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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.
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