01 February 2013

Monitoring for RSV

Tomorrow Luke will be 6 weeks old. Since babies with congenital heart defects are more likely to have a severe illness if they contract Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), Luke has been prescribed a vaccination of sorts called the Synagis Vaccine. It's not really a vaccine, but more like a medicine that stays in the body for a month to help fight off the virus... the shot is given once a month for five months during RSV season. Individuals who receive the vaccine can still get RSV, but in up to 75% of the cases, the illness isn't as severe. RSV is apparently contracted by all of us as children, but generally it appears only as the common cold, our bodies fight it off and a week later we are back to normal... My understanding of why its so potentially severe when combined with a heart defect is because the heart is generally weaker and since your body has to work harder when fighting an illness, it puts more stress on the heart, especially when working to create more productive coughs. Also, when breathing is more difficult feeding is harder for baby... Especially in young babies since they are still only breathing through their nose... This could lead to baby becoming dehydrated. So back to Luke, he received his first in a series of five shots on December 28th and I was told that I'd be hearing from someone with the Clinic's Home Care group in the coming weeks about scheduling the shot. To make a long story short we have run into some insurance and general communications issues amongst our insurance provider and the group they contract with to administer the shot. That said, Luke's shot has now lapsed by five days. In the meantime, big brother Matthew has had a nasty cold that I am fearful he's passed to Luke. Last night Luke started coughing and since about 2 AM hasn't been nursing as good as he has historically so we took him in to see his pediatrician this morning. His doctor looked him over and decided that he thinks that he's working on some sort of upper respiratory problem and he did a nasal swab to determine if and what's going on. He is coming in to see us tomorrow morning on his day off because he wants to "lay eyes on him" to see if anything has changed. He said that the swab will tell us if he has the RSV or any other virus and if that's the case, we will see him in his office for 5 consecutive days to monitor how things progress... If he does have RSV, he said that usually on the fourth or fifth day is when it's gets really bad so if he does have it, it's good that we were proactive in having him seen so we can manage through the next week hopefully without things becoming critical.

I finally was able to get some traction with getting his RSV shot scheduled and apparently the home care nurse is supposed to be calling me this afternoon to get it scheduled for either tomorrow or Sunday.

PS - today Luke weighed 9 pounds, 8 ounces! I can't believe that this kid has grown one pound a week for the last two weeks. It seems too good to be true and since that usually means it is, I am skeptical of his gain and am fearful that its not true weight gain, but rather fluid building up around his heart or lungs. This is on my list of questions and concerns for our visit with the cardiologist next week.

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