Monday, September 12, 2016

About my Son

Today's blog, my first in almost a week, won't be about the farm or the chickens or the ducks or turkeys.  Today's blog is about someone much more dear to my heart - our 18 year old son, Tristan who helps us on the farm.

Last week at this time we were enjoying Labor Day, with our family, cooking hamburgers and having fun.  We had no clue what was about to happen.  That evening, Our son started feeling a little "off" or "weak".  He just thought he'd worked out at the gym too hard.  Tuesday he awoke with a fever of 101 but not really any other symptoms.  Still we made an appointment and took him to the family doctor.  They didn't find anything specific and gave him a steroid shot and a Z-pack and sent us home.  This seemed to help and by Wednesday morning he had no fever and felt a little better.  He had a quiz at college (they are not forgiving on missing college) so he went and took the quiz.  By the time he reached home, his head was hurting really bad.  I took him back to the doctor when Ibuprofen and Tylenol could not stop the headache.  They tested for Strep throat and it was a positive.  He was given an antibiotic shot and sent home again.  All evening the headache worsened no matter what we did.  We fought it all night.  Thursday morning I loaded him up and took him back to the doctor's office not waiting on an appointment.  He was given a pain shot for the headache and still no affect.  Then they decided on blood work to check his white cell count.  It was high but not terribly high.  I had already asked about meningitis the day before and it was not high on the list of possibilities since he had his vaccine before high school and one last spring for college.  The decision was made to send him to the ER to do a CT Scan and a Lumbar Puncture to test for Meningitis.  The CT scan was clean but the Lumbar Puncture proved our worst fears - Meningitis.  They started treatment for bacterial (the worst possibility) but were leaning more towards it being viral (still horrible but not life threatening like the other).  The shock set in.  We were told they would send it off for cultures to be done to see if anything grew indicating Bacterial.  It was going to take 48 hours or more for this to be done.  They were treating for the worst and hoping for the best.  Viral Meningitis, although still extremely painful, will normally run it's course in 7 to 10 days.  They will treat the symptoms such as give you fluids, nausea medicines and pain medicines but there is not much more they can do for viral meningitis.  All day we braced ourselves to deal with viral meningitis.  Late that evening we were still at the ER waiting to be admitted to the hospital when a doctor from the hospital came in and rocked our already shaky world.  He said it was most likely bacterial and we would all have to have shots and until the cultures were negative we could assume it was bacterial.  He told us horror stories about worse case scenarios of losing hands, fingers, feet or limbs or even possible death.  He did NOT have a good bedside manner and scared our son to death.  My entire body went cold.  I could not feel anything, nor think.  We were horrified of the fate our son might be facing.

We were finally transferred to the hospital into the Progressive Care Unit and into isolation.  Anyone entering the room had to keep a mask on at all times.  All of this was in addition to our son's extreme level of pain in the form of a headache and occasional nausea. The nurses in that unit were amazing.  They were reassuring and very knowledgeable.   It still took them most of the night to get his pain to a manageable level.  They tried various pain medications including Morphine that did not work.  His pain level was an 11-12 on a scale of 1-10.  He is not a whiner and NEVER cries.  He begged for help.  Finally they found something that would bring it down gradually until it was a 3-4 the next day.  Three different antibiotics were given in the beginning.  The next day was great only to return to excruciating pain that evening.  Again they gave everything they could and ended up back to the same pain medication  as the night before (they had avoided it because it made him itch).  They added Benadryl to the mix for the itching.  He rested all day at a level 3-5 pain.  That evening, yesterday and last night his pain level has been down to a 2-3 with very little use of pain medication.  He is eating and moving about.  We have been moved to a regular room, no isolation and at long last yesterday we were informed that the cultures grew nothing and there was no need for us to be treated as well.  However, they will continue treating for bacterial as a precaution due to him having antibiotics in his system when the Lumbar Puncture was done.  This could possibly alter the cultures.  Our nightmare is easing up and although recovery could take a little while, he will recover.

My point in sharing this is to let others know to be persistent with their kids doctors and treatments.  You know your child better than ANYBODY!  A headache that cannot be managed with normal medicines accompanied by a fever are symptoms of something more serious.  Take the Meningitis shots recommended for high school and college.  It can be more serious without them.  Although our son's neck was not stiff to begin with it was sore.  This is another sign of meningitis.  Meningitis is not common and therefore not the first thing checked for.  Do not ignore your parental instincts.

Most importantly, we could not have gotten through this without the hundreds of church friends, friends and family and all their friends constantly praying for us.  It is our faith in God and His never ending grace and mercy that gives us the strength to get through this.  We hope to be recovering at home in a few days.  Thanks to all those who have called, texted, messaged, visited and most especially to those who are praying for us!

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