Friday, April 30, 2010

Family Discount

I know all blog posts right now are to be dedicated to the Sharks during their playoff run. However, life has a funny way of throwing a wrench in all good intentions.

I was unable to blog for a few days because I couldn't wrap my head around my husband and son both being hospitalized (on unrelated illnesses) at the same time, long enough to sit down and blog about the Sharks. Although you have to admire how they won game 6 and gave me all the necessary days in between that and game 1 with Detroit to attend to the sick and weary. So, thanks for that. I can only hope that when all the final bills come in... that the hospital offers us a "family discount."

The good news is that they are both fine now and home from the hospital. The bad news is that it was scary, lonely and completely freaked me out.

So, here it is... Last Thursday night (after the Sharks won game 5) Juan found blood in his stools and thought he was having more ulcer problems. He had one 5 years ago, waited to long to go to the hospital and ended up needing a transfusion and emergency surgery. This time he had me take him right to the doctor who, in turn, sent us strait to the ER. This was on Friday. They ended up admitting him and did an endoscopy the next morning. While they found a few sore spots, they couldn't find anything that would cause that much bleeding. They ended up releasing him late Saturday (around 7pm).

Meanwhile, while Juan was in the hospital getting and recovering from and his endoscopy, I was with Alex in Ripon (80 miles away) while he had ODP training for most of the day. He had been complaining of a sore throat for about a week and even missed one day of school. I had checked for white spots in his throat (sign of strep) but couldn't see any so didn't see any need to have him checked out. For him it was business as usual. After playing soccer all day, he had his first roller hockey game at 7pm that night. We drove home after his last session, stopped by home to get his helmet and then went strait to the sportsplex for his game. I dropped him off and went to pick up Juan who had just been released from the hospital.

I took Juan home. He wasn't up for going to Alex's game and just wanted to eat and get some rest. I left him there and went back to the sportsplex. By the time I got there the game was over. *sigh* Figures. But? The Sharks were on, so we decided to order some food, stay there and watch the rest of the game. The game was amazing and afterwards all I wanted to do was go home and absorb the glory of it all. Enter wrench.

Juan called me in the room and said that he had a lot of blood in his stools, was vomiting and felt dizzy. We needed to go back to the ER. I stayed with him until 2:00am and only left because I couldn't keep my eyes open (there is a lot of down time in the ER waiting for doctors, results, etc.) We talked to the doctor who scheduled a colonoscopy for the next morning. They needed to find out where the bleeding was coming from. They were going to admit him and he would be spending the night (the rest of it anyway) in ICU. He had lost a lot of blood and needed a transfusion.

The next morning (Sunday) it took me a long time to get going. Alex was feeling and looking sluggish. The sore throat was worse and now he was getting a fever off and on. I should have taken him to Urgent Care but I let him convince me that he was okay. I went back to the hospital to see Juan before the colonoscopy. I met with the doctor who would be doing the procedure and went out to wait in the waiting room. About an hour later the doctor came out and said that they still couldn't tell where the bleeding was coming from but that it wasn't in his stomach, colon or rectum. He thinks there maybe something going on in his lower intestines. I went to go see him but he was pretty out of it and the air in his stomach (from the procedure) was causing a lot of pain. I decided to go home and check on the kids and come back later.

I went home and stayed for a little while. Alex was still not feeling well. I resolved to take him to Urgent Care the next morning. I went back to the hospital a little while later and stayed with Juan. They told him he'd be spending another night in the hospital so they could get him stabilized and check his stools. *sigh*

Back home. Went to sleep. Or did I? Alex was so restless and feverish that he wanted to sleep in the bathroom. Why? It was the darkest room in the house. (?) Some time during the night he came in and slept on the floor in my room.

The next morning I took Jacob to school and called the high school to let them know that Alex would not be going to school. I let him sleep for a little while then around 10:00am we left for Urgent Care. His throat was hurting so badly that he could hardly swallow. It had to be step throat, even though he didn't have the little white spots. "They're hiding." he said. "Oh sweetie," I said. "As much as you want to believe that your body produces all these super weird medical conditions... it just isn't so. Your white spots aren't hiding." When we saw the doctor he confirmed that he either had strep or, gulp, mono. They would need to draw some blood and take a look at it to determine which it was. After a while we were called back in the doctor's office. He told us that, indeed, Alex tested positive for mono. However, he said, he was concerned that the blood test showed that Alex's blood platelets were low. Dangerously low. "His count is around 3,000. It should be well over 100,000." Holy crap! What does that even mean? I thought about my Aunt Gayle who had an awful blood disorder. I remember her platelet count was always low and that she needed transfusions all the time. She eventually died... omg, I thought, don't go there.

