Immunity Update

Will’s new pediatrican – Dr. Malcom Hill – called today to update us on the lab results from all the tests Will 0.4 has had done over the past few weeks.  First, his digestive tract infection is completely cleared up.

Second, the tests of his immune system after his four-month immunizations are all normal, which means that all indications are that Willpower’s immune system is completely healthy and developing normally.  Dr. Hill suggested that these results mean that the original E.Coli infection from November was probably just a fluke occurrance, and that we’ll never really have a good idea of what caused it.  But we don’t care – because his immune system appears to be fine, and that was really our last major concern in the aftermath of all these infections.   It’s such a huge relief to know.

We’re going to keep him on the happy holistic little bacteria supplement for a while, as he’s really beginning to eat solid foods and we’d like to keep his plumbing humming, so to speak.

I’ve put up more pictures from Phoenix.   Here’s another favorite from a great trip and a great visit.

It’s going to be nice to sleep tonight without worrying too much.

Another Infection

The pediatrician got the test results back from the stool samples we’ve been collecting from Will over the past few days, and he’s got yet another infection, this one in his digestive tract that’s been giving him the diarrhea. They’ve identified the bacteria as Clostridium difficile, and it’s fairly common. Thye’ve prescribed an oral antibiotic (Metronidazole, also prescribed for me for the past few years as an ointment for rosacea) which we’ll have to give him for a week or ten days. In addition, Will had some blood drawn this morning for previously scheduled tests with our immunologists at Cardinal Glennon, so hopefully we’ll get some insight in whether his immune system is developing, and how well.

We have a follow-up visit with Dr. Hill, our new pediatrician, next Thursday before we head to Phoenix. Grandma Lois drove up this morning to help us out by watching Will today and tomorrow, so he won’t have to go back to school until Monday. Will seems to be slowly improving, so hopefully he’ll be fine by then.

Follow-Up

We had a very good appointment with a pediatrician this afternoon.  They’re not going to put Willpower on any more antibiotics because they want to culture his stool to see what is giving him diarrhea.  His eyes and sinuses appear to be much better tonight, but he’s still out of energy.  We’re giving him Pedialyte to prevent dehydration, as he lost an ounce of body weight between yesterday morning and this afternoon.   The doctor was very attentive and communicated well and they actually finally had all of his records together.  She looked at his immune system tests and addressed our concerns.

Because he’s had so many problems, we are going to have more regular appointments with our pediatrician.

So now we’re trying to collect as much diarrhea from him as we can to put into four little jars to take to the lab.  Parenting is so much fun.

Frustrated

Will’s eyes are a little better since we took him to the doctor and started him on eyedrops yesterday morning, but overall, he just seems a little worse.  He has no energy, he’s had diarrhea for more than 24 hours, a low-grade fever, diminished appetite and just isn’t himself.  We can’t get anyone at the pediatrician’s office to listen, and our concern is that he’s got more than just an eye infection, and that eyedrops aren’t aggressive enough treatment for a four-month-old who may or may not have a working immune system.

Are we overreacting?  Probably, but we overreacted with his hip in November, and trusting our instincts was absolutely the right call.  Unfortunately, Will hasn’t really been healthy since we stopped IV antibiotics on January 10.  We had hoped removing the PICC line would be a huge step forward.  Instead, he’s pretty much been sick ever since.

Did having him on IV antibiotics for six weeks after his surgery stunt his immune system?

Does he have some sort of primary immunodeficiency?

Or does everything work just fine, and all these infections are just a coincindence?

Arrgghh.

Eye Infections

I’m starting to think that we’re never going to have an entire week where Will is completely healthy.

Saturday, after we had dinner with the Bridgemans, Will 0.4 had a rough night.  He was so congested that he couldn’t sleep without waking himself up, and his eyes and nose kept crusting themselves shut.  Yesterday and last night were more of the same, so this morning it was back to the pediatrician.

This time, Will has an infection in both eyes which is causing the drainage and crusting and congestion.  They gave us a prescription for eyedrops, and I’m keeping him home today.

It feels like we keep overreacting when he’s not feeling well, but we don’t really know what else to do.  And all these infections are really starting to make me worry that he’s got an immune system deficiency.

