Thursday, December 31, 2015

Christmas Catch-up

Our Christmas season this year was one of the most fun to date! Christmas Day itself is another story that I'll get to later, but here is what December looked like for the Oprea family. You may want to grab a cup of coffee, because this is a long one...

We had our second annual Christmas PJ playdate with our friends.

 Love how this sweet group of littles keeps growing!

 We drove around and looked at the Christmas lights.
 Ryder seemed to be confused as to why he was in his pj's and not in his bed.
We celebrated Christmas in Greenville with Dustin's side of the family and got to watch this happy group of cousins.

 Again, we can't keep him away from an instrument. Looks like some lessons will be in our future.

 Dustin dresses as Santa to visit some KLife families and the boys love it just as much.

 A look at the last three years as Santa...
 Our family celebrated "Christmas morning" the weekend before Christmas when my parents came to town, because we'd planned to go to Texas with Dustin's family for actual Christmas. And I am certainly glad we did this...
 Ryder getting the first peek of the gifts around 5:30AM.

 And sleepy brother joined us around 6:30

 The boys got to experience a Japanese steakhouse for the first time. Finn kept saying "hot" and trying to blow on the grill.

 We looked at some more Christmas lights.
 mother/daughter matching Christmas pj pic
 We took a drive up to Avalon to watch the ice skaters, ride the "choo choo" and eat some pizza.

 We flew to Texas for what we thought would be a fun filled Christmas with Dustin's extended family in Houston and Waco. When we landed, I thought the most challenging part (the flight) was behind us as both boys actually did great.

Finn came down with a cold on Dec. 19/20ish that started off as a slight cough. It just so happened that we had Ryder's 9 month check-up (post to come!) that Monday, so we had our pediatrician check out Finn's ears and listen to his chest while we were there. He checked out clear so we just continued with his daily inhaler as normal and kept our travel plans to Texas. We woke up on Dec 23 and headed to the airport. His cough was worse, but not worse than he's ever had before. Sometime around the middle of our flight, it seemed to go form bad to worse. It sounded very deep and loose and he would almost gag himself when he coughed. We looked for a pediatric urgent care, but the only one we found was a sketchy looking strip mall spot so we just headed to the ER at Texas Children's Hospital.
 We began what has become our new normal with his respiratory issues. A nebulizer with a cocktail of drugs along with some oral steroids. They began treating him as an asthma patient since those are the first symptoms they saw and his breathing seemed to improve.

 Then his RSV test came back positive, so the diagnosis switched to RSV Bronchiolitis and some oxygen was administered.
 He was admitted for observation and oxygen treatment. Now I will be the first to say that I am grateful for the care we received at Texas Children's, but there was one very critical misstep on their part. When they diagnosed him with RSV Bronchiolitis, they disregarded the asthma as asthma isn't usually diagnosed in a 2 year old. At this point, they stopped giving him breathing treatments and steroids as those usually have no affect on RSV. The evening of Dec. 24 (almost 24hrs after receiving his last breathing treatment), his breathing starting really going downhill. He was added to the "watch list" in the unit and they started to talk about having to move him to PICU. At this point, we urgently pointed out the fact that he hadn't received a breathing treatment of steroids since being admitted and pushed them to administer both of those knowing his history with reactive airway disease (pre-asthma basically). After about an hour, his breathing became less labored and started improving. From this point forward, they continued treatment for both RSV bronchiolitis and a severe asthma attack triggered by the virus. After about 24 hours, we saw a lot of improvement. With continued steroids, albuterol, oxygen and suction, he started to look more like his normal, happy self. During all of this, Ryder also tested positive for RSV, but seeing as how he was over 6mos. and does not have any of the underlying respiratory issues that Finn does, it's really only affected him as a bad cold.

The highlight of our Christmas Day (and really our hospital stay all together) was a surprise visit from Dustin's aunt, uncle, grandmother and cousin! Since we were not able to make the drive to Waco (after coming all the way to TX!), they took the time to drive from Dallas, Waco and College Station to visit us and give our sweet little guys some Christmas cheer!
 Merry First Christmas, Ryder!
 I spy a sweet smile.

 On Dec 27, Finn pulled his cannula out of his nose as they were weaning him off the extra O2. When the respiratory therapist came back in to re-tape him, she noticed that his pulse ox looked surprisingly good and kept him at room-air.
 After several hours of observation, we were discharged after a five day stay at TCH. We headed back to the hotel as a family of four for the first time since arriving in Texas and drove home the next day.
We will never know why we ended up flying to Texas only to be admitted to a world class pediatric hospital when we have one right up the street from us and then driving 15 hours home. We are trusting that God had a reason for sending us there so that our little guy could recover. Hands down, I would take either of my boys to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta for any reason, anytime. I worked there for 7 years and will always promote CHOA, but Texas Children's Hospital is actually ranked #4 in the country while Children's Healthcare of Atlanta is #11. TCH is also #2 for Pulmonology (lung diseases) while CHOA is unranked. After the week we had, we will choose to believe that God knew Finn needed to be there. Upon being discharged, Finn was "officially" diagnosed with asthma. Given his history, this isn't really a surprise, but most kids aren't given the diagnosis until a little later (usually age 4-6). This really only means that he'll see his doctor more regularly for asthma maintenance and we need to watch his triggers. For Finn, his only real trigger seems to be colds/viral illnesses... since those are so easy to avoid. As he gets older, he could outgrow it or it just may not be as severe. RSV is something that doctors really only worry about in newborns. For most older babies and toddlers, it usually only presents as a bad cold (i.e. Ryder's RSV) with a yucky cough so parents would think its only that. RSV is also a two week virus, so kids can still be contagious long after the bad symptoms are gone. Thankfully, any future cases would be treated as RSV/asthma so he'd likely not decline the way the did this time. All that to say, we love our friends and family dearly, but if you need us, we'll be in our house until April. This episode took quite the toll on his little lungs and he doesn't need to catch another cold anytime soon. We are most thankful to be home and on our way to being healthy. 2015 brought us a lot of great things- mainly this sweet one who is loved dearly by his big brother, but we are more than ready for 2016!
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