Saturday, December 27, 2008

Unplanned Admission

Roneil wanted me to give my perspective on what happened today. Isabella had a wonderful Christmas yesterday - aside from her disabilities, she really ran around like a normal kid most of the day. This morninng she was tired (we got back late), but participated in her morning classes. (No, the therapists don't even get a long weekend.)

In the afternoon, the PA came over to access her port and give her the scheduled vincristine dose after drawing labs. Within minutes of the PA leaving, Isabella started crying even more inconsolably (she should have been calming down by that point), and complaining of a severe headache all over her head. Then she began shaking all over. It was so bad, I thought she was having a seizure at first, but she was able to follow directions. Then she started vomiting. We were trying to calm her down, but anywhere we tried to touch her seemed like it caused severe pain.

By the time the nurse came in and got the resident, who saw her and called the attending, she was still crying and shaking, but so exhausted that she was dosing off in between screaming spells. We couldn't believe this was an exagerated anxiety type of response to having her port accessed (both other times it was a terrible experience - done as an "emergency" without numbing), because of how severe her symptoms were. The part that bothered me was that even as she was falling asleep, she was still shaking. Finally her nurse came back in to do her vitals, and her temp was 103.7!

Her oncologist came over from clinic within a few minutes and sent us right up to the inpatient floor. Her bloodwork had come back, and everything had dropped severely from 2 days ago - she was neutropenic (neutrophils 400), and on the border of needing platelet and packed red cell transfusions. The doctor's theory makes sense - her port was infected, but not causing any symptoms until it was flushed and pushed the bacteria into her bloodstream. That's why she was completely fine before the infusion, and it hit her like a ton of bricks a few minutes later.

I could tell everyone was nervous, because the nurse at Rusk brought her up without waiting for transport, and the nurse on the floor "stole" the antibiotics from the pharmacy without waiting for Isabella's name to be admitted into the computer (there was some kind of computer problem). I got nervous when they re-accessed her port and she didn't put up the usual fight - she barely complained. She's now on 2 "big gun" antibiotics, pretty much covering any bacteria you could acquire in the hospital.

Isabella perked up within an hour or two and is back to herself again. She took a long nap, and then we spent the evening playing cards. We're waiting to see if she'll need the transfusions tomorrow. How long she stays on this floor is still up in the air.

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