I think a lot of you already know, but Avery was put in the hospital over the weekend. I called his GI doctor on Friday because Avery was constipated and hadn’t had a bowel movement in about a week. I had already given him an enema and some prune juice with no luck. The GI doctor told me to bring him in and they took an x-ray of his belly. Just like last time, Avery had a huge ball of poop stuck in his rectum. The doctor gave me a hospital grade enema kit with enough to do two enemas. He said to try that first but if it didn’t work we would have to take him to the ER. He suggested we go to Texas Children’s downtown instead of Conroe Regional or St Luke’s in The Woodlands because if the enema didn’t work Avery was going to need surgery. We went home and tried the enema using 300 cc’s of water with no luck. We were pretty sure a second one wasn’t going to work either but we wanted to try everything before taking him downtown. We waited about an hour and went ahead and used the second enema still with no luck. By this time Avery had 3 enemas, a glycerine suppository, and two bottles of prune juice over a 2 day period and was STILL constipated. We knew at this point our only option was going to Texas Children’s for the surgery. So we got the kids taken care of, packed a bag, and headed downtown. We checked into the ER about 10pm Friday night and right away the doctors got busy. Usually when we go to Conroe or St Luke’s the first thing they do is give Avery another enema even though I’ve told them I already tried that and it didn’t work. The doctors at Texas Children’s agreed that if we had already given Avery two 300 cc enemas before bringing him and they didn’t work there was no need putting him through the pain of another one. I told them the GI doctor told us to come down for a deimpactment and they agreed that would be the best option for us. We had to wait until Saturday though and they didn’t have any rooms ready for us at the time. That meant we had to stay in the ER all night. There was of course only one bed in the room for Avery so Jeremy and I slept on the concrete floor next to the bed until about 5 or 6 am when they were finally ready to admit Avery to the hospital and put him in a room. They came to get Avery for the deimpactment around noon on Saturday. By 1pm they were taking him back and about an hour later he was done with the procedure and a biopsy. When I told the ER doctors that this was the 4th time this year that Avery has been hospitalized for constipation they asked if he had ever been tested for Hirschsprung’s disease. We’ve never even heard of it before much less had Avery tested for it. It’s something they always test for in children or babies who have constipation problems like Avery. We decided to have Avery tested so the surgeon who did the deimpactment also did a biopsy. They remove a tiny piece of the intestine and look at it under a microscope to check for missing nerve cells called ganglion cells. We all have nerve cells in our intestines that help our muscles push things through our body. Children with Hirschsprung’s disease don’t have those cells in the lower part of the intestine so the muscles at the lower end don’t work. That means Avery’s muscles are pushing the poop out all the way until it gets to the end of the large intestine. At that point everything just stops and gets backed up after a while. If Avery tests positive for Hirschsprung’s disease the only treatment is surgery. First they do a colostomy and then a pull through operation. That means they cut away the part of the intestine that is missing the ganglion cells and then take the “good” part of the intestine and pull it through and sew it to the rectum. It sounds like a pretty painful process that I’m hoping Avery doesn’t have to go through but at the same time I hope the surgeon can give us some kind of explanation as to why Avery has lived almost his entire life with severe constipation. We have a follow up appointment with the surgeon on Wednesday to find out the results of the biopsy and then we have an appointment with the GI doctor in early January to find out our course of action if it’s not Hirschsprung’s disease. Wish us luck and I’ll keep everyone updated.
Here’s a picture of Avery taken over the weekend at Texas Children’s. Isn’t he just the cutest