Robbie’s Inspiration – Thursday Doors, When operations go pear shaped

Welcome to Thursday Doors, a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing your link in the comments below, anytime between 12:01 am Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American eastern time).

My son, Michael, has struggled with his health his whole life. At three weeks old he stopped breathing and went blue, I rushed him to the hospital emergency room and he was diagnosed with bronchiolitis and admitted into hospital for three days. He spent this time in an oxygen tent.

At his six week checkup, the pediatrician said she had never seen a baby with such narrow nasal passages. “I couldn’t fit a pin into his nasal passages,” is what she said. I’ve never forgotten that. I had spent the three weeks after his discharge from hospital nebulising him every 2 hours for 45 minutes. It was a killer and I was exhausted. I was also breast feeding because I was told I must to give my baby the best chance possible.

These three weeks set the tone for Michael’s life. He had bronchitis four times in his second year and was admitted to hospital each time for oxygen and treatment. At nine months he started with a series of eye infections. I took him everywhere, from the GP, to the pediatrician and even to an ophthalmologist. No-one could fathom out what was wrong and this continued until he was six years old.

Michael missed 25 days of school during his first year of school. The third ENT we visited, consulted with two of his colleagues, and they established that his left ostium (the opening through which your sinuses drain into your nose) didn’t exist so there was no drainage happening. The lack of drainage over his life and caused the eye infections as infected mucus tried to escape through the thin bone of the sinus wall. He had developed a biofilm which is a drug resistant bacteria.

He had the first sinus operation and the ostium was opened. He was given a sinus douche to wash away the mucus containing the biofilm. For the past 9 years we have had one sinus infection after another, despite all the treatments and five sinus wash outs.

Michael is also a chronic asthmatic. He has brittle asthma which means it isn’t well controlled by medication.

This year, Michael’s health became poor again. He saw a new ENT who put him on a new treatment plan in an effort to improve his sinus infections without surgery. He also saw a new pulmonologist. The new asthma treatments worked well, but the sinus treatments did not.

Two weeks ago, he was sent for [another] CT scan. This time they did a top down scan. They discovered that Michael never developed upper sinuses. His lower sinuses are catacombed with bone with no drainage, so his functional sinuses were very small. There was also something going on in the left lower sinus, some sort of blockage.

An operation was booked for Wednesday this week. The doctor would do a biopsy of the lungs to check for cystic fibrosis, check for an aspirin allergy, and try and sort out the blockage and straighten his septum (cartilage and bone in your nose).

The good news is the operational from a reconstruction point of view was a success and his sinuses will be more functional going forward. The bad news is the operation went a bit pear shaped.

The ENT encountered significant scar tissue in Michael’s sinuses. This was the blockage that showed on the CT scan. His septum was pushed over to the extreme right because of the scar tissue mass. When this was removed, his nose bled excessively and nose plugs had to be inserted to stem the bleeding.

When the anesthetist starting bring Michael out from under anesthetic, he panicked. Reaching up, he ripped the oxygen tube allowing him to breath out of his throat. He wasn’t ready to breath on his own, so he didn’t breath. The anesthetist couldn’t get an oxygen mask onto Michael (he was struggling and is a big strong lad) so they had to put him back under and re-insert the oxygen pipe.

I was called to come to recovery, not that I could do much other than stick my head in and try to calm him from the door. We are still in ‘covid’.

This is a double whammy problem. He had additional anesthetic which his system struggled to handle, and he bruised his trachea as the oxygen pipe was still inflated when he pulled it out.

When he came back to the ward, he was covered in blood, had nose plugs in, and was struggling to breath. The nurse checked his vital and his oxygen levels were 78 and dropping. All hell broke lose as four nurses rushed around getting him onto oxygen and checking his heart rate which was over 128 bpm.

It was very unexpected and alarming. I felt useless and in the way of the nurses. I was hovering in a corner, worried sick. I was on my own as Terence was at a client meeting.

Thankfully, Michael’s pulmonologist entered the fray and he was quickly moved to High Care and received prompt and appropriate treatment. He came out of High Care late yesterday and is doing better today. He is breathing on his own and his heart rate has stabilized.

This is why I am behind with reading all your lovely posts and slower responding to comments. Poor Greg’s needs got dropped completely and I didn’t attend his teacher feedback sessions.

He is improving and will be fine. Treatment was sufficiently prompt to cause no long-term issues.

