Category Archives: Bacterial overgrowth

Looks like we need another miracle after all

Patrick insisted I take this picture of him eating an applesauce cookie. So good to see him with an appetite again.

Patrick insisted I take this picture of him eating an applesauce cookie. So good to see him with an appetite again.

I truly feel like getting Patrick a line through his interior jugular vein into his azygus vein was a miracle. An absolute answer to prayer.

So I was more than a little confused with the phone call I received from Patrick’s transplant nurse coordinator yesterday. In the morning when we talked, she was quite pleased with the ingenuity of Patrick’s line placement and thrilled to hear he was doing well. We discussed infection prevention strategies and his position on the transplant list.

Then she called me back in the afternoon. She’d updated one of the transplant surgeons. And, as it turns out, in order to perform an intestinal transplant surgery, you have to have a central line in the superior vena cava. It can’t be in the azygus vein. The logistics don’t work.

They asked us to fly Patrick there next week to let their specialists see if they can solve the problem. Until it is resolved, Patrick has been put on hold on the transplant list.

At this point, other than knowing that the insurance company has approved the trip, that is all we know. We have about three dozen questions that we don’t know the answers to.

Despite the news, Patrick is doing great. Infection free and bacterial overgrowth at a minimum, he is feeling great. He ate at all three meals and had several snacks today, too. I swear he was eating once an hour. He’s napping well. He’s playing happily. He is very confused about why mommy is in a bad mood.

Mommy is doing her best not to be overcome by her tendency towards catastrophic thinking.

At least I have plenty of distractions. Hospital stay followed by a week of travel followed by another hospital stay is not the way to stay on top of your housework.¬†And I’m nowhere near ready for Patrick to go back to school, even, or perhaps especially, if we might miss the first day next week.

We are hoping to get some answers soon.

Thank you for your prayers. I know they’re helping. If you don’t mind, we could really still use them for a little while.

When the cat’s away, the mice will….

…Well, the idea was to play. This is the 2nd and last night that Brian will be away on business and I thought that, other than a Wednesday full of appointments, I had a pretty laid back schedule. So far, this past few days have been anything but laid back.

Wednesday morning, right after kissing Brian goodbye, I went to set out Patrick’s morning fluids. They weren’t cold. This was especially concerning as I’d been setting the fridge to colder and colder settings all week and there was snow on the ground outside.

So, as Brian was finishing up his last work before heading the airport, I was scrambling to shop for a new fridge. Thankfully, Patrick’s morning therapy appointment was cancelled which gave me just enough time to hit a few stores before his nap.

After his nap, we went to his monthly appointment with his GI at the hospital. All the news is good. Patrick is growing at a good rate right now… he’s still 50th percentile for weight… just above the target weight for his height. His liver is healthy. He’s about as stable as can be.

The only change we discussed was a change to his antibiotic regimen. Patrick takes oral antibiotics to help keep bacteria from accumulating in his stomach and gut. Only lately, it seems that he’s had more and more problems that lead to stomach upset, vomiting, and diarrhea. So we switched around the medicines a little bit in the hopes that a new plan would make a difference, and then headed out.

We stopped at Sears on the way home to pick up the fridge that I’d picked out. You should have seen the look on the man’s face when I told him I wanted to put it in my car with my baby. Patrick wasn’t too excited about the idea either.

Still, we made it home and got the fridge up to his room and furniture and Patrick ready for bed.

We’d almost made it.. and then, as we were saying goodnight to Brian by video chat, Patrick stepped on the tube that was draining from his stomach and I heard a “pop”… and looked down to see that his button on the floor, the balloon that was supposed to hold it in still inflated.

Thankfully, my neighbor answered when I called and came quickly. It wasn’t easy, but we managed to get the button back in and Patrick comforted and into bed.

Thankfully, today was easier. Patrick and I managed to stay home the whole day with time to help my sister with a paper for school. But I got to talk to the GI clinic several times.

I started it. I called them to talk about how very difficult and painful placing buttons has been recently for Patrick. So first the nurse called back to find out more. Then Patrick’s dietitician called to talk to me about his TPN orders.

Apparently, as Patrick has had more and more stomach upset, and we’ve had to give more and more replacement fluids, his labs have been showing increased dehydration. They decided to try to make some changes to help him be more comfortable. They’re adding another half a liter of fluid to his TPN, plus some electrolytes so that we won’t have to give as much to catch up for what he loses.

Then, this evening, Patrick’s doctor called to talk. We reviewed the plan for hydration, and then he asked about the g-tube.

In the end of the conversation, we decided it was best to check to make sure that there isn’t a space between Patrick’s abdominal wall and his stomach making it hard to get a g-tube in. They’ll do that by taking out the tube, and then putting it back in filled with some contrast. This will let them see if there are any spaces or leaks to be concerned about.

