1.28.2012

Abscess Schmabscess

I've been m.i.a. from the blogosphere for a while.  It's been a rough week with Big Red but everything is finally settling back down.  On Monday I took him to the doctor because he wasn't doing so good and that's when it all spiraled downhill.  Here's the short that lead up to Monday.

  • 1/16 -mid-afternoon- Big Red said he has had enough with the snow for now and wanted to take a nap.  Strange...its snow, and he loves it.  I just chalk it up to being tired
  • 1/17  - mid-afternoon- same as yesterday about the nap but now he's running a very high fever.  I give him some tylenol and he lays down. later that night he says his head hurts a little give him more tylenol
  • 1/18-1/21 he goes to school - a couple times during the week he is worried about a fever and goes to the office but no fever.  in the eve's he has low grade fever and sometimes complains about a headache.  I give him tylenol.  his molars are also coming in so T and I believe this may be the root of all this discomfort for him
  • 1/21 eve - we go to a crazy fun kid event called Pirate Palooza.  Big Red has a great time running wild.  That night he says his neck hurts a little.  T thinks he must have done something crazy at the event.  
  • 1/22 Big Red is feverish most of the day, complaining about his neck and headache.  T gives him Tylenol.  By the time I come home Big Red looks really tired and out of it.  His neck is still hurting him  (more than before) and his jaw is super, slightly swollen.  His neck is becoming sensitive to the touch. I decide at this point if he looks like this in the morning he's staying home and going to the doctor.  I check if any of the drop in medical clinics are open; they are not.
  • 1/23 he looks SICK.  Everything is still hurting him and he has a fever.  I take him to Crash's swim class with me and he sits there looking miserable.  He can barely stay awake in the car.  I get home and make him an appt at his pediatrician's office.  He is feverish, can barely stay awake, neck progressively gets worse, and reaches a point where he cannot turn his head AT ALL, nor can I even touch his neck, and it is not even comfortable for him to sit up and only lays down on his side and his swollen jaw has more than doubled.
We have a late afternoon Dr appointment and I have all 3 kids with me (Fun times, I tell ya). The doc see's him.  Big Red is a somewhat difficult patient, screaming at every touch of his neck, and they exam all of it.  He cannot open his mouth at all.  His fever has come down due to tylenol but they trust he's had one.  Much to Big Red's dismay they press and poke around along his neck.  The doc notices that his right side is much more sensitive than his left and that she feels something in his throat.  She cannot figure out what it is.  They think he needs an x-ray.  The doc leaves the room to consult with the other doc's and returns.  The decide he actually needs a CT and wants to admit him to the Pediatric Emergency Room!  I freak a bit, still not fully realizing what will happen, if its just a CT scan and then we go home, or what is going on, and not to mention I still have the other 2/3's of my mini crew.  I call T, tell him what's going on and to come to the doctor's office ASAP to pick up the kids.  
T arrives, gets the super short version of what's going on and leaves with Crash and Donx.  Big Red and I are taken to the emergency room and quickly admitted.
Big Red immediately gets a blood draw for some blood tests and simultaneously they run an IV line in his arm.  This was tricky, the boy hates needles and it took three hospital people to hold him still and get it done.  He then just lays there barely able to keep his eyes open.
Big Red is given some heavy-fast working "relaxing"meds and he is wheeled off to for the CT. Im so happy they allowed me to come along because I don't think I could bear to see him roll off in that condition alone.  It was so sad watching him get carried into the CT bed and then strapped down at the waist and head.  He didn't freak - hence the meds but it was still sad to watch.
We sit and wait for all the scans to develop and the results for his blood test.  Once results are in I meet with the general pediatric doctor on staff he goes over the results - he says he is not an ENT doctor and one will be coming by shortly because the scans did not look good.  They did a contrast scan so they would be able to identify if Big Red had an abscess or not, turns out he did but the general doc didn't go into much detail on it.  He did tell me that the markers in his white blood cell count were seriously high for a blood infection and this should be taken seriously and will be treated with antibiotics.  ENT meets with us, he was actually there in the room when Big Red got his T&A removed in 11/2010.  He says the scans do not look good and that its a major abscess in his throat and will go into surgery tonight.  He said that infection in the throat is what called all the swelling in the jaw and the reason why Big Red cannot move his neck at all. We go over the procedure and tells me don't get your hopes up but only a small percentage of people who get this removed feel instant relief and that it may take a few days.  
Shortly after this conversation the Anesthesiologist comes in and takes Big Red and I to the OR well, I don't go to the OR I get to walk to the doors and that's it.  For some reason I take comfort in the anesthesiologist being the exact same one that worked with him for the T&A and she knows how he will react to it etc. etc.  Surgery doesn't take to long.  I talk to the surgeon immediately following and he explains that everything went great and he said he'll be getting antibiotics for the infection in his throat and his blood and the blood infection was caused by the bacteria from the abscess.  I later find out that the abscess was ginormous and immediately want to breakdown and cry for Big Red.
As soon as he comes to I am taking to the back where his vitals are still stabilizing and being monitored.  He looks wreaked.  dried blood around his mouth and a bleeding nose.  Once stabilized we are taken to his room for a long, sleepless night (for me, Big Red gets all the fun drugs and gets to sleep).  Our nurse is amazing.  The room is amazing.  We're in a pediatric hospital on a surgical recovery floor and every room has a parent bed, 2 desks and large private bath and cable!  Big Red slept well, the vital checks during the night didn't bother him to much.  The nurse did make him wake and go to the restroom in the middle of the night because it is one of  those markers he had to pass by a certain time otherwise a doctor would need to be called.  By morning he was doing a lot better.  I asked about his neck and he said there was no more pain well just a little but that was to be expected, he could move it and it was then that he fully realized we were in the hospital.  My god was he stoked about his adjustable bed and built in bedside remote control.  The surgeon came in to check on him and said he responded fantastically overnight and we could go home that morning but will be on lots of meds.  We could totally dig that!  We stayed for breakfast and laying around and at lunch we were discharged.  
He's been home all week.  On lots of drugs but making a great recovery.  He's slowly returning to his old self, but has spent much of the week sleeping and laying around which im 100% totally fine with.  As of yesterday he is finally starting to speak more, I think there was still irritation in his throat up to this point as he was very cautious about speaking.  I think he's still afraid his neck will hurt him if he moves it but I do have him do a few "look left. Look right" exercises.  He's cautious but once realizing it doesn't hurt he'll do it quicker or turn further.
When I look back on Monday I can't believe the events that took place.  How fast it all went down.  I'm grateful for his doctor suggesting the CT and admitting us to the ER.  How courteous the staff in the pediatric ER were and how quickly everything moved for us.  My son, my husband and I are ever grateful!
I refuse to look back at the previous week with regret thinking "i should have...." or "i could have..." there really wasn't anything that would lead me to believe he needed to go to the doctor then.  Apparently the beginning of the infection did start with the string of fevers, the timing sucked because honestly I did think it coincided with the molars coming through and so did T.  But you live and learn and I have learned and my son is on his way to recovery!

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