Alex and Maddy

Alex and Maddy

Friday, December 31, 2010

The End of a Crazy Year

I certainly didn't think that I would be spending New Year's in the hospital. This is a year where we have had some really high high and some really low lows. As the year comes to an end I feel my faith in people and a God who guides our days has been renewed. The love and support that surrounds us amazes me daily. I am so thankful for the countless prayers that are lifted for us each and every day.

Today was a day that started not very good and ended so well. Alex had a nother rough morning. He was so weak he didn't want to sit up or play. He just laid in bed and wached tv and was very quiet. We scrambled once again to come up with a plan as his temp continued to saty in the high 101's. We ran flu tests, rsv, looked at his ears, nose and throat all despite the fact that he has no symptoms of a virus. We were just hoping we would find some easy reason for a fever. Unfortunately it wasn't to be. The plan as of now is that if Buggy still has a fever tomorrow the femoral line must come out. We started a third antibiotic today (one he was on in the PICU but was stopped early in the week). If he still is febrile tomorrow we will add yet another med after pulling the line. We would either place a femoral line on the other side or a PICC line in his arm. We also did another CT scan today to look at his pancreas and the clot again. I have not received results yet.
The day turned around this afternoon when our good friends the Morgans got to the hospital. Kelly called me yesterday and told me that they didn't want me and Buggy to spend New Years alone so they would like to coem spend the day with us. It was such a nice treat to have a peice of home with us. Alex was SO happy to see Walker. The boys played games, watched movies, fought and laughed. We rang in the New Year around 9 and by the time I got back from walking the out Alex was sound asleep. We will get to spend some more time with them tomorrow before they head back to Fort Worth. I am so thankful for such incredible friends that came so far to put smiles on faces. We love you guys.
Our prayers are for a New Year filled with love laughter and health.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Another Day, Another Fever

We are kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place right now. It seems like so many of our decisions do not have a good choice. Alex continues to struggle with pancreatitis. His levels are 6 times the high end of normal and have not budged. He started with a fever 2 nights ago and it has creeped up and is sitting in the high 101's. No one is really sure what our plan of action should be. We have enough going on that there is no definitive proof of what is causing the fever which leaves us trying to make decisions without a whole lot of information.

This is what we know...Alex has pancreatitis. Alex has a blood clot at the end of his fem line which is sitting in his IVC. Alex has a fever.

This is where it gets confusing. Alex's pancreatitis has been the same for a week. There would be no reason for him to all of a sudden develop a fever. The doctors do not like to leave a femoral line in for this long bc they can be prone to infection. Also, a clot can be a source of infection. BUT, all of the cultures we have taken are negative and his labs do not look like he has an infection. The question is whether he has an infection that is not showing bc he is on two big gun antibiotics. SO, one group of doctors think we should pull the fem line. But we need access so we would have to do another line somewhere else that would be temporary. This would use up a central access spot that could be necessary down the road for a short time. THere is one spot they could do a peripheral IV, but then they would really struggle to get all of his medications in and they wouldn't be able to get nutrition into him which is never good with Alex bc he is already so skinny. The other group of doctors thinks we should try to leave the line and just watch until he gets worse or we find a definite cause of this fever. The problem with this is that if it is the line or the clot, he could become septic again and we could wind up in the same position we were in last week. Also complicating matters is that if we pull the line we could dislodge the clot and it could travel to his lungs and cause issues. We have done a chest xray. We will do more testing if his fever continues to climb. We are also waiting on our surgeon to come by and weigh in. Unfortunately, each day with a fever is another day before we can do surgery to replace our port and means another day we are stuck here. So the wheels have been spinning here all morning as we weigh the pros and cons. There is no right answer.

I am doing okay. I was lucky to have lunch with Momo (Missy's mom) today. She brought me food from my favorite restaurant and kept me company for a while. Tomorrow, the Morgan family is coming to celebrate New Year's with us. I am so thankful for friends. I was sad we didn't get to have the vacation we had planned with Grandpa. I was sad to say goodbye to my Mom. I am sad that Bruce is not here to help with Alex. But I am surrounded by people that love me and Alex and take the best possible care of him. I am bolstered by the love and prayers of all of our friends and family. I am thankful for the generosity of others that truly showed us the magic of the season and eased the burden of our house so I could concentrate on taking care of my precious baby. There are so many people I need to thank. Please know that I am thankful just too tired and busy to write you proper thank yous right now. The messages, notes, emails, cards and prayers have kept me going over the last 10 days.


