Speech Therapy (Day +309)

Clark finally had his 1st appointment with Speech Therapy since his BMT. This was more of an evaluation, instead of helping Clark out. They need to see how well he is doing, if he needs help, and what the best methods to help him might be.

We learned from this evaluation, that Clark’s cognitive skills are above average! He understands what we say to him, and can follow directions. We already knew this, but its always nice to hear it from a professional. :)

As for his speech… he is behind, but very interested in learning. He can say the first part of words, or has special sounds for words.  For example, when he says “sit down” it sounds exactly like “sit down”, but when he says “milk”, it sounds like “emm”.

As it turns out, UCSF’s Speech Therapy only helps temporarily. They do not do long term therapy. So now I need to find a local speech therapist that is covered by insurance. This is turning out to be a difficult task. I have already called a few local offices, and they either have a very long wait list, or don’t accept health insurance. And since each session will cost approximately $120, and Clark has been recommended to go twice per week…. that doesn’t sound like an option. I am not done looking though! I will be making more calls this week. :)

On a positive note, there is a Regional Center that is government funded. They do Speech, Occupational and Physical Therapy, as well as other programs. Clark is currently in the process of being evaluated. This may take a couple months before he is approved for help. If he is approved, Clark will have a speech therapist until he is 3, and I believe it is free of charge. This would be a huge help for him!

Pre-Vaccine: Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow (Day +305)

The boys have both been overdue for a haircut for a couple weeks now. We have never bothered taking them to a barber before, so Patrick, or I are the ones who do the cutting. Nothing fancy, but I think we do a decent job.

When Clark started wearing his pressure bandage, his hair would get stuck in the cohesive bandage wrap we used. Now, don’t hate on the wrap. I actually love them so much, I’m now searching to buy a case for our (giant) 1st aid kit!


Since the wrap was getting stuck in Clark’s hair, and since the heat is already here for summer, we decided to buzz cut Clark’s hair! Turns out Connor loved Clark’s new cut so much, he asked for the same haircut!


I am happy with the results, but I think I will let their hair grow like before to give them the “California” look. :)


Getting ready for a (minor) operation still takes some prep time. The day before, I was able to buy snacks for the hospital, and pack our bags. We woke up at 4am to make it to the hospital by 6am. Clark wasn’t even scheduled until 7:30am, but they needed us in early for check-in, signing wavers, and meeting the OR team.

Thankfully surgery went well, and Clark now has a blood free face with a clean line of stitches. Clark received his factor in the OR after the anesthesiologist put him to sleep. Then the doctor pulled out Clark’s scab, and made about 3 stitches on the inside layer, and another 8-10 on the surface. He will be wearing a bandage for 10 days to 3 weeks, depending on how quickly he is healing. We don’t want this active toddler to tear out his stitches!

The chance of infection increases after only 6 hours of getting an open wound.  Since Clark cut himself over 2 weeks ago, we decided to be on the safe side, and start antibiotics. Thankfully, before getting stitched up, Clark’s wound was clean, and always covered with bandages.

Clark woke up irritated and groggy after the surgery. This is a pretty common side effect. But with a little cuddling and patience, he started to calm down. And once he found out he was getting a Popsicle, he definitely perked up! Around 10am, when Clark was back to his old self, and the nurse had taken out his IV, we were finally able to head home.


Plastic Surgeon

After Clark had his dose of factor, we waited the 72 hours before pulling off Clark’s pressure bandage… the bleeding has stopped. However, there is a giant protruding scab, and  it doesn’t look normal.

So to get some answers, Clark met with the Chief of Pediatric Plastic Surgery today. After hearing about the events over the last 2 weeks, and taking a look at Clark’s eyebrow, the doctor decided the best plan is for Clark to get stitches.

As it turns out, Clark’s scab is preventing his cut from fusing back together. The scab is actually in-between the 2 broken sides of skin. His eyebrow will not heal properly if left this way.

When I hear stitches, I think back to when I was 18, and needed 3 stitches on my hand. The nurse numbed the area, put in the stitches, and I was good to go! Apparently Clark’s case isn’t so simple. Since Clark is only 2 years old, and fights like a champ, Clark needs to get general anesthesia. He is actually going in for “surgery” at the hospital. They will wipe away the scab (you know, the one we worked so hard at getting in the first place), wash out the wound, and then stitch his eyebrow back together. Most likely 2 layers of stitches. “Surgery” is at 7:30am tomorrow morning, but we need to be at the hospital by 6am. Please have Clark in your thoughts. Even though he’s been through minor surgeries before, we still hate the idea of putting him to sleep.

Anyone reading this who has Hemophilia, or a child with Hemophilia: If in doubt, call your hematologist. The Surgeon doesn’t seem to think Clark needs factor before his stitches, due to the fact that he only has mild hemophilia. That didn’t sit well with me considering all of the bleeding Clark has had this week. So I decided to call Hematology myself. They were VERY glad I called to let them know about the stitches. And definitely want Clark to receive factor while he is under anesthesia. The nurse practitioner is now in the process of making sure that factor will be available, and that it is in the anesthesiologists notes. She is also calling to make sure everyone is on board.

