With Patrick, there are certain chain reactions you can count on. An infection will make Patrick’s spleen go into defensive mode and hold all the platelets that pass through it, kind of like people who hear a natural disaster is coming and run to the store and buy up all the food so that they’ll be prepared in case of emergency.
When the spleen sequesters (or hoards) platelets, Patrick becomes anemic. Without platelets in the blood, there’s a lot more fluid floating around in Patrick’s veins. The veins become “leaky” and the extra fluid goes and sits in any space it can find in the body.
Eventually Patrick becomes a little marshmellow baby that feels like he’s made of concrete because of all the extra fluid he’s carrying.
Last night, we added an element to this problem. When Patrick had enough fluid in his body, it became too heavy for his lungs to be able to move oxygen well and the oxygen saturation in his body dropped.
We discovered this problem as I finally got him to bed around 10 p.m. His nurse came in and put him on oxygen and then called the doctors. This started a better chain reaction for Patrick.
The extra oxygen was enough to finally mellow him out enough to sleep. Although he just kept getting puffier and puffier and needed more and more oxygen, he finally felt well enough to sleep. His kind nurse came in and held him which allowed me to get some much needed sleep.
The doctors prescribed a diuretic called Lasix that helps make it easier to shed extra fluid from the body. With just a half dose, Patrick started to to look and feel better. By his late afternoon nap, he almost looked like himself and I didn’t think my arms were going to fall off from the effort of picking him up. Better yet, his oxygen saturation improved enough that this evening they dared take off the tube that holds the oxygen on.
The best part of this chain reaction is that as Patrick is getting to feel better.. the infection clearing now that the line is out – and an end to the fluid overload problem have made it so he can finally rest. He actually was able to take naps today at their regular times, and fell asleep right about 9 p.m… not too far different from the home routine.
I’m really happy with how today went.. We just need to make it the next couple of days without a central line and without running out of places for peripheral IV’s.
Just wanted to share that good news. There’s probably more to blog about, but I’m going to take advantage of the change to actually get some sleep tonight without having to call in reinforcements.