Well, $#!+. We got some bad news today.
About a month ago on a Friday, Gracie’s hand mysteriously became swollen. I had put her glove on at 10 am and the hand was fine. I took the glove off at 12:30 for her weekly OT session, and the hand was grossly swollen. Weird. But, you know, she had had a couple of spider bites in recent weeks/months that caused a huge amount of swelling and they went down in a day or two, so I didn’t rush her in for x-rays – I wanted to wait and see. Well, by Monday, the swelling was a little worse, so I took her to her pediatrician for x-rays. The radiologist who wrote the x-ray report thought there could have been a fracture in one of the hand bones, but when we went to ortho the next day, the orthopedist didn’t think it was a fracture – he thought it was just a channel in the bone. We went back a week later for repeat x-rays, and at that time he showed me where the bone looked fuzzy on the side, which he said could represent a healing fracture. Still, he wasn’t convinced, and sent us home with instructions to keep the hand in the removable cast his office had made after the surgery.
Flash forward to this past Sunday (my birthday). The swelling in Gracie’s hand hasn’t gone down this whole time. On Sunday, my birthday, Gracie’s finger – the one with the recent amputation – became red and HOT at the tip. Actually, her whole hand was hot, and of course swollen. Only the tip of that finger was red, but there was so much heat. Worried (very worried), I texted her pediatrician (Dr. A) to see if we should go to the ER then, wait until Monday and see Dr. A, or just keep our ortho appointment Tuesday (today). She never responded, so I spent the whole day agonizing over whether to take Grace to the ER or wait until the work week when we could see Dr. A, who knows her and knows how she can be very, very sick and look fine. Eventually, because it was my birthday, I decided to wait until Monday and see Dr. A.
Have I ever said how awesome Gracie’s pediatrician is? She is AWESOME. Awesomely awesome. I never have to spend time convincing her that it’s a big deal – she knows I wouldn’t contact her if it weren’t. She was concerned, and wanted to do full labs and x-rays. I talked her out of the x-rays, knowing that Dr. P the ortho would want to do them at his office. She did blood work, which was normal. Of course it was normal. Even when her finger was mushy, her blood work was normal – it’s another unique and mysterious thing about Grace.
So, today, Tuesday, we had the ortho appointment. We walked in the room for what was supposed to be our discharge follow-up from the surgery, and the nurse asked how things were going, so I told her – Grace’s hand is still swollen and her fingertip got mysteriously red and hot on Sunday. That was not the answer she was expecting! We did some x-rays, and the doctor came into the room. He had bad news. “The x-rays have changed since we did them last time. There are two dark areas on her metacarpals that were not there a month ago. It doesn’t look like a fracture. Could it represent an infection? I don’t know. I think the reasonable thing to do now is an MRI. She needs full sedation, right?” Yes, of course she does. She can’t sit still for five seconds, let alone an hour or so in an MRI machine.
It’s not that I didn’t know – I spent Sunday agonizing over whether to take her to the hospital immediately – but this is so scary. It seems so certain that it’s an infection, that the infection spread when her hand was so red and streaky last time. After all, the streaking went halfway up her forearm, and her whole hand was bright red. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if the infection had colonized the bones in her hand as well as through that finger.
But what does this mean? Will she have to have surgery again? Will she lose more of her finger – will she lose her whole hand?? Surely they wouldn’t take her hand; surely they would do a bone graft or something, right? Right?? And, we were supposed to go to my sister’s house for Thanksgiving to see her & her family and my parents, who will also be there. Will we still be able to go? Are we going to spend Thanksgiving in the hospital this year? God, I hope not. I desperately hope not. And, there’s the big question – will the antibiotics work? Please, God, let them work. Please let them work. Please please please let them work.
Thank God we were able to catch our breath a little after the debacle with the school. We’re walking into the fire again.