Friday, January 1, 2010

A New Life, Take Three

When Ella was born, we said it was the start of our new lives. And then our new life was interrupted by heart surgery. A month later as we left the hospital, we said it was the start of our lives, take two. Our new life was again interrupted with the VUR diagnosis and as we waited on pins and needles for the time Ella needed to have surgery to repair the VUR.

Well, we finally had the surgery yesterday and when Ella's surgeon came out of surgery to tell us how the surgery went, he said it went by the book. Aside from the catheter, IV in her leg, and the bandaged incision, you would never know Ella had just had surgery from her demeanor. She was just as giggly and full of smiles as ever yesterday.

This morning, the catheter and IV have been removed, Ella acts as if she hasn't had surgery at all. She's as playful and happy as ever. We're just waiting now on the discharge orders while Ella naps.

Leaving today, we're starting our new lives again.... take three.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Surgery Today

The day has finally come. Ella's surgery is today. Although it is a major and invasive surgery, we expect her to be able to come home from the hospital tomorrow or maybe Saturday.

They took her back for surgery at about 7:30a. The surgeons will be removing her ureters from her bladder and reimplanting them in a different place where when her bladder is full it will press against the ureters and prevent it from refluxing back to the kidneys. We expect to hear from the surgeons about once an hour until the surgery is over at about 10:45a.

Hopefully, this will be our last visit to Children's Hospital until Ella's follow-up visit in about three months.

Here's to a happy, healthy new year for 2010.

Sent via BlackBerry

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

No more waiting

While visiting Mississippi with Amanda, Ella started having fevers and spots returning to her tongue. It was the day before they flew back, so Amanda treated her with Tylenol, Motrin and vigilance. The day of their return flight, Ella's fever spiked at 104.6°F and never dropped below 100°F. I dropped the boys off at Soda & Pop's to spend the night and went to get my girls from the airport. We went straight to Children's Hospital to have Ella checked out.

They took her temp (it was about 101.5°F, I think) and took a urine sample to test for a UTI. The immediate results came back inconclusive, so, since she could keep down fluids and seemed to respond to the Tylenol and Motrin routine, they prescribed antibiotics and sent us home while the cultures developed. We got the results today (after having to do a little arm-twisting of the folks at Children's).

Although they weren't certain exactly which strain she had, Ella was developing what appeared to be a pretty nasty UTI. The antibiotics the ER prescribed should handle it though, but this means we have to meet with urology again and schedule Ella's surgery.

Our appointment with the urologist is on December 9th and they say they'd schedule surgery about two weeks out from there. That puts us right at Christmas time. Oh joy.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Yay! It's the flu!

Great news! Ella just has a simple case of type a influenza. That's right, common garden variety flu (ironically, the same flu I got a flu shot for to protect her from). They did say she had been developing another UTI, but the antibiotics given to her in the hospital nipped it in the bud.

And so now we're home again with new antibiotics and just for good measure the swine flu vaccination.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Back again and I wish it was somehow related, but good luck anyway

We're back in Children's Hospital. Ella's fever spiked around 103.5°F yesterday afternoon and she was projectile vomiting like Jack used to before his heart surgery. Add a little general fussiness and we decided it was time to make a run to the hospital for the UTI tests. Amanda had a gut feeling this was going to be another UTI and took Ella straight to Children's Hospital instead of going to closer-by Littleton Hospital.

After a brief wait in a waiting room full of rudely, coughing children and their parents, Amanda and Ella were taken back to a room for further examination and testing. Ella got another IV line and the tests came back with a very elevated white blood cell count and indications she did in fact have another UTI. They've re-admitted her and have been battling her fever all night. It's being persistent (at one point it was over 104°F). Urology has been contacted and we expect to see them today at some point. We also expect, based on our last visit, that they'll be recommending and scheduling her surgery this time.

I received word this morning that there is a young Australian sailor named Jessica Watson that set sail yesterday afternoon in an attempt to sail the globe solo. Jessica is 16 which makes the story interesting in its own right, but what caught our attention was the fact that her boat is bright pink and has "ella" all over it.

