Monday, September 28, 2009

Covering all bases

I am still trying to get to the bottom of my son's illness. It could be several viruses/infections occurring back to back. It could be one nasty infection that won't go away. It could be allergies.

I was talking to a coworker. I was telling him that my son has been sick everyday since August 6th; some days a little sick and some days very sick. He commented that he had been sick for almost a month. He says he''ll feel better for a couple of days and then it hits again. He said it is due to ragweed.

So I went to the Internet and looked up symptoms of ragweed allergy. Ragweed pollens cause miserable symptoms, such as sneezing, wheezing, sore throats and headaches. Additionally, hay fever from ragweed and other pollens can develop into complications such as sinusitis, ear infections, sore throats, cough and headache. Advanced symptoms can include fatigue, poor sleep and irritability.

I already have a call in to his allergist.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Looking better

Temp down too 100. Acting better. Ate a jar of baby food. Still not himself, but.... Whew!

The illness continues

Randy was sent home from daycare on Tuesday and Friday this past week. On Friday I took him to the pediatrician after I picked him up. He immediately thought shunt. He checked his ears, chest, nose, and throat. His ears were fine. His chest sounded good. His throat was red! He took a swab and the quick strep test was negative. So once again they say it's viral.

The fever has continued all weekend. It fluctuates between 100-102. Today he is out of it. He started the day OK, but he seems to get worse as the day goes on. He won't eat or drink; all he wants to do is lay around. He is whiny and wants me to hold him. I'm worried. Please pray for my baby.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

An opportunity to share

Today I facilitated a group with our teens that are in the GRADS (Graduation Reality And Dual Role Skills) program. This program is for pregnant and parenting teens. The topic of my session was.....prematurity (of course).

I talked to them about some of the risk factors for pre-term labor; and then I shared my story. I shared pictures with them. Some of them turned their heads and could not look at some of Randy's early pictures. The lone young man in the room was visibly upset. They asked so many good questions. Many of them wanted to know how my son was doing now.

It felt really good to do this today. I had a few main points that i wanted to get across:
  • eliminate whatever lifestyle factors that are in your control
  • learn to advocate for good prenatal care for yourself and pediatric care for your children
  • write down questions and answers when you go to the doctors office
  • seek advice from a trusted mentor/family member when needed
I truly pray that I helped someone today.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Searching for Solutions

I have been feverishly searching the Internet for ways to prevent my son from having these reoccurring colds and ear infections. There is some pretty scary complications from chronic ear infections. I kept finding the same ways to prevent ear infections: switch to a daycare setting with six or less kids (there are five); keep away from smoke (none of us smoke), sleep with a humidifier (done), and limit bottles and pacifiers (only a couple times a day).

Then I came upon a tip that I had not seen before; eliminate dairy. If you have read previous posts (6/18/09 & 7/14/09) you know that Randy is allergic to eggs and has trouble with milk. One of the things that has happened as he has started daycare is that I am not in as much control of his diet. When he goes to his sitter, I provide all the food. When he is at daycare, they feed him from their menu. They try to avoid milk and egg, but I am not fanatical about avoiding it since he does not have an anaphylaxis reaction.

Well according to several sources, milk allergies often cause congestion which can lead to ear infections. I know this may sound like a long shot to some, but I am willing to try anything. So I am off for more research so that I can overhaul his diet.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Guess what?

Randy's ears are draining again! Ugh!!!!

Thursday, September 17, 2009


I know that my latest posts have all been about this "cootie" that is attacking my son, so I thought I should update on how he is doing overall.

Randy really likes daycare. He is always happy to see Miss Kim when I drop him off in the mornings. He has four other babies in his class; he and another boy are 17 months; there is a 7 month old, a 10 month old, and a 2 year old. Randy and Michael will be moving to the toddler room soon. At daycare, they listen to nursery rhymes, go on stroller rides, and go to the gym to play. None of the babies are walking, but a couple of them are pulling up.

Playing with toys at daycare

Since being in daycare Randy has become really aggressive. He hits if you are taking things from him and he definitely has mastered the word "NO". He tells everyone bye-bye, and will say this to you if he wants you to leave him alone. He can clap his hands now and will start clapping them if he does something good. He also starts clapping them if you start singing.. "If you happy and you know it...." He is still army crawling and scooting on his bum to get around. He is finally tolerating a little weight bearing on his legs; but only for a few seconds.

