Day 18: Unscheduled Doctors Appointment #1, Hospital Admission #2

Feeling much better and resting in the hospital after a rough day

Elliott had a bit of a rough day, but is doing much better and in good spirits.

I am going to spare you many of the details, but Elliott has been dealing with some constipation issues. Monday morning marked 8 days since his last bowel movement. One of the chemotherapy drugs Elliott is on, vincristine, is known to cause constipation. This possibility, and the scenarios that could follow, were discussed on day one of his treatment. This past Friday, before his chemotherapy infusion, he had a physical exam and it was determined that while we were right to be concerned about the constipation, it was not yet time to worry. We were to keep a look out for some specific signs and it was recommended that we try a specific over-the-counter medication.

This morning it became time to worry and I called the doctor's office. Again, sparing you the details of my son's bowel movements, some recommendations were given. Things improved, but not enough. Ultimately, I was asked to bring Elliott in to the doctor's office. An x-ray revealed that his constipation had not reached the level of medical emergency, but that it was extensive. Elliott's doctor presented me with two options: 1) Take Elliott home and attempt to resolve the problem with additional over-the-counter remedies or 2) Have Elliott admitted to the hospital were the oncology medical team could resolve the issue quickly, but requiring us to stay over night. Having seen the x-ray, and having watched Elliott's level of discomfort increase with each hour, Kyllan and I wanted to be proactive about the situation and had him admitted to the hospital. (Everyone that has seen the x-ray has given me a very professional, big-eyed, oh my gosh look. I've gotten a "I heard about that x-ray, poor thing" as well.)

While the decision to have him admitted to the hospital was easy, it was complicated by the fact that Kyllan left on a business trip today. She was literally boarding the plane while we discussed having Elliott admitted to the hospital over the phone. We talked several time about this exact scenario last night and spoke several times this morning as the situation developed. We decided that Kyllan should go on her trip as planned. This was a non-emergency and there was a viable option to take him home and treat him with over-the-counter medicine. This stay in the hospital was foreseen on day one of treatment and admitting him was a preemptive move to resolve the problem before it became an emergency. We decided Kyllan should go her trip as planned today because one day we will be faced with a real emergency and going to work will not be an option.

Today was a reality check. A much needed reality check. When we were discharged after the diagnosis and saying our goodbyes to the nurses, as we walked out they all said things like, "see you later Elliott!" and "see you guys next time." I remember thinking, "no offense guys, but I don't ever want there to be a next time on the pediatric oncology floor." I thought that if we stayed vigilant we could keep Elliott out of the hospital. We didn't even make it a week. (I have received 3 "hi guys, you're back!")  We are slowly accepting that there are going to be a lot of next times.

The nurse just checked on Elliott. He is doing much better and, based on his progress, thinks we will be going home today. Rounds will be in the morning and I hope to have Elliott back home before lunch.