I said, ”Oh it’s so beautiful.” If you know anything about feeding tubes, you can understand my excitement. If you know Sam medically, you can understand my apprehension. It’s going to be a blessing in disguise.

The best news is Sam woke up this morning clearly feeling much better. He’s sitting up and even giving quite a few smiles. He hasn’t made any sounds yet, but I don’t think we’re far from that.

The hotel we were staying at did not have anymore availability, but we were able to get a room at the Ronald McDonald House here and we able to cancel our flight with no fees.

I’d be lying if I told this is easy, but you know me, I like to stay focussed on the perks. It’s much better for the soul. I also believe we are in the best place possible. Cincinnati Children’s is internationally known for caring for kids with airway and esophageal disorders. It doesn’t take long having a kid like Sam to see that.

Pray Sam will tolerate his feeds, the intussusception has fixed itself, it will not recur, and for NO MORE SURPRISES!

Thank you for walking alongside us in this journey, the continued prayers, and the encouragement. They both go a long way.

Sam Strong!

Faith Over Fear!

We Have an Answer!!!!!

X-rays showed Sam’s j-tube (the part of his feeding tube that is threaded into his small intestines) is retracted and coiled up into his stomach. As you might imagine, this is very painful. Poor buddy. No wonder why he’s in so much pain and throws up every fifteen to thirty minutes.

At home, radiology does the feeding tube procedure, but it sounds like surgery is the specialty who will do it here. Pray for a quick and smooth procedure tomorrow morning. He gets his feeding tube changed every two to three months and it’s a pretty painful experience for him. This procedure is why he has so much PTSD when he sees an x-ray table. He just had it changed two weeks ago. Poor guy. Hopefully the little bit of morphine he’s on will help.

I feel terrible for him, but this is literally the best possible, fixable answer. This poor guy can barely catch a break. He is the strongest, toughest little boy.

Pray both Sam and I will get some restful sleep tonight and this will be the only complication. We want to hopefully get out of here tomorrow and be able to catch our flight home on Tuesday!

Sam Strong!

Faith Over Fear!

Home Again

This time, seven days later, we were able to come home. Home sweet home. I was really surprised when the docs rounded that morning and said if things went well during the day, we could go home that evening. Generally, when Sam is inpatient, they make him be successful on formula for at least a day or two before we can go home. He was only on a mixture of half Pedialyte, half formula at this point. They were planning to start full formula later that morning. What?! Do I feel comfortable going home?! Absolutely! Isn’t this why we have home care nursing?!?! Before I knew going home was even on the table, I talked to Sam’s hospital nurse at shift change that morning to let her know I was hoping to leave for a bit to go have an early dinner with my husband and celebrate our anniversary. She assured me they would have someone available to sit with Sam later. We didn’t get to have dinner, but our gift of coming home was far better.

Again, Sam is not back to his normal feeds, but we’ll get there. Poor kid has lost over five pounds in the last month and he doesn’t have any fat to spare!

The prayer now is that the intussusception does not recur. It’s unlikely. We will focus on that. I asked the hospitalist what the threshold to bringing Sam in if he has similar symptoms again. He said, ”very, very low. Intussusception can be very scary…” I’m not sure what he said after that, I only know we better not hesitate if he shows any symptoms. It’s not going to be an issue, so it doesn’t matter.

Because of this second recent hospitalization, more than one of Sam’s docs highly recommended he stay out of school until after his surgery in Cincinnati. Bummer, but I get it. His pulmonologist was planning to have him quarantine two weeks before the surgery, so what’s two more weeks?

As we keep Sam in somewhat of bubble for the next month, pray he doesn’t catch anything. Like his gastroenterologist said, ”Let’s just get him to Cincinnati so he can finally have this surgery!” Agreed!

Thank you for your continued thoughts and prayers for Sam and our family.

Sam Strong!

Faith Over Fear!

Prayers for Today

Sam is doing great. He hasn’t had a painful episode in two full days. After resting his belly and a heavy dose of steroids, we get to start a very small amount (30 mls an hour) of Pedialyte today! Please pray his intestines will tolerate the Pedialyte.

Living in the hospital is not fun, but we make the best of it.

Easter is one of the only holidays Sam has not spent in the hospital. Sean was in charge of all things Easter this year and he nailed it with the meal and Easter baskets.

As the family was leaving yesterday, Sam started tugging on his IV to try take it off. He knows when the IV comes out, he gets to leave the hospital. Not yet buddy. I’m sorry. If that doesn’t tug at your heart strings, I don’t know what will.

Easter reminds me of hope and new life. I’m incredibly thankful for both.

Sam Strong!

Faith Over Fear!