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

An All Around Hard Day

Today has been rough from beginning to end....

We had to say goodbye to Mimi today. Alex and I were both so sad to see her go. The three of us are of one heart and one soul. We are happiest when we are together. I will forever be thankful to have such a strong, caring, kind, loving mother who taught me how to be a good mother and a strong woman. Without hesitation last week she jumped on a plane to be here for me and Bug. She spent a week with little sleep and a broken heart as she watched her Bug struggle back from the brink of death and supported me in every way possible. Thank you doesn't even begin to express what it means. We will be counting the days until we are together again.

The new Lovenox injections stink! There is no two ways about it. The medicine burns and Alex is in tears as soon as he knows it is getting close to time. I cannot imagine doing this for the next 3 months!

To top the day off, Bug is asleep with a temp of 100.5. Which means we have to call the doctors and most likely start all kinds of tests to be sure he doesn't have another infection brewing.

This poor little angel has been through enough, I am praying that he starts to feel better and gets a reprieve soon.


Monday, December 27, 2010

A Crazy Day!

Today has been a lot crazier then we expected! An early morning visit from our attending pediatrician got the wheels spinning on some changes. We realized that Alex has been getting progressively more dehydrated. We decided to increase both the amount of fluid in his TPN and also add additional fluids that run around the clock. We are hoping the extra fluids will help him feel better. We also sorted out the confusion regarding the CT scan. Last, we discussed the possible need for blood later in the week.

We had a visit from our beloved surgeon. He always checks on us when we are hospitalized and he wanted to touch base regarding the plan for replacing his port. As of now the plan is to go to the OR on Monday to get a new port. However, Dr. Tsao wants to see how he is doing later in the week. He is concerned to take him to the OR with pancreatitis and with him as weak as he is. He is ordering an ultrasound of his chest to look at the vasculature so he has an idea of where he has some options for the port. We also discussed the need for a unit of plasma before the surgery.

We also had a visit from the neuro-sciences scheduler talking to us about getting some testing done this week that was previously scheduled for late next week outpatient. The hope is that if we can get this testing done while inpatient we will be able to get home sooner.

Last we went for the CT scan. It was uneventful and we expected it to come back normal. But I should know by now that nothing comes back normal! While they did not see anything explaining his latest bout of pancreatitis, they did see a blood clot on the end of his femoral line. We are extremely lucky we did this test because a clot can be very dangerous if undetected. This started a whole slew of converstions between 4 doctors and the pharmacist. We will be starting lovenox injections tonight. Lovenox is a blood thinner. The problem is that Alex tyically does not clot well. The fear is that in trying to break up this clot we will cause him to have clotting issues elsewhere. After talking to our hematologist, immunologist and pediatrician it was decided we will give the first injection tonight and then check labs a few hours later. The outcome of those labs will determine if he will receive subsequent doses. Assuming he does ok with the medication he will receive injections twice a day for anywhere between a week and several months.

I was supposed to be taking Mom to the airport in the morning, but after all of this it was decided that I needed to be here to monitor and speak to the doctors. Luckily, our second family has once again come to the rescue and Momo has graciously agreed to take Mimi to the airport. Our families have meshed to the point where there are no lines. I am so grateful to have them to lean on. Alex and I will miss Mimi more then we can say. We will never be able to thank her enough for walking through the trials and tribulations of the last week with us.

Please pray that the night and tomorrow are uneventful.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Not much to report

It has been a typical weekend day around here....slow with not much to report!

Alex's pancreatic enzymes continue to be extremely high. They did an abdominal ultrasound yesterday and we got the results today. His spleen and liver are enlarged. Unfortunately they were not able to view his pancreas because his intestines continue to be full of air. The distention in his bowels obscured the view of the pancreas. The plan today was to run a CT scan to get a look at the pancreas and liver again, however there was a miscommunication about the orders. They have tried to get them worked out, but it looks like the scan will happen tomorrow. He is also running a little dry so they have added some additional fluids.

We were sad to see Grandpa and Daddy leave, but were glad they were able to spend Christmas with us. I cannot believe that this nightmare started a week ago today. By this time last week they were already intubating Alex. In some ways it has gone fast and in other ways it seems so long ago. I am so happy Alex has come through the sepsis as well as he has, but it is sad to see the toll it has taken on his body. He has not sat up for more then a few minutes at a time in over a week. He has not been out of bed. He is just sleeping and watching movies. But it is so nice to see a smile and hear a giggle. We will just pray that his strength improves each day.

