Remember when I said that one of the reasons we chose the internal port instead of the external one was because there was less of a chance of infection? Well, we found out tonight that less of a chance of infection doesn't mean no chance of infection. When Jeff took Michael's shirt off him tonight to put his pajamas on, he noticed a red "line" that followed the path of his port's catheter under the skin that wasn't there when I got him dressed this morning.
I immediately called the oncologist on call in Rochester and she confirmed what Jeff & I suspected - that it was a sign of an infection in his port. She told us to take him right to the emergency room to have blood cultures done and to get an antibiotic infusion. So off we went. (BTW- The first thing Michael wanted to know was where the play room was in this hospital.)
My next call was to Dr. Swan. She called the hospital for me to see if there was anybody there that had experience accessing the type of port Michael has - which there wasn't. That told us that if it became necessary to access the port for any reason, we would have to go at least to Syracuse. Then she told me what types of tests the ER doctor should do, which he did.
The blood tests showed that although Michael's counts were down slightly and he is a little anemic, they were good enough that he should be able to fight off this infection. And after examining him and conferring with the oncologist in Rochester, the ER doctor said that the infection isn't severe. For one thing, it's not a systemic infection or he would have a fever, which he doesn't. He was a little puzzled though because he thought the infection should be near the access site and it is up at the other end of the catheter. He said actually he has never seen anything like it (go figure!).
The doctor thinks with oral antibiotics and close monitoring, Michael should be fine. We sure hope so. We don't want him to have to have the port removed and an external one started. The ER nurse (who happens to be a good friend of ours) drew a line around the redness as it was tonight and said to watch and make sure it doesn't spread beyond that mark. If the infection seems to get larger, that could be a sign of cellulitis, which would not be good.
One thing that was very nice tonight was that the ER nurses were concerned about keeping Michael away from the other patients that could be contagious with all sorts of nasty germs. They immediately isolated him and put him in a private room off the beaten path. They even gave Michael a mask to wear. He brought it home with him so now when he plays "doctor" and gives us our treatments, he can look the part, too.
For now, it is another medicine and close monitoring. They will know more about the type of infection it is in a couple of days when the blood cultures come back. I will call all of the "team" tomorrow, Dr. Korones (Rochester), Dr. Kennedy (Syracuse) and Dr. Swan (Watertown) to update them and see if there is anything they would like to add to this latest development. And I am sure Dr. Swan will want to see him which Michael will love! We don't know yet if this will affect his ability to receive chemo this week. I guess the oncologists will have to make that call.
I am just glad that he should be able to go to school tomorrow (actually it is tomorrow already) so he won't miss the Valentine's Day party. He still hopes every day that they will have a sledding party again so that he can go. I will post when we know anything new. Say an extra prayer for Michael tonight, JoAnne.