Sunday, March 6, 2011

Another joyful day at Texas Children's

We just can't seem to stay away from this place. Since our nearly one week visit for Austin's surgery back in January, we've been back four times. One follow up two weeks after surgery, one in February, and most recently, our Tuesday follow up and yesterday's ER visit.

Yep, our little mystery boy's newest...

The strangest facial swelling that apparently had all six doctors involved (and one neurosurgeon) baffled.

I could just sum it up by stating it started as a bulge in the forehead and ended up as a swollen eye over the course of three days. But, to keep from sounding like the most neglectful mother on Earth, I feel the need to explain our reasons for hesitating so long to get him seen. So, you may skip over the next two paragraphs if you don't want the mommy guilt detailed play by play.

After our most recent post op follow up on Tuesday with the neurosurgeon (that's another blog post), Austin's head started subtly and gradually morphing into the oddest series of swelling. It started Wednesday. Certainly not significant enough for me to panic. So subtle, in fact, that Chad and I repeatedly wondered if we were crazy. Or if it may have been the way his hair was laying. We both noticed within an hour on separate occasions. I noticed while giving him a bath. It's dim lighting in our bathroom so I assumed it was the shadows on his head. Then about an hour later, I saw Chad holding him, looking at him strangely trying to get him to hold his head still. I asked him what was wrong and he asked me if his head looked strange. I immediately asked, "kind of lopsided?" We looked in one light, then another, and then a different position and then another. Something was different, but we couldn't put our finger on it at first. I took several photos, but the changes were so vague. He seemed like his normal self, so we just assumed we were imagining it.

Thursday morning, it seemed similar to the night before only the definition of the bulging was less obvious on his forehead. The contour on the side of the forehead was the same though. Once again, I took some photos periodically throughout the day wondering if I was crazy. One thing I need to point out is that it did not look swollen. More like oddly shaped. It was not soft as if it were swollen with fluid. It was on the right side (opposite side where they operated). His left side had previously appeared misshaped for a while after surgery so a lot of our suspicions were that the right side may have seemed larger because the left side was flatter. And with the scar being just to left of the center it already has a slightly asymmetrical appearance. That's how much we analyzed it...every little detail. Anyway, it wasn't until Friday that I knew it actually had been shaped differently. The defined contour on the side was gone. To me, it looked a bit puffy, but there I went wondering again if that was actually normal now that the bulging had subsided. More photos to compare throughout the day. I knew Wednesday and Thursday were different, but was it back to normal now? When Chad got home from work, he agreed it seemed a little swollen, but we still weren't completely sure what to make of it. We decided to watch it overnight and if it was any worse the next morning, we would definitely take him in.

The first thing I asked when we both looked at him Saturday morning was, Are we going to Beaumont or Houston? Not much more debate needed. I called TCH and had a neurosurgeon paged. He said he'd be happy to look him over, but that the symptoms I was describing didn't sound like an emergency or anything related to the surgery. He did insist, though, that whether we opted for a local hospital or TCH, he thought it was necessary to have him evaluated over the weekend.

Seven hours we were in the ER. We saw seven different doctors. He fasted for hours waiting on CT scan. Over the course of the day, the swelling mysteriously faded, leaving only slight puffiness and a pink eyelid. The CT was cancelled and antibiotics were given. A script for more antibiotics was written, although they told us not to fill it unless the swelling returned. Two different diagnoses were mentioned, but even they admitted they were merely guessing. The swelling was the only common symptom. So, seven hours, seven doctors, one dosage of antibiotics and zero explanations. Oh, by the way, did I ever mention we are insurance-less until April (yet another blog post)? Coverage just happened to expire on Tuesday. Go figure, right?

Wednesday night. If you look very closely, you may can see the difference in the right & left side. *

Thursday morning. Still a slight protrusion.

Friday morning. The more clear definition of bulging is gone, but the right side is a bit swollen.

Saturday morning. I don't think a description is necessary.

* Even after expanding this photo, it's still difficult to see unless you know what you're looking for. The camera doesn't show it well (and it wasn't very obvious to begin with). It's right along the hairline and along the side.


devon said...

Poor Austin! Saturdays photo was so sad!! Glad things are getting back to normal now. Geez!!!

I still would like to come by and see you guys! Hope things calm down soon!

happy's mommy said...

Oh my! That poor baby! And poor mommy...because something like that would totally freak me out!

Have I ever told you that I despise mysteries?!