HOME!

After seven days, Sam was able to come home! We are very thankful he is feeling better and it was a short stay, in our world.

If I added correctly, Sam has spent ten plus months of his life in the hospital and he’s only four. That also means he’s spent much more of his life at home. I’m not discounting the time in the hospital. I’m also not saying tears aren’t shed from exhaustion and other things on my part and pain and exhaustion on his. I’m not saying this isn’t REALLY, REALLY hard. I’m not saying to ignore the bad, but in my experience when we focus on the good instead of the bad, it’s harder for the negative to steal your joy.

FaceTime allowed me to stay on the phone with my daughter, off and on, for over three hours to “help” her bake a cake. She had some bumps along the way, but she didn’t give up. It was still pretty good four days later, when I was home to try it. I was a proud mama.

Every time we’re here, most of my family adapts with ease.

Every time we’re here, we meet more great nurses, doctors, respiratory therapists, etc.

Every time we’re here, I learn new tricks to help Sam and I adapt to living in a hospital.

Every time we’re here, Sam steals more hearts.

With an IV in, Sam can only use one hand. I get mesmerized by how he uses his one hand to play when he starts feeling better. The smarty pants even uses his mouth to push toys and objects in place.

This is the life of Sam. We didn’t choose it, but we have learned to adapt, be flexible, and make lemonade out of lemons. And this guy is SO worth it all.

Can’t Catch a Break!

This poor kid! We’ve landed ourselves in the hospital again. His pulmonologist said to bring him in if his symptoms didn’t get better. We brought him in on Tuesday morning. You would think by now, I would pack a “just in case” bag, but I really didn’t think we would be staying. Wrong.

On day two, after all the lab work ups, x-rays, and an ultrasound, Sam has two different tracheitis’ and rotavirus. His medical team and I were actually happy for the rotavirus diagnosis and not something more serious. It’s always nice to have an answer and not continue, what feels like, the guessing game.

He’s being treated for the tracheitis’ and they want to rest his tummy for a few days with IV fluids. He’s still miserable, but I am confident it won’t last too long. Hopefully, we can bust this joint in the next day or two. Hospital stays do not get easier the more you have.

On a side note, his dilation went well last week. He did need to be dilated, BUT his surgeon said we could start planning Cincinnati!!!

Thanks for praying for our sweet little boy and the rest of our family.

Sam Strong!

Dilation #5 Update

I suppose no news is good news, right? For the most part, yes.

Sam’s dilation went very well. His esophagus was very narrow, but not as narrow as the last time he got dilated. Good news!

Again, we wait. If symptoms begin, we call surgery and they get Sam on the schedule. Generally, his symptoms consist of retching (throwing up), which start to become more frequent and violent as time goes on. Eventually, he’s not able to control his secretions, so he spits a lot too. Basically, he still creates secretions (spit), but if his esophagus is narrow enough or closed, there is no other place for the secretions to go except out his mouth. This makes for a very nauseous little boy. Poor guy.

After Sam’s dilation, his surgeon discussed WHEN Sam is able to go three months without a dilation, then he’ll plan to get Sam on the schedule to look at his esophagus. If things look good and open, we wait again. When Sam can go for at least six months without a dilation then his surgeon will feel good about us planning another trip to Cincinnati to hopefully get his airway fixed.

Sam also had a granuloma cauterized or how I like to make it more visual for you, the extra skin on the hole in his throat, sizzled off by a fire pen. This went well too. Although, it was a lot to look at after. For the next week or so, we cleaned gross puss and what looked like black soot around his trach site. Yuck and again, poor guy! Thankfully, it all healed very nicely.

The day after Sam’s dilation he seemed like he was recovering well. When he woke up the next morning, things went south very quickly. He ended up with a tracheitis. He had a couple of very rough days. We were able to catch this right away and treat the nasty, airway bacterial infection. Along with our hard work and the antibiotic nebs, like magic, Sam was back to his lively self in no time. Thank you for home care nurses!

Except for the spitting. No, not another thing, little buddy. His demeanor was back to his norm, but he wouldn’t swallow his secretions. Per Surgery we should bring him in to be evaluated in the next couple of days, unless things got worse, which for Sam means going to the ED (Emergency Department). Not the dreaded ED. Besides him not swallowing his secretions, he seems totally fine. Sometimes I wish they had another place for complex kids to go in these situations.

The next day, after talking with Sam’s Pulmonologist, she too thought he should be evaluated. Bummer.

We had planned to take him in early the next morning, knowing the less busy times of the ED. Sam had different plans. Good plans! When he woke up, the spitting had stopped!!! Thank you Lord!!!

Sam has been back to his spunky self, continuing to teach us what life is all about.

Sam Strong!

Faith Over Fear!

