Allen’s Final Chapter

This is part 3 of an inspirational story written by Sophia's Dad. You can read part 1 here and part 2 here. Gripping the edges of the dentist’s chair while the drilling commenced and waiting for the assistant to suck out the saliva in my mouth before I aspirate into my lungs, I feel my phone vibrate in my pocket.  It’s 5:35pm on Tuesday.  Given a brief moment of reprieve from the seemingly endless drilling, scraping and oh yeah; readjusting that dam device that keeps your mouth cranked open almost to the point of permanently creating a smile like the Joker from Batman I peak at my cell.  “Alan just passed away five minutes ago.” His estranged father at his bedside, his fiancé driving home from work having just left the Care Center (which I admitted Allen to just a week prior) a few hours earlier. “He sat on the edge of the bed,” straining to readjust himself to get his cancer filled lungs to cooperate as best as possible. He simply said, “I can’t hold on any longer, I’m ready to go.”  His head dipped down on his chest. There were a few feeble attempts to fill his lungs with precious oxygen and he was gone.  He left this world with a whimper, not a bang. To some, Allen’s story was a tragic story with all the makings of a “tear jerker” you might see on The Lifetime channel.  For others, it marked the end of a long and hard battle with the ‘The Big C’. As I read the text while allowing the dentist to have his way with my teeth despite my silent protest, a … [Read more...]

Allen’s Update

This is part two of an inspirational story Allen's Gift, written by Sophia's Dad Brett, a Physician's Assistant. Intractable vomiting.  In the medical world the word “intractable” is used when nothing given as treatment or therapy relieves the given symptom.  In this case vomiting.  I mean think about it,  remember  the last time you had “the stomach flu”? Or how about the last time you went out and drank way too much only to spend the next 2 hours in front of the toilet?  For me, vomiting represents one of those bodily functions that causes the afflicted to be so miserable, so “please God I’ll do anything if you make it stop” type of agony.  But in the back of our minds we KNOW the vomiting will end soon and life will once again return to normal for us. I spoke with Allen today on my cell. “Hey buddy, you hanging in there?,”  I asked. “Doing the best (long pause) I can with (long pause) what God has given ( long pause) me to handle today,” whispers Allen with obvious great effort. “I wanna (long pause) go home so bad, so (another long pause) tired of this”. This time the long pause came from me. “Hello? Brett? (long pause) Hello?” “I’m here Allen,” I say as I again clear my throat.  I feel a humungous lump in my throat followed by what seems to be a flood of emotion like a once peaceful lake escaping it’s boundaries due to a broken dam. “I’m here man,” barely escapes my lips. The lump now a painful cacophony of past emotional pains that I thought … [Read more...]

Allen’s Gift

I’ve been thinking of how I will say it, how I will turn someone’s life upside down as I move from patient room to patient room.  Room one holds a gentleman that is having trouble getting his diabetes under control and has diabetic kidney and eye disease as a consequence of his over indulgence.  My second patient, who has known coronary artery disease has been experiencing chest pain over the last week, awakening him every night with “an elephant on my chest” in a pool of sweat. “Luckily he is not currently having any chest discomfort,” my nurse tells me. I scan the list of my morning patients; hypertension, follow up labs, complete physical exam, back pain, trouble swallowing, shortness of breath, abdominal pain and weight loss. Then it’s lunch with a stack of lab results, adjusting blood thinners, pathology reports and back to seeing my patients at 1 o’clock. Then I see Allen on my schedule!  There it is at 1:30 pm.  FOLLOW UP RESULTS.  The young man is in his late 20’s, is engaged and has the whole world in front of him.  Except I’m going to tell him in the most tactful, gentle, and compassionate way, that he likely will not be around in a year.  That all the planning he has made for himself and his bride to be, the house they want to buy, the names they like for their future kids, the “full and happy life” that every 20 something young man or woman feels is all in vain. I see all my morning patients…which seems extra difficult today.  I can’t seem to get Allen … [Read more...]

Infant Illness With Rash…What is Roseola?

Have you experienced your infant being ill and having a rash at the same time? Last week Kelly and I took Sophia to the park and after a little while we noticed she just wasn’t her excitable self…you know, the arms flapping, the wiggly legs, the high pitched hoots that all start when she sees the park.  Kelly brought it up while we were there.  I had to admit that something was amiss.  The following day I had Sophia duty.  Upon awakening from her noontime nap, she always lets us know she’s awake with a cry that says, “Hey I’m up! I’m down here in my room. Are you coming?” So I looked at the “ole video monitor” and there she was standing up in her crib looking towards her door.  As I picked Sophia up, I immediately felt heat radiating off her flushed cheeks!  “Hmmm, what has Sohia gotten herself into now?", I silently thought.   A 101.8 fever!  Tylenol was fast at hand and after a bit her temp mellowed to 99.6 or so.  For the next 2 long days…fever, fever, fever and no others symptoms. She didn't have a cough, nor was she tugging at her ear. Her voice was fine, appetite remained good, and activity was as normal as could be…with a fever that is.  “Could this be?", yep.  "She’s the right age and only time will tell,” I thought.   Roseola Infantum or Sixth Disease is a common illness that is causes by a virus in the herpes family.  So called Sixth Disease due to the virus being the “6th” one identified that causes a rash after a febile illness in infants and … [Read more...]