We are hoping for a quiet night and to get back into a normal routine tomorrow. Thank you for your continued prayers.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

What a Christmas this has been!!!! This is obviously not the Christmas we had planned and dreamed of but it will be a Christmas I will always remember. I have so very much to be thankful for this year. My emotions are raw today. I look at my close friends and know how different this day could have been. I am so thankful to see a smile on my angel's face.

Buggy has done okay. He is still in quite a bit of pain and pretty nauseous from the pancreatitis. He is also very weak. He can sit up for a few minutes at a time, but still spends 90% of the time lying down watching movies or resting.

Santa was very good to Buggy. He had a lot from Santa and the family lus people from the hospital kept bringing stuff in. He had quite a load by the end of the day. We had the room decorated and a Christmas tree. And made things as festive as possible.

The plan from here....We were supposed to be going to surgery on Monday to place a new port, but surgery would like to wait until his 2 week course of antibiotics is done. The doctors are all hashing it out. So I am not sure. We also did an abdominal ultrasound today to make sure nothing was going on internally. Alex's pancreatitis numbers continue to rise despite not getting anything in his gut and draining both his G and J tube. They want to be sure this is just Alex's "regular" pancreatitis and not a cyst, infection, obstruction, etc. So for now we sit and wait. Alex does not feel well enough to come home yet anyway so I am in no rush to push him out the door.

Bruce and Dad will leave tomorrow. Mom will stay until Tuesday. I am so glad to have my family here through this. I will update as I know more.


Thursday, December 23, 2010

He's Back!

Today for the first time we are seeing glimpses of Alex's personality and it is so heartwarming to see after the last few days.

Alex does indeed have pancreatitis to complicate matters further. He has been in quite a bit of pain and nauseous, but when he has meds he is happy and playing. He is still pretty weak and cannot yet sit up on his own, but we are able to prop him up some. Labs continue to improve.

As for the flu...I have gotten some clarification. It is not the typical flu. He has haemophilus parainfluenza. It is a bacterial infection that should also respond to the antibiotics. The PICU fellow last night told us we weren't supposed to have a checklist of diagnoses. Alex never does anything halfway!

We are currently still in the PICU, but are in the process of being transferred to our regular "step down" unit. We are just waiting on a bed to open up.

I am so thankful my Mom has been here to suppport me since early Monday morning. As soon as she knew how sick Buggy was she jumped on a plane. I don't know how I would have made it through this week withot her. Buggy and I love her more then anything and couldn't imagine her not being here.

I am also so thankful for Missy for dropping everything and rushing to the hospital Sunday night as soon as she knew how sick Buggy was. We have walked the hardest of roads together over the last two years and her friendship and love was perfect. She sat with me all night Sunday and besides picking up Mom all day Monday. I will always treasure our frienship.

There are countless others who have called, prayed, brought food, sent gifts. Thank you!
Others have asked if there is anything you can do. Over the last three years Alex has counted on blood products numerous times. While they have always been important before, they literally saved Alex's life this week. If you are able please donate blood for Alex and all the other kids who rely on the blood banks.

I am going to recount the early part of what happened since I have had some questions... Saturday night around 3 AM Alex spiked a fever of 103.9. I gave him a dose of tylenol and put cool cloths on him. Within an hour and a half his temp was down to 100. Typically, Alex doesn't bring his temp down no matter what interventions we use so I thought perhaps we had just overdone it. When we woke up Sunday morning Alex's temp was 98 and he was playing and acting ok. Around 11, he started crying and shaking uncontrollably and quickly respiked a fever. We rushed to Cook Children's (around 12:30)and were immediately taken back to a room. We saw the attending quickly who called Dr. Koenig and transfer orders were started within minutes. We were on our way to the airport by 4 and at Children's Memorial Hermann by 6. We were taken to a room in our regular unit, but on arrival his lips were blue, he was shaking, his eyes were sunken, he was disoriented and overall not looking good. The first resident to see him knows us well and has seen Alex pretty sick many times. She didn't like the way he looked and consulted the PICU and Dr. Pacheco. Together the decision was made that he needed to be in the Intensive Care Unit. Things deteriorated quickly and by the time we got back to the PICU it was clear he was in trouble. Thus the decision to intubate and let his body rest. Because of the line infection, Alex was in septic shock. He was in DIC (Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation)which is a serious disorder in which the proteins that control clotting do not work correctly. You can bleed out from this condition. He also was in the early stages of kidney and liver failure. Because of the quick action of the two hospitals coordinating the transfer and the exceptional care we received here, we were able to stabilize Alex and protect his organs. It was a rough couple of days, but Alex has proven to all of us what a fighter and true miracle he is. I am going to post a few pictures. Some of them are not pretty, but I want show the miraculous turnaround he has made.

