Monday, December 3, 2012

Be Still.

I went to bed last night with a heavy heart.  I questioned whether or not the decision we had made concerning Elias was one I was comfortable with.  I had difficulty falling asleep despite knowing that I would be waking early the next morning.  So, I wrestled with laundry, dishes, and packing bags, when I heard the Lord say, "Be still."

We woke this morning around 5:45 to prepare for our day.  Grandpa arrived around 6:30 a.m., talked with  his youngest grand boy, and anticipated his busy day ahead.  He would be watching Daniel and Samuel.  Brian, Elias, and I picked up Mimi (and Hardee's biscuits) then rushed through rush hour traffic to make it to Vanderbilt Children's Hospital five minutes earlier than we expected.

Elias was checked in, and we waited for his name to be called.

From birth, Elias has wheezed.  It's not always constant, but it never goes away.  If he's not wheezing, he's about to begin wheezing.  His wheezing has been treated with more medications than I care to mention, and we were directed to a pulmonologist at Vandy when he was 3 months old.  We were told Elias has tracheomalacia which was typical in infant wheezing.  However, with Elias' wheezing comes coughing, sicknesses like pneumonia, ear infections, bronchialitis, and a 4-day hospital stay that made us realize we no longer wanted our baby to be sick.

A week after his hospital admittance, Elias was back in the pediatrician's office with a 102 fever and wheezing.  The Children's Clinic immediately referred us back to our pediatric pulmonologist.  He was willing to see us the Monday following Thanksgiving, then per his request, we agreed to schedule a bronchoscopy the following Monday, December 3rd.

His name was called fairly quickly, and we headed back to a holding room around 9:00 a.m.  Despite having not eaten since 5:00 a.m., Elias didn't fuss.  He laughed and smiled with every single person that came in to ask us a number of questions.  I placed my hand over his chest, and much to our surprise, Elias wasn't wheezing!  The nurses heard no wheezing and said he sounded clear which would be beneficial to his procedure.  I overheard other parents explaining their children's medical histories to nurses, and I sat there with our happy baby feeling humbled.

It wasn't until 11:30 that Elias was taken back to the operating room.  I watched as the two anesthesiologists walked away with him.  My heart ached, yet I could hear the Lord urging my heart, "Be still."

The procedure itself lasted only 10 minutes.  Elias was put to sleep with a mask then two iv's were placed because babies' bodies don't always take them well - so he had two.  By 12:30, our pulmonologist was in the waiting room explaining what the bronchoscopy showed!

Our precious Elias does have tracheomalacia, an abnormal collapse of the tracheal walls.  To be simple, the cartilage in Elias' trachea is floppy and causes breathing to be noisy and labored.  He also has laryngomalacia, which is the weakening of the cartilage in his larynx.  Both of these, according to the scope, are moderate.  It was determined today that Elias has mild bronchomalacia as well.  His entire airway is weak.  He is wheezing because he was born this way, and thankfully, no treatment is necessary.  "Be still."  He will outgrow these by the age of two.

However, these findings did not explain the constant sickness Elias has.  What our doctor explained next did.  Despite how clear Elias was today, his airway was very swollen and inflamed.  The doctor noticed small spots around Elias' oropharynx (located at the back of his mouth and is the oral part of the pharynx) and that his adenoid was enlarged.  All of these help to explain some of why Elias has labored breathing, snoring, and wheezing.  He had cultures taken from his lungs today to ensure there is no infection, but our pulmonologist believes that these findings indicate one major thing...  acid reflux.

Although Elias doesn't always spit up or gag, he has the internal findings of a child with reflux.  When Elias breathes, the cartilage in his airway is weak, so he often aspirates the fluids (milk, germs, acids, etc.) back into his body causing inflammation, swelling, and sickness.

What this means is that Elias will be put on medication for acid reflux.  He has been diagnosed with reflux once or twice :) before, but small dosages never seemed to work.  Now that doctors know his condition, they can properly give him what he needs.  If we can treat his situation with medication, then nothing further will be necessary.  There are options should they not work.

Culture results will come later this week.  They will give us an indication if some or all of the swelling or inflammation in Elias' airway is caused by infection.  These results will also help determine if what Elias has actually is reflux.

All of this, and we'd still not been called back to see Elias.  I couldn't wait to see him.  "Be still".

Elias was throwing himself backwards in the nurses' arms.  He seemed angry, but he wasn't crying.  He moved as to show his frustration.  I am certain he didn't like the iv's.  They removed the one in his foot, and kept the one in his wrist covered with a small no-no.  It's like a small air cast to keep children from pulling at their cords.  Once in my arms, Elias relaxed.  A lot.  He slept in recovery.  He didn't eat.

When the nurses realized this, they sent us to a holding room so that he could rest and we could focus on getting him to drink.  Almost 2 and half hours after the bronchoscopy, Elias woke up.  He wasn't smiling, but he didn't cry.  He quickly drank 2 oz of Pedialyte while sitting with his Mimi.  We soon saw him smile.  He was still hungry and drank more. At that point, we were discharged.

Here I am, a full day later since being filled with anxiety, in complete peace.  I look over at our sweet baby and realize just how blessed I am.  Despite a few complications which are NO surprise to God, Elias is sleeping peacefully in the middle of our bed.  My heart is at rest.  I know that God is God, and all I have to be is still.  He is in control, and whatever comes next in Elias' story is God's to tell.

Be still, and know that I am God.  I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!
Psalm 46:10


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