Monday, April 8, 2013

CT and Bronchoscopy 2013

On Friday we woke up before dawn, at 5am, to get ready for Victor's second CT scan and bronchoscopy. 5am was the latest time he could have breastmilk before he had to begin fasting for the procedure, which was done under a general anesthetic. Phil had the day off work so we could go in together, and my Mum came over to watch Felix at home for us.

I fed Victor at 5am and instead of going back to sleep, like I'd hoped, he decided to wake up properly. Luckily he was in a good mood which gave Phil and I the chance to get ready and make sure we had everything packed. We had to bring the usual things: Victor's medication, nappies, wipes, changes of clothes, but also the box containing the study drug and paperwork. I had also packed a small overnight bag for Victor and myself at the advice of doctors, 'just in case'.

Mum arrived at 6am when Felix was still asleep. Our appointment was for 7am and Victor was the first to go in, his age working in his favour.

Victor was very happy the entire time we were there. We filled out paperwork and then were led downstairs to the radiology department. I went in with him while they administered the anesthetic. The room was quite large and home to an enormous CT scanner, which looks very white and modern. I placed him on the little table, but he wasn't having it: he instantly rolled over and tried to escape. He needed to lie on his back to have the anesthetic so the nurses held him down while the anesthetist placed the little mask over his nose and mouth, which of course made him instantly hysterical. I held his hand the whole time but I don't think it brought him much comfort. The nurses said they purposefully didn't hold his legs down so he would feel as though he had a little bit of freedom to kick and fight.

Eventually the gas kicked in and his eyes started to close. I was quickly ushered out of the room by a nurse who was very nice and asked in a sympathetic tone "Are you alright?" I was fine. It wasn't nice seeing Victor so upset like that but being ten months old he gets upset like that if a toy gets taken away. I knew he would be well looked-after and now that the anesthetic had kicked in, he would be ok.

Phil and I went to get some breakfast at the hospital cafeteria and then waited up at the 'Friendship Room', which is essentially a waiting room for parents with children in theatre. It was at least forty-five minutes later when we were called back downstairs to radiology because Victor had finished and was in recovery.

We ran down to see him, but when we got there the nurses told us he was in recovery but still fast asleep. They explained there are two ways a child can go after anesthetic: either they wake up fast and hysterical (which is what happened last time) or they continue to have a sleep while being monitored, and wake up slowly but much happier. So we sat back down in a waiting room down the hall and waited for about half an hour, the maximum amount of time they will let a child sleep for post-anesthesia.

I went in to get him and saw him sleeping peacefully on the hospital bed. We gently woke him up and he immediately sat up and I picked him up off the bed. He was happy to be held and although his eyes were bleary, he was interested in everything and looked around at everyone.

I carried him back up to the day ward and we stayed in there for a while longer while the nurses observed him. He had a feed and then played with some toys, but he was most interested in chewing on some plastic tubing on an oxygen cylinder! After a while the nurses were happy for him to go home so they took out his IV and we were sent on our way.

Overall the procedure this time was much easier. I think that has to do with the fact that we've been through it before and knew what to expect, and also because he's older now and not so tiny and confusing and fragile. I had some conflict with the nurses the first time which I was anticipating this time as well. I found that I managed to avoid it completely by just speaking directly to the doctor and anesthetist, not going through the nurses for everything.

Victor and I back in the ward after his CT and bronchoscopy. You can see his eyes are still a bit drowsy here, but he'd been playing with toys and getting into everything!

We won't get the full results until later this week, but the doctor came to see us before we left the hospital. She said there was no sign of inflammation in the lungs at all and they looked pretty clear. There were some secretions but not too much so her opinion was that things looked pretty good and normal in there. She also told us that the CT scan looked good, however there was a small area of slight change noticed in the lower right lung. She was quick to say that this could have just been because of the way he was lying and not actually a change at all, and they could only see these images on a small screen so it was hard to tell. They will be looking at the images properly this week. During the procedure they also do a lavage, which is squirting saline solution into each lung and sucking it back up and then testing that solution for germs, and tracheal brushings to collect lung cells. If they found any nasty bugs they will let me know immediately and he will be admitted, but it's Monday night now and so far it seems we're in the clear.

Victor has recovered very well from the procedure with only a tiny bit of coughing immediately afterwards (which is a normal side effect). He is back to his usual self! Eating us out of house and home and endless readings of 'Where is the Green Sheep?'.

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