Second by Second

Sam’s day has been quite rough. Man, what a roller coaster. Just when we all think he’s turning the corner, things take a sharp turn in the wrong direction.

Some symptoms are new and others have been off and on since he’s been here. This is nothing. It’s just a fluke. He will get through this.

Please pray for my little fighter. Pray his blood pressure can be controlled. Pray for no more red blood coming from his trach (breathing tube). Pray for less secretions. Pray his lungs are clear on the x-ray results. Pray for no more throwing up. Pray for his heart rate to come down. Pray for his medical team. Pray for his momma, daddy, sister, and brothers too. Pray they can get things figured out and we can go home. Pray for no more sharp turns.

Classic Sam

I wish I could tell you the last few days have been better, not worse.

I wish I could tell you his recovery is going smoothly.

I wish I could tell you we’ve been able to manage Sam’s pain.

I wish I could tell you we went down on the oxygen, not up.

I wish I could tell you Pseudomonas was not growing on the trach culture we decided to do the other day.

I wish I could tell you Sam’s turning the corner and he’s not been miserable the last few days.

I wish I could tell you we’ve gotten a good nights sleep the last few days.

I wish I could tell you Sam is using all of his signs (language) he knows and not just “help”.

I wish I could tell you he’s on less pain meds and has less IV poles, not more.

I wish I didn’t have tell you, he will be getting a PICC line later today.

I wish I could tell you we’re getting ready to go home.

I can tell you, we were able to take out his NG tube this morning, which has been hard to keep in the last few days.

I can tell you, clinically, leaking doesn’t look like what’s going on.

I can you, all of the appropriate measures are being taken to figure out the problem.

I can tell you, Pain and Palliative is now on board. They have been a game changer for Sam in the past.

I can tell you, although he’s on a lot more meds and pretty much sedated right now, he’s finally been comfortable for the last hour.

I can you, my little boy is a fighter and he will come out on top.

Please don’t stop praying for my sweet little boy.

Faith Over Fear!

Sam Strong!

Sam is Back!

Sam was pretty much back to himself on Monday. When he gets sick, he falls hard,  very fast, but he comes back just as fast. Darn tracheitis.

One of Sam’s nurses who was new to us in March has never seen Sam sick. She was here the day he started to get sick. He fell hard, fast. We had a very rough day. She’s heard me forewarn her how fast it happens with him, but when she experienced it, she couldn’t believe the actuality of it. She said she went home and cried. Enough said.

He’s better. That’s all that matters.

We are all set! Surgery is already rescheduled for September!

I am bummed we will be gone during the first week of school. If we were living in normal times with school, it would be good timing, but we’re not.

Distance learning was not a super great experience in our house, but we made the best of it. It makes me a little nervous to have the “teacher” gone the first week of school, but it will be fine. According to my daughter, the teacher (aka, me) isn’t top notch anyway. 😂

The flights, hotel, and car rental are booked again and the oxygen is approved. Thankfully, all of the medical supplies that were already shipped to the hotel can just wait a little longer. The hotel general manager had no problem keeping the extra boxes for us. Whew. This traveling thing with Sam is no cake walk, but it does get easier every time.

One day at a time.

One foot in front of the other.

 

Cincinnati Cancelled

Well, after talking to the docs at Cincinnati they thought it would be best to cancel Sam’s surgery and reschedule.

Bummer.

It is for the best though.

I can’t imagine getting on a plane with him tomorrow morning. He’s a little better today, and off the oxygen so that’s good, but still very lethargic. He’s definitely starting to turn the corner though.

If he were a typical kid, he would have been in the hospital a few days ago and likely intubated.

As we suspected, Sam has tracheitis which is an infection in the trachea. For a typical kid, tracheitis is super rare. It’s the cursing of a having a direct access to your airway. Thankfully, for Sam, it’s always been easily treated. This means fourteen different nebulizer treatments, four times a day, an oral steroid, a little oxygen support, and mama, daddy, and/or a nurses lap.

Are we thankful for home care nurses? You have no idea.

Except for figuring out how we’ll handle the medical supplies already shipped to the hotel, we were able to cancel everything hassle and fee free. That was a huge relief.

This is a perfect example of truly living one day  at a time. Yes, it’s a bummer, but it is okay and it will be okay.

We are thankful Sam didn’t end up in the hospital and he’s on the mend.

Sam Strong.

Faith Over Fear.

Impeccable Timing

Sam seems to have impeccable timing. He got sick right before we went to Cincinnati last time. That was six months ago! It’s by far, the longest heathy stretch he’s ever had.

He’s sick right now.

We are suppose to leave on Monday morning for Cincinnati and surgery is scheduled for Wednesday.

A LOT of planning goes into traveling with Sam. We REALLY do not want to reschedule.

We’re waiting on the results from a trach culture. It’s likely tracheitis.

