Saturday, February 01, 2003
Not out of the woods yet, but Ruairi is definitely on the mend. He's still on antibiotics, but they've narrowed down the original cocktail to an e.coli specific drug now. He's definitely looking and acting happier every day, thank God.
More blood work, ultrasound, regular temperature, respiration and heart rate checks - so far everything's confirming the original diagnosis. As we caught it before it had a chance to really take hold, the doctors don't think there are likely to be any lasting complications. We have one extraordinarily tough, resilient little bruiser here.
His fever peaked again during the night, but it doesn't seem to have been a real issue - they took the latest round of blood just to try and confirm that the treatment really is working, and that they don't need to step up the dose or anything.
One moment of drama today, when his temperature flared up again and he started panting like crazy, his little heart hitting 180 bpm. I ran to fetch the nurse; by the time we came back his left arm had puffed up like a balloon around the IV site. Looks like the tube had either slipped out or his tiny vein had just collapsed.
Thankfully, it took a lot less time to get a new drip in this time around - he's not so dehydrated now, which makes it easier, I guess. Soon had a brand new IV in the other arm, and his temperature, pulse and respiration dropped back to normal. (Think my own pulse rate might be back down by some time next week).
Overall, though, today was a good day. He's awake a lot of the time, and feeding reasonably well - doesn't want to be put down, but that's just fine with me. Happy to hold him till my arms go numb - he just has to look up at me and I'll do anything he needs.
Settled in now for the next week of this. All our friends - online and realtime - have been simply astonishing. The support and care we're getting is terrific. Sausage's MomNet & book club mates have worked up a rota to cook hot meals for us every night. We've had prayers, emails, cards and kind words of encouragement from Toronto to Taiwan. I'm awed by the healing power of firm friends in hard times. Thank you, all of you.
Here he is, then, clearly relishing the extra attention and proudly displaying his IV:
And extra thanks to Saints Beuno and Clement for listening.
Thursday, January 30, 2003
We got the results of more tests today. They've found an e. coli infection in his urine - so this is almost certainly what the culture they've grown from his blood is too.
There's a strange relief in knowing they know what it is. I mean - it's still not great, but it's oddly reassuring and re-stabilizing to put a name to the thing. Now we can name it we can research it, understand it, deal with it.
I got home from the hospital a couple of hours ago. Got to spend almost the whole day with Ruairi and I was able to mark his gradual improvement every hour of the day. I finished the book and newspaper I'd brought fairly early in the day, so spent the afternoon 'reading' my son - watching his face change colour, the clouds lift from his eyes, his mood shift and brighten.
When I left him and Leona for the night, he was probably the most alert and happy he has ever been. Makes me think he's had this thing brewing in his system for the whole short six weeks of his little life.
So it looks like we caught it in time. I don't want to think about what might have happened if we'd not listened to our wonderful family doctor. From what I've read so far, another 24 hours without treatment and he could have been much, much worse.
He has to stay in for another week or so, but he's definitely on the mend. The powerful antibiotics are working miracles. Still more tests, more drugs, more monitoring - but we're going to make it.
Thanks to everyone for the messages, thoughts and prayers.
Meanwhile, I'm struggling with a rather more mundane issue over here, if any of you have some time to help out a little...
Wednesday, January 29, 2003
The blood work came back. He has a bacterial infection in his blood.
We still don't really know what that means, but I think it's going to be OK. We caught it early enough.
The spinal fluid was clear. Oh thank God.
Things not so great.
Just back from the hospital. Ruairi and Sausage are spending their second night in while they continue to monitor him. General prognosis is that there's probably nothing badly wrong - but it's still very frightening to have your 6 week old baby lying there – surrounded by all that clinicalness with a huge IV jutting out of his tiny, perfect pink hand.
We've all had this bug for the last few weeks. Charlie came down first - high temperature, sniffles, nasty barking cough, feeling generally miserable. Took him about 10 days to get through it - by which stage Lily had it, of course. Leona and I have been feeling more than a little off - but you just keep going.
Inevitable that Ruairi would pick it up. He was running a low grade fever for the back end of last week. Got him into the doctor on Saturday morning for a once over. Everything fine. Over the weekend he just seemed to slow down - but still wasn't what you'd call desperately ill. Monday, the fever spiked up pretty high and he’d lost his appetite, so Tuesday saw him back at the doctor's office for another check.
Again: probably just the same virus, so sent home with instructions not to worry unless his temperature topped 39°.
A little after dinner, Tuesday night, pottering about the house and checking his forehead every time I passed his bassinet in the kitchen.
He was getting noticeably hotter.
Checked him: 39.5°
I bundled him into the car seat and off through fresh snow to the late night paediatric clinic up on the Danforth. Got there at 8:50 – it closes at 9:00. As I walked up to the glass double doors, the receptionist walked up from the inside, smiled, and bolted them.
Heated words through layers of glass. I’m embarrassed, still, but have to admit this is the closest I’ve come in a long time to physical violence. I guess she figured opening the door was a little quicker than calling the cops to drag me away, or something…
Inside. Last doctor in the place gladly agreed to see him, of course (despite the charming Ms. Jobsworth’s hopes of getting off early. No Hippocratic oath for admin staff).
The paediatrician started talking to me in that curious abstract-but-concerned doctorspeak you sometimes hear.
“Well, you know, what we like to do when they’re this young…is just be as cautious as we can be….you know…we’d typically refer the baby to the hospital and run a few routine tests, just to be on the safe side, of course…”
I snapped clear. She’s talking about MY baby. She’s on the phone to Toronto East General, referring him to the paediatrician on call. What? But he just has a nasty cold…
She’s back: “OK, so we’ll just keep him in for a couple of days – do a spinal tap, you know…”
I remember calling home on the way to the hospital – Sausage and I both holding back the tears, the fear. I couldn’t tell her the spinal tap bit. Too much cold terror in those two small words.
Leona made hasty arrangements with friends and was able to head in to meet me at the hospital. Thank God for Claudine & Doug, Thamason & Joshua - true friends in the best and worst of times.
She arrived just as they were getting him prepped for his tests: blood work, a catheter for the urine sample, and the spinal fluid. We had to leave the room for this stuff – probably just as well. But I’m not sure the pain of waiting is better than watching.
Long night. An hour just to get the IV in – lost count of the number of attempts to thread his teeny vein for the saline/dextrose/antibiotic drip. At least I got to hold him all through this, and whisper words that soothed me somewhat, even if he hardly knew.
Home at 3:00 this morning, up at 7:00 with C&L – hungry for Cheerios.
So now we wait. We spent most of today holding him or at his side. His temperature’s down, but we won’t know what it is until tomorrow at the earliest.
All we can do is hold him. Pray. Try not to freak out, or freak Charlie and Lily out. Put our trust in the wonderful doctors and nurses of TEGH, including his almost legendary paediatrician, Dr. Duke.
Updates as and when I can.
Sunday, January 26, 2003