Monday, February 28, 2011

Unexpected Adventure

Friends and family on Facebook already know about our adventure this weekend. I thought, though, that it would be important to include this adventure in Anna's JRA blog, especially as it relates to her disease and medications. Anna had an emergency appendectomy on Sunday afternoon. Everything was very routine. I had my appendix out when I was about the same age as Anna, so I was familiar with the classic symptoms. I called our family doctor before taking her to the ER. He said she should be evaluated at the ER and not wait until Monday. We have four different hospitals within a 20-mile radius of our house. I've learned from past experiences with Anna and her brother Joel that it's just best to go the Hershey Medical Center ER (long story on all the reasons). This is especially true for Anna, since her pediatric rheumatologist (the one who prescribes her systemic medications) practices at Hershey Med. The Medical Center uses a computerized (paperless) system, so all of her current medications are listed in her extensive computerized file and anyone who is treating her has access to all of her information.

As the day progressed, I was reminded of the many reasons why our choice of hospitals was the very best for Anna. The pediatric surgeon (as well as the ER doctor and resident) was very aware of Anna’s medical issues and her medications which suppress her immune system. The surgeon was also aware that because of Anna’s issues, the MRI may or may not have given her a clear picture of how much the appendix was inflamed and/or how close it was to perforating or rupturing. She wanted to get Anna into surgery as soon as humanly possible, because she didn’t want to risk the organ rupturing with Anna’s immune system being suppressed. In addition, the surgeon wanted to take extra precautions and prescribed several IV bags (maybe three?) of antibiotics to be dripped into Anna’s system before she issued discharge papers.

We are now home, and Anna is making very steady progress in her recuperation. Because her Humira is taken every ten days and the Methotrexate once per week, we should have no interruption. We’re just working to get caught up on our rest! I forgot how little sleep people get while in the hospital, when good, quality care (as listed on their bulletin board in the room) means hourly checks to the IV and incision sites by the nurses, and frequent visits from surgical residents (all through the night), plus crying babies on the pediatric floor (they didn't realize that people were trying to sleep!)

I don’t know if any of this will be helpful information to other JA parents, but I wanted to share it just in case.

No comments: