Thursday, June 1, 2017

Work Backwards.

I always start with the worst-case scenario.  I develop a plan on how to manage through my worst case.  Right, wrong or indifferent -- I start there as a coping mechanism … because if I can figure out how to handle the worst case, then I can manage anything between here ----- and there.

For about an hour today, I thought my baby had leukemia.  That was my worst case.

Last night, Matt mentioned to me that Beau had a lot of bruises on him.  Like, more than normal for Beauzilla?  Yeah.  More than normal…and they were oddly placed.

When we got up this morning – more bruises…groin area, back of the arm, back, stomach, waist/side region.  ODD places.  I immediately didn’t feel right.  Beau was acting fine, but not looking the part so I banked on our parental intuition -- and called the pediatrician and got an appointment this morning. 

By the time we arrived at the pediatrician's office, more bruises had formed...

As soon as the doctor saw his markings, she went from her usual jovial kid doctor self …. To a very serious, stern and focused medical professional with very specific instructions:  “Go to the emergency room right now.  I’ve called ahead.  They are expecting you.  You need blood work as he appears to have some sort of platelet issue that can be anything from ITP to Leukemia. Now, because he has no other symptoms -- it’s probably ITP and treatable, but we must run tests to be sure.”

I only heard about 4 words of that entire statement…. 
emergency room right now” 

and 

leukemia

By the time I had my wits about me, Jack was already in tears…. “worried about Beau.”  So with that – I reminded myself that it does a baby good to know that others can soothe him and love him. It will always take a village to raise a child – better to start sooner rather than later.  I called my VERY sweet neighbor who took Jack off our hands…and they hand a grand little day together running some errands, having lunch and playing the pool.

Also?  I'm thinking to myself -- Reschedule the entire day.  Email all the people you were meeting with throughout the day.  Email your client.  Email everyone that you're kind of off the grid for a hot minute.  THANK GOD for the amazing people that I work with every day...Accenture and DTE, for giving me just a moment of space to deal with this thing that was invading my personal space.

When we arrived at the ER – they were expecting us…and had urgency that only increased my anxiety.  Another bruise had formed on Beau's face...and now one on his leg...it looked horrible and painful.  We got into a room and the dr. came in almost immediately…  She explained to us how the blood works.  We’ve got red blood cells and white blood cells.  And we have platelets that help us heal and clot the blood.  The white blood cells create antibodies to fight off viruses. 

They need to draw the blood to look at all three – red, white, platelets.  She said it again – “this can be anything from a thing called ITP …. To leukemia, but I need to see the blood to be sure.”

All I heard was leukemia.  So I started there…I hit the internet with research on types of illnesses, treatments, special centers …. Correlating them to current and future clients to make sure I could continue to work to support the treatments but be near to be with him.  I started to do the math…and figured out what we could cut back on to make ends meet.  I researched what my insurance would pay for…all of that while I waited for the nurse to come in to draw the blood.

Then – they DREW THE BLOOD and for the LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY, I cried more than Beau did.  But he cried BIIIIIG alligator tears….and I tried to give him his binky…and he gave it back to me.  I almost took a hit off of it.

Then we waited.  They needed one hour.  And for one hour, I planned our life with leukemia treatments.  I found all the best centers, found nearby apartments to all of them, did research on doctors, found all the support groups, mapped flights into each area to correlate costs and budgets... And I know that must seem WILD to you, but that’s how I work.  I accept the worst case – and work backwards from there….because I need to be able to handle anything she says when she walks back through that door.

So we played and walked and blew up gloves into COW UTTERS…. And we found all the pictures of the cows on the ER floor….and we mooed…and we watched the ipad and the TV and mommy’s phone and sometimes we tried to work on mommy’s work computer because that looks like fun too.



We waited.

AN ETERNITY.

And finally – she came back.  It’s not leukemia.  

Sometimes, those antibodies that the white blood cells are producing to fight viruses are not so smart – and they attack the platelets.  A kid Beau’s size/age needs about 150000 …. He has 1000.  Just 1000. 

The antibodies will continue to attack the platelets while they are trying to fight off whatever virus is inside Beau right now.  This is ITP -- Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura  -- New antibodies are created each time the white blood cells detect a virus to go attack…the next round of antibodies may not attack the platelets.  It’s hard to tell.

We now need to hear from the hematologist.  This poor ER doctor has reached her limit on knowledge of blood disorders – and probably her tolerance of my questions and antics.

The hematologist came in…saw the look on my face and said “I’m going to say this three times so that you know that I’m serious – He does not have leukemia.  He does not have leukemia.  He does not have leukemia.”  The bruises aren't painful, but he's prone to bleeding now because he has no ability to clot...so any bad fall or head bump requires an ER visit.  Oh, Jesus take the wheel - for real?!

Ok, I think I’ve got it.  It’s not the worst case scenario…let’s start working backwards now…
Beau is going to be fine – but he’s going to bruise every time the wind blows until this set of antibodies run their course…and move on.  So, we’ll see the hematologist every work to do blood tests…until such time that things change…and then we will change courses, but for now – no treatment other than restricted activity.  No contact sports.  

Hold up – what?

He’s 2.  He already broke his leg TWICE… My whole house is a contact sport.

Lord help us.

Jack understands…he’s ready to take care of his brother.  “I’m his keeper.”  Yes, baby…yes you are … so when he jumps on you to wrestle, you have to resist that urge to Jimmy-Superfly-Snuka him…because he’ll bruise up like a peach and Child Protective Services will be BACK at this house (read here for that story). 

Ain’t nobody got time for that.


We got a doctor’s note.  Just in case.

It's fine.  He's Fine.  We are fine.

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