Doors to the theatre at Sandton Clinic
Doors to High Care

You can join in Thursday Doors here: https://nofacilities.com/2021/09/16/thirsty-pagan-doors/

103 thoughts on “Robbie’s Inspiration – Thursday Doors, When operations go pear shaped

  1. Oh, I hope he recovers soon. Perhaps mention dacryorhinocystostomies (DCR) to his consultant? I’ve had 2 and my left eye (done externally so a small scar) is normal now, but the right one (done via the nose) wasn’t so good. An external DCR might help?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Robbie, my heart goes out to you and Michael. I was glad for you all that long term things will be fine. This recap is so very detailed and helpful to understand the Michael’s struggles. You are a strong woman and mom. Prayers to you all to continue down the healing road to long term health. Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Robbie, what a terrible ordeal you’ve all been through, not just over the last couple of weeks but for a very long time. I’m so glad Michael is recovering well and should do better in the future. Forget all about blogging for the moment. We’ll still be here when you come back. Sending you healing hugs, Toni x

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Hi Liz, Michael is doing better today and is out of danger. It was a very stressful time; not being able to breath is very frightening for everyone involved. He still has a lot of swelling in his throat and can’t talk much or eat hard foods, but he is breathing well on his own.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I am lost for words after reading that! How absolutely frightening for you and your son and then the rest of your family once they knew–but you lived it and saw it in horrifying, vivid detail. I hope Michael recovers fully from his ordeal and you can put it behind you as well, Robbie. My thoughts go out to you.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Oh Robbie, how upsetting. Such a roller coaster of events, all in one day. I am glad that your son’s long-term prognosis is good, but I feel for all that you and your family have gone through. I hope Michael is feeling better and that it won’t be long before he goes home. 🧡

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I wish I could push a “care” button instead of a like button, Robbie. I know the difficulty/fear/panic all of this must have caused you and your husband. Nothing worse than seeing one of our children suffer. You write about it so well, I was holding my breath the entire post. I’m glad that all in all they think the surgery was successful. Now on to the healing. We all send much love. xo ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Pam, thank you for your support and thoughts. Michael is doing better and, thankfully, kids of his age recover much quicker than we do. I am really hoping that this operation will help him and improve his quality of life. It is awful being helpless and in the way.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Dan, I am sitting here next to him while he rests. When you are sick you sleep a great deal. High Care is horrible because there is a nurse doing something all the time and I felt completely in the way but compelled to stay in case something went wrong. He is doing much better now and I am very grateful.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Liz, thank you. I was a wreck on Wednesday and hardly slept at all, but yesterday wasn’t as bad. Today, he is looking better, the bleeding has more or less stopped, and he is breathing. I really hope this operation will be worth it.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh Robbie, what a stressful situation. Thank goodness Michael seems to be recovering, and also, that the true problem was (hopefully) finally found and taken care of. The human body is still a mystery in many ways.
    And yes, do tend to your own needs as well. We can wait. (K)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Kerfe, Michael is doing better today and is sleeping a lot so I am able to relax a bit. Thank you for your supportive message. I hope this operation will make all the difference. Scar tissue can come back so I’m praying for the best outcome.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. A terrifying experience for you and Michael. Complex ongoing health issues must be a minefield for family and doctors. Take a rest from blogging, we won’t expect you to keep up your normal pace Robbie. Best wishes for Michael.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Good grief, Robbie. I can only imagine what you are going through. Both of my children had life-threatening health issues but moved past it–not gone but in remission. I can’t imagine the stress of never getting a break, always something new. My prayers and wishes go out to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jacqui, I didn’t know that about your children and I am so sorry. Both my children have chronic health conditions but Greg’s has become very manageable over the past 2 years. Michael is lying here asleep so I can relax a bit and do some blogging.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. wow – I am so sorry to hear about the health issues Michael has had from the get-go. I certainly hope this latest operation will provide him with some relief. I am guessing that COVID has been a scary time for all of you given his breathing issues. Best wishes to Michael and your family moving forward…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jim, yes, we were told that Michael must not get covid and we have been very careful. My dad was also very sick so we had a lot to worry about over the covid period. Michael is sleeping now and breathing normally [well, his normal]. Hopefully when the swelling in his nose goes and the stiches are gone, he will be able to breath through his nose, something he has never been able to do.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Joy, thank you for your kind words. He is on the mend today and is breathing relatively normally but through his mouth as always. I am hoping he will be able to breath through his nose after this. Have a lovely weekend.