We’ve backed off trying solid foods any more until he feels better.

Snow Day!

We got about eight inches of snow last night – beautiful, light and powdery stuff.  Pam’s office has a policy that they’re closed whenever Champaign public schools are closed, so she’s at home today, and she kept Will 0.4 home as well.

I’m at work after digging out at about 6:30 this morning.  Thank goodness for the snowblower, and thank goodness my father-in-law helped me to repair it this autumn.  I’m hoping to go home early enough to do some photography this afternoon evening.  Last night, as the snow started falling at around 6 PM, we watched a pair of coyotes hunting rabbits behind our house.

Willpower is feeling better after his fourth-month immunizations on Wednesday, although he was very congested last night and had a difficult time sleeping.  Now that he’s off antibiotics completely (for the first time since Thanksgiving, really), he’s starting to have some constipation problems again.  We’re trying to address it with daily doses of apple juice, which he loves.

We’re probably going to try giving him some solid food this weekend.

And two weeks from tonight Willpower will be taking flight for the first time, as we’re going to take a quick family trip to visit Papa Jim and Grandma Angie in Phoenix.  How exciting!

Four Months

Willpower was born four months ago today, which is unbelieveable.

We made a quick trip to Troy for the weekend, spending some great quality time with Uncle Al and Aunt Susan, who fed him (and us!) and changed diapers and generally spoiled the crap out of all three of us. Pam is getting over her cold, and Will 0.4 is feeling much better than he was on Friday, so this looks to be a pretty good week. He has a four-month “well-baby” visit this week, at which he’ll get his routine four-month immunizations.

With Will, we’re currenlty working on grabbing skills, trying to roll over from tummy to back, vocalizing, and we’ll probably try giving him some rice cereal mixed with formula this week. His favorite playtime is in the jumparoo, or playing tickle games. He loves Mom reading to him every night.

He’s over 14 pounds, and eating about six ounces per feeding. He still wakes up once at night, going down at 8:30-ish, waking at 1:00 or 2:00, and then again at around 6:00.

We’re trying to find a decent airfare to visit Papa Jim and Grandma Angie in Phoenix in February, and thinking about spring and summer plans to try and get us through the winter.

Follow-Up Appointments at Cardinal Glennon

Today we journeyed to St. Louis and back for separate follow-up appointments with Will’s pediatric orthopedist and immunologists.

First we saw Dr. Aki Puryear, the lead pediatric orthopedist who performed Will’s hip surgery in November. After looking at x-rays taken today, Dr. Puryear was very pleased – everything with the hip looks great. They want to keep an eye on him as he grows, and as his cartilage turns to bone as he ages. Dr. Puryear wants to see Will again in three months for another checkup.

Then we saw Dr. Bradly Becker, Will’s immunologist. The concern with his immune system stems from the mystery of how Will’s hip became infected. None of the doctors know what happened, but they do know that this type of infection almost never occurs in babies as young as Willpower. Dr. Becker’s concern is that Will may have an immune system deficiency that facilitated his becoming infected, so they’re testing his blood after every round of his normally scheduled immunizations to see if his immune system is reacting properly. So far they’ve only run one test – after his two-month immunizations in mid-December – and he’s still too young for them to know conclusively whether his immune system is normal or deficient. Another round of blood tests are scheduled for two weeks after his four-month immunizations (and so on) and if Dr. Becker sees anything untoward, further testing or treatments may be needed. A baby’s immune system is more developed by six months of age, and they should know more as they keep testing him until then. At this point, all we can do is stay vigilant and have his pediatricians treat every infection aggressively with antibiotics just in case there is a deficiency.

Really, that’s just a long-winded and worrisome way of saying that Will 0.3 is doing very well, but that we still need to keep an eye on him, if only because the infection that he had was so rare for a baby so young, and because his not-yet-developed immune system didn’t appear to react to that infection.

His PICC line will remain until January 10, which is six weeks after he was discharged from Cardinal Glennon. I had thought, for some reason, that January 3 was six weeks, but high-level math has never been my strong suit. On the tenth, barring any complications, we can stop his antibiotics and the home health care nurses can remove the PICC. We are very much looking forward to that day.

(By the way – the doctors really liked his shirt.)