Tuesday, June 4

Mixed Start to the Week

Yesterday we had a respiratory follow up at the hospital Outpatients clinic. Although we have been busy with home visits for physio and a short speech and language therapy group, it has been a while mercifully since we were last at hospital. Typically, it had to be the sunniest and nicest day it has been in a long while (...2012?) so we set off early, driven by Wriggles shouting "[S]WIIIIIIIIIIIIIII[NGS]" like a mad child and shrieking if I deviated to do anything ridiculous like locate shoes, brush my teeth or get dressed along the way. To her approval we got on the bus and arrived at Leazes Park which is helpfully opposite the hospital and houses two playgrounds and a rather large lake containing ducks, geese and some enormous swans. I've waxed lyrical before about our playground love, but we really can't get enough of them. Due to her lack of independent mobility, few other places or experiences give her an opportunity to let off steam and energy at her pace. Or indulge her scarily daredevil side.
 The appointment was a bit of a let down. I was hoping we'd see either our named consultant who took us under his wing last summer and made the order to place the feeding tube, or either the other senior consultant or SHO who both know Wriggles very well and whose judgement I trust, which is more than I can say for some of the paeds we have come across. Instead we got a new registrar, who was very nice but also very new and said "Ummmmmmmmmmmm..." a lot. In the end, she waited until one of the senior consultants was free to run things past him, which although was reassuring and improvement from some previous appointments, I'd have preferred to wait and have the actual appointment with him to talk things through myself. 

The upshot was that until we have the consultation with ENT about removal of tonsils and adenoids, respiratory can't really move on with much as things are currently stable but could be improved. Since the tube was placed, the admissions and chest infections have decreased massively. We have had one queried aspiration admission, one viral admission and otherwise have broken the cycle of hell and managed bugs at home...albeit only just sometimes. Now that side of things seems better controlled, it has become increasingly obvious that reflux flare-ups are very much interconnected to chest health. It is quite common to become quite reliant on salbutomal inhalers during a bad reflux patch and Wriggles quite often acquires a blue tinge around the mouth when refluxing. So her reflux meds have been upped and the ENT department are being chased. Wriggles mouth-breathes a lot and constantly snuffles, which could be a symptom of her over-large tonsils and adenoids at least partially blocking her airways. This could potentially be putting extra pressure on her diaphragm, aggravating the reflux. So hopefully, taking them out will make an improvement. Please. If not, a fundoplication was mentioned again-although we have some bridges to cross before that luckily. 

Annoyingly, yet another video fluoroscopy referral has got lost in the system, and until that which will assess how "safe" her swallow is now, we still are a no-fluids-orally zone. By the time we get the VF done, it will have been over a year since Wriggles drank anything and I very much hope our feeding/speech and language therapist comes out the woodwork to help with that as I suspect it will not be easy. She never could drink from anything but a particular teat on a bottle and never thin liquids as she choked, so I do really hope we won't be left alone to learn it all from scratch, especially as a will-be-3 year old is a different kettle of fish to an under 1. After clinic running over an hour late, we then had a nice long wait to pick up new dosage meds from the hospital pharmacy. What a treat.

Frustrated by waiting around, being made to sit in her buggy ("WALK!"...which I wouldn't mind, but she tires after a very minute distance thanks to the cerebral palsy and more common Toddler Syndrome, thus making 100 metres a game of musical buggies) for part of the ride home and life in general, Wriggles resumed her tirade of shouting incomprehensible gibberish non-stop, so once home in desperation I let her torture wash Long-Legged-Mouse who has become the victim for most mischief since Noodle the beloved hedgehog got felt tipped and had to spend the night in the airing cupboard which vexed both Wriggles and no doubt him. In the last week, Long-Legged-Mouse has been attacked with Grandma's blusher, repeatedly drowned and nearly been fed to some giant fish.
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I don't know what or whom was wetter; Wriggles, Long-Legged-Mouse, me or the kitchen floor, due to a faulty plug in our water table. All were thoroughly soaked, but it used up a fractious hour and finally removed the traces of makeup from poor Long-Legged-Mouse. I hung her out to dry by her tail (it's a tough life) and filled up a large plastic box with water and bubble bath, stripped off the sopping toddler and let her have an impromptu al fresco "bath" just outside the kitchen door on what I fondly call our balcony. Sceptics might call it the top step of the industrial stairs down to our concrete yard. 

To round it off, we kindly treated both our street and the back street of the next one down to my tuneless 'Five Little Ducks' accompanied by my backing-shrieker before Wriggles paraded her bare bottom for all to see. I wish the NHS would provide at least a complementary bubble bath or such for Mouse Washing or such activities needed post-appointments. I can quite empathise with Wriggles that she does get very anxious during them, particularly when they insist on weighing her and checking oxygen levels and thus is a nightmare as she can't quite calm herself properly after them, but it doesn't make looking after her any easier when she just shouts gibber until bedtime as a result. Maybe next time I'll put it in the comments box.

Mental note: request next hospital appointment to fall on a truly rubbish WET day.


  1. Hi Amy, I'm just catching up on blogs after months buried in textbooks. I'm glad your move went well, even with the internet hassle! I'm really interested in something you say in this post - Wriggles becomes more dependent on salbutamol during a bad reflux patch? I'm intrigued and wondering if this is a link with Adam that I might have overlooked a bit. He's got silent reflux and asthman and is constantly on salbutamol....food for thought.....

  2. Oh I know exactly what it's like to be trapped in hospital on a sunny day! Really feel for you both, but I'm always glad to hear about tonsillectomies, it seems to be a very useless bit of bodily kit, and the health of all my children, special needs and not, improved out of all recognition once the pesky tonsils had gone :) Hope you get the same result xx