SAL-VA-TION: by grace

E-LEV-EN: children from 1984 to 2006

HOME-SCHOOL-ING: since 1990

DOWN-SYN-DROME: susie and gabe

GRAND-CHILD-REN: since 2010

FAITH-FUL-NESS: my steadfast rock, my biggest supporter, my leader, my friend, my love, my husband

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Trauma Week

Poor Gabe had a rough week, hence my week was not too smooth, either. I mentioned earlier that he was sick--contributing to my behaving like "an old brat". After a week of intermittent fever he woke up Monday with a 101 degree temp and I knew something was just not right. I took him to the doctor where they did a chest x-ray, blood work, and urinalysis but nothing looked unusual. We were sent home to "keep a close eye on things".

Tuesday I called and told the nurse that Gabe's temp was staying over 102 even with Tylenol. I'd had a family doc who said a viral fever should drop below 101 with medication. If it doesn't drop it's a sign of bacteria. Hindsight--I wish he hadn't retired. I was told to switch to Motrin and "keep an eye on things". Two small reddish blue spots appeared on his neck on Tuesday and the nurse still said to "keep an eye on it".

Wednesday, I was awakened at 4:50 am by a very upset and irritable Gabe. His temp was under 100 but he was acting very strange. I gave him a bottle and some Motrin just so he could rest. When he got up at 9 the spots on his neck had spread so it looked like he had a bib mark on his chest and the entire left side of his neck, under his ear, was red. I called again and we were scheduled for 11:45. At 10:30 Gabe's temp was 105.4 and we were heading in so someone else could keep their eye on this thing! At 10:50 the doctor's thermometer read 106.6 (family record I have no desire to see broken).

For the next six hours we were in the ER for a lumbar puncture (spinal tap--which was quite uneventful by the way--and negative for anything bad) and an IV. The fever, the low muscle tone of Down syndrome, and the stressed-out-screams all made Gabe's little veins very unfriendly to IV needles. It took almost 5 hours, 4 different nurses/lab technicians/doctors, and FIFTEEN attempts to finally get the IV started. Attempt number 15 was the final try and if it had failed they were calling anesthesia to knock him out and put one in his neck. Many prayers were being offered and pleas and tears being poured out.

Gabe was exhausted and traumatized. We put braces on both arms to keep him from touching the IV and I spent the next 16 hours rocking him. The IV only lasted for 20 hours but it was enough to get all but one dose of the IV antibiotics in him. He was kept in the hospital until Friday to get antibiotic injections and do blood tests but the numbers finally moved in the right direction and we were able to make it to our own Fourth of July gathering.

Just to spice things up, as everyone was heading out the door to see the fireworks Friday night Lisa got showered with a shattered flourescent bulb. She walked into the kitchen absolutely covered in blood. Her forehead was all red, it was running down the sides of her face and pooling in her neck, dripping into her eyes, and soaking her shirt. And she had no idea she was hurt. Just remember, head injuries almost always look MUCH worse than they really are. Keith and I spent the next 25 minutes picking glass out of her hair and cleaning her up. The source of her blood river was a little cut about 5 mm long.

By the way, Gabe's condition was termed 'cellulitis' but we have no idea what kind of bacteria caused it (strep, staph, MRSA) or how he got it. He had three different antibiotics in the hospital and is taking two more now. And we are dealing with a physician who is very conservative when it comes to antibiotics.

Thank you, God, for a mending Gabe and a new week!!


kristi noser said...

I have a friend whose husband has had cellulitis three or four times. He seemed to have a case when he was overstressed. It would come out in a large patch on his leg--about the size of a softball. He said it was extremely painful, and he ended up in the hospital on morphine twice. They did the antibiotic route twice as well and when it came back again they looked into alternative treatment. They did a combination of herbal remedies and light treatment and he has not had an episode for two years. If you want to talk to her contact me and I'll set you up.

Marcia Wilwerding said...

Just wondering: did the florescent bulb have mercury in it? I've heard that they do. Scary.

You are all in our prayers!

Marcia Wilwerding

Keithslady said...

Kristi--yes, I'd love to know what your friend used. I don't know if alternatives would have worked in THIS case with Gabe because he was running a fever for about ten days and really sick for two before the rash even showed up. However, if it thinks Gabe is a good host I am very willing to be unwelcoming. My email is

Marcia--I don't know about the mercury, probably a yes, but I'd really just like to play ostrich right now and bury my head.....

Kara Jo said...

Oh my goodness. How traumatic, for Gabe and for Mom. So glad to hear he is on the mend.

NoOtherName said...

And we wonder why we get gray hair!

Hope no more nights like that one happen for awhile...or ever!