We’ll take some specific prayers right now.

Pray he gets better VERY quickly and we will not have to reschedule Cincinnati. Pray if it is tracheitis, it can easily be treated. Pray we don’t end up in the hospital.

Faith Over Fear.

Sam Strong.

We need this guy back!
Pretty impressive to suction a measuring cup on your mouth for a while. I guess it’s probably not too hard when you don’t breath through your mouth or nose.

 

Our Little Boy is Back

The culture came back and as we suspected, Sam had tracheitis…again. There were two different organisms growing. It would honestly take a microbiology lesson to truly understand some of Sam’s sickness’. Unfortunately, I’ve had a crash course in a lot of subjects I’d rather not and wasn’t planning to the last three years.

For those of you who care, I found a website that gives a good explanation of tracheitis. Keep in mind, this explanation is considering a child without a tracheostomy. It sounds pretty scary and it is, but because we already know Sam is susceptible, we can treat it quickly.

Tracheitis is an infection of the trachea (breathing tube or windpipe) that is caused by bacteria. Tracheitis most frequently occurs in small children and can make it very difficult to breathe.

Tracheitis is rare, only occurring in about 1 in 1,000,000 cases and is suspected to be more prevalent in boys than girls.

Aggressive treatment early on is important in properly managing tracheitis.

Initial treatments will usually require admission into an intensive care unit where your child can be observed and intubated (breathing tube placed) if necessary. Having a breathing tube will also allow the ICU nurses to perform aggressive airway suctioning to keep your child breathing as comfortably as possible. [1]

It’s virtually impossible for a child without a tracheostomy to get tracheitis. Why is Sam so susceptible to tracheitis? Because he has a direct access to his airway, his tracheostomy or breathing tube. We have our noses, sinuses, and the rest of our anatomy leading to our trachea to filter out the bad bacteria. When it tries to get stuck, we sneeze it back out. We have lots of natural mechanisms to fight this stuff off. Sam does not.

Sam was a pretty sick little boy this past week. Tracheitis is what Sam was hospitalized for back in September. If we would have brought him in this past week, chances are very high, he would have been admitted. We did everything possible to keep him out of the hospital, because we know he can catch far greater illnesses or what we call super bugs there than at home. We also didn’t want to disrupt any of our travel plans coming up. That would have been a big bummer. In our last stay, Sam’s Pediatric Intensivist explained how, often the parents of complex kids have a very different view of a sick kid. What a generally healthy child would be hospitalized for, a complex child is cared for at home so when they do end up in the hospital, they are very sick kiddos.

Boy, oh boy, are we thankful for our home care nurses and the other people who help out when Sam gets sick. Our home care nurses and support system are what help keep us sane.

We are so happy Sam kicked this and we were able to keep him out of the hospital. Thank you for praying for our sweet little boy.

We leave in less than a week for Cincinnati! Sam’s pulmonologist has put him on “lock down” until after we get back. This means no going school and no going to therapy. Thankfully, he’s a very easily entertained little boy.

We are praying for answers in Cincinnati so we can hopefully get rid of Sam’s tracheostomy, aka trach!

Sam

Sources:

  1. Hayes, Kristin. “Do You Know the Differences Between Croup and Tracheitis?” Verywell Health, Verywell Health, 15 Nov. 2019, http://www.verywellhealth.com/what-is-tracheitis-1192023.

Let’s Get This Over With

We leave in exactly two weeks for Cincinnati and we now have a pretty sick little boy on our hands. Even though yesterday his symptoms weren’t so bad, his pulmonologist decided to go up on all his nebs, start his antibiotic neb and have us do a trach culture. I was hoping we could wait till Monday to do the culture, mostly for selfish reasons because I have to drive the specimen to Minneapolis. Yesterday, his symptoms didn’t seem to merit a two hour trip there and back, so I thought…

The little boy who was running around yesterday morning, barfing here and there, but happy as could be, has barely moved off the couch today and is currently on oxygen to help keep him comfortable.Poor buddy.

Poor buddy.

I’m so glad we didn’t wait to do a trach culture. The results take seventy-two hours so we are hoping to stay out of the hospital and come up with a plan on Monday. Or even better, Sam kicks this thing before then.

Okay, so let’s pray he kicks whatever this is! He needs to be healthy before we go to Cincinnati. He will be put under two of the days we are there and if he doesn’t clear his pre-op appointment, our trip to Cincinnati will be postponed. Nope, not happening.

Sam went for almost two whole months symptom free! That’s pretty good for Sam in the winter! Let’s get this over with, little buddy. You’ve got this!

I believe in the power of prayer. Even if you don’t, if you would throw one out there for my sweet, little boy, we would greatly appreciate it.

As always…

…Sam Strong

and…

…Faith Over Fear!

We want this guy back!
We want this guy back!

This guy.