He has been following up with the neurosurgeon's office since his shunt revision in June. There is an area that they are watching closely, the right temporal horn. It has been increasing since his revision. His last CT scan was Monday, and he has to get another one on October 1st. Let's pray that this area decreases slightly or stays stable. If not, Randy may be looking at a shunt revision.

His feeding has been slipping. For a while he was eating almost everything. Now he only wants a few meats: chicken nuggets, hot dogs, chicken breast, and MAYBE crumbled ground beef; no vegetables; no fruit; crackers; and dry cereal. He will still eat as much baby oatmeal and baby food that you can give him. I am not sure if this is because he has been battling the "cootie" or if he is being a picky toddler. I hope it is not a sensory thing. I want his eating to progress, not regress.

I am really tempted to give up the bottle. He is not interested in it very much. I just do not know how to get the volume of milk into him if I let go of the bottle. He only drinks about an ounce from the cup at a time. Who has the time to offer the cup every 30 minutes?

Lastly, he has a runny nose, cough, and fever again. He is finishing his antibiotic from the strep in his ear. The nurse says that this is probably viral instead of bacterial since he is currently on an antibiotic. Don't doctors always say it is viral?!

I have a runny nose, but can still clap my hands

I am hoping that his immune system strengthens for this upcoming winter. I hear that it is going to be bad with the flu.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Streptococcus pneumoniae

What?! That's what I said. This is what Randy was diagnosed with on Tuesday. This is what has kept him sick with cold/flu/ear infection symptoms for almost a month. This is what was festering in all that ear drainage.

According to the CDC, Streptococcus pneumoniae (S. pneumoniae or "pneumococcus") is a bacterium commonly found in the nasopharynx (back of the nose) of healthy people. The presence of pneumococcus in the nasopharynx is referred to as "carriage". Most people have been carriers of S. pneumoniae at some point in their lives. Pneumococcal carriage is more common in young children, is usually transient and generally causes no illness. S. pneumoniae is an exclusively human pathogen and is spread from person-to-person by respiratory droplets, meaning that transmission generally occurs during coughing or sneezing to others within 6 feet of the carrier. Thus, carriers of S. pneumoniae, while generally healthy, are an important source of infection and disease for others.

Occasionally (Randy fits in the category), S. pneumoniae will spread from the nasopharynx of a colonized person into other parts of the body and cause diseases, including otitis media (ear infections), sinusitis (sinus infections) and pneumonia (lung infections). In addition, S. pneumoniae can sometimes get into places in the body that are normally sterile (free of bacteria) including the blood, causing bacteremia, or the lining of the brain and spinal cord, causing meningitis. When pneumococci get into these sterile places in the body, it is called "invasive" pneumococcal disease. A relatively small number of serotypes of S. pneumoniae account for most invasive disease. Invasive pneumococcal infections can result in serious complications or death.

So Randy is now on another antibiotic and is still using the antibiotic ear drops twice a day. He follows up with the ENT on Monday. He also gets a CT scan on Monday. I called the neurosurgeon's office and asked if this bacteria could penetrate the brain barrier resulting in a shunt infection. The nurse practitioner said it is possible, but unlikely. She said if his shunt were to get infected by this bacteria, the symptoms would be the same as any other shunt malfunction which is vomiting, irritability, lethargy, and possibly pain. I do feel better that he already has a CT scheduled just in case.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

"Unofficial" End of Summer

Here is a recap of Randy's summer:

This is hard work!

Look at me swim~ trying on shades

I'm smiling even though I'm about to have surgery.

Didn't you know I could drive?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Any fluid from the ears indicates infection

Did you know that? I didn't. This is what the nurse from the ear, nose, and throat doctor told me today. It does not matter if it is clear, yellow, brown, or blood tinged.

You know that Randy has been battling this "cootie" for the last 3 1/2 weeks. Well his ears have been draining since about day 8 of the "cootie attack". I thought it was normal for a cold like when your nose runs or your eyes get that gook. I took him to the doctor after a week of the drainage and was given antibiotics. I then took him back three days later when he was not getting better and they gave him a stronger antibiotic. Well his finished the antibiotic on Friday and his ears are still draining. The pediatrician told me to call the ENT.

The ENT nurse told me to bring him in on Thursday morning and begin giving him the ear drops again. She said they will probably suction his ear and take a culture. Then I could have sworn I heard her say something like "...they may want to observe him...." I am pretending I did not hear that.
I can still clap even though I don't feel good.
Sleeping while being held makes me feel better!