Dueling Infectons

Hi all,

Ethan's been diagnosed with Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), a very common congestion/bronchial virus. In most kids and adults, RSV is no big thing and we fight it off after a few days of coughing and runny noses, etc.. 

For Ethan, since his immune system is compromised first from the immune suppressants (which he actually just finished coming off of a couple of weeks ago) and then the steroids (which suppress the immune system big time), he's having a harder time fighting it off.  For the last couple of days, he's been sporting low grade fevers. And his breathing has, at times, been labored.

This afternoon and this evening, he's been doing much, much better.  His O2 level (aka his saturation level or "sats") have been in the low 90s without the blow by oxygen.   He's been drinking more, which makes us think that his throat is less sore.  And this evening, his appetite came back a bit and he ate a couple of ounces of apple slices for dinner.

Looking at that bit of it, I'm really happy and I'd be thinking we'd be out of here tomorrow or Tuesday at the latest.  Then I heard a bang.  That was the other shoe dropping.

Just about the time that his respiratory symptoms were improving, we got news that he's got bacterial infections in both of his lines.  Ethan has a central line with one end outside of his body and the other end in a big vein near his heart.  The line has two external lumens and can be used to deliver IV medications or fluids for hydration and to draw blood for testing.  Anytime, someone has got a line, line infections are a big concern.  It's just really easy for anything to get into the external part and get carried right into the blood stream.

This is Ethan's second central line (his is a "hickman") and as near as I can recall, in the 13 months that he's had them, this is only his second line infection.  That batting average is decent.  But the infection is still a big risk and definitely not a good thing.

They don't yet know what type of bacterial infection he has, so they are treating it with a really big antibiotic vancomycin.  He'll get vanc doses every 8 hours until he has two successive negative cultures.  It will take some time for the vanc to take effect, and for each blood draw they wait 48 hours to see if a bacterial culture has grown before delivering a negative result.  Which means, theoretically, we could go home in 48 hours, but it's more likely we'll be here till Thursday or Friday--assuming the third shoe doesn't drop.

On the one hand, this is a fairly low stress hospitalization.  Ethan's doing pretty well.  His energy is pretty good.  Since he's got a respiratory infection, we're in isolation, which means that none of us can go outside of the room, and Ethan can't go down to the playroom at all.   But we'll all get over that.  The larger challenge is that Sarah and I have both been trying to get ahead a bit at work, and this makes that more difficult.

Sarah and I have been swapping out days since Friday.  One of us will take a day and a night and then the other will take over in the morning.  Sarah had yesterday and last night.  I took over for her around noon, and she'll be in tomorrow morning to take over again. Thankfully, Grandpa Bob and Grandma Pat are going to come in too, which will allow Sarah to telecommute from downstairs and still be around to talk with the doctors and monitor Ethan's condition.

As for the rest of the week. we'll play it by ear.  Sarah may end up with the lion's share as I'm trying to cram about 4 weeks of work into my remaining two weeks before I start my leave.  Fortunately, Sarah's not taking a lot of immediate leave when we get to Minnesota, so she's got a bit more leeway at present.

On a completely different note.
As I said, I took over from Sarah today about noon.  About 12:30, Sarah called to say that she was downstairs in the parking lot and her car wouldn't start.  I think I knew right away what it was.

Senior Caleb likes to play with the courtesy lights in the backseat of Sarah's car.  He has a tendency to turn them on, and then forgetting to turn them off when he gets out of the car.  I've mentioned to him a couple of times, that if he keeps doing that, one of these days, mom's going to go out to the car and the battery will be dead and it won't start.

Well, I'll leave it on that note and head off to bed.

Night all.

-t

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