Wednesday, August 5, 2009

I eat stress for breakfast...

...and it usually goes right to my thighs. To say the last week was stressful would be an understatement. To say that I have remained calm and rational would be a lie. And yet we still don't have all the answers!

I will try to retell the story with out going into too much detail so as to avoid any public humiliation for my poor little boy. He has been through so much over the last week and has taken it all with very little complaining.

So here it is from the beginning. At Brady's six year old check up back in February, I questioned our pediatrician about a concern of mine. She refered us to a specialist. We met with the specialist in April. The specialist whom I will call Dr. H, diagnosed Brady with a condition that was going to require a "minor" outpatient surgical procedure. Due to the nature of the surgery, we felt it best to wait until the summertime to allow for the required recovery. The surgery was scheduled for July 28th (last week). It was extremely stressful knowing that my six year old was going to be going under general anesthesia, but we knew it was important to have this issue corrected while he was still young.

We had the option of having the procedure done at St. Joseph's Children's hospital in Tampa or All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg. Based on the reputation of All Children's, we decided that would be our best option. We got to the hospital on Tuesday morning at 11:30 am to begin all the pre-op paperwork and registration. We were told that the procedure itself would take approximately 45 minutes and then he would be in recovery anywhere from 30-60 minutes. We were also told that there would be no "ouchies" until after he was asleep. At about 1:30 pm they began the procedure. At just before 3 pm, we had still not heard a word from anyone and I was starting to get a little panicky! So I got up and went to the desk to see if they had any information. Before I could even say a word, the lady at the desk said "Are you with Brady?" I said "yes". She then said "I'm so sorry that noone has come out to talk with you yet. Brady is actually out of surgery and well he's also out of recovery and on his way back to his room." I was a little frustrated with that but thrilled that he was already awake and on his way back to us.

He got back to the room shortly after 3pm with a popsicle and a coke (which is a very special treat for him). At 4pm, they came in and told us we could get him dressed and take him home. We were given a post-op care sheet and sent on our way. Heading home from St. Pete at that time of day makes for a delightfully stressful driving experience. What should have been about an hour and 15 minute trip ended up being a 2 hour trip. But we were thankful to be heading home. When we got home at 6pm we noticed Brady was bleeding through his clothes. So we immediately consulted the post-op care sheet and followed the directions to stop the bleeding. Because of how sensitive the incision area was, we were having a hard time getting enough pressure on the wound to stop the bleeding. At about 7pm, I contacted the specialists office and were connected to the on-call doctor, Dr. R. Dr. R made some suggestions on how to stop the bleeding, but told us that if we could not get the bleeding under control then we would need to go to St. Joseph's Children's ER. I questioned him to see if we could just go to our local hospital but he said he really didn't recommend it since they don't specialize in pediatric emergency medicine. Plus, he told us, if we went to St. Joseph's, he personally would be able to treat Brady.

We then attempted the things Dr. R had suggested, but the bleeding continued. Matthew decided to call Dr. R again to clarify some issues we were having with the bandages. Dr. R gave us a few more instructions and reiterated the importance of coming in to St. Joseph's if it didn't stop. So based on the additional recommendations of Dr. R, we redid the bandage and put Brady to bed around 9:30pm. At around 2am we woke up to check on Brady and found that his clothing was saturated in blood and we knew we had to get him to the ER. At 2:45am we were pulling out of our driveway heading to Tampa. We contacted Dr. R and told him we would be there in 30-40 minutes. We arrived at the ER at 3:15 and we were immediately triaged and taken back to a curtain area. It must have been a really slow night at the ER because the Physicians Assistant came in immediately to examine Brady. Then the ER doctor came in to examine Brady. The ER doctor told us that this amount of bleeding was completely normal for this type of procedure and that he could lose anywhere from 30-40 cc's of blood before it was over. We questioned if Dr. R was going to come in and examine him just to be sure. We were told that Dr. R had not contacted the ER as of yet, but the ER doctor might "try" to contact him and give him an update. The PA then cleaned Brady up using sterile water and then redressed the area with fresh bandages. We were told to follow up with our surgeon, Dr. H, when the office opened and were sent on our merry way. We left just after 4am, just 45 minutes after arriving at the ER. We got home around 4:30 and went back to bed for a few more hours.

At 9am on Wednesday (the day after his procedure and just 5 hours after leaving the ER) I called Dr. H's nurse who told me the bleeding did not sound normal and we would have to bring him back into Dr. H's office to be ST. PETE! So at noon we got back on the road again to head back to St. Pete. We had a very long wait in the waiting room before being called back. When we were finally called back, Dr. H came in and examined Brady and immediately said "this is not normal, we've got to get him over to the ER (at All Children's this time)." Dr. H thought that perhaps Brady had some kind of clotting disorder because he gets nose bleeds occasionally. He told us that he would have to put Brady back under sedation to remove the surgical dressing that had been put on the day before and rewrap it and put a pressurized dressing on it as well. Plus he would have to have all kinds of blood work done to see if he had a clotting disorder.

