Saturday, May 16, 2009

Friday's Post, a little late

We had our first truly scary experience on Friday, May 15. I spent my morning with Andrea as usual, but left a little earlier than normal. Andrea was lethargic, and not tolerating being held, so I was only sitting bedside while she slept.

At about 2:30 in the afternoon, I got a call from the NICU doctors, asking for authorization to do a spinal tap. Andrea was having increasing episodes of desat, despite increased oxygen support. Her respiration was fast, sometimes over 130 breaths per minute. The doctors were concerned ghat she might have meningitis, and needed the spinal fluid to diagnose. I gave permission, of course, and then we all descended on the hospital. Mom and Dad came down, so Dad could take Kenny. Ken met us from work.

We got there just as the doctors were doing the spinal tap. Unfortunately, in the first two attempts; there was blood in the fluid (an artifact from the tap, not a symptom of a problem) and it was therefore unusable. The doctors had to wait several hours before repeating it, to give Andrea time to recover. A third attempt some time in the middle of the night was successful.

While waiting for the spinal tap, the doctors took blood for a blood culture and ran Andrea's blood count. Her hemoglobin was very low, and so a transfusion was ordered. Thankfully, we had a pint of "directed" blood waiting in the blood bank. While waiting for the results of the tests, the nurse began a transfusion.

Ken called the NICU this morning, and the initial indications are that Andrea does not have meningitis. The blood culture will still be examined in 48 hours to rule out any other infections. Andrea was finally able to eat at 3 this morning (her last meal had been at 3 p.m. on Friday, so she was HUNGRY!) She will be on a three day course of antibiotics, and if nothing grows in the cultures that will be the end of it. If they see signs of infection, she'll remain on antibiotics for 7 to 10 days.

I got home from the hospital at 11 last night, and was too tired to revisit all the scariness in order to write this post. We are relieved that the initial news today is so encouraging. In the past, Andrea has responded well to transfusion, so we're optimistic that the same will be true today.

Please, please, please continue praying for Andrea. This experience really drove home to us how complacent we've become. Even though we knew we'd been very lucky, this drove home how easily it can get worse.

“Perhaps our eyes need to be washed by our tears once in a while, so that we can see Life with a clearer view again.”
Alex Tan


  1. oh man tori, Im so sorry I wasnt there. As soon as I started reading the blog, I was saying to myself "BLOOD BLOOD.. SHE NEEDS BLOOd.. please dont let them to a tap"... then i read furthur and low and behold they called and asked. sorry, i wish i pushed for the transfusion harder on wednesday.. thats when we got into the argument regarding blood versus diuretics. she'll probably come flying off oxygen now. see u monday. btw the muffins were awesome! thanks..

  2. One thing we've always believed, and this experience has driven home, is that all medicine is a judgment call. Ken & I thought for a few days that Andrea needed blood. Maybe we were wrong for not pushing harder for a transfusion. I guess the two pieces of good news are: 1 - no meningitis, and 2 - no ill effects from the tap. And the best news is that Andrea's primary nurses have got her back all the time!