The morning always seem to be the hardest for him and today was no exception. His breathing was labored, his heart rate was up and he needed O2 almost all morning. We could tell that he was uncomfortable & in some pain but we could not figure out what was bothering him. We finally found out what was wrong shortly after 12 Noon…
As we mentioned previously, we have stopped suctioning Nate’s nose in order to let it heal and the cold saline breathing treatments seem to help him. This afternoon right after his 12:30 VEST session, we started to cough him. Before we did the first set of coughs, Jen decided to suction the back of his throat with a catheter and hit a stringy glob of mucus / secretions / dried blood so thick that it clogged the catheter. She quickly grabbed a Little Sucker, a plastic device that can suction more stuff than a catheter, and used it to pull out this mess. I am not exaggerating when I say it took between 10 to 15 seconds for all of this stuff to come out of his throat and mouth. Once we got this out, Nate was visibly relieved; his heart rate dropped to a more normal level and his breathing was not as labored. When I talked to Dr. Carey about it, he thinks it was most probably some dried nasal mucus that has been soften and loosened by the saline breathing treatments and was sliding down his throat. It was probably one of the most disgusting things we have ever suctioned out of him and I cannot imagine the damage / repercussions that would occurred if this had made its’ way down into his lungs.
The chest x-ray from today looked better than yesterday’s. The left lung is showing more airflow but it is still very diminished. The right lung still looks a little hazy but his breath sounds on that side are still good.
Unfortunately, Nate might have another small fracture in his left femur again. His leg was very tender all day long and he grimaced and cried at the slightest movement of it. We will have his Orthopaedic Surgeon, Dr. Holderness, look at the film tomorrow and let us know what he thinks.
We also think that Nate might have an infection as a result of the PIC Line. As Jen explained in a previous post, one of the biggest risks with the PIC Line is the risk of a blood infection. Nate’s left arm and the upper part of his chest / shoulder were swollen today and slightly warm to the touch. The IV nurse came to take a look at it and was concerned. Dr. Carey ordered a blood test and his white blood cell count had more than doubled in the last 24 hours, obviously indicating infection. He was not running a fever but he had gotten some Advil & Tylenol so the fever could have been masked. Our biggest concern is that this could be a staph infection and this type of infection is extremely difficult to eradicate. Dr. Carey started him on a 3rd antibiotic and a culture has been sent to the lab to see what grows out in the next 24 to 48 hours.
Nate had a few visitors today – Nana flew up from Dallas this morning for a quick visit; Uncle Jeff stopped by when he got home from Kansas City and Denise stopped by again to check on the little guy.
Since, he only got about a 45 minute nap this afternoon so he was totally exhausted when Jen left the PICU tonight. They gave him some Tylenol to help with the discomfort and will try to be extra careful when repositioning him tonight. The main thing will be to just adjust him to change the pressure points and not turn / move him too much.