Friday, May 28, 2010
Friday, May 28th. This has not been a banner day for the Fonger boys! As a matter of fact, this definitely ranks as one of the worst days yet. Molly wanted me to do the update tonight since I pay a little more attention to detail than she does, and she is hoping that I am a little more stable than she is (that remains to be seen). The day started out as innocently as any other with Molly and I going about our days as normal, and the boys seeming to be doing alright by the early reports from the nurses. Then the day got very interesting. At about one o'clock this afternoon I received a phone call from the nurse practitioner to tell me that Austin had experienced a very serious apnea episode to the point that he completely stopped breathing and that they had to put him on the ventilator in order to get his breathing started again. The nurse told me that Austin's stomach had once again gotten very hard and they were concerned that, between the stomach problems and the severe apnea, there was a chance that Austin was suffering from necrotizing enterocolitis, or NEC. Very shortly after I received his call, Molly had received the same call and within a very short time I was home and we were on our way to Peoria. NEC is an intestinal disease of newborns which almost exclusively affects preemies, and is basically an inflammation that damages the lining of the intestine. It may affect only a small portion, or larger areas, of either the small or large intestine, and when severe can cause the bowel to tear, or "perforate". At this point, the doctors are not sure whether or not Austin has NEC but his condition, as well as the disease, is serious enough that they need to take every precaution in order to treat it if that indeed is what he has. By the time we got to the NICU they had pretty well stabilized Austin on the ventilator and they had done the first round of blood tests on him, taken his first x-rays, and started trying to assess the extent of his problems. The first x-rays taken at about 1 o'clock showed some signs that he may have NEC, but the signs weren't real clear. The doctors decided that since he was already on antibiotics and still having this response, they needed to switch the antibiotics that they were treating him with and try to get ahead of the problem. He was already being treated with two different antibiotics, so they continued one, discontinued the other and started him on two new ones that he hadn't been on before. They also took blood gas tests to make sure the ventilator was not only breathing for him, but also supplying his blood with the correct amount of Oxygen, getting rid of the carbon dioxide, and maintaining the correct pH. At 6 o'clock another x-ray was taken of his abdomen, and the doctor told us that it showed that the intestines were still working, but there was an area on the right side that concerned her and needed to be watched closely. Shortly after that, there were two pediatric surgeons that came by to look at Austin and his x-rays to get another set of eyes on the situation, and so they could be aware of his status if an emergency surgery is needed. Somewhere in the midst of this we were informed that Calvin had started to have many of the same symptoms, and he was beginning to be treated in a similar manner as Austin. Calvin's situation isn't nearly as severe as Austin's, but the fact that they are twins has caused them to be treated in a very similar fashion. Calvin has been held off of his feedings, is getting the same antibiotics as Austin, and has already received a first round of blood tests and has had his first abdominal x-ray. Unfortunately at this point it is just a waiting game, and the staff is simply monitoring the situation to see if it gets better or worse. I suppose I have rambled enough for now about our day, and as I am typing I have realized that it is almost time for Austin's 12 o'clock x-ray, so I need to get my computer shut down and get back to his bedside so we can see if there are any changes before we head home for the night.