The Scion, The Sitch, And The Microbe(s): A Final (We Hope!) Update

Our boy Dashiell is home safe from the hospital! It was a long road, including six days and nights in the ICU and another three days in the regular hospital, three separate medical procedures, and an unbearable amount of suffering, but the worst is over, and he’s on the mend…

There’s still more medical work in play. He came home with a PICC installed in his arm, which is sort of a mechanical shortcut between his arm and his Vena Cavae, through which his mother must pump him full of a number of drugs on a daily basis. He also still needs more blood tests, and may need to be treated for ongoing fevers for up to two months.

That said, let me tell you about my little boy. At the ripe old age of three, he nearly died of pneumonia. Attacked by four separate virulent microbes at the same time, his lung collapsed, and his chest filled with fluid. While this was going on, and adults scurried around him, he fought harder than I have ever seen anyone fight.

When things were at their worst, he was able to spend hours learning and using meditative breathing exercises to get extra air and deal with the excruciating pain he was in. While he was drugged and barely conscious, his little heart running at nearly 200 beats per minute for thirty hours, cycling every drop of blood in his body in around 90 seconds to scavenge every last bit of available oxygen, he regularly woke to tell his desperate father that he “felt a little bit better” and could he “please have some chocolate milk”.

His parents have never been so terrified, nor so proud, in their entire lives.

Dash is recovering well, but his body is still beaten and bruised, and it will be a few weeks before he has his usual energy back. He is still in pain, but regularly smiles and laughs, which we haven’t seen in weeks. His parents are also recovering well!

We cannot say enough in praise of the doctors and nurses in Albany Medical Center’s emergency room, pediatric intensive care unit, and infectious disease unit. They literally saved our son’s life, and were, to a man, caring, understanding, and professional throughout. We also want to thank the Ronald McDonald House organization and volunteers for providing a homey, comfortable space just feet away from our son’s room where terrified parents could find a few moments of normalcy and respite from the relentless torrent of stress and fear.

We were also truly moved by the massive support we received from family, friends and neighbors during this trial. There were moments when that support was the only thing that kept us all going and sane (and fed!).

The End (we hope…)

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Fourth Day in the Hospital: A sad little boy in review

This is the continuing update on our son Dashiell’s condition, for distribution to all!

Short Story:

The last three days have been a rollercoaster, but the overall movement has been positive.

Long Story:

What we have discovered so far is that there are a trio of unusually debilitating non-flu respiratory viruses running through Upstate NY children this year. Together, they are responsible for the majority of child pneumonia cases. Our overachieving tyke has managed to contract all three simultaneously! In addition, he also managed to become infected with group B streptococcus (group A being the one that gives you strep throat).

The working theory is that he contracted one of the viruses, and had a strong enough immune system to suppress all symptoms, but not to beat it entirely in the short term. This weakened him enough to allow the other two to gain a foothold. The three together were only able to give him a runny nose and slight cough, but served to depress his immune system to the point that the Streptococcus B, which rarely poses a threat to healthy people, was able to invade both his lungs and chest cavity.

The result of all this was that his lungs were weakened at the same time that his chest cavity began to fill with fluid. This caused his left lung to almost collapse. Simultaneously, he presented “scarlet fever”, meaning he experienced spikes of extreme high-fever (up to 105, that we caught), and the toxins produced by the strep bacteria produced a hideous, body-wide rash that weirdly moved slowly around on his body, sometimes engulfing his face, his torso, his arms and legs, etc. (By the way, no medical professional here has ever even heard of a moving rash associated with any known disease before, which gave us serious cause for concern early on!).

Fortunately, we were already at the hospital before the worst of the lung collapse and scarlet fever hit, so he was kept from complete respiratory failure, and the scarlet fever only had a few hours to work before it was knocked out by the antibiotics, which meant that he was never as close to death as he might have been, despite how terribly ill he was.

In the last three days, he has had a chest tube installed to drain the fluid, and been treated with multiple antibiotics to combat the strep. There is nothing the doctors can do to cure the viral infections as they are no susceptible to any known antivirals, but his fever is well controlled, the strep is losing the fight, and his lung function is back up to about 90%.