Thank you for your continued prayers.

Shortly after being intubated

When he was begining to became more alert

After one of many severe allergic reactions

Immediately after extubation

This morning

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Alex was able to be extubated this morning! Praise the lord! Alex was given several doses of steroids overnight to reduce the swelling from the allergic reactions and it did the trick. His swelling decreased significantly and we were able to extubate without any complications. Alex's labs still show he is fighting an infection, but overall they look okay. He was very quiet and weak today, but happy to get that tube out of his mouth.

This afternoon/evening we have been battling some new issues. First we were informed that Alex's virus swab came back positive for H flu. I am not sure what this means and if we need to do anyting. The main problem we are having is Alex is crying in pain about his belly hurting. He is extremely restless. He cannot get comfortable. He is telling me it feels like when he has had pancreatitis so we are running labs to see.

We are hopeful that we will be moved out of the PICU tomorrow and into our regular unit. We appreciate all of you who have been praying for you and to those of you who have to the hospital to bring us food and support.


Short update

I am beyond exhausted so this will be short!

As of tonight Alex is still in the PICU on the ventilator. The hope is that we can get him off the vent tomorrow. Some of his labs have stabilized while others remain troublesome. He has been alert some today and is able to communicate with us. One of our biggest problems remains the continuing allergic reactions. I have been concerned about extubating bc he is SO swollen and I worry about his airway. I have been assured that they will only do what is safe for Alex. They have added a steroid today to help with the swelling.

If we are able to extubate tomorrow, we should be able to get out to our regulare unit on Thursday.

So overall, Alex remains very sick, but is moving in the right direction.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Thank you all for your prayers and concern for Alex. We are still in the PICU and on the ventilator. They have identified one of the bacteria, so now we know at least what we are fighting. They are going to start another new antibiotic this afternoon. He continues with his allergic reactions and is swollen and red. He is resting comfortably this afternoon. They won't consider him out of the woods until he is off the ventilator and breathing on his own. He has also started with a low grade fever again this afternoon which we are watching. When he is awake for small spurts, he tries to communicate with us with pointing and shaking his head yes or no. So pitiful. So that's it for now. We just keep hanging in there and telling him we love him and we are here. It doesn't look like Alex will be out of the PICU for Christmas,so I will probably still be here. I can't leave until I know Alex is better. We are not getting much sleep, but we are doing okay. Ali hasn't been able to leave him today, so I have been going for coffee and food whenever, although we are not eating alot. So many nurses who know him have stopped by to see him. They are so emotional because even when Alex is sick, he is running the halls and running his mouth. It is very sad to see him like this. Some of his regular nurses can't bear to come by and see him. Dr. Koenig is away on vacation, but Ali can reach her by phone and does daily. Also Dr. Pacheco (immunologist) has been wonderful and Chi, the pharmacist. She keeps a close watch on Alex and makes the call on the new meds. Ali will update later.

Judy (Mimi)

Monday, December 20, 2010

In PICU, prayers needed

This will be short because I need to focus on Alex, but I wanted to get an update out.

Saturday night Alex spiked a fever that came down very quickly with cool cloths and a dose of Tylenol. Because Alex typically won't respond to tylenol when he is really sick, I thought we would be okay to watch him and reassess in the morning. Alex woke up with a temp of 98.8 and was happy and playing. Around 11:00 AM on Sunday he took a turn for the worse and suddenly starting shaking really badly. He was crying in pain and clearly not well. I put in a call to the doctors and it was decided we needed to head to the hospital. I did not feel like I could safely make the trip to Houston so I decided to head to the local children's hospital. We were taken to a room immediately and the decision was made pretty quickly to transfer us by jet, as Alex's temp was back up in the 104's. Within 4 hours we were in the hospital in Houston. Within minutes of arriving it was decided that we would be heading to the PICU "for closer observation". Before we were able to get him to the PICU, he became very disoriented, starting having seizures and was having very high heartrates and respirations. Once getting to the PICU things started moving very quickly. He was given 2 boluses of medication to stop seizures, extra IV's were started, more meds were given. labs were drawn, etc. He continued to get worse and within an hour the decision was made to place him on a ventilator so his little body could rest.

