Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Lab Results Are In

When I last left you, we were struggling to keep my son alive.  (Read about it here.)  He managed to make a huge leap towards recovery, and he was finally released from the hospital.  Yet, when we got home, completely exhausted and ready to leave the house in its current state of disaster and just crash where we were, we couldn't.  The health department was here.  We found this extremely odd and wondered what was going on.  We were terrified that something bad had happened.  What on Earth could bring the health department out in the country to our house?

The health inspector told us that the local hospital had finally gotten some of the lab results back and they knew what was wrong with Drew.  He had Salmonella Poisoning!!!  We were shocked.  Floored.  Taken aback.  This just wasn't something that had ever occurred to us and it wasn't something that we expected.  It's one of those strange things you hear about on the news, but it never happens to anyone you know or even to yourself. Plus, while we knew it was bad, we didn't know how bad it was.  We thought it was just food poisoning.  You know, the kind where you throw up for a day and then you go back to normal.  I didn't realize how severe it could get.

The inspector spent a long time with us trying to investigate the possible causes and source of his illness.  We went through everything - from our dog food, to our peanut butter, to our produce, to all of the meals that we had eaten for the last several weeks.  We found it very strange that Drew was the only one to catch this considering all of our meals are eaten together.  The only exception is his lunch at school.  There is another possibility too.  We had a water main in the city break right before he got sick.  It is quite possible that he ingested contaminated water while at school.  Yet, we don't know.  We might not ever know.  The fact is that he is still sick.  We are now on week 6 - that's right - WEEK SIX - of this illness.  It's been a nightmare.

Even home from the hospital, he was still ill.  Still having horrible stomach pain and cramping.  Still screaming and crying.  He was too weak to go to school.  We have been back and forth to the local pediatrician several times.  He is on a cocktail of medicine to help him get over this and not be in pain.  But it is taking a long, long time.

We tried to send him to school during the last week for a few hours to make up his work.  And he couldn't even walk from the office to the back of the school where his classroom is.  I had to carry him.  Once he was there, he lasted maybe an hour before he had to go to the school nurse to lie down.  I made him stay for another hour to complete some work, but then I regretted it as soon as I got him.  We rode home with him crying and pleading to make him better.  He wants to run with his sister.  He wants to not hurt anymore.  I don't want him to hurt anymore.

There have also been complications.

My already skinny, skinny boy lost about 1/5th of his body weight.  This has left him really weak and tired and looking like a skeleton.  He also has severe pain in his legs and knees.  They think he might have a form of arthritis as a result of the infection.  We are hoping that this will go away as he continues to improve.  Right now he is still living on pain medicine.

Also, he developed a heart murmur.  There was a lot of concern that it was the infection that either spread to that area, or being so ill had caused some damage.  The last thing you want to hear is your seven year old might have heart damage.

Once again, we don't have the pediatric equipment here to check for this stuff, so we were rushed back to All-Children's hospital.  It's so scary!  Here are a few pictures from that visit.  They are in a huge contrast to the last ones b/c he is actually smiling!

Always playing games.  It's one of the ways to distract him and keep him calm.  He hasn't been taking is ADHD meds b/c we need him to eat as much as possible.  Which means, he is more prone to meltdowns and freaking out about things that scare him.  Things like the ultrasound room:

I believe this was the echo-cardiogram.  They checked out all of his valves and blood flow.  And some other medical stuff.  He was brave for all of this.  I was terrified they were going to tell me something horrible.  I think my nerves were just completely shot at this point.  

More games.  He has one where he makes a skunk fart, and he thinks this is the funniest thing in the world.  So all these specialists had to listen to his fart jokes!  I guess that's what being 7 and 37 (my hubby) is all about.  

After a long stressful day, we finally got our first bit of good news.  The murmur was innocent.  There is no damage to his heart!!!  Woohoo!!  He will outgrow it, and they feel it will get better as he continues to gain back some of the weight he lost.  The infection caused the murmur - mainly from weight loss, but it didn't spread to his heart.  We were sooooo relieved.  

They finally sent us home after that, and we have only had a few check-ups to deal with.  His legs are getting better and stronger, and he has even been up playing and running around a few hours a day again.  Finally.  The stomach really seems to bother him at night, but it is slowly getting better.  I hope that it will continue to get better quickly, and he will get to finally enjoy his summer.  

With that little bit of good news, and a lot of sleep, things are starting to get back to normal over here.  Chaos doesn't begin to describe it.  I am finally getting back to taking pictures and starting to post some too ;)  That makes me feel normal, happy, and warm and fuzzy inside.  So does listening to my son giggle.

As for me and the hubby, there is no divorcing.  Sorry for all you guys out there (ha!).  That was just my moment of complete mental insanity/breakdown.  Hubby and I are back to our old married couple traditions.  We never stay mad at each other for long.  We are complete opposites and it can be frustrating, but somehow it all works out and we completely compliment each other.  

Thank you to everyone for all of the thoughts, prayers, get well cards, and presents.  It has completely helped us  feel better more than you know!


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