Thankful

I know where we are! This is the street that leads to my house!

We are home. Sam is doing great. I hooked up his TPN (nutrition) by myself for the first time, with the guidance of a nurse specialized with pediatric home infusion. Sean was super overwhelmed with the whole process, as I was after my first teaching.

When everyone kept telling me at the hospital, if I could do a trach, I could do a PICC line, I thought, very try true, at first. The more I processed it all, it wasn’t about the ‘if’, it was about the ‘and’. I realized I was overwhelmed with the ‘and’…a trach AND a PICC line. They were right though, I can do it. With time, it will get easier.

Depending on the day or even moment, we are likely thankful for different things. A friend once told me, her mom taught her to say three things she is thankful for everyday. Yesterday I was thankful for the playful bickering between my family, PICC lines, and my home. I could go on and on about many more things I am thankful for, but I think that summed up the things at that time.

I am overwhelmed with gratitude this Thanksgiving. I hope no matter was you are going through, you can find something to be thankful for.

Today I am thankful for home care night nursing, my faith, and a good cup of coffee in a glass mug. What are your three things today or right now?

From my family to yours, I hope you have a happy, healthy, and thankful Thanksgiving.

Faith Over Fear

Sam Strong

Procedure Today

Sam will have an endoscopy and bronchoscopy this afternoon. This procedure was planned to be outpatient at another location before Sam was hospitalized. The only fact we know right now, is that his ENT (ear, nose, and throat) will be there to do the bronchoscopy. We don’t know yet if another pediatric GI (tummy) doctor will do the endoscopy or his GI doctor. I’m hoping and praying his GI doctor will be able to be in on the procedure and his surgeon, as this was the original plan. There isn’t a GI doctor we don’t know here, and I’m confident in all of their abilities, and there’s comfort in having the one who knows him best in the OR (operating room) with him.

Sam is doing really well and I’m trying to keep him as occupied as possible. We are very thankful for Child Life services. He has way too much iPad time when we are here, but I have to let that go and am very thankful for it. We just might have to do some iPad weaning when we get home.

I had my second PICC line training and am feeling much better about that. When the trainer told me the pump and his TPN (nutrition) will all go into a backpack Sam will wear, she…made…my…year. I was envisioning we would have to follow Sam around the house with an IV pole. Imagine my concern with that and the combination of the Energizer Bunny and the Tasmanian devil. We don’t get that luxury while we’re in the hospital, but boy am I thankful for it when we go home!

It sounds like they are working on getting his TPN down to twelve hours a day. Once he’s stable on the twelve hours for a couple of days, we can break out of jail! I’m hoping and praying this will be before Thanksgiving. High hopes, low expectations.

Prayers for a miracle that all of Sam’s doctors will be able to be at the procedure today. Prayers for wisdom and discernment for whoever is in the OR with him. Prayers we will make it out of here before Thanksgiving!

Faith Over Fear

Sam Strong

The Plan

Ready for surgery!

Sam’s PICC line procedure went well, as we expected it would. He recovered great.

He’s been doing really well, but these four white walls get very boring, very fast for a curious, busy little boy. When the doctors ask what Sam is like when he’s healthy, I tell them he’s a combination of the Energizer Bunny and the Tasmanian devil. They always think that’s funny, but I’m actually not kidding. He’s not quite there yet, but we’re getting really close.

We love when Music Therapy comes and when Child Life brings new toys or other things to try keep Sam busy. We also improvise a lot, like playing in the sink for a while, coloring with crayons on the crib sheet, making a fort with the crib, ‘taping’ the walls with med tape, etc.

We’ll be stuck here until I’m done with the PICC line teaching and they get his TPN (nutrition) figured out. I had my first teaching today and will have another one on Sunday. We’ll be out on Monday, but have to go to St. Paul for his procedure that was scheduled a while ago. Then hopefully home Monday night!

That was the plan until it got changed again. Ugg. After that plan changed and my PICC line teaching this morning, I had a moment. Sometimes you just need a good cry. The bad news of having to stay longer and being overwhelmed with going home with a PICC line came crashing on my heart all at once.

In between the moments a friend sent me this.

AS YOU LOOK at the day before you, you see a twisted, complicated path, with branches going off in all directions. You wonder how you can possibly find your way through that maze. Then you remember the One who is with you always, holding you by your right hand. You recall My promise to guide you with My counsel, and you begin to relax. As you look again at the path ahead, you notice that a peaceful fog has settled over it, obscuring your view. You can see only a few steps in front of you, so you turn your attention more fully to Me and begin to enjoy My Presence.

