Thursday, May 14, 2009

Something or nothing

They called me from Isaac's Kindy to say he just wouldn't settle, kept pulling at his gastrostomy button and now it was leaking a brown fluid. His helper said she'd bring him home as we just live along the road and his pushchair was at Kindy.
I was in the middle of preparing a spaghetti bolagnase but decided to leave it and walk along to meet them.
I could hear Isaac from quite a way off as he was screaming so loudly, quite distraught. I picked him up and had a quick look at his button which was obviously leaking old blood which had stained his jumper and jeans.
A quick medical lesson now for those interested in gastrostomy buttons - Isaac has a button that looks like this (well actually not nice clean skin around it like in the photo, more red and inflamed) on his tummy,

If you were to look at it in cross section, you'd see it's held in place by an inflatable balloon and goes directly to the stomach through a tube that was created at an operation when he was 10 months old. The middle hole on the button is where the food goes in and the white port at the side is where you put in the water to inflate the balloon.

Isaac kept screaming and my medical training got me thinking about heamatemesis and peritonitis and likely stays on children's ward or helicopter transfers to Wellington.

Once we got him home I thought I'd take out his button to see where the bleeding was coming from and whether the balloon was in the right place or had popped or something. His helper asked if she could help so I said "Are you squeamish?" Luckily she was a nurse and was happy to hold Isaac's hands while I took the button out.
Once I got the button out I could see a small nick in the skin right by the edge of the hole. This was causing the bleeding - no heamatemis (vomiting blood) and no interference with the track itself so no peritonitis.
I put the button back in, gave Isaac some panadol and put on his favourite Praise Baby video.
Within half an hour he was a happy boy again, but it made me remember that even when we think Isaac's doing really well, the line between nothing wrong and something major wrong is very fine. Isaac is quite a medically fragile boy really.
In the evening Paul and I went out to hear Nigel Latta talk about bringing up teenagers (Hannah pointed out that she is now our only teenager and as she was babysitting for us it proved she was very nice so we didn't need to go to hear the speaker at all!) He was great and Paul has decided to ask him if he'll talk at a conference Paul is organising in Queenstown in August where they're discussing Palmerston North's newly established adolescent cancer service (Paul is the medical bit of the team of social workers psychologists etc).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Whew, I'm so glad that all turned out ok with Isaac. I can imagine I would have really been freaking out.
I hope you have a nice, un-stressful day tomorrow.