On Sunday, April 25th my youngest son’s lower legs (pictured to the right) showed excessive bruising for someone less than 3 years of age.
We were extremely concerned about the bruising, which we initially were fearful was caused by someone being too rough with him, the onset of cancer or even leukemia. On Monday morning the bruising visible on his legs was getting darker and at a regularly scheduled visit, our child’s dentist even found bruises in the back of his mouth.
Late Monday afternoon we took our son to see Dr. Trung Truong, his Pediatrician who is part of the Bristol Park Medical Group. After a quick look-over, having blood drawn and leaving for home; during dinner time Dr. Truong called us back to their Urgent Care facility to have additional blood drawn. About 9:30 we received another call from Dr. Truong who told us our son was in the process of being pre-admitted into Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC). We asked the Doctor if this could wait until the morning, since both of our boys were asleep, and he said absolutely not.
At 10:30 pm our great friends, Kathy and Steve, quickly gathered their daughter and came over to our house to watch our oldest son while we hurriedly left for Children’s Hospital with the youngest. Upon arriving at CHOC and being admitted, nurses stuck my son approximately 10 times with needles to try to draw blood and/or get an IV into him between midnight and 2:30 am. The three of us had only 3 hours of broken sleep Monday night.
Late Tuesday morning we learned that the blood work showed the illness our son had was ITP. “In people (particularly children) who have idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), all of the blood cells are normal except for the platelets. Platelets are the tiny cells that seal minor cuts and wounds and form blood clots. A person who has too few platelets bruises very easily and can bleed for a long time after being injured.” (Family, 2008) The cause of ITP is not known but the doctors and nurses felt that my son’s antibodies were attacked by a flu virus he had recently, then kicked into a higher gear and for some unknown reason attacked his platelets.
My son was discharged early Wednesday afternoon, after being attached to an IV for 16 hours prior. His platelet count was above 39,000 at that time. We are led to believe that platelet counts on someone his age should normally be above 200,000; my sons count when he was admitted was below 1,000.
About 5am Thursday, the side effects of the IV treatment
kicked in and our youngest had a low grade fever as well as puking until mid morning. Our youngest son on the right of this picture felt much better Thursday night, so we took the Thanks Nurse Judy (picture on the left). Nurse Judy was the overnight nurse during our stay and my son as well as my wife became very fond of her.
After a few days of laying low we went to the Padres game Sunday afternoon to see the Padres battle the Brewers of Milwaukee. We were able to sit behind the plate in the same section as my longtime friends, John and Eric. It was great to catch with them and to hear how well their lives were going. Even better than catching up with old friends and eating a bunch of ballpark food, the Padres shutout the Brew Crew 8-0.
We are led to believe and extremely hopeful that this will be an isolated occurence
but only time will tell.
Based upon our recent experience the Padres, Dr. Truong and CHOC Hospital are teams with the ability to strike out the opponent with their great arms and medical minds. Thanks to all for making our son better as quickly as possible.
Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP). (2008). FamilyDoctor.org. Retrieved from http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/common/blood/113.html