Monday, October 10, 2011

The Not-So-Well Visit

It was time for Matthew's annual well visit with the pediatrician. Matthew is generally a healthy kid but his pediatrician visits are lengthier and more comprehensive than Elizabeth's doctor visits. There is just so much to go over and keep an eye on such as the thyroid, Celiac disease, blood counts to screen for leukemia, vision, hearing, and so on. Having Down syndrome, in addition to any possible family history of medical issues, puts him in a position of "higher risk" for certain health stressors.

Thankfully, Matthew has not had any major heart issues so he does not see a cardiologist on a regular basis. He had a slight murmur for a few years but that seems to have disappeared.

Reactive Airway Disease
This well visit turned into a not-so-well visit quickly when wheezing was detected through the stethoscope. Matthew had developed a cough on Saturday evening after his birthday party.

He got a breathing treatment right away, which consisted of arbetural delivered via a nebulizer and him sitting, breathing it in and cooperating for 10 whole minutes. He wanted to go home already but we were able to make a game out of using the nebulizer so he fully - and happily - cooperated with the nurse.

The wheezing was reversed after the breathing treatment. This meant that the breathing treatment worked. This also meant that he did not have bronchitis. I will be continuing breathing treatments at home for every 4 to 6 hours or as needed.

I only hope that this does not turn into asthma.

The part of his annual well visit that I dread the most is bloodwork. Matthew has tiny veins and is a hard stick that many lab technicians have had to stick the needle in his arms and or heel more than once on many occasions. We have only found one lady lab technician who was more skilled at it than any other we have met. Unfortunately, I forgot her name but I know where to find her.

Tip: Once you find a really good lab tech for bloodwork, remember their name and if possible, request for the person at the next blood draw.

It is extremely emotionally stressful for me to have to hold him down or watch him being restrained by several people to get his blood drawn for a series of tests to check thyroid, vitamin D, ferritin, blood counts, and screen for Celiac disease. Matthew cries so hard as struggles to free himself that he breaks a few facial capillaries. This results in two patches of facial petechiae around his eyes for a couple of days.

I am thankful that this year, we did the bloodwork simultaneously with Matthew's orchiopexy surgery. There was minimal restraining involved and it went much quicker since the nurse was able to draw blood directly through the IV needle, which was already in his arm.

The results of the bloodwork: no Celiac disease, thyroid was within normal range, blood counts were within range, and Vitamin D was still on the low side.

A new concern this year involved his eyes. His neurodevelopmentalist at NACD had noticed slight strabismus so I brought it up with our pediatrician. She concurred and suggested that we have our opthamologist do a more comprehensive exam.

Strabismus is a condition in which the eyes are not properly aligned with each other. It can adversely affect depth perception.

Time to schedule an appointment with our pediatric opthamologist.

Ears, Nose, and Throat
His throat was red today. Probably another virus. But his nose hasn't been runny and he has been fever-free so hopefully this will pass quickly. I'm not sure how this is related to the wheezing though.

Ears were waxy but both ear tubes were still in. We're due for another visit to the ENT soon.


Rochelle said...

If the ragweed is as high there as over here that is probably the answer. Aidan has had to use an inhaler during allergy season several times throughout his life, he doesn't have asthma but, with the allergies comes the wheezing and cough. Good luck hope he is up and full speed asap.