Apr 12, 2011

Bacterial what?

I haven't been avoiding writing about Griffin's appointment in Iowa City. It's just that on the morning of the appointment, he tried his hand at irony and woke up with a cold and a cough. What can I say, he's quite advanced for his age...

So yeah, he had a horrible cold...and then the coughing started...and then a horribly infected ear. Any free time I had (which is usually zero), was spent administering ear drops, antibiotics, and breathing treatments. This makes 16 ear infections and 17 bronchial infections. But who's counting?  I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

The appointment went well considering how long we waited - and I'm not complaining. I was thrilled we were able to get an appointment so quickly. It's just that an hour in the waiting area plus an hour in the exam room plus an almost 90 minute appointment meant that Griffin was at the end of his rope by the time we were leaving.

The doctor was wonderful (and incredibly patient). He asked us questions about the patterns of Griffin's infections. How do we know he's getting sick? What does it sound like when he coughs? When do we know he needs to see a doctor? I told the doctor that sometimes Griffin "whistled" when I picked him up or when he stood really close to me. Then there are the "rattles" in his chest and vibrations that I feel in his back when he sits on my lap. I told the doctor that Griffin has had one official cold in his life - when he was three months old. Every other sniffle/cough/sneeze has ended up in his lungs. Fast. He can go from an occasional cough to a deep, violent, turn-his-face-red cough in just a few hours.

We were told we've got two different issues to deal with: 1) asthma and 2) bacterial endobronchitis. The asthma diagnosis came as no surprise as he's been treated for asthma symptoms since he was four months old. It's just official now. As for the second diagnosis, I had never heard of this before and I'm sure the doctor could see my face twist in confusion and concern. Honestly? I still don't know a whole bunch about it, but I can explain it like this: Griffin always has bacteria in his system and it settles in his airways waiting for any little sign of infection. When he does get a cold, that bacteria kicks into overdrive and he goes from sorta-sick to we-need-to-take-him-to-the-ER sick.

The doctor started him on preventative antibiotics three times a week for the next three to four months, which is when we are scheduled to go back to the hospital.

There were so many questions I wanted to ask. Will he ever outgrow this? What are the long-term implications of this? Is there any chance he's damaged his lungs from all these infections? Is it too late to do anything about that? Of course I thought about all of this on our way home. I'm still absorbing everything and trying to learn more about this {FYI - don't Google "bacterial endobronchitis" - it'll only freak you out like it did me}. I plan to call the doctor later this week and ask all of my questions.

So despite an official diagnosis, the world is feeling a little more topsy-turvy than I expected. I don't like topsy-turvy. I like calmness. I also like a healthy, smiling Griffin. I hope this new treatment works and we get him back. We've sure missed him.

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