Corrigan was hospitalized for two days (March 11-13) due to hyperammonia caused by the influenza virus. Since birth, we have always been warned of the dangers of Influenza for children with UCD, so when Daddy got lucky and snagged some Influenza A, three days before Corrigan showed signs of illness, we quickly had the little man put on Tamiflu. He still caught the flu, despite Daddy’s best efforts to quarantine himself and to always wear a face mask, like most viruses a person is nearly always contagious before symptoms appear so he was likely exposed well before Daddy’s first cough. (and yes, he had the flu shot)
As nurse/mom, it was a rough one, for sure, but not as stressful as the stomach flu was for Corrigan a few weeks prior. I feel like I can handle anything as long as I am able to maintain his fluid/calorie intake through the g-tube, and with the stomach flu it was darn-near a losing battle. I ran him in to the ER during that illness, but to my great surprise his ammonia was slightly elevated but not anywhere near high enough to admit him. With this most recent illness, I still ended up running him into the hospital, even though we were holding strong on intake, because some of the symptoms of Influenza are also symptoms of hyperammonemia and by day two I just couldn’t trust my instincts as to whether he was sleeping a ton because of the virus, or sleeping a ton because of elevated ammonia. It was the right decision because even maintaining all caloric needs, his ammonia did come back high enough to begin rescue intervention and admit him.
The stay was brief, as our doctor downstate believes that UCD kids are far safer recovering at home after the crisis has passed, his risk of catching yet another virus exponentially higher while inpatient than at home, so once he was back to half-feeds we were out the door and back here waiting out the remainder of the flu.
Once home, he still suffered many more days of miserable coughing and inability to rest well, but thankfully I see no signs of brain impact from his little ammonia burst. I sent him back to school last Tuesday, I needed to get him back to full-feeds before he went, but only sent him for a half-day. The second day he was back, his school called that he was sound asleep at lunch and pale, so I went and picked him up again shortly after noon and then he only did half-days for the rest of last week. Influenza really took the starch out of his sails, requiring a longer recovery period than any virus he has caught before. Daddy managed to grow his Influenza into a bad case of pneumonia, but thankfully Corrigan’s did not turn into that as well, or things could have become critical very quickly.
Lord willing there will be no other hospitalizations for Corrigan in 2015!