Face of hope

Face of hope
Courtesy: TIffany Kay Photography

Friday, December 30, 2011


Meagan's congestion and gagging didn't improve much.  I called back the Pediatrician and she suggested taking her into Children's for a more thorough suctioning.. and then continuing with the breathing treatments more frequently.  I headed into Children's with Meagan... got checked in and told them what had been going on. 

The ER doctor finally came in... after discussing Meagan's history and her recent bad cold... the doctor asked me "Have you had her checked for a shunt malfunction? This could be due to a shunt malfunction..."

I stood there dumbfounded.  Really? A shunt malfunction? Because my child, obviously sick with a bad cold, has mucous in her body??

I said "No, I'm pretty sure it's due to her cold and I just need her suctioned..."

The doctor replied "Are we sure this isn't due to a shunt malfunction? She may need a shunt series!"

I looked down at Meagan.  There she was, incredibly congested, but, nonetheless, looking at the ceiling lights, cooing at the nurses, and playing with her hands...  Her head circumference hadn't gone up... she didn't have "sundowning" in her eyes... her fontanel was nice and squishy and dipped inward.  She had absolutely NO indications of a shunt malfunction.  She didn't even have a fever indicating infection.

The sarcastic side of me took over after making this observation and finally said to the doctor... "I don't know.. you tell me."


Finally, Meagan got the suctioning I had originally come in to get .... they watched her for a bit, and her lungs cleared up.  She had no more wheezing.  Yippee.

The doctor came back in and said she felt like they should keep Meagan this weekend.  "Why?" I asked.  I was really not given a straight answer.  The best I was told was to "watch her."  I looked at her oxygen rate - 100%.  Her blood oxygen - 100%.  Her breathing - clear.  Her heartrate - good.   I asked again and the doctor said "Well, she could have more issues with her mucous."  Wait. I thought just a minute ago you told me mucous was a sign of "shunt malfunction."  I pushed back and said that everything else looked fine - and that our Pediatrician's office had clearly stated for us to come for suctioning.... since everything else checked out, the suctioning seemed to be sufficient and we'd be going home.

The doctor asked me what if Meagan had trouble and I didn't wake up to help her... scary, yes. But also yet another 'excuse' of why this whole thing was "snowballing" into some reason to keep her in the hospital over the weekend.  Needless to say,  I had to tell the doctor "no" several times..  We were there for a suctioning..and we'd be going home. Even if I had to sign an AMA.  She finally got that I was serious..and worked it out so I didn't have to sign an AMA, which was very nice of her considering what the insurance implications could have been.  Meagan got checked by the nurses one more time, and she sounded much better. Still no wheezing in her chest, and she seemed comfortable.  We were ready to go home.

I'm glad Meagan got a little help tonight and I'm grateful for the suctioning done by the respiratory therapist to help with Meagan's congestion.......but it also taught me what little some ER doctors really know of Hydro or kids with shunts. Mucous? As a sign of a failure? Really?  And to think if I hadn't been educated on the matter, she could have spent an unnecessary weekend in the hospital...being exposed to goodness knows how many other new germs.....going through a very unnecessary round of CT Scans, x-rays, bloodwork, and the like.  I'm glad we avoided all that, and that I had the proper information from her Neurosurgeon and other Hydro families on the issue.  Just goes to show how important it is for parents of kids like Meagan to stay on top of all current information and make sure only the appropriate medical treatments are applied depending on what she came in for  Kids like her go through enough.  Here it was she just has a bad cold and she was almost thrown into a whole shunt series and a weekend hospitalization for nothing. 

We are home now -- she is doing 'ok'..but still coughing a TON. At least I know her lungs are clear and she got a good suction (even if it took a bit longer than I thought)....It's all in her throat and nose which is a relief.  If we have any additional problems, I'll certainly take her in first thing....but hopefully she can get over this hump to finally kick this cold out of here for good. I certainly do not like seeing her gag, and I hate seeing her so horribly congested!!  Poor thing!

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