So back to the hospital we went. Once we were in the ER Dr. H came over and said that not only would he need to be put under sedation, but he would also have to be admitted for observation, plus there was a chance that he would need to receive fresh frozen plasma to help with the clotting. So we were admitted to the hospital and put in a "short stay unit" that held 3 additional patients and their families with just a little curtain separating us from them. The little boy in the bed across from Brady hacked and sneezed all night long while his Mom watched TV throughout the WHOLE night. He was then discharged shortly after 5am where he proceeded to run up and down the length of the room hollering and screaming. The 12 year old girl in the bed directly next to us was there because of a severe leg break. She was going into surgery to repair the spiral break along with the cyst that had formed and was going to be in traction for about 3 weeks and then in a cast for an additional 6-8 weeks. It truly makes me wonder why in the world we have to sign our lives away regarding the HIPA policy when I got all this information about this girl just by sitting in the chair next to Brady's bed. I couldn't tell you what the family looked like because we never saw them past our ultra private curtain, but we know an awful lot about them.

So now here it is Thursday morning and Dr. P from the specialists office is the doctor doing rounds and who will be responsible for removing the pressurized bandage. Dr. P comes in at the crack of dawn I think it was around 6am proceeds to remove Brady's pressure bandage without so much as "this may be a bit painful for him so he may be awoken from his morphine induced slumber." As I'm sitting there listening to the doctor tell us all his blood results so far have come back normal he then just gruffly starts removing the bandage and Brady wakes up screaming. I had to jump up and grab a hold of Brady's hands and Matthew had to grab his legs to avoid doing any damage to himself or the doctor. I tell you what if I ever run into that Dr. P in a dark alley somewhere, he'd better watch his back. Isn't bedside manner a required course in medical school?

So after a very long morning in the short stay unit we were finally discharged around 2pm. Brady is doing much better, now. He is still very extremely sensitive. So now that you know the whole scary part, now I will leave you with some funny things. My parents were vacationing over on St. Pete beach during all of this so when we went back to the ER on Wednesday afternoon in St. Pete they were very thoughtful to come and be with us along with Bro. Buddy (our pastor). My parents arrived at the hospital just after Brady had recieved his first dose of morphine. I noticed that Brady was starting to get a little droopy eyed and I told him that he could go to sleep if he wanted to. But he looked at me and said "but I have company!" I chuckled and said "I know your company will understand if you want to go to sleep." He just shook his head and said "I think I will visit with my company!" Also on Thursday morning he told his nurse that he thought he would stay for another couple of days because he liked the food. Since he was on a regular diet he got to choose anything he wanted off the menu. For breakfast he ordered scrambled eggs, a glazed donut (dunkin donuts), bacon and orange juice. For lunch he ordered a hamburger, tater tops (that's what he calls tater tots) and a blue slurpee! Like I said before the kid was a rock through all of this, except for the pressure bandage removal, he hardly even made a whimper the whole time. He got to have an Xbox 360 delivered to his room to play while we were waiting to be discharged. And because he had wooed his nurse with his smiles and stories about transformers, he asked her if he could have a wheelchair to ride out in. He then got another slurpee (red one this time) as we were leaving the hospital. When Matthew pulled up with the truck, I lifted Brady into the vehicle and started to turn to put the wheelchair away. He said "wait Mom, don't I get to keep the wheel chair?" Like I said he had been given so much stuff, he just assumed he was going to keep the wheel chair too.

Anyways, we have been home now for just under a week and he is starting to move around much better. He has watched WAAAAY too much TV, but how else do you restrict a six year old boy's activity without a lot of tv time?


Anonymous said...

Brady, you are the bravest boy I know! Mimmy LOVES you VERY, VERY Much!

Amanda said...

Awe, poor Brady! And poor mama!!! Watching your child be put to sleep no matter how old is HARD to do!! And I agree with the whole bed side manner thing. There's nothing worse than a doctor with out it! Glad Brady is doing much better!!

Anonymous said...

I always knew Brady was the strong, silent type. He is just sooo loveable!

Owl of the Desert said...

Oh, goodness! What a rough week! I'm so glad Brady is feeling better, and hopefully mama, too!

(On a side note...that's pretty cool that he got donuts, and burgers, and tater tots, and even Slushies! That is most certainly the way to treat a kid at the hospital. Of course, I think mama's should get slurpies, too. :-) )