I couldn’t come up with a cinematic or musically-themed title for a post that covers what has gone on since I last updated everyone on Trevor. I don’t think that Hollywood could come up with a plot to match what’s gone on. Particularly since they’re too busy out there trying to come up with a reboot of Gilligan’s Island or CHiPs or whatever it is they waste their time on today. No, what’s gone on has simply been for lack of a better phrase Our New Normal for the time-being. We brought Trevor home on February 17th once he started eating and his body showed it could, make the gravy pave the Hershey Highway strike fear into the souls of plumbers downstream on some scale, remove the outcome from the equation. He remained in pain from then until we decided to contact the surgeon to confirm this was normal healing process on the following Monday, February 21. He was lathargic, doubled-over in pain, but not nauseous; eating and producing output consistently – but how do I say this nicely – in a solid fashion. While this was all going down, the previous night we found ourselves in the middle of the worst ice storm in 25 years. We lost power along with 100,000 others in the Mitten State. We were told it would be Thursday before we regained power. When we left home to go to the doctor’s office it was 54 degrees F in the house and 29 outside. I worked for a while from the local grocery store that had Wifi while waiting for our appointment with the physician.
Once we met with our surgeon it was determined that we should go back to Bronson Hospital the following day for a contrast X-ray study that would involve Trevor eating the contents of 3,142 chalkboard erasers mixed with water and whatever flavoring they use to give “grape” Bubble Yum it’s grape-esque flavor. They would then, over the course of 8-10 hours take an X-Ray every hour to watch this fluid travel through his system. We were given the option of being admitted to the hospital right then and there or going home and coming back in the morning. Faced with another night in the hospital Trevor decided he would rather freeze than stay – that tells you how burnt out he was on the idea of hospital stays.
In the meantime, our oldest son, Austen had been determined to stay home. Finally he called us and said he’d had enough. A dear friend of ours, Nancy Roorda, took him in as they had power down the street. We gave her all the food we thought would go bad so they could eat well, went home and gathered a few things, and were able to locate a warm spot for the night. Luckily, my grandfather’s home had power – while it say empty since he’d moved to a care facility where he could hit on young nurses and old women alike (Go Grandpa Go!) we did have heat, the ability to cook food, and comfort for the night. We even ran across old slides that I need to try to digitize that captured the early 1970’s for us – including what appears to be my building of a near-anatomically correct snow woman when I was around 8. Not much has changed apparently with me.
Unfortunately, around 3 am Trevor’s week+ run of being nausea-free came to an end. This also led to a poor attempt to have him keep down the nastiness of chalk and grape later that morning. We found ourselves admitted, IV’d, and a new naso-gastral (NG) tube through his nose to his stomach so they could pump in the contrast. We had images taken up until 11 pm that night, but Trevor was on Adavan and Morphine and was feeling no pain. Around 3 am he woke up with the need to go to the bathroom. Afterwards we had a fun little exchange for about 5 minutes that went a bit like this:
LINE 1> DECLARE X integer
LINE 2> SET X = 1
LINE 100> Trevor: Ah wahn new undahwere?
LINE 200> Me: What’s that Pal?
LINE 300> Trevor: Ah wahn new undahwere!
LINE 400> Me: You want new underwear?
LINE 500> Trevor: YEAH!!!
LINE 600> Me: Sorry, you went through that around 10.
LINE 700> Trevor: No I did-unt?
LINE 800> Me: Yes you did – you were just so out of it from the drugs you don’t remember.
LINE 900> SET X = X+1
LINE 1000> IF X < 6 OR THERE-ABOUTS GOTO LINE 700 AND ADD INCREASING DRUG-CRAZED FRUSTRATION ELSE CONTINUE WHILE CHOKING BACK LAUGHTER
Finally I had to dump all our bags onto the bed and go through each item asking him to confirm or deny if the item was in fact size S Hanes boys boxer briefs. He got confused about the stuffed rabbit puppet for a second. I think he was contemplating wearing it.
