Saturday, October 30, 2010

Ahead of schedule

We were scheduled to come in to the hospital next Friday for Magnus's catheterization, but apparently he just couldn't wait and we are here a little early! The good news is that he's doing fine now, and I fully expect us to be sent home in the morning (though we still have to come back on Friday).

On Thursday morning, I noticed that Magnus was having some stomach trouble. I'll try to avoid going into too many vivid details here! I sent him to his nanny share with 2 extra outfits, just in case, but he came home in the same clothes I'd sent him in, and on Thursday night he seemed about the same.

Later that night, though, he got to be extremely fussy, and Iggy decided to disconnect him from his feeding pump around 1:30 a.m. because he seemed to be having such an upset stomach. Magnus kept Iggy up most of the night, and then when I came on Magnus duty at 4:30 a.m., he was super fussy and looked dehydrated to me. I offered him a bottle and he wolfed it down. And then another and another. But it was passing right through him. It occurred to me that maybe we should take him to the doctor, but I knew that the only real treatment for diarrhea was hydration, so I just kept giving him bottles.

When the clinic opened at 9 a.m. I called and made an urgent care appointment for that afternoon, because he was supposed to see his early interventionist that morning. Iggy went in to work early. But Magnus was rapidly getting worse and worse. All of a sudden he was completely soaking through a diaper every 20 minutes. I called the clinic and asked if I could bring him in right away, and they said OK. I fired off an e-mail to his cardiologist saying that I thought we'd probably be admitted, gathered up a few essentials, and we headed to UCSF.

The drive there takes about 20 minutes, but it felt a LOT longer. Magnus was very quiet, so I kept putting my hand on his head to see if he was still moving. He was. Then, the parking garage was completely full. I had to drive around for another 20 minutes looking for a space, while Magnus continued to be scarily quiet. At one point, I just stopped the car to get out and take a look at him. He didn't look good. He was lethargic and pale, with sunken eyes. While I was driving around the parking garage, I missed a call from the urgent care clinic saying that since he was a heart patient with severe diarrhea, they would automatically want to give him IV fluids, so I should just take him to the ER. Of course, I didn't get the message until we were already in the waiting room at the clinic, so they took his vitals there and then sent us across the street to the hospital.

Once we got to the ER, there were a million people in the room, and they immediately started trying to put an IV in him. Even under the best of circumstances, Magnus is a hard stick. First of all, he's a baby, and then he's a heart patient who has already had a lot of his best veins tapped out in previous hospitalizations. Add severe dehydration to the mix, and I was not optimistic. So everyone set to work trying to locate the best vein whisperers in the hospital. Meanwhile, one of the cardiology fellows came down to assess him and said that not only did he need to be admitted to the hospital, but that given the vehemence of his stomach problems, he needed to be in an intensive care unit.

With all this excitement was going on, Magnus hadn't had anything to drink for over an hour. He had actually drunk his entire day's allotment of bottles at home, so the only thing I had with me for him was a vial of frozen breastmilk I'd grabbed on my way out the door. I asked the nurse if it was possible to just give him some pedialyte by mouth while we were waiting for the IV, and eventually someone rustled some up, and wow, he started drinking like crazy. The hospital pedialyte comes in 2 ounce bottles, and he was sucking them down in less than a minute. I only had one nipple, so when I had to wrestle an empty bottle away from him to switch out the nipple on the new bottle, he would start crying and holding onto the bottle as hard as he could. Normally, he won't even drink pedialyte, but he drank 13 bottles of it while we were down in the ER.

It took TEN tries by four different people to get his IV started. Needless to say, this was a distinctly unpleasant experience for all parties involved. Finally they got an IV in his foot, but then it turned out that whenever he moved his foot, the IV would clog up. After all that, he wound up never even getting any IV fluids!

After a few hours in the ER, we got moved upstairs to the pediatric ICU. He's always been in the cardiac units previously, so we'd never been on that floor, but we ended up having some of the same nurses we'd had before. Going up to the floor from the ER was a surreal experience. The pediatric unit was having a Halloween party, so we walked down a corridor full of people dressed up in costumes and Halloween decorations.

Magnus got a small amount of pedialyte through his G tube, but he mostly made up for his dehydration with continued vigorous drinking. In fact, he drank so much that by the middle of the night, he was looking puffy to me. In the morning, when the doctors did rounds, I learned that in his time in the hospital, Magnus had a positive fluid balance of one liter, meaning that even with continuing to have diarrhea and some vomiting, he had taken in a liter more of fluid than he'd put out, which is pretty amazing, considering his size and the fact that he'd taken nearly all of that by mouth!

By this morning, while he was still having tummy trouble, it seemed more like the garden-variety sort. The doctors said they wanted to keep him one more day, but he was clearly on the mend so we started him back on breastmilk. Unfortunately, he seems to be having some trouble handling the breastmilk, which is making me a little nervous about our prospects for getting out of here tomorrow morning.

This afternoon we got moved up to the cardiac ICU. He doesn't actually need to be in an ICU but they have us here because he might be contagious so they don't want him mixing with the general patient population. It's actually a lot nicer in here because we get our own private room with a TV! So we didn't even have to miss the World Series (although boo that the Giants lost). And tonight I will only have to be awoken by ONE crying baby!

Anyway, everyone keep your fingers crossed that we'll get out of here tomorrow. If not, I guess at least it's a good thing that he's way too young to care about spending Halloween in the hospital!


  1. Thanks for the update! Sounds like Magnus created his own "scary" Halloween for you guys. Also sounds like Magnus can't help the Giants while he's in the hospital, so hope you guys get out of there today. We're thinking of you guys and sending our love and best wishes for a speedy recovery.

  2. I'm so glad to hear he's doing better but I'm sorry you all had to go through it.