Teething Terror

Are you dealing with teething terror? Babies first teeth generally begin to appear between the ages of 4 to 7 months.  Some “late bloomers” don’t get any teeth until 12 months or older.  In rare instances a baby can even be born with a couple. Experts disagree whether or not teething actually causes any symptoms at all.  Some believe it’s just coincidence that the classic symptoms that some attribute to teething occur.  These symptoms include: drooling, fussiness, gum swelling and sensitivity, biting behavior, refusing to eat, sleep troubles and a low grade fever (below 100.5 degrees fahrenheit). Any raise in temperature above this will warrant a trip to your baby’s health care provider to rule out other causes such as the dreaded ear infections I wrote about in an earlier article.  From my experience, I am convinced that teething definitely causes some if not all of the above symptoms. Things you can do to ease your baby's discomfort alleviate teething terror are having them suck on a cold teething ring that has been in your refrigerator or if they are eating solid foods then cold yogurt or applesauce for instance may sooth their aching gums.  Teething biscuits or crackers can also be used and can be purchased at your local grocery store. Sometimes even gently rubbing your child’s gums with your clean finger can temporarily help.  It is generally recommended to try these methods before giving medication such as infant Tylenol or a numbing gel that can be applied with a … [Read more...]

Does Your Baby Have Diaper Rash?

Does your baby have diaper rash? If you are a new parent, sooner or later while you’re changing a diaper you may notice a rash on your baby’s bottom and or the genital area.  What is diaper rash? How can it be prevented? What should you put on it, if anything at all? Diaper rashes are common between the ages of 4 to 15 months.  They may become more frequent when baby begins eating solid food.  There are 2 main types;  those caused by yeast or fungus and those caused by direct irritation of the skin from acidic stools. Candida (yeast) is typically fiery red with scattered red dots around the periphery called “satellite lesions” and grow in warm moist area. Causes include recent antibiotic usage by baby or by a breast feeding mom, staying in a wet diaper too long, and frequent stools.  Treatment includes frequent diaper changes (keeping area dry) and over the counter creams that target fungus and yeast. Ask your pharmacist if you can’t locate. Acidic stools can cause a painful skin irritation.  These stools begin after baby begins eating solids. These are areas of skin that look “raw” or irritated.  Treatment is aimed again at keeping baby dry (frequent diaper changes) and skin barrier preparations such as Zinc oxide or petroleum base jelly.  These create a safe barrier from harmful acidic moisture and allow skin to heal. Lesson of the day: Keep baby clean and dry and baby will be happy…happy baby=happy parents. Brett Davis, P.A.-C  (Sophia's Dad) … [Read more...]

Does Your Infant Need Iron?

Does your infant need iron? Oxygen is essential for the life of every cell in the body. When we breath, the oxygen in the air goes into our lungs. From our lungs, the oxygen is transported by our blood throughout the body. Actually hemoglobin; the red pigment found inside the red blood cells do this job. So what does iron do? Iron is a main component of hemoglobin. One hemoglobin molecule has four iron molecules.The oxygen temporarily binds with the iron molecule and is transported to our organs and tissues. Without iron, our body cannot produce hemoglobin. Low levels of this red substance in the blood is called anemia. Your baby probably doesn't need to take supplemental iron drops (at least not for the first four months). It depends on whether she's formula fed or breastfed and whether she's eating solid food. It's important for babies to get enough iron, because iron deficiency can cause serious delays in growth and development and have long-term effects. In general though, healthy, full-term infants get enough iron from their mother in the last trimester of pregnancy to last them for the first four months of life. Premature babies have less of an iron reserve and need supplements because they don't get sufficient iron stores from Mom in the last trimester. The earlier a premature baby is born and the faster that baby is growing, the sooner she'll need iron supplementation. Once your baby starts eating solids (not all the little goodies she finds on the floor) is … [Read more...]

Middle Ear Infections and Your Child

Middle ear infections (otitis media) are common infections in children and generally follow an upper respiratory tract infection (common cold).   In fact, this condition accounts for most of the antibiotic prescriptions written by pediatricians and other health care professionals. The ear is divided into three areas or compartments.  The external ear consists of the auricle (the part we can see) and the ear canal.   The middle area consists of the tympanic membrane (eardrum) and the space directly behind the eardrum which has the three smallest bones in our body.  These bones help transit sound to the inner ear cavity which contains our balance mechanism (cochlear) and other components to allow us to hear. The middle ear is naturally a warm and moist area that viruses and bacteria love to take up home.  They travel the course that generally begins in the nose or sinuses and the throat.  From there they can travel through the Eustachian tube (a sort or pressure valve) that runs from the back of the throat to the middle ear( When your ears “pop” while traveling to the mountains the Eustachian tube is doing its job)! Risk factors for developing an ear infection in young children and babies starts with the fact that their Eustachian tube is more horizontal than the adults, allowing traveling “bugs” an easier passage.  Bottle fed babies are more at risk compared to breast fed babies, certainly allowing your baby or toddler to drink from a bottle while lying down is also a … [Read more...]