We talked about doing this tomorrow, and if not tomorrow, then sometime next week. The good news in the plan is that they’ve offered to give him a little bit of sedative to help him calm down and not remember the discomfort.

That’s a lot of changes in just a couple of days. Thankfully, I’ve had all the right help come at all the right times. Thank goodness for good friends, visiting teachers and family who’ve been there to help. And I’m sorry for those who may have called and gotten a frazzled forgetful me who couldn’t even think through all the details of this, let alone speak them.

Most of all, thank goodness for a good-natured, patient, loving little boy who has been incredibly cooperative and given hugs at all the right moments.

Brian may rethink his next business trip.

Not again!

Infection is a vicious cycle! The cure makes you vulnerable for further infection. A couple of posts ago I wrote about a bacterial infection that hadn’t been fully treated by antibiotics back in February. Well, at the beginning of last week that same infection grew back yet again! We don’t know exactly why, but as a result we spent a few days in the hospital while they worked out a treatment plan that would help to knock this infection out for good.

The plan included a change to the antibiotics he takes to control overgrowth of bacteria in his gut and a regimen of super high dose IV antibiotics prescribed for the next 6 weeks.

We were sent home on Thursday without Patrick ever having really been too sick. We joked that it must be time to plan a family vacation because with so many antibiotics, how could Patrick possibly get sick again?

That’s what we get for uttering the word “vacation”. Tuesday of this week Patrick wasn’t a very happy kid. He followed me around all day just wanting to be held. That night, he got another fever. At midnight, when it was rising, we called one of our favorite doctors at the hospital, Molly O’Gorman. She also couldn’t explain the fever, given the antibiotics, and so she recommended we stay at home till morning with the hospital would be less busy. So, we gave him some Motrin for his fever and I set my alarm clock to get up every hour to check to make sure he was still ok.

At 5 a.m. Patrick woke up just screaming. By 6 his fever was back and climbing rapidly. We gave him more Motrin to keep him from getting into even more danger and took him to the ER. He seemed to feel ok with the Motrin and the doctors were stumped as to the cause of the fever. But throughout the night he just got sicker and sicker. Every time his fever reducers wore off he’d have chills and high fevers and nausea.

His first night in the hospital was just miserable! I think we slept a whole 3 hours. By morning, the blood cultures came back with a definitive result, Patrick had a yeast infection in his central line.

For those of you who don’t know, Patrick fought a yeast infection for most of last summer.. and almost lost that battle. Yeast has to be the scariest bug I’ve ever seen him with. Unfortunately, this infection doesn’t seem to be much of an exception.

Yesterday was an eventful and stressful day. Because yeast loves to set up shop in catheters, Patrick’s central line had to be taken out yesterday. He’s strong and wiggly and fiesty enough now that he has to be sedated for this to happen.

This had a few ramifications for him. First, he had to have a transfusion. His spleen gets greedy whenever it’s sick and he becomes anemic. He’d fare ok for normal things, but in that state would not have been strong enough for anesthesia. The transfusion helped his blood counts, but it also further fed his blood hungry spleen and as a result he’s all puffy , swollen and sore today. His belly is hard as a rock and hurts, too.

Also, Patrick still has to have IV’s to keep up his blood sugar and give his medications. Right now, he needs 1 all the time, and 2 most of the time. But between the scarring and damage to his veins from previous IV’s and the effects of this bad infection, they’re having a hard time getting them in, or finding places to draw blood from for needed blood tests. Yesterday, he was poked over 10 times in 12 hours.

My poor little munchkin is sore and sad and sick. He has to have splints on his hand and arm to keep his IV’s from being pulled out, so playing with toys is frustrating.

The good news is that pulling out the line and treating with antifungals is helping. He hasn’t had a fever since last night! And this morning, for the first time in days, he is resting well enough that I was able to put him down. Hence, I found time to write this blog.

I apologize for the lack of pictures so far. When I get a minute, I’ve got some adorable stuff from our hospital stay a couple of weeks ago. This stay so far Patrick hasn’t felt well enough for us to do something as frivolous as picture taking… but now that he’s on the mend, I’ll be doing that soon.

As for mom and dad, well.. we’re pretty darn exhausted. It’s been nearly impossible to get a good night’s sleep.. or even to get a nap in. On top of that, we’re worried. We still have bad memories and plenty of heartache from our last experience with yeast infections. It’s scary to be facing one again… And it is the hardest thing in the world to watch your child suffer and not be able to take the pain away.

Still, all we can do is live each day as its given to us. It is more than a miracle that Patrick is still with us. He fought so hard to be here and is fighting still. We are doing all we can to make sure that he gets the best out of each moment he’s here.

We’ll keep you posted as we know more. For now, it’s just a matter of waiting for the medicine to do it’s job and then keeping these two infections from coming back.