      Like

  11. I can only imagine the nightmare you have gone through, Robbie. My second wife had to have an operation on a deviated and scarred septum that caused her breathing and snoring issues. She had an awful time of it, and the worst thing was that it didn’t solve her problem in the long term.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Robbie, first of all, thank you for sharing…I am so sorry that your son had had these medical issues his entire life…something most of us can thankfully take for granted…he is SO SO SO lucky to have you there for him every step of the way…bravo to you and wishing you both the best going forward in recovery

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi John, thank you so much. Michael has a tough time of it, but the ENT seems optimistic that this operation will help him long-term. That would make it all worthwhile. He is doing even better today, young people rally quickly. Have a great weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. What a nightmare. I am so grateful he could receive such solid care, no matter the mishaps. Here sadly in parts of the US the hospitals are full of unvaccinated COVID patients and are having to turn away others, even ones who really need a bed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Elizabeth, that is such a shame, especially since everyone in the USA has had the opportunity to be vaccinated. I am now fully vaccinated and so are all my family except Michael. Vaccinations only open for his age group on 1 October. He will be vaccinated, I’ve already cleared it with his pulmonologist. My dad had a pulmonary embolism in June which was during SA’s third wave of covid and our hospitals were full to capacity. The doctor could not admit my dad so I had to administer the injections at home and care for him here. It was quite an anxious time for me, but he has come through it and is well on the road to recovery.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wow. I didn’t know that the hospitals were full there too. My brother in law had to be sent home to be cared for by relatives too instead of getting a bed, even though he was fully vaccinated.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Clive, thank you for visiting me here. I was very frightening at the time. I felt so helpless and in the way of the nurses. There were so many all rushing around, it makes you feel very overwhelmed. He is recovering nicely now and has started to eat a bit so that is all good. Young people bounce back quickly.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I hated hitting the like button. What a terrible experience for your son and for you. I know from personal experience there is absolutely nothing worse for a mother than to think you may lose your child. It sounds like he is on the road to recovery. Now your job is to take good care of you.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Robbie, that’s absolutely awful. It seems good that you went to a new ENT who looked properly at him to see the lack of sinus formation. Hopefully this terrible experience results in better quality of life! I’m surprised they checked now for cystic fibrosis and not when he was younger. My friends son has a rare form of this genetic disease. Sending positive thoughts your way xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Tandy, Michael was checked for CF when he was young. He had a sweat test and it was negative so they never did further tests. Michael may have atypical CF which is rare and only effects one or two systems. Thankfully, they think his lungs are fine, and only his sinuses are deformed. The test results come in 2 weeks. Thank you, Tandy. Hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Any parent can imagine the stress and feelings of helplessness you must have been going through. How scary for all of you! Does Michael have any memory of waking up and removing the oxygen tube, or was he even aware he had done that?

    As a guy who has had more than his share of sinus infections, I know how debilitating they can be. One of the significant changes for me in retirement is I seem to have fewer problems with them, though the smoke from all of our wildfires doesn’t help.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Pete, Michael says he doesn’t remember but he knows about it because pulling that pipe out caused a lot of problems and his throat is still very swollen and sore. He is a little more sore today because the strong medications he received in hospital are wearing off. He is fine though and will recover. Thank you for your thoughtful comment. PS air conditioning is horrible for sinus suffers so maybe that is why its improved for you?

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Oh, Robbie…what an awful scary few days it must have been but it sounds like this new ENT person is on the ball…Glad to hear Michael is eating a little and the long term prognosis is good… as you said kids bounce back quickly…Look after yourself and take care…Will keep you all in my prayers and hopefully the CF test will be clear… poor lad he has been through the mill… Love and hugs xx

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Robbie, what a terrifying ordeal for Michael and for you. He’s been so brave and no wonder he panicked. It sounds horrendous. I feel for you both; realised I was holding my breath as I was reading your post. It’s good news that the op went well in the end and I hope it makes a huge difference in his life. Big hugs to you, Robbie. Take care and wishing Michael a speedy recovery from the op and hope that he’s soon back home. Yes, everything is made so much harder because of covid. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. HI Annika, thank you for your kind comment. Michael is home and is doing quite well, except his throat is very painful. Hopefully that will pass and he won’t need an antibiotic. Covid has certainly made health issues and hospitalisation much more difficult. Have a lovely new week and stay well.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Oh! Robbie never knew you went through so much and poor Michael too. He surely is a brave and courageous boy and as a mother I too can feel what you must be going through. It is completely okay if you do not read bloggers posts. You take care of Michael first and with the grace and blessings of God all will be good. Stay safe dear.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. HI Kamal, thank you for your kind and understanding comment. Michael is home and is doing much better. He has a sore throat, but I’m hoping it will pass without more medication. He is a brave boy. Have a lovely Sunday, Kamal.

      Like

  20. Oh, Robbie! I can’t imagine this. My heart is breaking for Michael. I am very late catching up on reading blogs, too. The start of the school has been wrought with Covid in my classroom in spite of intense cleaning and protocols. And, I have been in LA for an exciting event (tomorrow’s blog post.). As I catch up with your posts, I hope you have a Michael update. Best to you and Michael, Robbie.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Oh Robbie, I am so sorry to hear about this traumatic day for you and Michael. As it is almost three weeks later, I am hoping he is on his way to recovering. I can only imagine what all these chronic issues have been like over the years. Prayers for all of you.

    Like

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