With this morning marking our 5th day inpatient, we have officially been here longer to treat his fever than we were for his Chemotherapy treatments. At this point we may never know exactly what caused the fevers, however we have learned so much from this experience about how the smallest thing can become a serious problem when his body has zero ability to fight anything off. Here are the latest developments.
Thursday morning he did not have a fever but wasn’t feeling too well so he rested most of the morning. His counts were about the same as yesterday with his ANC remaining at 0, and his platelets dropping to 22. The doc said we were still in the acceptable window but should expect to see at a minimum his ANC start coming up in the next two days. In addition, this morning the Nurse Practitioner discovered two things we are carefully watching. One is a small scratch on his leg we saw last Sunday that has turned into a slightly infected bump with a spot in the center that sort of looks like a spider bite. So, since it has gotten worse we marked it’s current size with a marker and will keep an eye on it to see if it gets worse or better. This could easily be the source of the problem or could be completely unrelated. The second is a red area on the left hand side of his head at the beginning of the scar he has from surgery. Its not uncommon for scars to change color or get irritated over time, but since it hadn’t been there until today they are also watching this closely. This one is marked too to see if it moves any further along his scar.
Prior to these new things today he was on one antibiotic (Septra) which was a precaution for potential post chemo infections. When we got here they started on the first level antibiotic (Ciprofloxacin) to fight off whatever might be there since nothing showed on the blood cultures. Based on all they have to go on now, they have added the next level of antibiotics which is specifically made to target skin and bacteria related infections (Vancocin). Unfortunately his fever continued to spike and drop most of the day. Tylenol always helps keep his temp under control and it brings him back to life so we can get up and around a little. They have been tracking his “Fever Curve” to see the spikes and what else is happening during those times to try and figure out what might be happening. On top of all this the third antibiotic seems to be making him nauseous, he threw up a little bit after taking it (mainly because he drank some OJ too fast) but since then has been saying I think I need to throw up but hasn’t again since then. So we are watching that as well.
Moving into Friday morning we had a little good news… his ANC went up from 0 to 100, and he hasn’t had an official fever since 4pm yesterday afternoon. It looks like the second round of antibiotics might be working. His blood counts still aren’t where they wanted to see them so we did another round of both platelet and blood transfusions. This should help him rebound more quickly. If he continues to recover, with no more fevers and higher blood counts, we *might* be able to go home tomorrow (Saturday). However we are never surprised by the curve balls life throws at us so we aren’t getting our hopes up too fast. I just want my little guy to start feeling better. That is what matters most.
All in all we have learned so much from this fever scare. His health when his counts are low is no joke. Everything from what germs he is exposed to, to what he touches, to the food he eats, to a small scratch on his ankle… any of these things that would be no big deal for a normal person to get exposed to are a huge deal for him right now. At the end of the day, even though we may never know for sure, it looks like the infected scratch (or bug bite we aren’t sure) may have been what his body was trying to fight. We will never know, but all I know is when his counts are low again in the next cycle I am going to keep him in a little sterilized bubble! I don’t want to end up inpatient any more than we have to!
Caleb is a strong, brave, funny and awesome kid! In fact, We have had 4 different nurses give him his meds today because they all want to watch how he takes them like a big boy (He holds his own syringe, and pushes the medicine in all at once in a giant gulp). He’s always the life of the party once he is comfortable. Just a good sign that he is ready to beat anything!