Friday, October 4, 2013

Long Road Home, or, Pull Out Your Biology Textbooks

Before wheeling Baby to surgery, they ran surgery specific blood tests and discovered thrombocytopenia. We were warned that this put him at slightly higher risk for needing a transfusion, but that it was safe to operate regardless. Of course, they would keep careful eye on his bleeding, and let me know if a transfusion became necessary. These results were forwarded to the hematology and genetics departments, so that they could keep an eye on his development too.
There was a further dip in Baby's platelet count, so he was given some randomly donated platelets. We waited with baited breath to see if "his numbers would stabilize" in the words of Dr. P, the neonatologist on our team. 
So now, the surgeon's word that we were free to go on Monday was no longer enough. In fact, we had to have our "case" signed off on by the neonatologist, the pediatrician, the geneticist, and the hematologist before we had any hope of bringing baby home. 
Dr.P told us Baby had to reach two milestones before leaving her care: He had to keep the oxygen level in his blood up to par without help, and we had to prove he had no infections(thrombocytopenia is often a symptom of underlying infection). 
Dr. S, hematologist assigned to our team told us that Baby had to keep his platelets up in the safe zone for an indeterminate amount of time before she would release him. 
Genetics sent down a doctor to get full family history from us and tell us that they were trying to find an encompassing cause for a)baby's presenting problem of IA b)baby's thrombocytopenia and c)baby's low oxygen saturation. 
Dr. K, our trusty family pediatrician almost threw a party the day he discovered that Baby had a broken collarbone. It's not every day, you understand, that a humble pediatrician comes into the NICU and can diagnose a baby who has been poked, prodded and poked again by experts. And he, Dr. K had made such a diagnosis. Hallelujah! We all agreed this break was a result of Baby's somewhat stormy entrance into our world. (Dr. K tried to top his trump card by putting forth the idea that baby not breathing well and his low blood levels were due to the break. Dr. P reluctantly agreed this could be possible.) 
On this note, enter the OT. To paraphrase Uncle Moishy's famous song: Our team grew bigger, every single day. Our team grew bigger we couldn't stop it growing . . . The OT insisted we rig Baby up in a sling to immobilize the arm. When Baby showed his fighting spirit by leaving the sling in place and wiggling his arm out, the rest of the team adopted a "we won't tell if you won't tell" attitude, and let him be. The shoulder wasn't obviously bothering him. 

It seemed to me that the longer we stayed in hospital the more complications we had. Can we extrapolate that it is the hospital that is at fault for health complications? 

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