After a difficult and anxious week at home, we are back in the NICU at Riley. Graham evidently contracted an infection before he was discharged from the hospital on Christmas day. He appeared normal the first few days home, even to his Ft. Wayne pediatrician, whom we saw Tuesday. But things began to deteriorate as the week went on. His incision started opening up, he was a fitful sleeper, spit up often, had minor rashes that came and went, and was not a hearty eater. At first, his symptoms did not raise alarms with the phone staff at Riley (with whom Katie was in constant contact), but yesterday they told us to bring him in to the emergency room. We were coming anyway!
Graham is fighting a bacterial infection called pseudomonas, commonly contracted in hospitals. In the ER, his temperature was a dangerously low 94.4 and his white blood cell count was very high (26k), both of which indicated infection. His rash had become more pronounced, and his feet in particular were very red and very swollen. When the doctor unwrapped Graham's omphalocele, he recognized the specific odor created by pseudomonas. Graham was immediately started on an antibiotic through an IV, beginning with a large initial dose, and then a second antibiotic was added.
Our Baby Boy is very sick and he has a long battle ahead of him. His status is now listed as "serious", thankfully down from "critical" when he was in the ER. Chief concerns now are his fluid levels, kidney function, electrolyte balance, and platelet levels. He'll also have to be given blood because of the many blood draws needed for testing. He has IVs in both arms---one for antibiotics and one for fluids, and has had to catheterized again. All fluids going in and coming out are being strictly monitored, so Katie cannot nurse him right now, but once his electrolytes are up, she will be allowed to start. It is difficult to see him hooked up to so many tubes and machines again.
We expect many ups and downs during the next seven to ten days as Graham fights this systemic infection. Although his little body has many challenges ahead before he gets through the infection, we are confident our tough G-Man will prevail. What is very comforting is the staff at the NICU. The Surgery team is now working with the Infectious Disease team to come up with the best plan of treatment. We should know more tomorrow.
We could not be at a better place. (He has to be in an isolation unit in the NICU, and Katie says it has a more comfortable chair than the other modules ... small silver linings in the big dark clouds!) Bill and Katie were also lucky enough to get back into the Ronald McDonald House on very short notice. Thanks to generous friends with extra beds, Grandma and Grandpa Ryder are back in Indy as well as wonderful moral and laundry support.