Soon we were headed back to the GI clinic to meet with Timmy's super duper doctor. She made a few decisions while we were in clinic. Because Timmy's heart rate had been so crazy, she decided that it would not be safe to send Timmy back home. He needed to be admitted to the hospital for observation. She said that one thing that might be causing the heart rate drops (they are called bradycardia) is reflux. In order to find out if this was the cause, she decided Timmy needed an impedance probe. This was one of the tests they were planning to run in Cincinnati in October anyway, so we decided it might as well be done now. Timmy's mommy, daddy, and I agreed that this was a good decision; Timmy did not. But we voted and Timmy lost.
In order to do the impedance probe, they had to take a long, thin wire with acid sensors on it and thread it through Timmy's nose and down into his esophagus. This wire is connected to a little box which records reflux events that the doctors can look at later. The little box had buttons on it that Timmy's mommy and daddy and I had to push if Timmy sat up, lay down, coughed, arched his back, or if his heart rate dropped. The process of inserting the wire was extremely uncomfortable for Timmy (how would you like someone to stick a wire up your nose? I think it is probably worse than having Coke spurt out your nose.) Then, to add to the indignity, they put cardboard wings on his arms to immobilize them so that he could not pull out the wire. This was not very fun for Timmy, but as usual, he was quite the trooper and came through with flying colors!
After inserting the probe, they did an x-ray to make sure that it was in the right place. While they were making arrangements for Timmy to be admitted to the hospital, we waited. One thing we have learned about hospital life is that it is full of waiting. (The clever person that came up with the phrase "waiting room" must have known that.)
Finally, all the arrangements were made and we got ready to go to the hospital!
Timmy started out in the pediatric specialty clinic, which is in a completely different building. So our new friends at Johns Hopkins made arrangements for a shuttle bus to come pick up Timmy, his mommy, his daddy, and, of course, me. It was lots of fun! Timmy and I got to ride up and down on the wheelchair lift.
Finally, we made it to the hospital. Timmy's mommy and daddy signed some paperwork, and we all went upstairs to a pediatric unit that was halfway between intensive care and general care. (They like to keep a close eye on their trached patients, which we are very thankful for!) As we settled into our little corner, we missed our private room in Cincinnati, but we were so glad that someone was finally taking us seriously!
We met lots of new nurses and doctors, and we were very impressed. They promised us that they would take very good care of Timmy.
(Come back sometime soon to hear more about Timmy's adventures at Johns Hopkins!)