Sunday, September 26, 2010

The dreaded runny nose

Fisher has his first runny nose and cold. No big deal,right? Well, this is something we have been dreading since he was born over a year ago. Fisher has very small nares (nose holes) because of scar tissue built up from his birth injuries. He has had four surgeries to try to increase the size of his nares. The ENT put stents in to stretch out his nose holes - it was not fun to say the least trying to take care of an infant that had plastic tubes sticking out from his nose. Anytime anything touched them (a shirt, toy,etc) he was in immediate pain. And would cry in a way that I haven't seen him cry since (thank goodness). There was no way he could take bottles with the stents in his nose, as the nipple would hit his stents. Luckily I was nursing him and had learned to nurse him in a way to protect his nose when he was first born. There was no nursing in public or snoozing while nursing Fisher with stents - I had to be very aware of everything or I would hurt his nose. And then there was the fun part of having to suction out the stents every 2 and night. Glad that is over for now and certainly dread doing it again in a year or two.

Fisher with stents

Within 48 hours of removing the stents the scar tissue around his nares shrunk back and now he again has very small nose holes. They are slightly bigger than they were before the first surgery. We discussed putting stents back in after his nares shrunk, but he was 13 weeks old and by this time most babies can breathe out of their mouths some (not solely). Did you realize infants are not able to breathe out of their mouths? I didn't. I quickly learned and spent many hours worrying about Fisher's nose and counting the days until he was 12 weeks old (the time when most babies can mouth breathe some). I think I exhaled for the first time when Fisher was 12 weeks old. By six month most babies can breathe out of their mouths like adults. That was another important "milestone" for us. Anyway - during all this time Fisher's doctors made it very clear to us how dangerous it would have been for Fisher to get sick. Even a runny nose would have put him in the hospital. Needless to say our plans to put Fisher in daycare were delayed. We only took Fisher into public for doctor's visits and even then we often kept him in the car until he was able to go into a room (some other day I will have to write about the time Shawn about punched a guy at a doctor's office who got mad at us for waiting out in the hall instead of the PACKED waiting room full of sick children in the midst of the flu outbreak last fall. We did not go back to that doctor and ended up going to a better one anyway!). We ourselves avoided public as much as possible because we were afraid of bringing something home. Not exactly the fun time showing off our new baby as I had envisioned, but I wasn't thinking along those lines at that time. We were just doing whatever we could do to protect our little guy. And I a happy to say it worked! Fisher was healthy his entire first year. By the way - after Fisher was 12 weeks old we slowly returned to a "normal" life and we enjoyed the little things like going grocery shopping as a family and eating out.
And then we started Fisher in shock that he has his first cold complete with runny nose. And though I am very thankful that he is old enough to breathe out of his mouth and I am not worried about his safety - dealing something as mundane and simple as a runny nose has been no walk in the park. His nares are small to start with - just to give you an idea, the bulb syringe that you use to suck snot out of babies is about two times too big to fit in his nares. And when someone has a runny nose, their nose tissue swells - which is something that most people don't notice or realize. Since Fisher has small nares to start with - his nares are now even smaller. His pediatrician explained that we need to keep his nasal passage as moist as possible, so we have been trying to use saline. However, his nares are way too small for the applicator on the saline bottle - so I end up trying to shoot the saline up his nose and it seems to go anywhere but his nose. Did I mention that Fisher FREAKS out anytime we get within a foot of his nose with anything - a washcloth, saline, tissue? Not fun. All weekend long I have been fighting him to wipe his nose and then squirt saline up there. I am pretty impressed that Fisher can put up such a fight against someone several times he size!
While this weekend has not been fun to say the least - I am so thankful that this did not happen a year ago. I am so thankful that his runny nose is an inconvenience and not dangerous. And in a weird way, I am kind of relieved. This has been something we have dreaded for over a year, something that his pediatrician and pediatric ENT both admitted they weren't sure how Fisher's breathing would be affected by him being sic. So I guess I am relieved that the big unknown isn't unknown anymore.

1 comment:

  1. I am sorry he is sick, but I am glad it isn't life threatening. Hope he feels better soon!