Every evening, for the last three nights, Corrigan has vomited. In the “old days” a single episode of vomiting would have sent us racing to the ER, but as time has passed we quickly learned that a tube fed child is often a bit more volcanic than a non-tubed child. A few years back, vomiting was really our only clue that something bad might be brewing with Corrigan, but now I take into consideration many more factors. I trust that I know him well enough, despite the fact that Corrigan never really communicates pain or physical discomfort, to not necessarily head into the ER at first puke.
It does, however, send me into “high alert.”
Mark and I took him in this morning because he woke with a fever and vomited right after his morning bolus. It was the fever that drove us there, not the vomiting though by this morning we knew we couldn’t wait any longer. The doctor clarified it best when he asked, “Was it spontaneous vomiting? Or more of a “cough, gag, puke” kind of thing?” Exactly. We’ve learned to differentiate to determine possible crisis and save Corrigan the stress of a false-alarm. He was not vomiting like he was sick with a stomach illness, but more that he has been extra gaggy due to sinus drainage and when we factor in the kid’s grape-sized tonsils (and myriad of mouth-focused sensory/anxiety issues) it is a recipe for gross.
Infections are very dangerous for Corrigan and fever is the body’s way of telling us something is brewing. For Corrigan, it might be a sinus infection, or something in his chest. Or maybe a UTI, or something bad in the line of his port. A fever is what sends the alarms to ringing, not to mention that after so many days of losing volume, he could be getting into trouble not having enough fluids/calories/protein.
Long story short, he is fighting a simple virus. He is also anemic again, which frustrates me to pieces, since we were two weeks away from finally being able to maybe cut out his iron supplement (which causes issues with Corrigan’s digestion) after months of slightly-above normal levels. Out of the blue, having changed nothing in his diet, nothing in his formula recipes and no real gain in height or weight, he is suddenly anemic and his branch chains are wiped out again. How??
His swabs came back clean (some will sit a day still and see what grows) and a chest xray was negative for infection. After a handful of hours in the ER, we were back home and planted ourselves on the couch for some continuous fluids through the pump and lots of DVD’s. Oh, did I mention the best part? His ammonia was 12! T-W-E-L-V-E. Never in his entire life has a number that low been returned, it was like winning the lottery.
Even though poor little guy felt like this…
Corrigan behaved so well during his hospital visit. It always amazes me that he can freak out over a haircut, or being asked to sit down in a restaurant, but he will calmly stay in a hospital bed, hooked up to IV’s and not even so much as whimper when forced to endure a needle into his chest to access his port. At DC Children’s, his body tenses the moment we get off of the elevator, even though the staff there have been nothing but phenominally kind to him from the moment he first walked through the doors, and now that Johns Hopkins has opened a new Children’s building, he hates that facility as well and screams, refuses to participate in any of the appointments and pretty much cries until we pull out of the parking garage.
Yet locally, he is calm as a cucumber. He allows the torturous blood pressure cuff to be applied without groin kicks, he lays silently while being poked with needles and only fusses when the technician’s arm blocks his view of his Kindle screen. He stood without much direction in front of the xray machine, three different positions required, and even rolled over with a sigh and slept hard for a two hour nap while we waited.
He was fevered, and nauseated and likely worn out from not receiving optimal nutrition for a few days, but he laughed and giggled and allowed one of his favorite nurses to gently rub his head until he drifted off to dreamland. (that new haircut is great for rubbing) He was an excellent patient and it made it all so much easier than even a simple well-checkup at the pediatricians office. I believe that is a testament to the staff of the WMHS and how well they have treated Corrigan over the years. He can’t tell them that he appreciates it, he might not even realize it himself, but we know by his anxiety level and the way he behaves that he trusts them. And they’ve earned that.
Anyway, prior to leaving for the ER, I had to toss a lot of linens into the washing machine, including his very special “night night” blanket because it was, sadly, the recipient of his morning barf. We tried to wake Connor to tell him we were taking Cor to the hospital, but he was deep in teen-sleep coma, so I taped a note to his mirror and headed out. Connor texted me often, checking on his little brother throughout the afternoon and when we came home we walked in and saw this…
( Looks like Corrigan’s giraffe was in the photo-bombing mood)
Connor knew his little brother would want to come home to his blankie, and thought to check and make sure it was ready. He dug it out of the wash and dried it and then hung it directly inside the door so it would be the very first thing Corrigan would see when he walked into the house. It was the cutest thing, I wish I would have known Connor had done it so I could have had my video recorder ready, but when Corrigan saw it hanging there he tenderly reached up to touch it, then turn to me and sighed, “My night night.” It was a look of complete happiness. It was awesome.
Connor is awesome.
(I grabbed the above shots while he did this sweet little happy-dance around the coat rack and signing “help” for me to get it down-he wasn’t happy that mommy was all, like, “Hold on, let me get a picture of this…”night night” can wait. just ONE PICTURE)
His fever has only been back once since we returned home, and I’m hopeful he has a restful night’s sleep tonight with no more pukes. I can rest easier knowing that his ammonia level is so stable, all things considered, and know that this time, we have some breathing room.