It all began on Monday, July 24th when Mikey came down with a fever. There were no other symptoms. I assumed he was getting the stomach virus that hit our extended family over the weekend. Not so. By Wed. his fever shot up to 103.5. Alternating Tylenol and Motrin seemed to help bring it back down. On Friday he was still getting the fever, so instead of waiting over the weekend, I took him in to see his pediatrician. Dr. Petrikin couldn't find anything wrong with him. He did have a pimply rash in his diaper area, but it could have been because of the fever. He wasn't too concerned about it.
That evening we were having a birthday dinner for Dustin at his house. Around 8pm Pa noticed Mikey's jaw was swelling a bit. Within an hour it was pretty swollen. I called the ER and talked to a nurse, who put a Ped. on the phone and she said it sounded like a swollen lymph node, which is fine and normal since he's had a fever. Of course, I Googled lymph nodes online and educated myself a bit.
The next evening our home was hit with the stomach flu. Mikey's jaw was still swollen. By Sunday his fever was gone but he, too, came down with the stomach flu. It was also his 2nd birthday. Unfortunately, we had to postpone it. No fun when you're all sick. I emailed his Ped. and asked him about the swollen node on Monday. He wrote back and told me the things to watch for. Specifically, " Overlying redness, size bigger then about 2 cm, not being able to move it readily, not being able to easily find its edges, a feeling of fluctuance (like a water balloon)."
Monday the swollen node was red. We couldn't take him in to the Dr. because we were still recovering from the flu. So we took him in Tuesday. It was larger than our Dr. anticipated. He gave us a prescription for Augmentin and scheduled an ultrasound on it for the following day at 8am. He wanted to be absolutely sure it was a lymph node. We were pretty nervous..if it wasn't a lymph node, what else could it be?? cancer? We were all in prayer for Mikey. We waited all day the next day for the nurse to call back with the results. It was an infected lymph node that had abscessed! Praise the Lord! (not cancer!). The Augmentin should take care of it. She told us what to watch for. If his fever returns, or it starts to come to a "point", to bring him back in right away.
Fast forward 8 days, to August 8th. Mikey's jaw is still red and still swollen. It was actually starting to change shape a bit. I emailed the dr. again. He told us to finish out the antibiotic (10 day course)..and if not drastic improvement to bring him back in. Gabe had the next day off from work, Tuesday, and Mikey's face looked aweful. Gabe insisted we bring him in..and I'm so glad. I wanted to bring him in, and then I wasn't sure whether we should just wait it out like the Dr. said, or not. Turns out Dr. Petrikin wasn't even in the office all week. We saw Dr. Yttrburg, who read over Mikey's notes and immediately refered us to Dr. Orvidas, an ENT.
Dr. Orvidas, and two others, Dr. Koch and Dr. Roeser were there and were examining him. They sent us for blood tests (in another building of course), a TB test, and a cat scratch test. We then had to hurry over to St. Marys to have a CT scan done (it was crazy. We had Noah and Obie with us and had only 30 minutes to get there. It was a few blocks away, plus finding parking at St.Mary's was insane.) We made it JUST in time. They said we had to be there before 12:30 because they were so busy. Then we sat and waited for 1 HOUR. Go figure.
Well, after the tests we had some time since his next apptointment with Drs. Orvidas and Roeser and Koch weren't until 4:15. So, we headed to Walmart to get some things to eat.
Dr. Orvidas showed us the cat scan images on the computer. It was amazing. It was so huge compared to the other side of his face. The fact that he was still such a sweetheart, you'd think he'd be really irritable. Dr. Orvidas recommended we admit him to the hospital for IV antibiotics. Anyway, after the appt. we went over to St. Mary’s to be admitted. We sent Noah home with Papa once he was off work. Once we were settled in, around 7pm, Gabe went home.
I decided that night to take notes and journal some stuff. I had a zippered notebook with me to keep records and stuff. And I took pictures every day.
This was a pretty quiet day. The lump actually seemed a little bit squishier. These were the only notes I wrote down that day.