(Click the image for the full-story)

I wish I could say we knew Jessica Watson or that she had "ella" on her boat in honor of our little girl, but truthfully this is the first I've heard of Jessica Watson (thanks, Alan) and her pink boat named "ella's pink lady." We wish Jessica the very best of luck on her journey and hope that it is as successful and uneventful as we hope our Ella's upcoming treatment to be.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Geographic Tongue and Fever

Just wanted to take a moment to update you on Ella's latest escapades.

During one of our last hospital stays (I can't remember which one because they're all sort of running together), the doctors told us Ella has something called geographic tongue. It's something that's hereditary, in this case she inherited it from Amanda, and is harmless and is different for everyone. In Amanda, we'd always thought it was an allergy to citrus fruit, pineapple in particular, because the spots would always appear on Amanda's tongue after she'd eaten a citrus fruit, usually pineapple. In Ella, it's an early warning indicator that something's amiss and she's not well. Before both times we ended up being readmitted for the urinary tract infections (UTIs), she had white spots on her tongue that almost looked like thrush. We were also told to monitor her fevers for temperatures above 101°F and any time she exceeded a 101°F tempt she needed to be tested for another UTI.

Well, last week the spots showed up again and she felt a little warm, but every time we took a temp it was either normal or only a degree or two high, so we waited and watched and it turned out she'd caught a little cold so we had nothing worse to deal with that a little snot-nosed baby (oh such a totally normal thing. Yay!).

On Sunday, the spots again returned and this time her temp started climbing and we were sure we were going to be back at the hospital for my birthday on Monday. About 7pm we took a temp and it showed 101.6°F. Ella, despite the mild fever and spots on her tongue didn't seem at all unhappy, but to be cautious, we decided to compromise between taking her all the way out to Children's Hospital and staying home and doing nothing by taking her to our local Urgent Care facility.

After spending an hour and a half at the Urgent Care facility where they did nothing but take Ella's temp (99.7°F) and traumatize her trying to insert a catheter, Amanda ended up having to take Ella out to Children's Hospital anyway.

The ER at Children's Hospital was filled with sick kids (yes, on a Sunday night it was busy) all hacking and coughing up crap and none of them wearing masks or covering their mouths. Fortunately, Ella was taken back fairly quickly (but not until after Amanda had shooed away one nosey, snot-nosed little ankle-biter and had given the voodoo priestess stink-eye to its mother). The pros at Children's Hospital quickly and effortlessly inserted the catheter and took a quick sample. The sample came back clear and her other tests showed that poor little Ella just had a minor sinus infection. They said normally they'd prescribe a mild antibiotic and send her home, but since she was already on pretty heavy antibiotics they said they'd just send her home with instructions to continue her antibiotics as prescribed.

So it was a long, harrowing night all for naught, but Amanda and Ella were home and in their own beds for the night which was wonderful. I suppose a couple positives came out of it though:

1) The staff at Children's Hospital told us that in the future for a simple UTI test, we could/should just go over to Littleton Hospital and their pediatric docs could handle the draw. Littleton is reasonably close, so it won't be a long drive out to Children's Hospital unless absolutely necessary.

2) We learned that Ella's geographic tongue is definitely an indicator of her being ill and it's not limited to UTIs. Poor kid. She'll never be able to fake her way out of going to school by claiming she's sick. All we'll ever have to do is ask her to stick out her tongue. :)

Monday, October 5, 2009

T-Shirts in and being delivered

The t-shirt order came in over the weekend and after thoroughly enjoying seeing them, we separated them out to be distributed. The local orders all went out over the weekend and today and were hand delivered. Everyone that's getting them seems to be happy they bought one. And I believe all of the out-of-state orders were shipped today via USPS so look for those soon!

We want to extend a very special thank you to everyone that has supported us in this effort to support ourselves. "Give a man a fish and you have him fed for a day; teach a man to fish and you have fed him for a lifetime."

Although we appreciate each and every donation made no matter how large or small, there is definitely a sense of satisfaction we receive for having provided something in return for your generosity (and you have been very generous, thank you).

Please refer your friends and family to us when they tell you ho awesome your shirt is and ask where they can get one. Let them know that Amanda's also making custom beaded jewelry now with the ellafan theme.

We've also considered getting some of those silicon/rubber wristbands with the ellafan logo and the phrase "Are you an ellafan?" imprinted on them. Would you be interested in those? We're trying to decide if they'll be simply hot pink or pink & black. Which would you prefer?

Again, thanks as always to everyone for their support, whether it be financial or moral.