Finn whispered, “Will you guys pray for me?” Joey, his mom and I started crying. Then we prayed over his sweaty little body; cheeks red and flushed, eyes closed.
We called his nurse in for some Motrin and about 30 minutes later, he snapped out of it. The South Tulsa LifeKids team was visiting when Finn seemed to come back to life.
He was calling us “Poopy,” giggling and asking his nurse about the Avengers on her scrubs.
Sunday evening, Finn refused dinner, said his head hurt and asked to take a nap at 5:00pm. Something was not right. We got him home from a family run at Turkey Mountain, where the kids had performed their first “rock climbing,” and Finn had a 102.9 fever–the highest we’d ever seen with him.
After medication, we checked on him every 15 minutes and his temp was dropping, so we let him sleep through the night. He woke up Monday morning happy and ready to go to school.
School called around 3:00pm saying he woke up from his nap, said his head hurt and threw up. I picked him up and Joey and Paisley met us at the pediatrician. We were hoping it was the return of an ear infection he had a month ago. Nope; ears looked perfect. Our doctor said to take him to the ER…although it’s very rare, it could be a possible shunt infection.
Finn has a VP shunt behind his right ear. It’s a small device that regulates the spinal fluid pressure in his brain, caused (in his case) by Spina Bifida. It keeps him alive and was placed by a neurosurgeon three days after his birth. When it malfunctions, the shunt’s catheter gets clogged and CSF (cerebral spinal fluid) accumulates in his brain, causing him to feel very sick. Most often, it requires immediate surgery to fix. This has happened twice, but not since 2012.
We spent about 6 wearisome hours in the ER at St. Francis.
Joey’s parents helped with Paisley, friends brought us dinner, and Joey’s boss and his wife visited the hospital then took over for my mother-in-law staying at our house with Paisley.
They ran every test–blood, urine, swab for infection, strep, CT scan, and a shunt x-ray series. Everything came back negative for infection and the shunt seemed to be working properly; nothing was kinked or clogged. His inflammatory indicator was high, but white blood cell count was normal. We were baffled. They decided to admit him overnight to continue investigation.
They gave him the same antibiotics as they would if he had spinal meningitis, not wanting to leave anything up to chance in case he had a shunt infection. Finn and I spent Monday night in the hospital, where they came in every hour for some test or IV check. Every 3 hours they pried his eyes open and shined a light in them. Fever was still pretty high. By mid-morning he was basically unresponsive for about 3 hours.
We’d ask him to look at us and he wouldn’t turn his head; even when his eyes were open. We were scared and praying hard. This is when he asked us, “Will you guys pray for me?”
Tulsa recently got a new pediatric neurosurgeon, and she was on Finn’s case. She ordered a shunt tap–they stick a needle into the shunt and extract CSF to test it for infection. If it is infected, they will remove the shunt and replace a new one–a major surgery and two-six week hospital stay. The shunt tap was ordered at 10:00am, but no one heard from Neuro until 8:00pm that evening. By that time, Finn had rallied and was feeling so much better that we were playing catch with a foam baseball when she arrived at his room.
She decided not to risk the shunt tap since he was obviously feeling better.
We left the hospital around 6:30pm on Wednesday, still unsure of the source of infection but thankful for Finn’s improved health nonetheless. Perhaps it was a weird virus? God, no doubt, had healed him.
Thank you so very much for your prayers and encouragement during this difficult week for our family. We are blessed by the community you provide us. You are, quite literally, the “hands and feet of Christ” in our lives. Keep praying for Finn: that he would not relapse and that his shunt would continue to work properly.