The doctor asked us to wait while he called Alex's pediatrician. The pediatrician, in turn, called someone at Stanford and Lucille Packard Children's Hospital. Of course it didn't all happen that fast. We were there at Urgent care for well over 4 hours. The nurses started to feel bad for us and began bringing us snacks from their employee lounge. Finally Dr. Hughes (pediatrician) called to talk to me. She was pre-admitting us to Good Samaritan. We were to go over there ASAP so that Alex could get a blood platelet transfusion.

OMG! I just came to urgent care to get my son a prescription for antibiotics so that he could start to feel better... now he needs a blood platelet transfusion? And just like that my world began to turn upside down. I didn't want to worry him or for him to see that I was scared out of my mind... but he knew. Especially when my voice cracked when I was on the phone with Sergio. I needed him to pick up Jacob. "I'm fine," he said. "I don't need a transfusion. I'll be fine."


"They say you need more blood platelets. That your spleen is eating them all up because of the virus." I told him

"I don't need more. My platelets are just shy. They are hiding." I rolled my eyes and prayed that was true.

We get to the hospital, and a side note here, but the hospital is so much more efficient, friendly and concerned when there are children involved.

He was brought right away to the pediatric ICU and put in a room. They began hooking up an IV but had a difficult time with his arms. They said he had really thick skin. One of them commented that it was easier putting an IV in her shoe than it was putting on in his arm. Hmmm, maybe he does have weird medical conditions after all.

After I met with the doctor and went over the procedure with him, I went upstairs to see Juan. I told him what was going on (he had been getting periodic updates over the phone). He had been doing some investigating on his own (asking his nurses questions) to understand what was wrong with Alex. He asked the nurse if he could go down to see him and they said he could after he had another blood test and met with his doctor. I went back downstairs just in time for Alex to begin his transfusion. We ate dinner and I took some phone calls from people that had heard what was going on. Juan called and said he could come down but that I had to walk with him. I went upstairs to get him.

We walked into Alex's room and he greeted him with "Hey man, what are you doing here? Let's go to practice." "I know," Alex said. "I feel fine. I don't know why I can't go to practice." So, there they were. Father and son. My husband and my baby. Both hooked up to IV machines trying to tell me that everything was fine. I had to look away because I almost lost it right there. They visited for awhile, then eventually I had to take Juan back to his room. I took him up, said goodnite and headed back downstairs to pediactrics. I hung out with Alex until about 9:00 or so until Jacob got dropped off. Jacob couldn't come into the pediatric ICU, so I would have to leave as soon as he got there. I gave the night nurse my cell phone number so he could call me with the the blood test results. They were to do the test about 4 hours after his first transfusion was done (which was just after 8pm).

Oh man this post is getting long. Anyway, before Jake and I went home, we went upstairs (again) so Jake could see his dad. Security wasn't going to let him (age limit is 14, just like pediatrics) but he must have felt sorry for me when I told him my other son was in the hospital too... so he let us go up. We stayed for a little bit... then headed out. I think we stopped at McDonald's, but I can't remember. I was spent. I think we just crawled into bed the second we got home. I may have gone on the internet. I don't know. I do know that I was hoping that Tuesday was going to be a better day than Monday.

The next morning I took Jacob to school and then headed toward the hospital. On the way there they called me to tell me that Alex's numbers were good and that they were going to release him... How soon could I be there? Yay! When I got there I spoke with the doctor and he said that part of the problem was that the virus was causing Alex's blood platelets to clump and the lab wasn't getting accurate readings. But when they used a different vile to coagulate the blood they got much higher numbers. So, in other words... his platelets were actually, sort of, hiding. *sigh*

He was right!

Juan was released later that day as well. They still don't know what caused his bleeding or even where it was coming from... only that it had stopped (for now). He has to go back to the doctor for more tests.

Anyway... both came home on Tuesday and life is somewhat back to normal.

Now back to those Sharks!