Friday, August 22, 2008

Dude, where's my neutrophils?

You might be asking yourself, "What in tarnation is a neutrophil?" If you had asked me last week I wouldn't have known the answer. A neutrophil is a type of white blood cell - there are several other white blood cell types. Neutrophils are essential in protecting the body against disease and infections. Neutrophils account for 50 to 70 percent of white blood cells and the normal range of a neutrophil count is 1500 to 8000.

On Wednesday, Henry's blood count was all wonky. The neutrophil count was dangerously low, as in nearly undetectable. (We learned later the count was 183.) At best, the cause was a rampant infection. We were advised to pull Henry from daycare immediately. With his current stats, he would not be able to fight off infection. The doctor referred us to OHSU Doernbecher Hospital so Henry could get a bone marrow test. Fuck.

We had to take Henry to the hospital this morning after he spiked a fever of 101+. While there he was poked, prodded, probed. It was an experience of things Henry did not enjoy. Blood being drawn. A catheter being inserted. Antibiotics being administered via an I.V. I have to say our lil' man is a trooper though. He cried but only when things hurt and once those things stopped, he'd quiet down and sit nicely while all of this weird, unknown stuff took place around him.

The encouraging news is that Henry's neutrophil count has increased to 600, which happens to pass the critical mark of 500. Woot! And, on the food front, Henry ate four ice cubes worth of apricot puree, stew, and lots of Blind Onion pizza crust, black olives, and a good portion of a chocolate cupcake with vanilla frosting from Baker & Spice. (Note to parents: The sausage used on Blind Onion's pizza is too spicy for babies.) Plus, he spent the better part of his time at the hospital partaking in some serious comfort nursing. He probably consumed more calories today than he has all week.

The most extremely sucky parts of this past week include when I called the hematology/oncology department at Doernbecher to schedule his bone marrow test and the guy asked: "Oh, is he getting chemo with that?" like he was wondering if I wanted a side of fries to go with my order. And, when being admitted into the E.R., the woman mentioned Henry's "bone marrow transplant."

It sucks when your kid is sick.


Amber said...

Holy shit. We've been getting some vibes here that all was not on the up and up, but we were hesitant to speculate. Please know we're thinking of all you guys and of course hoping for the best. There's nothing worse than a sick kid (especially when it's your own kid). Sounds cliche, but let us know if there's anything we can do?

Noodle said...

Damn - we're thinking of you guys. Sick kids really do suck especially when there is the unknown. Keep us posted, let us know what you need. Dog walking? we're there - got lots of free time coming up. just let me know

Megan said...

Ditto on the holy shit. I'm so sorry that you & Darren and Henry have to go through this. I, too, am available for dog walking or errand running or whatever. Just let me know. Have minivan; will drive.

Cathy said...

Holy shit.
This can't be easy for you - hang in there mama (and papa).

VDog said...

Oh honey, I'm so, so sorry. I have tears in my eyes right now.

My Little Man and I will be thinking healing thoughts for you all.