The fog is a protection for you, calling you back into the present moment. Although I inhabit all of space and time, you can communicate with Me only here and now. Someday the fog will no longer be necessary, for you will have learned to keep your focus on Me and on the path just ahead of you.

Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. —PSALM 73:23–24

Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. —PSALM 25:4–5

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. —1 CORINTHIANS 13:12

Text From a Friend


The floodgates of tears came crashing after reading that. It was exactly what I needed in that exact moment. God continues to sustain me. It’s hard for me not to bring up my faith in these moments, because that is where all of my strength comes from.

The PICC line teaching felt like a lot. The nurses keep telling me if you can do a trach, you can do a PICC line. Very true. I still have another teaching and am incredibly thankful for home care nursing. I’m hoping, and guessing, I’ll feel better after another teaching. I got this!

The new plan is to go from here to the St. Paul campus for Sam’s endoscopy with his GI doctor and surgeon, then a bronchoscopy with his ENT. We have to stay a few nights in St. Paul until the pharmacy gets his TPN (nutrition) figured out for at home. Bummer. They tried to switch the procedure on Monday to Minneapolis, but couldn’t find any open OR (operating room) times.

Every time I have a minute to write, the plan changes! And now another new plan. They were able to get an OR time here so we will not have to transfer to St.Paul!!! Although we will need to be here for four to six more days for them to figure out his TPN (nutrition), not having to transfer to another hospital was the best news!!!

Prayers the plan will not change unless it involves us going home sooner. Prayers they can get his TPN figured out soon. Prayers for continued wisdom and discernment for Sam’s doctors. Prayers for healing for Sam’s gut. Continued prayers for peace, comfort, and strength for us.

Faith Over Fear

Sam Strong

PICC Line

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!

Faith Over Fear

Sam Strong

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!

Good News

Sam isn’t doing great, but he’s been off the oxygen most of the day and has no fever. As long as he behaves himself, they will do the procedure (esophageal dilation) tomorrow!

These kind of things are a balancing act when it comes to medically complex kids. It often comes down to a risk benefit analysis. And there are so many factors involved. We are incredibly blessed with the care team Sam has when we are here. It is evident they care so much about our sweet little boy, want to get him better and back home where he belongs.

The smiles are few and far between, but he did sit up a few times today and even played for a couple of minutes. We’ll take it! So far, it’s looking like everyone is wrong about the getting worse before getting better. They are going to be wrong.

Prayers for an uneventful evening for Sam. Pray he can continue to breath on his own and stay fever free. Prayers for the procedure tomorrow and all who will care for him.

Thank you for all the love and continued support for our family. We are truly blessed.

Faith Over Fear

Sam Strong

Curveball

In Sam fashion, he’s thrown us a curveball. They canceled his procedure this morning right before Sam was scheduled to go back to the OR. He tested positive for RSV. They want to see him feeling better and will do the dilation then. In the moment, putting him under anesthesia didn’t feel like the safest option and they didn’t feel comfortable sending him home.

The respiratory symptoms came on very suddenly. A lot happened and changed in a small amount of time, which isn’t abnormal for Sam. I will say, going from an outpatient dilation to being admitted, is a first for Sam. I didn’t pack a bag, but I did bring two matching sandals!

When surgery let the emergency department (ED) know we would be heading that way, the ED told the surgery nurse “Oh, Sam Grant? We know who that is. We will do what we can, to get him in safe and fast!” Mama heart melted. The way everyone has been talking, I prepared myself to spend the night in the ED. As I was about to hit ‘Publish’ on my post to ask for prayers to get a room quickly, they came in saying we were moving upstairs!! We were in the ED for less than two hours!!

Prayers for a quick recovery, a short stay, and no more curveballs. Pray for no aspiration pneumonia on top of what’s going on. Everyone keeps telling us, he’s going to get worse before he gets better. Pray against that! They are going to be wrong. Pray for continued peace and stamina for us.

Faith Over Fear

Sam Strong


He Made It

It was a rough weekend, but he made it. He’s been needing some oxygen support, but we still have room to go up. Nice job, my little warrior.

Now, prayers for his procedure today! Pray for the doctor involved. She knows Sam, but is not his primary GI doctor, which isn’t unusual for Sam when he is having a dilation. Pray for the anesthesiologist and the rest of the team who will care for Sam. Pray for no complications and that we’ll be able to come home today. Pray there is an easy fix and nothing else is going on. Pray for peace and continued strength for all of us.

Faith Over Fear

Sam Strong

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