Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Almost Famous

Last night in the ER I got the first taste of the rarity of a medical emergency like Jason's. The nurses recognized me, those that didn't whispered as I walked past. Sadie's illness was taken very seriously, and all the stops were pulled to make sure she was OK. And I was frequently asked how he was doing now that he was off the ventilator, and if he was more lucid. Today I had complete strangers ask how he was - our local Target pharmacist, a CVS pharmacist last night, and then my primary care physician, whom I had not discussed the case with. It turns out there is a reason why.

The fun continued last night after listening to my home answering machine. The dermatologist Jason saw a couple of weeks ago called to leave the lab tests results. Turns out that there are a "hint of auto antibodies" in one of the cultures. We have yet to work on what that means, but my Google searches yielded insights as to why we were having protein (and thus swelling) issues in the CCU during his intubation. It also may explain why the virus he had ravaged him so much - his immune system is likely out of whack. Now to figure out why.

This morning Jason was released from the hospital, but before I picked him up I told him of the results, and we used speaker phone to notify the attending nurse, who passed the word onto the doctor.

In the mean time, apparently the culture came back positive from the first night - and it shows H Flu. It's pretty rare to contract due to Hib vaccinations. So we're piecing together how he could have gotten it.

In a new Michael Crichton turn (no more ER, think more like "Congo"), I was standing in line at Target after dropping off some prescriptions when my phone rang. I didn't recognize the number, but decided to answer, thinking it may be Jason's work or the hospital. It was the Department of Health.

The gentleman on the other line of the phone was calm and collected as he asked about our family, living conditions, the children's health, my health. He mentioned a possible quarantine and prophylactics, but wanted to gather more information first. As we talked, I found out he'd already received lab reports from the hospital (which had alerted him to the situation), had spoken to our and the children's primary care physicians and knew most of our medical history. He'd talked to our pharmacist and gotten those records. And he knew about Jason's dermatology referral. He was just quizzing me, I guess... he already knew the answers. Creepy. Talk about Big Brother.

State Health guy said he'd call back in a few minutes with directives. When he called back, he wasn't quite so foreboding, but asked how I'd been feeling. He had found out from ER records (which he'd requested and I'd just released) that I had Jason's sputum (which included a lot of blood) all over my face and clothes that day. Not shockingly, it's not a good thing, so they wanted me to get on antibiotics immediately. When I told him that my throat had been hurting with what I thought was sympathy pains or dry air, he told me to immediately go to my primary care provided for a culture and the goods (antibiotics). At my doctor's office I had cultures taken, confirmed a fever of over 101 and he confirmed my throat was cherry red with white patches. I can't tell you how happy this makes me after what we've all been through the past five days.

As far as the girls, it turns out I hadn't been overreacting when I took Sadie to the ER last night. She's on the correct antibiotics, which they gave because they knew it was either a stress or h-flu type of infection (thanks to her daddy's medical records). Katie is headed for the doctor tomorrow, and I'm a bit worried by what I originally thought was a bug bite that now looks much worse on the side of her face. She had strep a little over two weeks ago, and a 10-day course of antibiotics, but they weren't the ones that fight these particularly nasty strains of strep and flu. I'm not OVERLY worried, though, because both girls were away from him during his coughing spasms and stridor, so it's unlikely they were infected. Our extended family has been informed to be vigilant, but it is very unlikely they'd be sick, even those present on the day he was so sick in our home. I had cordoned off the area he was sick in and had sterilized everything the following day, so we're OK on that front. Friends and family who visited in the hospital are fine - they had a HEPA filter going the entire time, and he was no longer infectious by the time he woke up.

So, tonight I'm feeling more like a Michael Chrichton book than the ER mini-series he produces. I'm exhausted and have a fever of about 102. I've been sick the entire time, but just kept going knowing I didn't have another option. I also kind of thought, to be honest, that I was being a bit of a hypochondriac given the terrible things I witnessed with Jason on Christmas day. Several nights I woke up having difficulty swallowing, which I'd attributed to stress.

I'm hoping that by tomorrow Sadie is much better, and I'm on the mend, and that by the first day of 2009 we're over this hump. I know Jason has a bit of a road ahead in determining the true nature of the medical problems that led to his hospitalization, but just to have each one of our health OK for a day would be great.

As an aside, I know I haven't really been writing like my normal self. This whole thing has been a weird, life-changing kind of event, and not just for me. Jason is trying to process what he saw, how he feels, and where he "went" during all of this. It's hard to lose 3 days of your life. I'll leave the details of the events and his emotions for him to tell - if he wants to, to whom he wishes to share it.

I, on the other hand, wonder who this person is coming home. Will he be the same? Will his life change forever? And how do I process all of this, myself? He said and saw some crazy things in there. And he's got a very different outlook on life at the moment. I just wonder if that will last, or change. I don't know how else to describe what I'm feeling now, and it's definitely too deep to bring to the surface yet, let alone write about. I may never talk about it, actually. I just don't know.


  1. The Deal Family10:29 PM

    Kim, we just found out about Jason yesterday and am honestly shocked at what you guys have been dealing with. I am glad to hear that things seem to be on the mend although your post tonight still brings concern. Please know that you all have been in our thoughts and prayers and will continue to be over the coming days and weeks as you guys figure all of this out! Nikki, Bryan, Logan and Ansley Deal

  2. Anonymous3:03 PM

    I am so sorry I haven;t been by the blog to know about all this sooner - I feel like a horrible blog friend. I truly hope that you all get better quickly.

    Please know that you are all in our thoughts and prayers.

  3. Janan Scafidi & Family7:26 PM

    Kim, Jason, Katie & Sadie,
    I work with Jason (one pod over). We met this summer at Kirstens house. Our thoughts and prayers are with you! What an ordeal... BTW (totally off point--sorry) Kim, you are an amazing writer. I just had to say that.


  4. NancyM and family9:45 PM

    Kim, Jason, Katie & Sadie,

    I work with Jason as well. I am just so shocked by this whole ordeal. Please know that you guys have been and will remain in our hearts and prayers. You're strength is amazing. I hope you will soon find the answers you need.


  5. Anonymous12:48 AM


    I've had you all on my mind and haven't had time to check back on you as Ian has strep at the moment..of course I've been up scared after your ordeal. I am thinking of you all and hoping an answer will come soon and that all of you will be okay. I'd like to call you but don't won't to disturb you during all this stress.

    ((HUGS)) and Prayers,

    Natalie Sanders

  6. Anonymous2:40 PM

    Stopping in to check on you and hoping all is going well with you and yours. Still praying - and sending hugs too.

  7. I found your blog because I have a TGA baby and Im always interested to see kids a little further on in life and how they are fairing. Praise the Lord for precious Sadie!

    Looks like you have had more than your share of medical emergencies in recent days. Prayers for complete and quick healing for Jason.

    Just a note - I saw your post on Vivian Thomas. There is a movie about his life that I just watched recently - it will bring you to tears. Quite a remarkable man....especially to us, heart moms! Its called Something The Lord Made. Hope you can get ahold of it.