The worst day was when he lost his IV the first time. He had it in is foot. So we took him to a different room and had the NIC nurses try to put one in. They tried twice and that's the most they will try before they called someone else to try. They called the Flight Team, also known as Transport. They're really good at dealing with tiny veins, they told me. They tried. Mikey cried and cried. I cried. It didn't work, and they felt bad. The guy said he wouldn't have tried it if he didn't think he could do it. Mikey still high-fived him after that whole ordeal. What a guy! I swear, my nerves were so shot. Because right in the middle of all that Obie was crying in his car seat and so another nurse in there, Lois, held him for me.
I just needed to CRY..and I took him back to our room and closed the door and just cried and prayed. It was the first time I lost it since we got in here. I felt alot better afterward.
Well since he lost his IV he was able to get down and play. I then realized I could give him a bath! He hadn’t had one in three days!
Later that day, the anesthesiologist (Dr. Sheer?) came and he got the IV in Mikey's hand the first try. He told us to baby it because it was delicate. If that hadn't worked, they were going to do a PIC line.
Dr. Orvidas scheduled surgery for the following Tuesday to remove the lymph node unless the antibiotics do the trick all on their own.
He lost his IV around noon, about an hour after Dr. Orvidas did her rounds. I was so upset! But, there’s always some good; Mikey could run around again. :o) He was receiving Unasyn (antibiotic) but Dr. Orvidas decided not have the IV put back in just yet and to give him Rocephin shots every 24 hours until they decided what to do. She mentioned an infectious disease specialist coming in that afternoon to talk with me. (Dr. Boyce) He went over some things with me and explained their decision to drain some of it and test it first. He said that they all "pow-wowed" together to come up with the best plan. They needed to grow some of the bacteria and see which antibiotic would work best. Then, of course, he wanted to take pictures of Mikey's jaw for research and education purposes. LOL! He had to ask my permission first. This is the "second" time pictures have been taken of him. They took pictures before we were admitted when he had his blood drawn.
It was a little unnerving having these Mayo clinic specialist not really knowing what was wrong with my son, what kind of infection was in his little body, or how to go about treating it. They seemed perplexed as to why the antibiotics were not fighting it off. They were concerned that it was a resistant strain. All this just shows that only God is in control and only He can heal, or give the Dr.'s the wisdom to heal. Although it was something I knew already, it just really hit me in there. You think since you're at the hospital everything will be ok now. But not necessarily so. These Dr.'s are only human. They can make mistakes. They can not know something. Only God could heal Mikey.
Mikey had to fast all night. They decided the evening before that they wanted to drain some of it to see what it was exactly. I had Gabe come in early, even though Mikey wasn't scheduled for surgery until 11am. They had to put him under with gas. Gabe held him, and I sat in a chair and held Obie and watched. Then we left the room. Ma and Mandy came by to visit. The whole procedure took about 45 minutes from start to finish. They decided to put the drainage tube in even though anesthesia normally doesn't make those decisions, but it turned out to be a good one. It was soo full of pus. They mentioned it could be caused from a tonsil. The pediatric team would determine that. That evening a Dr. in light blue scrubs..(boy, that narrows it down huh?) came in and said that it tested posative for staph, but not sure about strep yet. We were just going to continue the antibiotic Rocephin through the IV until they can determine what other antibiotic to use that will work best. They will have to grow some of the bacteria. Surgery is still scheduled (tentative) for Tuesday. Dr. Boyce came in and said that even though draining this and using the new antibiotics does decrease the risk of surgery..it doesn't decrease it that much..so surgery is still likely. ~sigh~ 8/13- His IV site still looked good today. He started two antibiotics; Ampicillin/Sulbactam and Vancomycin. The Vancomycin is really strong. They gave him that in case this staph is a resistant one. They will know more Monday. I was reading through the "Welcome to Mayo Eugenio Litta Children's Hospital" book and saw that Child Life services would provide laptops for patients/family to use. Yippee!! There's usually a waiting list but the nurse contacted her and she had one. Yipppeee again! This way I could contact Gabe and family through email instead of using up our calling card every time I had an update.