Once intubated, we saw his vital signs start to stabilize, however his labs continued to look bad. We had multiple doctors and nurses in our room at all times last night. At this point his vital signs remain okay, but he is still extremely sick. He is heavily sedated and still on the ventilator. We know he has a line infection (gram negative rods for those that are interested) which has caused the septic shock. He has also had numerous severe allergic reactions to medications. They are reducing the settings on his ventilator in the hopes that he will take some breaths on his own. He will not be able to come off the ventilator until the swelling subsides and his labs stabilize.

I am extremely thankful for the fast transfer from Fort Worth and the exceptional care we received upon arrival. I truly believe they saved Alex's life. We continue to ask for your prayers as we have a long road to recovery.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

There are no words

How can I even begin to express thanks for what you our friends and family have done for us over the last few days? There are no words that are adequate. You have come to us in our lowest moments and bolstered us. You have renewed our faith in Christ and his power to provide. You have lifted us spiritually and emotionally. You have given me hope when I felt so hopeless. There are no I say THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts. You will never know how much it means.
I love you.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Roller Coaster of Our Lives

I really have avoided updating lately because my emotions are so raw. I have worked really hard over the last several years to stay positive, trust in God, keep a smile on my face and be a positive influence in the lives of those I touch. Over the last several months that has become increasingly difficult. Because I hate to ask anyone for help and I don't want to bring anyone down, for the first time in my life I have turned inward. I have talked to people less, been on the computer less and definitely blogged less. Some of you already know why I have been in a funk, but I will let the rest of you in. Over the last two years our financial situation has deteriorated. We have been incredibly blessed numerous times with financial help from family members, some special friends and some angels who choose to remain anonymous. Because of these blessings we have avoided the situation we are in now for a lot longer then we thought possible. However, at this point we are on the verge of losing our house and are barely hanging on to our car. While I would be sad with these realities in any circumstances, it is absolutely petrifying considering Alex's health. We have been trying to work with our mortgage company, but so far they have been unwilling to modify the terms of our loan to help us stay in the house. So needless to say I have a heavy heart. I am continuing to have faith that God's plan is the perfect one for our lives and that he knows the outcome.
So now you know why my blogging has been less then stellar....But in the meantime we have also mananged to have some good times. First and foremost, our Mimi was here this past week. There is nothing Buggy and I love more then time with our Mimi! The relationship between Alex and my Mom is one of the most pure, loving relationships I have ever had the privilege of witnessing. They just light up in each others company. To me it is so bittersweet. I love to watch the love between them, but am saddened that the visits are so few and far between. My most fervent wish is that someday we will be closer together.
Mom- Thank you for always making my Buggy feel so loved and special. Everything we do is better when you are here. I love you.

So while Mom was here we went to a Christmas parade, went on a trip with cub scouts to the fire house, went bowling, went rollerskating, rode on a horse and buggy and had three visits with Santa. All with a 48 hr hospital stay squeezed in the middle (more on this in a minute). How's that for busy! We have also continued with school and had the joy of spending an afternoon with playgroup.

We have a few quiet days to recoup and then Grandpa will be here Wednesday to stay through Christmas!

Medically things have been OK... Alex continues to have seizures on an almost daily basis. His feeds are stuck 5 cc lower then our baseline. His belly hurts and is distended. But he has stayed relatively healthy and his energy levels have been decent. We had to make a quick trip to the hospital for an observation. Alex's OCD (obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and anxiety has been much worse over the last few months. He is seeing a behavioral therapist, but we also decided it was time to start a medication. Because he has had SO many anaphylactic reactions to medications in the past, his doctors decided the safest thing to do was admit him and watch as he received the first few doses. He did great and we have seen an improvement in his symptoms.
We have a ton of medical stuff coming up in January, but I will post on that another time.

Thank you for all the love you have shown our family and for your patience with me during this trying time. I know I have not been a good friend to many of you while I try and work through this hard time.

PS- A very special thank you to Missy for working really hard to set up a donation account to try and help us. The Knights have been such loyal, good friends to us in so many ways. They continue to show us the true love of good friends as they do everything in there power to help us through this stretch.