After seven days in the hospital Elliott returned home Sunday afternoon. It turns out he had a Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection! For those of you that don't know, P. aeruginosa also happens to be the microorganism that I study in my research laboratory. After all I've done for this bacteria, I can't believe it treated me like this!
Other than his initial diagnosis, this was Elliott's longest stay in the hospital. He looked pretty bad the first night, but after about 24 hours he was back to his usual smiling self. This hospitalization was an exhausting all of us, with me and Kyllan trading off on who spent the night at the hospital with Elliott and who went back to the house at night. Due to the severity of the flu season children under 13 are not permitted on the oncology floor with all of the immunocompromised patients, meaning that Laurel was unable to visit. She used this as an opportunity to use her new favorite word and tell us how "frustrated" this made her. This is usually followed by her crossing her arms and stomping her foot. I assure you, it is not as cute as it sounds. Actually, I find it quite frustrating.
As I mentioned in my previous post, delayed intensification finally caught up with Elliott, culminating in this hospitalization. His hair has always been a good indicator for just how strongly a particular phase of chemo is affecting him. He had a head full when he was admitted to the hospital. By discharge he had very little remaining. We can see the steroids taking effect as well, resulting in swollen checks and an appearance commonly referred to as "pumpkin face." This should go down rather quickly now that he is off the steroid.
This Tuesday he has an appointment to check his cell counts and determine if they are high enough to start the second half of delayed intensification. Based on his counts in the hospital there is actually a chance that they will be high enough. If so, we expect it to go much like the first, starting off with a couple of good weeks and ending with some tough ones as his immune system losses its ability to fight off infection.
For right now, we are just going to enjoy having Elliott home and spending some time together as a family.