|Family photo op: Theo's first field trip outside!|
Theo recovered nicely from Wednesday's surgery. He was not too happy with his nurse or his parents on Wednesday when he was not allowed to eat, but once he was able to get some food in his belly and some morphine to take off the edge, he was a much happier camper. We had hoped that we could let the new catheter heal for a couple of days after surgery before needing to start dialysis, and so far, our hopes have been greatly exceeded.
Prior to the removal of the first tenckhoff catheter last Saturday, we anticipated that Theo could handle four days without dialysis. (The reason we knew that he could handle four days is because that is how long he was able to go without dialysis after the placement of his g-tube in mid-January. While he is off dialysis, daily renal panels are drawn to assess the levels of certain electrolytes, etc. in his blood. Since the kidneys filter out toxins, dialysis is required when the levels of the renal panel start to reach more toxic levels.) Since he could only handle four days without dialysis, I was a little nervous about how long it would take to remove the catheter, give the antibiotics time to work, replace the catheter and then give the new catheter time to heal.
I honestly think this is a miracle. Even if he requires dialysis in a few days, it has been a miracle to have him off of dialysis for over a week. It has been a miracle to hear the results of his renal panels every morning, which show that Theo's BUN (which measures urea nitrogen in the blood) has remained in a normal range (below 20) for 8 days. (Previously, Theo's BUN while off dialysis would climb steadily into the "danger zone" of above 90, which triggered the start of dialysis.)
Why is all of this a miracle? Kidneys in end-stage renal failure do not heal. There is no cure for end-stage renal failure, there are only treatments, which include dialysis and transplant. No one can believe that the results of the labs each day are actually Theo's. I'm not saying that Theo's kidneys are healed, because they are not. But something has happened which has made it possible to forgo dialysis right now. That could change tomorrow. But, there is the chance that we could take Theo home without dialysis if the trend continues. If that is the case, he will still need extra nutrition and supplements to help him grow and to help with some of the kidney function that remains compromised. He will still almost definitely need dialysis at some point. But, it would be a total blessing to go for a period of time without any dialysis.
Nick and I feel nothing short of complete thankfulness for all that has progressed over the last week. I wish I could explain the feeling of elation each morning when we hear the latest results of his labs, to know that Theo can go without dialysis for another day! But more than the feeling of elation, we know that we have a little miracle on our hands. God has done and can do some amazing things. That has been true in Theo's life since birth. Two of our nurses and the resident reminded us this week about how sick Theo was when he came into the NICU. (I needed reminding; the first week of his life is a blur in my memory.) During Theo's first few days, he was classified as having pulmonary hypoplasia (under-developed lungs). Theo was on an oscillator and had a chest tube inserted, yet his lungs healed in four days. His nurses were shocked at how quickly he healed. A lot of babies with pulmonary hypoplasia never heal, and yet Theo was breathing on his own in only four days. He remains a mystery and a miracle, and we are so thankful for him.
We are still not out of the woods. The new catheter has not healed as well as the first, so the nephrologists are carefully watching for any changes and we hope that no additional surgeries will be required. Theo is still on antibiotics to treat the infection. And any day now, Theo's renal panels could come back saying that dialysis is imminent again. Despite all of the obstacles that we will undoubtedly face, I am so thankful for all that has transpired this past week, and for the little blessings we have enjoyed with Theo. Life is good for the Foy family.