Archive for March, 2012

Matt update for March 2012

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Hello, all! Matt has been doing very well since his last surgery in early February to open up his nasal airway. He went to one followup appointment in the OR two weeks after his surgery, and they said things looked good then and to come back to the regular ENT office (clinic) in another month. He just had that appointment earlier this week, and they said that he still appears to be completely open and clear! Yay! ENT said that as of now, Matt is officially done with their department unless something comes up to require them. Yay! Hopefully, that is the last time we will need to worry about his nasal airway!

In other news, he had an MRI earlier this month to check on a few things. His brain appears to be perfectly fine (we weren’t worried) and shouldn’t need additional follow up appointments for anything there, either. However, he DOES have a tethered cord. From the Wikipedia Tethered spinal cord syndrome page: “The spinal cord normally hangs loose in the canal, free to move up and down with growth and bending and stretching, a tethered cord is held taut at the end.”

As his spinal cord will be pulled on as his spine grows, this could cause problems for him, from pain through disabling problems such as loss of bladder function, numbness in the lower extremities, to the inability to walk. Clearly, it should be corrected, and sooner rather than later. (Some people take a “wait and see approach” to this problem, looking for problems in time and to see if it somehow corrects itself or is a misdiagnosis. We feel it would be best to take care of it as soon as possible.)

So, with that diagnosis, and our position on it, Matt is scheduled for surgery on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 to correct his tethered cord. We don’t yet have all the information on recovery, but the basics are that Matt will spend some days in the hospital for post surgical recovery (we are not yet sure if this is something like two days or a longer stay) and then can come home and just be encouraged to be on bed rest, which isn’t a big deal, since he will only be six months old at that point, and is not yet walking or crawling. The prognosis for normal life after this point seems to be good, so we aren’t terribly concerned about long term effects of his tethered cord. (Granted, every surgery has risks, and everything has risks of complications, but we don’t expect any problems, and are looking to the time post-recovery.)

And now I cannot find the website that I liked best regarding Tethered cords, but if you want to read more about it, it seems that Children’s Hospital Boston has pretty good info on their site for Tethered Spinal Cord.

Matt is doing well in so many ways, though. He is wonderfully cute. He is very social and always smiles back at me when I smile at him. He also loves our living room ceiling fan and can watch and laugh at it for a long time. 🙂 Here, take a look:

Now, be aware: the ceiling fan isn’t even running – it is perfectly still during this video. He just loves it, though!

Oh, and if you are reading this in an e-mail, be sure to click on the post title, or right here: Matt update for March 2012 to watch the video!

Unexpected Sunday evening

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We had some out of town family come visit us today to see the kids and had some fresh baked chocolate chip cookies I made earlier in the day. It was a good visit and everyone was having a great day. We realized that someone needed to head out to the store to pick up a few essentials for the next few days, and decided to make it a family trip to get everyone out of the house for a bit before dinner.

We got the kids’ shoes on, Abby & Zach were chasing each other around the house, and we were finishing preparations to go.


And there were tears. Very hurt tears.

Rachel went running just in front of me, but we both ran into the living room to find Zach getting up off the ground. He turned around. Yikes! There’s a lot of blood on his arm! Where is that coming from? There it is – his head. Several cloths and paper towels later, with a few glimpses at the wound and we determined we would still all be heading out as a family for the evening . . . to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. (CHP)

The wound looked very deep, and with the blood, we couldn’t quite tell if it went all the way to the skull bone or not. (Very deep.) Fortunately, Zach never lost consciousness, never vomited, and seemed very much himself, so we weren’t worried too much about significant neurological damage of any sort. We got the bleeding under control, and taped some gauze into place over the wound then all hopped into the car and headed to CHP. Fortunately, traffic wasn’t too bad, and we checked into the Emergency Department at 4:45 PM. They checked him out a few minutes after that at the triage station, then sent us back to a room a few minutes after that. CHP really is a great facility and does a good job at getting the patient seen quickly.

After talking through it all with the doctors, it was determined that the best course of action was to get some stitches in there to close it up and keep it tight during the healing process. The doctors assessed him and talked through it all with us; the doctor didn’t feel any fracturing of the bone or notice any strange symptoms and agreed that it didn’t seem like there was any concern about any significant neurological damage; the wound itself had good edges to it, so they should be able to close it up very well with some stitches.

After this assessment, I took Abby & Matt down to the cafeteria to get Abby and myself some dinner while Rachel stayed with Zach. While we were gone, the doctor applied a numbing agent to the wound and covered it with a transparent film dressing to let it sit for about 20 minutes to numb the site in preparation for the sutures. We all sat comfortably watching Spongebob Squarepants while that we waited for that to take effect. (A first and hopefully last time event for us – we don’t watch Spongebob at home; while we don’t totally hate it as adults, we don’t like it as a show for our kids to watch. But, it was the only cartoon on in the hospital at the time, and it kept Zach still and calm, so Spongebob it was!)

Zach needing stitches 2012-03-25


Zach was really good the entire time; he stayed calm, didn’t seem to be in much pain, and didn’t complain at all. He just chilled out and watched TV:


When they came it to close up the wound, they asked that I take Abby out, so I took Abby & Matt to the Emergency waiting area and watched some TV with her out there. I have to say, Abby behaved quite well the entire time we were at the hospital.

The doc came and got us a few minutes later and said Zach did really well with the stitches. He stayed calm and still and let them work, and didn’t really have any issues with them working on him. Rachel added details when I got to the room; she said they had this backboard thing with big velcro straps on it, and they wrapped Zach in a towel, then put these straps around him to keep his arms secured and out of the way during the procedure. They turned his bed for him so that he could still see the TV while they worked on him, and she said he did great! The only thing he didn’t like was when they applied the Betadine to the wound to clean it out and prepare it, and the main reason he didn’t like that is because it was running down the back of his head and around his ear and down his neck. Wet & cold. But she said aside from that, he was very calm and easily distracted by the TV, and stayed still while they sutured him. Good boy! (I guess the numbing agent works well!)

The wound was in an “L” shape. The doctor explained to me that they first closed the wound by stitching the corner of the “L” closed, then placed two stitches along the longer part of the L and one stitch along the shorter part. I think they said five stitches total. The stitches will dissolve and be absorbed by the body, and they covered those with “Steri-strips” which they said help keep everything in place and last a little longer than the stitches, but should fall off on their own within 5-7 days. The stitches will probably be dissolved by the fifth day. And a bandage over that, to keep it all covered and clean.

That was the end of this trip to Children’s. We got on the road and stopped for some food for Rachel & Zach on the way home. I have to say, although I would have preferred no reason to go to the hospital at all, this was a pretty good trip to the hospital. The kids were all at their best in terms of behavior and the procedure went well and quickly and Zach was a great patient this night!

Let’s hope we don’t have any other emergent reasons to go to any hospitals soon!

(Updates on Matt will be forthcoming. He’s doing well.)