Friday, March 27, 2009

Savvy Parent Screws Up

I like to think that I’m a savvy parent when it comes to medical situations. After all, I’ve dealt with Kurt’s medical disability for 16 years.

So when 16-year-old Kelly came home from skiing a week and a half ago with a hurt arm, Paul and I thought it was sprained and didn’t take him to the clinic. His right arm was swollen, Kelly said it wasn’t too bad, and he could move his arm and fingers.

Looking back, Kelly was on spring break and he planned to ski all week. His arm remained swollen for a few days while Kelly continued to ice it. And he went skiing on Saturday. We thought all was fine.

On Monday, Kelly came to me that evening, "I think I should have my arm checked."

Further discussion revealed that he was still in pain, he couldn’t turn his hand palm up, and it hurt to turn a doorknob.

I called the clinic and got him in Wednesday evening. The appointment was with a man that I’ve been known to argue with, once in the doctor’s office and once on the soccer field.

Kelly got his arm x-rayed, I didn’t fight with the physician’s assistant, and we found out Kelly had a chipped bone right at the wrist. The PA wanted us to see an orthopaedic hand specialist. He didn’t know if the orthopaedist would want to remove the chip or leave it.

Friday, we brought the x-rays to the specialist. He said the bone chip might be from a previous injury (Kelly had broken his right arm four years ago) and he wasn’t worried about that. However, he said Kelly had a fracture of the ulna bone, the bone that runs along the outside of the arm. I couldn’t believe it. I sat in the exam room feeling guilty for not having his arm checked out sooner, but also relieved that we finally did have it looked at. And the doc said, he would have had a worse break if he had fallen again. We let him go skiing last weekend!

Kelly didn’t need a cast, but a splint. We went to the therapy center next, and an occupational therapist molded a splint for his arm. His skiing season is over. With April approaching, he may have had two more weeks, at the most, so it isn’t tragic.

I’m thankful that Kelly’s arm is taken care of now.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday the 13th

On Friday the 13th, seventeen years ago, Kurt had his first seizures. His dad and I hadn’t a clue why our toddler suddenly hiccupped and toppled down the basement steps. Or why, when Kurt was sitting in my lap eating Cheerios, his head dropped so forcefully that he smacked his forehead hard against our kitchen table?

Two days later, with a black eye and a nasty looking goose egg on his forehead from the previous falls, he was transported by ambulance to St. Paul Children’s Hospital after I found him seizing in his crib.

After a couple of days in the hospital having an EEG and CT Scan, Kurt was diagnosed with epilepsy. And those sudden drops were called atonic drop seizures.

Our path changed on that Friday the 13th.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Annual Checkup

We see Kurt’s doctor today. I can’t help but think of the past. Seven years of uncontrolled seizures, a five-week coma that finally stopped the seizures, and Kurt’s continued progress there after.

His neurologist has been with us throughout. We have a history together. When the doc tells me his thoughts and his eyes gaze upon me with intense sincerity, I feel grateful he is Kurt’s doctor.

We both look at Kurt’s med list with caution. He takes three different anti-seizure meds, 18 pills in all each day. Do we change anything to reduce side effects? Are we brave enough to do that? Or should we leave well enough alone rather than avoid a seizure that could lead to more and more?

Besides the scary thoughts, visiting the doctor’s office is like a family reunion. The nurses look at Kurt as if he’s their favorite nephew, fondly remembering his stubborn disposition at three-years-old and commenting on how much he’s grown in the past 16 years. And I’m comforted by their compassion.

Kurt at 19