Winter &$/()@

Two days ago, Ethan's transplant doc here in Portland said that her biggest concern about Ethan's health leading up to transplant 2 next month was to keep him from catching any winter illnesses. 

Sarah and I had already kept Ethan home from daycare on Monday and Tuesday due to reports that there was strep throat floating around the daycare.  After the conversation with Dr. Nemecek, we decided to take Ethan out of daycare and keep him at home until we leave for Minnesota on the 26th.  Luckily, Sarah's parents were generous enough to agree to stay with Ethan at home during the day, so that Sarah and I could stay in our offices and try to clear our desks before we leave. 

Evidently, we weren't fast enough or careful enough because I'm writing this from the hospital where Ethan is in-patient being treated for some type of viral or bacterial infection.

Yesterday, Ethan developed a cough and runny nose, but was still energetically running around and playing. This morning he had a mild fever and low energy.  By 10a, his fever had gone to 99.5, he had no energy, and wasn't eating or drinking.  We brought him in to clinic so they could check him out.  By the time they checked him in at 12, his fever was 100.4.  An hour later it was 103.5, and an hour after that it was 104.4. At the same time, he was having trouble breathing, his blood oxygen level was 88, and his pulse was 170-180.

The folks here have drawn blood to culture for bacterial infections and done swabs for viruses.  The strep tests came back negative.  Unfortunately, the tubes they used for the virus tests were a month out of date, so the lab won't use them.  And as they've already given him a broad spectrum anti-biotic as a prophylactic, they don't see any point in running another culture.  I'm not quite sure how that works and will have to follow up with them in the morning.

Fortunately, after a pretty rough afternoon, Ethan is doing somewhat better now.  Tylenol and ibuprofen have brought his fever down nicely.  He's getting some iv fluids to keep him hydrated.  His energy came back a bit this evening, enough for him to joke around and wonder why the hospital computer systems are too slow for him to watch Caillou. 

The docs took some X-rays and say there is no fluid in his lungs, so no pneumonia.  When they listen to him, they say that all of the congestion seems to be at the top of his lungs, like bronchitis. He is asleep now for the night.  But he's still having some trouble breathing and his pulse, even while asleep, is 165-170.  So, he's still working hard.  He's getting blow-by oxygen, which is a tube of O2, blowing near his face.

I think this is mostly a rest and support hospitalization.  They'll wait up to 48 hours to watch the bacteria samples.  If something grows, then that's evidence of a bacterial infection which means more antibiotics. If it's a virus, there's not a whole lot they can do that they're not already doing and we'll hope it passes quickly.

All of which means that we'll be here at least until Sunday or Monday. But it should be a pretty low key stay, even though we're in isolation which means Ethan can't go down to the play room.

The Transplant Drive
Sarah and I have long been in agreement that we're going to drive out to Minnesota.  Since we're all going to be out there for six months, we figure we'll need a car.  

A lot of people we talk to, parents, doctors, people on the street, think we're pretty nuts to be driving a medically fragile kid from Oregon to Minneapolis over the Rocky Mountains in the middle of winter.

They may well be right, but here's how we see it.  Sarah and I are pretty much a team when it comes to the kids.  And the thought of splitting up for five or six days while one of us wears themselves out driving and the other wears themselves out shepherding two kids on a plane and then hanging out in Minneapolis waiting for the other to arrive, means that by the time we're back together we'll both be wiped out.

I will also say, that I'm not convinced that taking Ethan on a plane with a whole bunch of potentially sick people breathing the same air for 4-6 hours is a good idea either.  At least if Caleb gets sick on the way, we can make him ride on the roof. 

But we haven't ignored their concerns completely.  The shortest route from Portland to Minneapolis is through Spokane, WA then Montana, North Dakota, etc on I-90.  I read up on that and talked to some folks who have driven it in the winter and it looks like that might involve a lot of white knuckle driving and some days in hotels along the way waiting for the highways to be cleared.

So, we've decided to take a little longer, and a little more southerly route, through Boise and Nebraska and Wyoming. It's still over the mountains and that may be a challenge. But it's not the 1800s and it's not Donner pass.  We'll be on the interstates the whole time, and they will get cleared fairly quickly.

It will certainly be an interesting change of pace for Caleb, lord knows that kid doesn't get enough vacation time and changes of scenery. (Yes, I know, "what scenery, it'll be boring snow covered plains.")

And finally, in all honesty, part of me is looking forward to 5 days or so of downtime without any work and before the madness starts in Minnesota. (Remind me that I said that.)

Anyway, that's it for now.  We'll update more when we get out of here or sooner if things change.

Thanks for being there.


Teresa, Shane and Corey said…
Hoping that whatever it is passes soon and his sats improve. what's his Hb doing at the mo? CJ has cultures every day when he's got a temp that high just in case they can grow something. Always thinking of you all, lots of love x
Wow, that is quite a drive ahead of you. But I've been through ND in the winter, and I dont recommend it! I hope things improve quickly for Ethan. Odd about the antibiotics causing them to not do virus testing, as I thought antibiotics wouldnt affect a virus. Feel better soon Ethan!
Y said…
Praying that Ethan gets better so you have some time to enjoy before your big enjoyable trip and your big enjoyable stay in MN!