So, fast forward until 7 am. The nurse tells us that the surgeon has slated us for a 9 am surgery and that at 8 am they’d come by to get us; they just want to take one more X-ray first. They took the X-ray and then about 30 minutes later cancelled the surgery. No explanations.
We waited in frustration for another 2 hours. In the meantime I had already sold my son and wife on the surgery – she had not yet returned from home overnight. I had to then un-sell her.
Then we found out the reason for the cancellation. The surgeon wanted a couple more eyes on the films. He’s not a radiologist and will read his own films occasionally, but wanted someone with Bette Davis Eyes X-ray eyes on it as well. He carefully laid out that everyone thought they saw various degrees of something on the films but that he would be fine going into surgery or waiting to see if it corrected itself. Based upon some additional comments from the surgeon we decided to proceed.
Trevor was prepped and went into surgery.
The surgeon essentially spent 4 hours combing laparoscopically over his intestines from one end to the other twice pulling apart and trimming adhesions from the abscesses that formed after the first surgery. Pulling apart folds held together by these glue-like adhesions. There was at least one area that these were causing a narrowing of the bowel and therefore an obstruction. He’s getting morphine every two hours and you can tell when the next dose is approaching like clockwork. He’s running a fever and is swollen, but this is fully-expected considering what he’s been through. He went in around 10:30am and we were not back in the room until after 6pm.
Where do we stand now? He’s in for a long haul, but this time around the healing process, while longer, should be easier. He’s in a great deal of pain. He’s scheduled for Morphine every 2 hours and you can tell when he’s coming due. He’s passed urine, so this means no catheter hopefully. I’d asked for a warning if they needed to do one – I had to leave the hospital when they circumcised him years ago. I had already a ticket to Vancouver so I could be out of the country when and if they needed to do a catheter. The fear was all the swelling would not allow his bladder or urethra to fuction properly. Glad to say the plumbing works. Comes from being the son of a son of a sailor pipefitter I suppose. We’re in a nice big room and have our favorite nurse – it helps to have seniority on the floor in order to simply ask for these things. I’m now referring to Trevor as “Red” after Morgan Freeman’s character in the Shawshank Redemption as he seems to be working towards being the old man in the cell block.
We’ve help coming in from Detroit in the way of his Grandma to help Amy out as I am having difficulties getting out of my commitments to SQL Saturday and MVP Summit starting with my flight out of town tomorrow. I’m working on at least cancelling out of SQL Saturday so I don’t fly out until Sunday.
We’ve settled into a familiar, but not necessarily comfortable routine by now with working as time permits and caring for Trevor as necessary. The wonders of WiFi. Trevor is a fighter and he’s shown his strength to this point. It’s not a question at all of if he’ll recover, but only when he’ll recover.
My optimism is coming back though – but I also don’t tend to sweat the big stuff. I save that for the small stuff. Right now I think we’re okay. He’s not really going to be doing much for a few days.
The SQL Server Community has been amazing on this. It’s so amazing to be part of a technology platform where users globally banded together to help out a kid that only perhaps one or two have ever met. Spectrum Health has been so understanding in letting me take care of Trevor and understanding that my work ethic would not allow me to let them down and that my fellow SQL Server DBA, Jon Fife, could support urgent matters if I was unable to in a timely fashion. Amy’s company, Rose Street Advisors, has basically told her to stop worrying about them and that all bases are covered for her and her staff until she can return. Trevor’s Teacher, Beth Taylor had fed us as has friends and family alike; Principal, Nancy Haas, and students at Moorsbridge Elementary continue to support Trevor and help out so much that I can’t find the words to express our feelings towards them. Some of the letters we’ve received from his classmates we’ll treasure for a long time to come. The long list of thank yous to be conveyed continue to grow.
Experiences like this that really, for lack of better phrasing: suck. At the same time though it’s shown my family the power of the human spirit for compassion and that is the most amazing thing of all that we will take out of this – second to a healthy 10 year old!
Continued thanks and gratitude to all of you from myself, Amy, Austen, and Trevor!