We are not out of the woods, and best case will be staying in the hospital for another week, but we have moved from condition “Terrified he’s gonna die” through condition “Concerned he might die or have serious future medical problems” and on into condition “Still worried there might be an unexpected downturn, but expecting a full recovery”

For his part, Dashiell is annoyed he can’t get out of bed and go to the potty on his own, and confused why people keep sending him toys and balloons when he “already has enough”.

Mommy and Daddy are stressed and emotionally exhausted but grateful for wonderful family, friends, and neighbors who have helped and supported us in our time of need. We love you all!

Posted in Ballroom, Family, For Facebook, General, Personal, Uncategorized | 4 Responses

Medical update

For those who’ve inquired, as of 1AM, our son Dashiell is out of surgery with chest tube successfully installed. 300 milliliters of nastiness were siphoned out of his 1.5 liter chest, and his heartrate and respiration are the lowest they’ve been in 48 hours. All is well (or heading there) with the pneumonia!

Meanwhile, the scarlet fever is responding to treatment, with rashes and skin pain/itching slowly receding.

In other news, daddy is a blubbering, exhausted mess, pinballing emotionally between contented relief and “Everything sucks, and I hate everyone!”

I’m sure mamma is the same, but I sent her home with the baby to try to maintain some sense of normalcy for Arabella, and it’s too late to have an extended phone conversation…

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“C” Players

On a professional level, I try very hard to give everyone the benefit of the doubt and reject categorizations of people’s competence in their jobs unless there is literally no way to characterize someone as anything other than incompetent. Then again, there are simply some people you encounter whose continued presence among the living constitutes a negative net benefit to the continued existence of the human race.

Today, I had the unavoidable need to enter the following comment into code I was writing that interacts with someone else’s system. I had to really consider the fact that this person might one day read this comment, so I did not make it lightly or without forethought. In the end, I chose to leave it in the code as a necessary explanation for the mentally deranged-seeming coding choices I was forced to make, so that future engineers could maintain the code without losing their minds…

‘Prtcnt table definition formatting, naming convention, and numbering are all
‘hosed, because someone doesn’t understand what a standard is. Fixing this
‘in code would require manipulating the msREGEX object from Basic Control
‘Language (cimBasic), which is a massive task not worth the effort.
‘Therefore, in this case, we have to hard-code column names to get
‘access to the data.
‘[Addendum]Oh, also, as it turns out, defective coder forgot to even
‘specify the identifiers for the last three columns of the table in the
‘table definition, so code couldn’t fix it anyway! Divining column functions
‘via labor-intensive iterative process henceforth known as “plug and pray”…
‘[Addendum – 2]On further analysis, it seems that defective coder added one
‘record to the table that has different column names and purposes from the
‘rest of the rows in the table, effectively shoehorning two tables into one
‘file with no table definition or schema at all provided for one of them.
‘Divining secondary table purpose and definition via “plug and pray” methodology…
Posted in For Facebook, Geeky, General, Industry, Rational | 1 Response

Frustration For The Win!

It had been a bad evening. Between little sleep due to a newborn, a long day at work, a three-year-old’s perfect-embodiment-of-an-upraised-middle-finger meltdown, and a previously house-trained dog’s homemade mud-wrestling-pit in the upstairs hall, my neurons were frazzled.

Grumpy and resentful, I trundled the dogs out for their nighty walk, muttering and cursing to myself like a crazy person. As we passed a house we pass regularly, we discovered that the door to the enclosed porch had been left open, allowing a rather large, black dog we’d never met before to plaster itself against the screen door and begin barking aggressively, even furiously, at us.

I had pretty much had enough. I was tired and pissed off, and I really needed that decompression time to regain my sanity. Without thinking, I dropped into the low, gravelly voice I had to learn to use when disciplining our bull mastiff, and roared, “HUSH!”

To my surprise, the black dog stopped its calamitous caterwauling instantly, dropped down from the door, and just stood there, looking at us. For a moment, I paused, basking in my restored quiet time.

Then it happened. From inside the house came a woman’s voice, quiet but with a razor-sharp, mocking edge to it, carrying possibly the most devastating thing I’ve ever heard one human say to another.

“Why won’t she do that for you?”

I must have giggled for an hour straight…

Posted in Family, For Facebook, General, Personal, Uncategorized, Whimsical | 1 Response
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