At first, the doctor's were concerned that he was aspirating into his lungs during feeds so they scheduled a Swallow function test. Aspirating is very serious and could lead to pneumonia. The swallow function test showed he didn't have any trouble eating, swallowing, etc., but they still decided to put an ND tube in for feeding until we knew what was going on. This goes through the nose and down into the intestines so that when he gets fed through the tube, it will go directly into his intestines. This had to be one of the worst things I have had to watch Benjamin go through. Todd and I had to hold him down while they tried to position the tube just right. It felt like an eternity as he lay there screaming. I wanted to just stop it and take him home that second. We were still not sure he needed to be in the hospital since his only symptoms were coughing spells and reduced appetite. Since it didn't appear he was aspirating, they took some tests to see if they could figure out if Benjamin had an infection.
Throughout the day, Benjamin's oxygen requirement slowly began creeping up. He was on an 1/8 of a liter at home and when he was admitted to the hospital and by Thursday night, he was up to 1 liter. Even on a liter his oxygen saturation was lower than it was when he was admitted. We were so concerned, because he was still coughing so much and was in obvious pain. By Friday morning, he was maintaining and by that afternoon, we were able to begin to wean him back down. Saturday, he was doing so well, the doctors decided to take him off the oxygen! This was exciting, but we still didn't know why he was in the hospital and why he was coughing so bad.
Sunday, Benjamin was still off the oxygen and seemed to be doing much better, but we still didn't have any answers yet. The tests for various infections continued to come back negative, so it was getting frustrating for us and the doctors.
On Monday, they decided to do an Upper GI to see if he was refluxing so much, he was aspirating that way. This also showed everything was fine! Thank the Lord.
Finally, Monday afternoon, after being in the hospital 4 days, we got test results back indicating he has Pertussis (Whooping Cough). What was so unusual is that he had been vaccinated for this and has had very little contact with other people and none with other children. He also didn't have the "whooping" noise typically seen with pertussis, so we didn't immediately think about this. We are not sure how he got this, but at least we know what it is. Unfortunately, there is not a lot you can do to shorten the duration of the cough, so we are planning on him having the cough for a while. Fortunately, the cough is much less severe and is happening much less now. The doctors decided that he was doing ok to go home on Tuesday. They decided to send him home on some antibiotics and without any oxygen.
We brought Benjamin home on Tuesday and he is a new boy! We were a little nervous at first because this was the first time he didn't have oxygen at home, but he is doing so well. He has no tubes and nothing holding him back. He is now sitting up in his Bumbo seat, holding his head up, and smiling constantly.
God has truly taken care of Benjamin and carried him through each and every obstacle he has faced since birth. Benjamin's Pediatrician said it was so amazing how well Benjamin handled such a serious infection.
Thank you all for your continued prayers. We are so blessed and are learning more and more about God's amazing grace as we go through these trials in our life.