Monday, February 13, 2012

CHD Awareness Week - The Long Story...

Today is the LAST DAY to enter the giveaway here, and over at Tara's blog.  That's TWO chances to an awesome piece of "heart art"! What are you waiting for? Go enter! Winners will be announced tomorrow.  Good luck!


Congenital heart defects remind me of a thirteen-year old girl.  Straight-up dramatic.  From being diagnosed with them, to living with them, and everything in between - they cause all sorts of drama in the lives of those affected by them.

While we had our fair share of drama during Ethan's early days, we've been pretty lucky as of late.  His cath back in May was as dramatic as it's been since his last open-heart surgery in September '09.

That is, until yesterday.

I guess it all started on Saturday afternoon, though, when I noticed that Ethan was feeling a little warm and had an elevated heart rate.  I explained away the quick beats with the fever, and we put him to bed Saturday night with medicine in his system, and with hopes of a better Sunday.

Then yesterday happened.

From the time he woke up Sunday morning, until mid-day, I noticed his heart rate was holding steady at 140 beats per minute - the exact rate it was on Saturday afternoon.  This is high for Ethan, with his baseline being in the low 100s, and the non-fluctuating rate was a bit concerning.  Not to mention, his fever had gotten as high as 103 degrees with fever reducer in his system! We paged his cardiologist, Dr. I, around 1:30 yesterday afternoon and he agreed that something seemed "off".  We were in close contact with him throughout the entire afternoon, as we watched Ethan's temperature soar as high as 105 and listened to his heart skip away at 160 beats per minute.

By that point, we figured out that Tylenol wasn't coming close to reducing the fever and had switched to Motrin.  This gave Ethan what we now call the "Motrin high", and we thought we were out of the woods by dinner time last night.

We put Ethan to bed as usual, got a call from Dr. I around 9:15 to check-in, and we chatted about all the possibilities.  We felt comfortable staying away from the ER as it seemed the high heart rate was directly related to the fever, and not due to an arrhythmia development.  If we could just manage the fever, his heart rate would come down, we concluded, and we didn't want to subject Ethan to any additional hospital germs.  We hung up with Dr. I feeling confident in our plan and thankful for such an extraordinary doctor.

Then, around 10:15 last night, Ethan woke up vomiting as his fever spiked through the Motrin.  His heart rate had reached an astounding 175 beats per minute and he was shivering with every breath.  Jeramie and I instantly knew it was "go time", and I paged Dr. I to update him on Ethan's status.  

I'm not gonna lie - my first thought was that Ethan would have a febrile seizure in the time it took us to get Motrin back into his system.  Drama.

By the time we got the emergency department, Dr. I had called ahead and a room was ready for us.  The ED team started their assessments right away and, for a split second, we thought we were going to go home with an antibiotic for an ear infection.  His ears checked out fine, however, as did his throat and lungs.  The nurses came back a couple hours later for a blood draw, which pointed to all of this being viral in nature.

And y'all know how much I just loooooove a virus.

The cardio fellow ordered fluids to absolutely ensure Ethan wouldn't become dehydrated, and then we waited.

With there being no evidence of a bacterial infection, Ethan stayed in the ED for observation.  His heart rate was perfect throughout the night (of course!) and the fever stayed away, even after the Motrin wore off.  We were finally discharged around 5:30 this morning, feeling super hopeful that all of this was behind us.

The three of us crashed as soon as we got home, then Ethan woke up around 8:00 burning up and tachy.  Motrin, our new hero drug, came to the rescue once again and brought everything back to normal.  We've stayed on top of the dosing throughout the day today, and we'll know by tonight if the fever is gone for good.

The good news in all of this is that it doesn't appear to be a heart issue.  Yesterday morning, we were pretty concerned about Ethan developing an arrhythmia, but the high heart rate appears to be directly correlated to the high fever.  As long as we can keep the fever under control, his heart rate should return to normal, just as we originally thought.  

Equally good news is that, during those times when his rate is significantly elevated, his right ventricle is now strong enough to keep up with the demand and is able to pump blood adequately through the conduit.  Two years ago, we wouldn't have been able to say that.


We covet your prayers and ask that you would pray with us for the following:

-that there will be no signs of a fever at Ethan's next scheduled dose of Motrin (8:30 p.m. - EST)
-that his heart rate will stay in the normal range
-that he'll stay well hydrated with no further viral symptoms

It may be a dramatic life, but it's our life - a life with CHDs.


Tara said... glad you guys are home and it's nothing heart related. Continued prayers for a smooth recovery!

Kelly said...

That sounds like it was a very scary night. I hope that the Motrin continues to work its magic and keep Ethan's fever down. I hope he feels better soon and that you all have a calm and restful night.

Neysa said...

Praying this is behind you, quickly!

Stefenie said...

Hope things went well through the night for all of you. Praying Ethan makes a speedy recovery!

Jenny said...

Oh my goodness- I'm so sorry to read this. :( I hope Ethan had a good night and is feeling better today!! ((hugs))

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