Pre-Vaccine: Thrill Seeker, Part 3 (Day +288)

14 hours after Clark’s pressure bandage was placed, I took it off. Clark had been itching to take it off all day because it covered some of his vision. As I took the bandage off,  I held my breath- hoping to see a big scab, with no bleeding. As the the pressure was released, there was a “pop” as blood squirted out onto the sidewalk. It wasn’t the actual sound of a “pop”, nor was it the scab “popping” off. The pop was more like popping a zit. Gross, I know., but the best description I could think of.

Blood continued to run down his face as I re-wrapped his cut. I knew that Clark needed to get his factor today, but I also knew that it wasn’t “urgent” since I was able to stop the bleeding with his pressure bandage. So before we headed to the Treatment Center at UCSF, we took an hour detour for Connor’s kindergarten evaluation. Which he did amazingly btw. :)

The treatment center did a great job. They distracted both my boys with toys, and played Planes on the giant tv. Before even attempting to poke Clark, they checked his veins, and put a numbing cream in the areas they thought would work best. Then we had to wait for 45 minutes for the cream to do its magic. It took 3 attempts to finally get Clark his factor. This was not fun for poor Clarkie. But I am so glad they were successful. Then they washed Clark’s cut, and put another pressure bandage on it.

Our new plan for Clark, is to have him wear the pressure bandage for 72 hours. I will also be taking Clark in to see Plastic Surgery on Monday. Hematology thinks that they may have more options to help close his cut, without making him scar too much.

Pre-Vaccine: Thrill Seeker, Part 2 (Day +287)

Last night was spent at the ER. Thankfully not ALL night, just a few hours.

Clark’s eyebrow had re-opened twice this week. Once on Saturday, and again on Sunday. Both times the bleeding lasted about 20 minutes (with constant pressure) before stopping. And then yesterday happened…

…Clark woke up from his afternoon nap, crying and covered in blood. To my surprise, I was not very surprised! I knew immediately that it was coming from his eyebrow. Plus, this is not the 1st time this has happened. Before BMT, Clark woke up covered in blood from nose bleeds. The difference this time is, I was calm enough to take a couple pictures. :)

I took Clark directly to the bathtub and held some paper towel on his cut. Then I asked Clark to hold the towel, while I took off all of his clothes and started the bath water. The mess doesn’t bother me (any more), but it does bother Clark. Every time he sees a drop of blood land at his feet, the floor, or on his clothes, he cries. So keeping the bath water running was calming, and helped wash away the blood. I also gave him a peanut butter rice crispy square, which helped a lot!


I realized that the cut re-opening every day for 3 days was not a sign of healing. So, once things started to calm down, I called the on-call hematologist. I needed to know if this meant Clark would need a dose of factor. After going back and forth, we agreed that the location of Clark’s cut was not dangerous (unless it wouldn’t stop bleeding on it’s own). If this had been inter-cranial, an organ, or a joint, we would need to take Clark in immediately. But his eyebrow is only a surface cut that wont leave long term damage. Our plan was to get the bleeding to stop, and go from there.

It did stop. But only for a short period of time. His eyebrow kept re-opening. I used bandages, gauze, and pressure. Nothing was working. Finally I decided to take Clark to ER. We got a private room right away, thanks to the blood covering Clark’s face. The room was actually really nice with a private bathroom and a TV! I was pleasantly surprised. Plus, the TV helped entertain Connor while Clark was getting his IV.

Over the last year and a half, we have had too many let downs in ER when attempting to get an IV in Clark. From those experiences we have learned a few things. 1) Have a Pediatric Anesthesiologist get the IV in, and 2) Don’t let them try as many times as they’d like. Because they will keep trying and trying and trying….  I didn’t have any luck getting the Pediatric Anesthesiologist… but I was able to stop the nurses after the 3rd attempt at an IV. Why hurt my baby 6 more times to continue to fail? I don’t blame the nurses. Clark has never been easy to get a vein (0 success in any ER).

Thankfully the ER visit wasn’t a complete waste of time (and money). The ER doctor was very helpful and sympathetic. He did not try to convince me to have the nurses try again. Instead, he came up with an alternate plan. He washed Clark’s wound to help prevent any infections, and he also wiped out the glue! Apparently glue (instead of stitches) can slow down the healing process. He suggested getting stitches next time, because this will help a cut heal faster, and help prevent bacteria and other germs from infecting the cut. After that, Doc made Clark a pressure bandage to hold him through the night.


Well, it worked. No more bleeding last night. Next step: wait until Clark has had 12+ hours with the bandage on. Hopefully with the newly washed cut, and the constant pressure, Clark will have a secure scab. If it does start bleeding, I will be skipping ER, and taking him to the Treatment Center at UCSF. They give children infusions, transfusions, and draw blood on a regular basis. I’m certain we will have more success there.