Sunday, March 25, 2012

Myles in the Hospital

"Oh give thanks unto the Lord for he is good, for his mercy endureth forever."

It's been a long few days for our family. Last Wednesday we noticed that Myles had some bruises that seemed abnormal. He was bruising for seemingly no reason. He acted normal and we had an appointment at the doctor for him on Monday, so as we watched him for the next two days we thought we would just wait until Monday to have him seen.

Friday Morning.

Jenny loaded Gwen and Myles and headed to Lincoln with a friend for a day of shopping. As they exited the interstate on the west edge of town, Gwen threw up. All over everything. There was nothing to do but return home, and Jenny remarked to her friend, "I guess God doesn't want me to go to Lincoln today."

Reading about conditions that cause easy bruising that afternoon did nothing to calm Jenny's instinct that we should take Myles to the doctor. She talked to her mom who encouraged us strongly to have Myles seen. At 3:30 in the afternoon on Friday I called to the clinic, described the symptoms, and asked if there was any way we could see our doctor. The receptionist said no initially, but after talking to our doctors nurse told us to come right up.

They took a blood sample right away, the first of about a dozen pokes that Myles would get over the next 48 hours. The doctor didn't see us until she'd already seen the numbers, and when she came in she was more serious than we've ever seen her. It struck me as she began speaking that she was almost crying, but I dismissed that as a foolish thought since doctors don't do that.

She told us the Myles had an extremely low platelet count. She said it was at 12,000. We didn't know what that meant, so we asked what normal was. When she said normal was 150,000 we realized why she was so serious. She explained that if it gets below 10,000 it is considered very dangerous, as spontaneous bleeding can occur. If he should get any mild trauma to his head for instance, he would be in danger of internal bleeding on his brain.

Our doctor let us go home and shower before heading to the Childrens Hospital in Omaha, Ne. When we got there they took another blood count, and found his platelet level at 5,000. This was at about midnight. This doctor was clearly worried which made us even more scared. Their diagnosis was acute ITP. According to official US statistics, ITP occurs in 50 out of 1,000,000 children annually.

We were thankful to have Dave and Beth with us for those first few hours as we talked with doctors and tried to learn as much as we could about something we'd never heard of until a few hours before.

We held Myles all night as he was given the IVIG treatment. It was a long night.

By 5:00 the IVIG was done. By 5:30 they took a blood test. The platelet count was at 16,000, which was the first good news we heard. We also were told that the white blood cell count remained in the normal range, which was a strong indicator that this was not leukemia.

Saturday morning.

Myles was acting very good. By afternoon we hoped to go home if his platelet count reached 30,000. At about 4:30 Myles woke up from his nap and began throwing up. He had a fever which continued to rise. With Tylenol, the temperature peaked at 102.3. Myles couldn't keep anything down. The took another blood test which came back with a platelet count of 41,000 which was very good, but the white cell count was a bit high which caused us some worry. The doctors said he was fighting an infection and looked at him for quite awhile before deciding it may have been an ear infection. We continued to hold him and pray. By quarter til seven in the evening the nurse gave him some anti-nausea medicine in his IV port, and within a half hour he was holding food down and the fever broke. By midnight the fever was gone completely.

We had a much better night Saturday as far as sleeping went, since we were only woken up about three times by nurses checking vitals, and Myles was able to sleep too.

Sunday morning.

The platelet count was very good. 70,000. He was fever free since midnight, and the doctor looked him over and pronounced us free to leave.

We spent the rest of our day at home sleeping, and generally recovering. The weather was so nice that we were able to take the children out a little while.

Our sick baby boy. You can see bruises on his cheek and forehead which were caused by little falls any toddler will have.
In his crib. I never took any pictures of him when he was really looking and feeling sick, so he looks good in all these. You can see the bruising and dark circles around his eyes.
A sick little boy in his "jail cell". He was only in there after he was no longer at risk of spontaneous bleeding.
Gwen meanwhile was enjoying playing with her cousins. Her badge identifies her as Myles sister with visiting privileges.
Gwen was watched over by Matt and Amy, but ate lunch with us on Saturday here.
Sitting in the room with our visitors.
Sunday morning before Elv Grabers left for Wisconsin. We were SOOOO much better then.

Jenny met her niece Havilah for the first time over this episode.
Myles was happy to help do facebook updates when he was feeling good.
Back at home on Sunday afternoon, Gwen got some much needed attention from her parents.
Myles felt and looked way better, although his bruises are not completely gone. I still have my "parent" wristband in this picture.
Home, outside in the sunshine, and loving it.
Needless to say, Jenny and I are so glad to be home, and to have a healthy family all together under one roof again. We felt almost guilty as we thought about and saw the many other children and parents at the Children's Hospital whose problems are much bigger than ours, and whose stories may not have a happy ending. It's incredibly hard as a parent to see your child suffer, and not have the ability to give healing and take away pain. One text message of encouragement that we got read, "He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: He shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom." Isaiah 40:11.

We are so thankful to God for his mercy in healing our son. We are thankful for the many, many people who prayed for us and for Myles over this time. We are extremely grateful to have family who love us and help care for us when we're in need. Mom and Dad Burkey were very torn, as Dad was doing a series of meetings in Michigan, and they didn't know if they should return early or stay.

We hope and pray that this episode is a one time thing, and will not recur. We continue to praise God for his faithfulness to us. And we ask Him for the strength to go through whatever the future may bring, for we know that God always has the best in mind for his children.

"Oh give thanks unto the Lord for he is good, for his mercy endureth forever."