It's April 8, 2015 and this post has been planned in my mind for over a few months now. April 7 is a day of great importance in the Garcia household these days, but as I'll explain, I wasn't able to write that post.
We have been counting down the days on our calendar to a very important holiday: 1 year out of the hospital! April 7, 2014 we were handed over our little warrior from the hands of the doctors and nurses one final time in hopes that this time he would remain healthy and at home. And he did. He has grown, gained weight, matured, and created so many memories in the walls of our home that we were blessed to have experienced. Isla has loved waking up every day to the squeal of her little brother and also being able to boss him around from time to time. Even through the past two months with two very intense upper respiratory illnesses, he has been a champ hanging in there and remaining out of the hospital.
We had a great Easter and spent it with my in-laws in the burbs. Cohen was in great spirits and dressed up for the occasion!
After returning back home, we started his first evening feed at 6pm and he went to sleep. Ryan and I were relaxing on the couch watching tv, and digesting our Easter meal. We ironically were talking about how in just 2 more days it would be 1 year that we had taken Cohen home from the hospital! Little did we know, that anniversary would be cut short by 2 days.
By 7 pm he woke up vomiting.....this is a norm for him lately and we didn't think too much of it. Usually if he's not tolerating a feed, he'll throw up and usually be ok, but this time was different. Every 15 minutes he was waking up and vomiting. GRAPHIC WARNING: The vomiting got to the point that he started having green neon bile. This was definitely a sign something was up. I kept waiting to see if it would stop so I could try to give him some pedialyte but he was a mess. We called his PED and "you have to take him in" rang through the phone into my ear. NO, this couldn't be happening. He couldn't just last two more days? He has been able to stay home before with a 106 fever, but because he's vomiting we have to? She said it would probably just be an overnight thing...but she apparently didn't recall the 17 weeks we spent in the hospital last year. The 17 weeks we were ripped apart as a family. I knew in my heart we had to go in too, but I also knew this probably wouldn't be a quick fix. Cohen was vomiting every 5 minutes at this point, I didn't feel safe driving him there by myself worrying if he would need me to help him. So we were able to get our amazing neighbor Kristen :) to come down and help us. She stayed at our place while Ryan drove me and dropped me off at the ER.
We arrived at the ER by 10:30pm. It was the barrage of questions again this time strictly about his gi issues and history. When was his gtube placed? Why was it changed to a gj tube? When did he start vomiting? How many times did it come out green? For once we were focusing on vomit and not a respiratory rate! I was a little relieved at that :) He was vomiting non-stop and every time I put down the "puke bowl" for more than a few minutes, it would start up again. They took an x-ray of his belly to rule out any obstruction since he has been vomiting green. They figured it may be a stomach flu and would put in an IV to give him anti-nausea meds and also start fluids to hopefully get him feeling better. It was terrible watching them try 3 different times to get an IV in him. Being a baby before, really has it's benefits as I can recall watching Cohen smile when he used to get IV's put in. Being as dehydrated as he was, his veins had shriveled up and it made his very small veins that much smaller. Finally they were able to get one in his foot and once they did he seemed to start feeling much better. He was so exhausted from all of the work he had done all evening and it being 12am, he passed out while sitting up in the hospital bed. We were finally admitted to the hospital on our favorite floor: 21 at 3:00am. Both of us exhausted, the nurses quickly took his vitals and we both went to sleep!
Being in the hospital this time around has its trade offs. Last time Cohen was in a hospital he was only 5 months old and now being a 16 month old it becomes rather challenging to entertain a little toddler in a hospital bed. He is limited at what he can do physically since he has an IV near his left ankle. He cannot put weight on it, so he pretty much moves from lying down, to pulling up to a sit over and over again. We have brought in some toys for him to play with and books to read but passing 3-4 hours of wakefulness in a hospital setting is much slower than doing it at home! He is also unable to leave his room because he is "isolation" due to the fact that he is vomiting. The perks of being a returning patient is everyone knows his name, our faces, and our story! We had visitors the first day we were here and every day since. It's those little 5 min windows of time where chatting with an old nurse or therapist helps make you feel like you are at home and not stuck in a 5x5 stark white room. Everyone has been commenting on "how big" he is since some of them haven't seen him since he was 5 months old. It's reassuring that even though he still struggles to gain weight and develop more slowly, he is making progress in the long run.
I stayed at the hospital through Monday afternoon when I switched out with Ryan to stay with Isla. Now that he's older it is not even an option about leaving him at the hospital. Watching him sit up in the hospital bed and looking at the door sends a pain right through my heart making it impossible to leave the little guy, even to run down the hall for a refill of my water mug. On Tuesday afternoon I was hit violently with a stomach bug.....trying to take care of Isla while sitting in the fetal position and running to/from the bathroom was draining! Ryan stayed at the hospital so I wouldn't infect Cohen. In the middle of the night Isla woke up with the same thing and by 5 am Ryan was already rushing home in a cab about to hurl. Luckily, my MIL Penny was able to take the day off work to stay in the hospital with our little guy. We all are nursing back to recovery as we speak.
So the focus of this stay is simply to hydrate him and get him to tolerate his feeds. We have taken a HUGE step back as far as his feeds go. At home he was able to tolerate 5 feeds/day each one 165mls over about an hour and a half. Now we are trying to get him to tolerate 8 feeds/day each one 90mls over an hour and a half. His GI doctor thinks that with the combination of being sick two different times already and then getting knocked down with this stomach flu, it has really taken a toll on his motility. His body is going to need some time to recuperate, much more time than the ordinary person and we need to take time with trying to gradually get him back to where he was before.
PAUSE: PUKE BREAK :(
I just had to check on the little guy who has yet puked again. Not sure how much more of this he can take and I can take getting covered in vomit. The doctors want him to meet his caloric intake but at this point I'm asking to have a new plan. I understand trying to make sure he doesn't lose too much weight, but at the same time watching him vomit every feed doesn't seem to be worth it in the long run. I'm off to bed with heavy eyes and hopeful that tomorrow brings less vomit and more smiles from my little guy!