Medical Intervention

Along with the highs of being a parent comes worry, guilt, and lots of lost sleep – the latter often a result of all the worry and guilt. Last spring Hannah woke up in such a lethargic state she could barely be aroused. Her eyes rolled back in her head as she tried to awaken and when I went to pick her up out of bed she lay limp in my arms. We hurried off to the emergency room which ended with a diagnosis of severe dehydration and acidosis. They recommended an overnight stay at the hospital to figure out the cause of her state.

“Kids get dehydrated,” said the ER doctor, “but this is extreme and I’m worried about an underlying cause.” Hannah hadn’t been sick and was eating and drinking normal prior. They asked about her medical history (this comes out much clearer now that I’ve processed it all): induction at 37 weeks due to stalled growth, very small at birth, grows slowly, has been either off or below 5th percentile on growth charts, eats unusually large portions. But she always hit the developmental milestones. Do all these seemingly benign things add up to a problem?

Hospital

At the hospital, she perked up quickly with a little apple juice; okay, a lot of apple juice. So much so that her blood sugar raised to 285! Later we experienced some unfortunate drippy diapers as a result but that was the least of our worries. She was discharged from the hospital with recommendations to follow-up with her primary physician while we awaited the results of all the tests.

After returning home, she appeared to go back to her normal self. Weeks later, after her blood and urine tests came back “abnormal” again she was referred to a pediatric endocrinologist. After more blood and urine samples came back “abnormal” it was “highly recommended” that she receive human growth hormone stimulation testing. This test includes the placement of an IV, administration of mediation via the IV, a shot, and blood samples every 30 minutes for five hours.

Hannah appears to be a healthy kid. Her day-to-day behaviors do not demonstrate impairment. Derek and I are more in favor of as little intervention as necessary. This whole thing was snowballing.

Do I put my seemingly healthy two-year old through a five hour test? She seems fine. But what if…? What if there really is something wrong and it causes more problems down the road? The decision for us to proceed with testing was not taken lightly.

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During all the waiting…

Hannah had continued episodes of waking up in this lethargic state. Nothing as drastic as the first but certainly out of the range of usual fatigue. When given a little juice she goes back to normal but I started to think there is a pattern of some sort. Time will tell.

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8 months after her original episode…

Testing was finally completed. In the end I think it was more traumatic for me than her. She was a trooper and didn’t shed a tear, even for the shot. Now we await the results. I pray they tell us that she’s healthy and normal but in the event that there is a problem, we will not have regretted the decision for medical intervention.

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1 week after testing…

A text from Derek: “Merry Early Christmas! Her test results came back normal!”

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We are so relieved and will rest easy now that this is all over. Looking back, can I say it was all a lot of hype over nothing? No. Something was wrong and we won’t ever know why she ended up so dehydrated. But luckily we can go forward without further ado.

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