When they started the antibiotic Vancomycin, the nurse offered to print me up some information sheets on his meds to keep in my notebook. So I was reading through the side effects, and I'm looking at Mikey, and he's itching is eyes. I thought at first it was still just a little red from the tape they had on his face yesterday, but no, it was getting puffy. Exactly what it said under side effects/reactions to the med. Then just underneath his eyes they started to turn white and puffy to I ran out and got the nurse. Good grief! Anyway, it was a common side effect. They just had to give him Benedryl before each dose. Thank the Lord, because he needed this antibiotic. My neighbor works there at St. Marys so she popped in the room and while the nurse was in with Mikey, we ran down to the cafeteria and she bought me some lunch to bring back up. Chicken stir fry..yum!
So the rest of the day was pretty calm. Mikey stayed in his crib alll..dayyy...loong. Poor guy. He watched Barney and Sesame Street several times. About a half an hour before nurse Bethany's shift was to end, we took him for a little walk to the toddler play area. Neither one of the boys would settle down and go to sleep that night. Mikey was awfully fussy. I think the Benedry made him irritable and he might’ve been getting a little anxious when the nurses came in to fiddle with his IV thinking it's going to hurt. He finally fell asleep close to 10 that night.
The next day Gabe and the boys came in to visit. This is the longest Gabe and I have ever been separated. I thought it was bad enough when we had a baby and were apart for 2 nights. Gabe came in every day except Sunday. I was really missing my boys. I talked to Isaac that night and nearly cried when I got off the phone, and the same when I talked to Noah. I'm never away from any one of them for more than a few hours. I tried not to dwell on that though. I knew the kids were fine. Mikey is the one who needed me now and my focus was on him. Obie was there with me, too. it did get frustrating when Obie was nursing or fussy and Mikey cried for me to hold him, but I always ended up figuring something out.
Dr. Roeser came in at 7am and said we would find out more about the bacteria today or tomorrow. Whether it was a resistant strain and what antibiotic would work. Hopefully an oral one. Surgery is still scheduled but Dr. Orvidas would make that final decision when she did her rounds. If the swelling had gone down enough he may not need it! Since the drainage tube had been put in, it had gone down a lot though.
They were supposed to take Mikey back to the radiology where they did the surgery for the tube and inject some dye in to his cheek (via the tube) to see what's going on in there. We waited around all day. Gabe stayed with the boys just in case we needed his help.
Dr. Henry, an infectious disease specialist (like Dr. Boyce) came in and said we were still waiting on the results from the lab. The way she explained it was that staph is a smart bacteria that will actually build a wall around itself to protect it. Since it was in the lymph node, it just took over and the lymph node couldn’t kill it, and neither could the antibiotics get to it.
Around 1pm he lost his IV again! Andrea from Transport was able to get it back in on the first try. Dr. Roeser called radiology to see what was going on. They were supposed to do the surgery that morning. They said they’d do it tomorrow and she told them to forget it. If we end up doing surgery to remove the lymph node, there’s no point to it.
Gabe was ready to go home later that afternoon, but the nurses asked us to stay in the room. There was a child coming up from the OR who had chickenpox and we had to wait till they were settled in the room.
We found out a while later it was a common staph bacteria. So the Unysn should be enough!
Mikey had to fast again overnight for surgery today. Gabe came in at 6am. I woke up at 4am. Dr. Roeser came in at 730am. So far she said surgery was still a go, but Dr. Orvidas will make the final decision when she does her rounds early that morning. He would at least be getting the tube out.
Around 1030am Dr. Orvidas finally came by. She said it looks so much better. Only a tenth of the size that it was! She said we could go home! Back on Augmentin. We needed to see her at the clinic in one week. If it started to swell again, or he developed a fever we would have to schedule surgery.
It took a couple hours for all the discharge stuff to get settled. Mikey was so ready to leave! He sat in the stroller waiting for half an hour, watching cartoons. We took him outside to play while we waited for his prescription to be filled. He chased a chipmunk around the sidewalks. It was a beautiful day! Amazing how much more beautiful it is when you haven’t left a hospital room for 7 days straight!
Mikey’s face is healing up very well. The swelling is completely gone now and it’s just a little red from the wound where the tube was. Tomorrow morning is Mikey's check up with Dr. Orvidas. It’s been almost one month since he first developed the fever. I’m so thankful he’s finally on the mend. Praise the Lord!