Sunday, February 7, 2016

Ella's ER Visit!

On Monday January 25th I came home from BSF and walked upstairs to change. Ella's bedroom is right at the top of the stairs and I heard this funny gagging sound. I went into her room and found her sitting up looking kind of out of it. I asked her if she was going to puke and she shook her head no. Then I went to change and she puked! Of course she had eaten a super awesome dinner so it was quite yucky! Michael dealt with all her covers and sheets....almost puking himself in the process. While I dealt with Ella and got her in the shower. Jackson ran and got a bowl so Ella would have something to puke into if she needed it again. She did end up puking two more times that night, but it was mostly just phlegm. Of course I kept her home the next day from school. 

On Tuesday she seemed tired, but that's to be expected, but she ate really good and seemed great by Tuesday night. Wednesday she went off to school and did fine she was tired and she did complain of a headache here and there. On Thursday I went to school and volunteered. I ate lunch with her and she didn't eat that much, but seemed okay. 

Thursday after school though she got home and went straight to the loveseat and laid down. This was SO not like her. She complained of another headache so I got her some ibuprofen. During this whole time she had had a cough....hence the phlegm. After I gave her the meds she was coughing quite a bit and ended up throwing up. The rest of the night she spent on the loveseat going in and out of sleep and puking every hour or so. She also had a low grade fever. She threw up again in the middle of the night...again just phlegm and then she woke up another time and said her room was too hot.

 Friday was the end of the semester so the kids didn't have school. She seemed to be feeling okay and she ate a good breakfast. The crazy part about all this was that NO ONE else in our family was sick....AT ALL. No hint of a runny nose, no tummy aches...nothing! I figured it was just the phlegm that was making her gag and it wasn't a tummy bug. I also toyed with the idea that it could be allergies. I also looked up the symptoms of a malfunctioning shunt online since that's the only thing that's different about Ella in regards to the other 5 members of our family. She was exhibiting the first 4 symptoms....vomiting, headache, fever and lethargy. The other symptoms included vision problems, seizures, loss of coordination and swelling/redness at the site of the shunt. She didn't have any of those symptoms. 

On Friday morning after she kept her breakfast down we went and visited Kim and the kids at their house for lunch. Then I took the kids to my parents house to spend the night. Ella was great at Kim's house....playing around. She didn't eat much, but she had a late breakfast so that didn't worry me at all. By the time we got to my parents house she just laid down on the carpet in the family room and didn't move. My mom said she'd call if anything got worse. I talked with her later and she said that Ella laid on the floor for quite a while and even fell asleep for a time. On Saturday she perked up though and seemed fine. 

On Sunday morning we were getting ready for church and she complained of another headache so I gave her more ibuprofen and then we were off to church. About halfway to church she said she felt like she was going to puke and that's when I had it. It was time to take her to the hospital and figure out what was going on. Michael got off the freeway and turned around to head home. I briefly thought about taking her to Urgent Care because I was also thinking it might just be a sinus infection....she had told me her cheeks hurt and my cheeks always hurt when I have a sinus infection. I figured a run of the mill sinus infection would be no problem for an Urgent Care Clinic, but then what if that wasn't it. Michael said that if I was taking her in I was taking her to the right to Mary Bridge we went!   

We walked up to the front desk were greeted by a nice lady and then we were being taken back to a room....we didn't even have to go to triage! Have I said I love Mary Bridge? 

First the nurse came in and then the Dr. I explained my concerns about her shunt and she was super supportive of me bringing her in. She said that even if I had gone to Urgent Care they probably would have just sent her to Mary Bridge anyways. She said that normally she would look at a kiddo with these symptoms and say it's just a virus, but with Ella's pass history and knowing that she's had the same shunt since September 2011 it was definitely a concern that the shunt could be malfunctioning and we needed to rule that out. I helped Ella get into her gown and the nurse gave her some nice warm blankets and we watched some cartoons while we waited for them to come get her for her xrays. The purpose of the xrays was to see if the shunt was still connected and not separated somewhere and also to see if it wasn't kinked. I got to go into the room with her for the xrays, but I had to stand around on the other side of the wall where the computer was. I asked the tech if I could take pictures of the xrays when they were up on the computer screen. She was fine with that! 

This shows just how far into her brain the catheter goes....right to the middle! 

This one shows the tube that leads from her value down into her abdominal cavity. It's on the left side of the screen at the base of her neck and cross over the top of her collarbone. It's super light so it was hard to see! 

I had the hardest time finding the tube in the above picture. The tech was able to point it out. Besides seeing the tubes for her shunt it was just super cool to see all her bones! 

Here's the side view where her value is. It shows the tube going into her brain and it also shows her grown up teeth waiting to come in! 

After the xrays she got a little bit of energy back so we played the fun game that was on the wall in our room. She was being so goofy. I texted Michael and told him she was acting fine....of course we take her to the ER and she starts acting normal....typical! 

She thought it was so funny that her gown opened in the back! She was being silly and stuck out her tushie so I had to get a picture of her cuteness! 

Around noon we were taken to a different part of the hospital for her MRI. The MRI would show her ventricles and whether there was extra fluid or not. The last time Ella had something like this done was way back in December 2013. She was still so little she ended up having to be sedated. Thankfully this time around she was old enough to do it without all that fuss. We explained what was going to happen so there were no surprises. She also got to listen to music and I was able to stay in the room with her and rub her leg. The tech was concerned about my nose ring so she did test it with a strong magnet to make sure it wasn't going to get sucked out of my nose by the machine. Thankfully it was just fine! 

It took a while for the MRI results to come back, but when they did everything looked to be in working order! PTL!!!

Again the Dr was super supportive of me coming in and she even said she was concerned about the situation and she felt so much better knowing for sure that Ella's shunt was working properly! It's just one of those things where it's so difficult to diagnose if it's working and she just has the flu or a virus or if it's the shunt. Plus when nurses and Dr's keep acting all surprised that she still has her original shunt and it's almost 5 years old I can't help but think that it is a ticking time bomb and it is going to stop functioning at one point or another! 

Santa Al and his wife Ellen have a grown daughter with Hydrocephalus and she commented on my Facebook post that they ended up in the hospital quite a lot with concerns about their daughters shunt and whether it was functioning or not. That made me feel so much better! I do not want to be one of those over sensitive moms, but I think this particular situation calls for a bit of over sensitivity! 

Praise God our Ella Grace does just have a virus and it's nothing as horrible as her having to have another brain surgery!