Well the good news is we are back at Queen Mary's! Daisy had a new Hickman line placed and her picc line removed last Tuesday and was transferred back from GOS last Wednesday. It was wonderful to arrive back, everyone was so excited to see her and the staff had arranged all her toys and written "welcome back Daisy" on her white board. I could sense Daisy visibly relaxing, it's not quite home but at least it's closer to home and at Queen Mary's everyone knows her so well, she was innundated with visitors from the ward for the rest of the day.
The next day she was very subdued and I had a sneaky suspicion something was not quite right, this was confirmed later that afternoon when she fell asleep, something she only does during the day if she is ill, and woke up with a 40.2 temperature. It was actually one of the few times I just felt like bursting into tears then and there - not another line infection, and only 36 hours since the new one had been placed. She also developed copious runny nappies so I was also panicking about Cdiff, which (of course) Daisy has already had! Well thankfully she does not have Cdiff although the runny nappies are still continuing and look more like her gut deciding it's not going to work (not that it actually works anyway) but she does have a line infection and her gastrostomy site is colonised with staff aureus. Now having managed against all the odds to clear her of MRSA (methycillin resistant staff aureus) I don't want these little bugs to go and mutate into it so we are trying to be really rigorous with infection control procedures - not that we weren't anyway, it's just we all know what Daisy can do. So to cut a long story short she is back on IV antibiotics . This is such a familiar patter, she had only been off antibiotics for 8 days before the new infection, we have not managed a fortnight off antibiotics since the summer, that would be a real milestone!
We are, in Daisy fashion, making progress - ie; two steps forward and one step back but at least making some progress. The exciting news is that we are now on the radar of the Nutrition Nurse Specialists at GOS. To be able to go home we have to be on their radar as they organise the home TPN package, they also insist on children being a minimum of 10 hours off TPN a day(they have moved the goalposts, I had heard it was 8 hours!). The best thing is they agreed with our need to get Daisy out of the hospital and getting some sort of life outside of her isolation room as 7 months in isolation is not conducive to neurodevelopment and probably some sort of crime against her basic human rights! So we have actually left GOS this time with a plan - both to start giving Daisy breaks from TPN so that she can get outside and to try and get a mobile pump for times when she is on TPN.
The former is probably easier to achieve than the latter. This week, we implemented the TPN weaning plan with the aim being to get her to tolerating 6 hour breaks off the TPN. She still will be permanently attached to her other pump which drips milk into her jejunostomy, but that has been a permanent fixture 24/7 since she was just a few months old (and I promise never to complain about being tied to a pump again knowing now what the alternative is!). As of today she is tolerating four hours off her TPN and her blood sugars, though on the low side are reasonably stable, I am just hoping that we can achieve 6 hours by next week as I would love to be able to take her back to school for a couple of hours each day. I am also tentatively hoping we can bring Daisy home for a few hours this weekend - I just hope nothing scuppers this plan as I mentioned the possibility to the children and they are so excited at the thought.
Getting a mobile TPN pump is, as always, a lot more complicated than it should be. The plan is to start Daisy on the home delivery service while still in hospital - this means that her TPN would be made up by a pharmacy and 2 weeks supply delivered to her at a time to be used in conjunction with a mobile pump. This will work fine when we are at home but having a child still in hospital accessing a home delivery service is proving a bit difficult for the good old NHS to get it's head around. The issue as always is who pays for it. It Daisy was at home it would be the Primary Care Trust (PCT) but she is in hospital and so they insist that the Hospital Trust should pay, as the delivery is to a hospital and not home the delivery company say that VAT is applicable on the TPN and anyway the hospital trust are saying they have their own TPN pharmacy and so will not pay for something they can provide (albeit without a mobile pump), as Daisy is not currently an inpatient at Great Ormond Street they are not going to pay so we have reached a stalemate until someone out of the three trusts sees sense. I'm just focussing on getting enough time off TPN for Daisy to have some time out, if these silly conversations are still happening by this time next month I may consider a major toys out of pram episode but you never know, maybe it will be all sorted!
The other useful tip we got from the nutrition nurse was the use of line locks to help stop infection. Basically when Daisy's hickman line is not being used we can put a drug called Taurolock into the line to kill any bugs which may be pushed into her blood stream when the line is used again. Apparantly since using this drug they have seen a massive drop in line infections. The pharmacists are on the case and I hope we can start using it soon as we cannot risk any more line infections or losing any more lines.
Anyway, inspite of all the continuing issues, it's fantastic to be home, sleeping in my own bed and spending quality time as a family. The children have been so pleased that Daisy is back close to home - both Jules and Xanthe wrote about it in their school diaries. They are definitely more relaxed now we are out of GOS as they know that the only reason we are ever in that hospital is when things are not so good. I'm just really hoping we get to bring Daisy home for a few hours this weekend and do normal things like sit on the sofa and watch TV, these are things that we all take for granted but when your family is torn apart for so long like ours it's the little things that are so important.
Websites close to my heart
- Shooting Star Chase (Daisy's Hospice)
- Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity
- Torbay Holiday Helper's Network
- Sick Children's Trust
- Daisy's Angels - Facebook Page
- About Costello Syndrome
- Asperger Syndrome
- Caudwell Children
- Together for Short Lives (Children's Hospices in the UK)
- Costello Syndrome Support Group
- Give Kids The World
- PostPals - Putting Smiles on Sick Children's Faces
- Singing Hands (Daisy is their No1 Fan!)
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