At the end of this Summer, my 4 year old son was sick due to his compromised immune system, we spent most of September at the doctor's office trying to figure out, first what what wrong with him, and second what to do to get him better. This past Spring Nathaniel spent a couple of days in the hospital, and we really wanted to avoid that happening again. Thankfully, his pediatrician figured out what was wrong by asking some great questions, an intestinal parasite picked up from swimming in a local lake. A round of antibiotics, some probiotics and we finally got him on his feet, but we all felt a little worse from wear from the difficult month. Unfortunately, our health issues weren't over by a long shot.
October 12th, my husband Sean went in for surgery on his small intestine. He had a fistula and needed a few inches of his intestine taken out. My husband has IBD, (Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn's) and has been through this sort of thing in the past. Neither of us was thrilled at the prospect of surgery, but it was supposed to be fairly routine. Three to four days in the hospital and then a few weeks at home recovering.
Unfortunately, Sean had complications from the first surgery and ended up having emergency surgery at midnight on the following Sunday night. You know it is serious when the doctor comes in at 11:00pm on a Sunday night to operate. Over the next three weeks we had numerous scares when I wasn't sure if he was going to make it through the night. His incision had to be left open to try and avoid infection. His incision was 11 by 6 by 7 inches, yes inches! I didn't faint the first time I saw it, but it was a close thing. They tried to put a wound vac on his wound and it caused the hole in his intestines to reopen. The tried to put a wound manager on it and he started to hemorrhage. They ended up having to pack with wound multiple times a day with a wet to dry dressing.
Over the next couple of weeks, he had multiple bleeders and needed 4 transfusions. Because of the hole in his intestines, he hasn't been able to eat anything except ice chips for over a month. The Dr has him on TPN IV nutrition. He has lost over 30 lbs in the past 5 weeks.
After 23 days, they sent Sean home. He was scheduled to have a nurse come to our house twice a day to administer his medicine and to change the dressings. It was a disaster. The medicine didn't get ordered, they company didn't provide the wound care supplies they were supposed to and didn't put the antibiotic disk on his IV. Without the medicine Sean went downhill quickly. Sean had developed a systemic blood infection and ended up back in the hospital less than a week after he came home. As much as we had wanted him to come home, we were so grateful when he was readmitted to the hospital. It had been so scary having him home and having everything so out of control. I knew that Sean needed the best in nursing care and I knew that I wasn't it!
The doctor put Sean on antibiotics for a week and got him stable again. We were hoping that he would be released tomorrow and be able to come home for good this time after five long weeks.
This morning Sean had another bleed. It looks like he is going to be in the hospital for a while longer.
It has been such a long road. Five weeks, two surgeries, four transfusions and so many scary nights when I didn't know if my husband was going to make it through. I am grateful for Sean's amazing doctor, Dr. O'Donovan, the talented and compassionate nurses at Henrico Dr's, our wonderful families who have stepped in to help me with our children, other agents offering to pitch in for me at work, the offers of food from my friends, and the prayers from our friends, friends of friends and even perfect strangers. Someone that Sean has only met a few times sent us a check for $100 to help with the expenses of a long hospitalization. On more than one occasion in the past few weeks, I have been undone by the kindness I have been shown through all of this.
Hopefully I will soon be back to my blogging, real estate and our normal happy life. But for now, I am just so grateful that Sean is going to be ok and grateful for all of the kindness we have encountered through all of this.