Procedures Update

The excitement of breaking out of jail made me forget to update on the procedures Sam had while he was still in the hospital. Obviously, from the last post, he recovered very well.

His GI doctor dilated two different areas of his esophagus. Because Sam’s esophagus is not attached to his stomach, it’s been hard to scope the inside of his tummy. She was able to take his feeding tube out, and although it wasn’t easy, she got the scope through, and was able to take a look. Not surprisingly, his tummy looked rough. She took biopsies. We are still waiting on the results, but generally, no news is good news. Probably too much information, but she also scoped his rectum and everything looked good down under.

His ENT gave the GOOD NEWS that his laryngeal cleft is still repaired and his airway looks good. Or best news. We are on track to work on decanulation (getting his trach out) in the the Spring!!!!!

We are settling at home with a PICC line. Sam is doing great, but his poor skin is a mess. We discovered he’s allergic to the dressing. They are now doing dressing changes every two to three days, instead of weekly, and prescribed him a topical steroid.

The more frequent dressing changes are a drag because three of us have to pin him down for a good ten to fifteen minutes to keep his arm still and sterile. Sam might be a little guy, but he is very strong and flexible. I think the scariest part of a PICC is the the importance of keeping it sterile. The risk of infection is low, if you’re doing all the right things, but a bloodstream infection is serious.

Thankfully, I am much more comfortable with all things PICC line, except for the major frustration of getting air out of his TPN (nutrition) infusion before I hook him up at night. Air in the bloodstream, not good. I’m not one to use curse words very often, but they’ve been slipping out this past week more than I would like to admit. The infusion nurse told me, in time, I will get it. Hopefully by that time, he won’t need the PICC anymore!

The plan is to give his gut another week of rest and then talk to his GI doctor about possibility trying feedings again.

Continued prayers for no PICC line complications and patience for me with starting Sam’s infusions.

Faith Over Fear

Sam Strong

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

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