The Real Superman Part XIV
By Jeff King
About four months went by and Dylan was doing so well with the VNS. He had become very vocal, but still didn’t talk. We had to go up to his neurologist every two weeks to have his VNS adjusted. Right after his 4th adjustment Dylan began to have some real bad acid reflux. This became a big concern when the majority of the time he was spitting up bile. It began to take a toll on his teeth and the acid from his stomach began to eat away at the enamel. We voiced our concern to both his neurologist and his pediatrician. We also became quite concerned that this reflux would damage his esophagus.
We made an appointment with his neurologist and talked to him about our concerns. He set us up an appointment with a gastroenterologist from John Hopkins. She did several test on him and prescribed a medication that we would end up using for about 9 months. It was erythromycin. This was a small dosage that they used and in theory it was supposed to help empty the intestines and protect the esophagus from any damage that could be caused by the acid reflux. This really didn’t seem to work that well with Dylan and we had to now by bibs for him to wear, because his clothes were getting ruined because he would reflux all day. The teachers at his school brought in oversized buttoned up shirts that they would put on him to keep him from staining his clothing. This was a terrible time in Dylan’s life, because he couldn’t really eat much and we started giving him ensures and baby food to try to get him to eat without spitting everything up. Terri and I were sure that this was a side effect of the VNS, but Dr. Rubenstein continued to disagree with us, even after we had found some literature stating that fact. Dylan’s teeth had gotten so bad and although Terri would brush them daily, it didn’t really matter. They were all rotting out, because the acid from his stomach had just eaten through them.
We made an appointment at the University Of Maryland Dental Department. They would have to put Dylan asleep so that they could pull out his rotten teeth, which at least were still all of his baby teeth and they would try to treat him with some things that would prevent further damage to them, but they informed us that it wasn’t guaranteed and that we would definitely have to try to brush his teeth at least twice a day, but they recommended three times a day for him. This was almost physically impossible to do, because Dylan absolutely hated having his teeth brushed, or his mouth messed with at all. Dylan was very strong and he would fight hard to stop you from carrying out any plans to brush his teeth. It sometimes took the two of us just to hold him down to brush his teeth one a day and now they really wanted us to try to brush them three times a day.
The anesthesiologist put Dylan out and a team of Dental surgeons began to work on Dylan’s mouth. It took them about an hour and a half before they were done. They took him into recovery and sent for us. We went into his room and tried to wake him up. He wouldn’t budge. We waited about a half an hour and began to try to wake him again, but for the second time we were unsuccessful. He was out cold. We tried this several times for the next hour and a half. The nurse was in several times and tried to wake him too, but she too was unsuccessful. She checked his vitals and everything was fine, he just wasn’t ready to wake up yet. Terri and I did become concerned that maybe the anesthesiologist gave him too much anesthesia? We thought.
After several more unsuccessful attempts the nurse contacted the anesthesiologist who then decided that it was in Dylan’s best interest to stay at least overnight for observation. Terri stayed with him while I went home to attend my other children.
The next day he was released and was just fine. This was the first time that he had a hard time coming out of the anesthesia even though he had been put to sleep several times in the past.
Dylan continued to have the reflux and now the gastroenterologist advised us to consider letting her put in a feeding tube. She said that this would most likely stop the reflux. We left her office upset, because we didn’t want to put Dylan through anymore surgical procedures. We decided that we would have this procedure done, because Dylan had lost so much weight, he began to look like a skeleton with skin. He looked very sickly. Thank God our insurance dragged their asses to approve this procedure. We took Dylan to Dr. Rubinstein who wanted to make another adjustment to the VNS, but we told him NO! He was still having seizures, but we knew that the VNS was definitely the cause of his reflux, because he didn’t have it before the VNS. We finally got approved for the feeding tube and were making preparations to have the gastroenterologist do the surgery, but she happened to be on vacation, so it would be at least another 2 months before we could schedule the surgery. Within that two months something miraculous happened; the reflux, which had come on so suddenly after all the adjustments with the VNS seem to vanish after we stopped his neurologist from adjusting the damned thing. We decided to postpone the feeding tube indefinitely!
For the next several months Dylan continued to gain weight. He started looking healthy again. He no longer looked sickly. He was having seizures, but not like he had before the VNS. He was having more absence seizures where he would just fall out and hit his head and face. We decided to contact Dr. Rubinstein about ordering a helmet for Dylan. (To be continued.)