Friday, July 9, 2010

The devil in the detail

Ordinary problems can so easily become major issues if you've got 'complex care needs'.

We've lived in dread of the hay fever season for many years. If our son was 'ordinary' it would be a significant inconvenience but as he over secretes with the pollen, he can't just swallow it or blow his nose like you or I. There's a 50/50 chance the fluid will go down his airway - and that's a real problem. He starts to choke (that's one reason why we need to suction him, and contributes substantially to his recurrent chest infections.) and that distresses him, so he has a fit (and we need to deal with that if he has too many or they last too long.) so simple hay fever gets to be major intervention.

He's developed a blocked sweat gland under his armpit. A bit painful if not controlled but no big deal. Unless of course you can't tell anyone it hurts until it becomes an obvious lump, and you start fitting with the pain. So we treat it with antibiotics and panadol. Now if it gets established and too recurrent, an ordinary person would just have surgery to remove the pocket, but because of his fits and his damaged lungs, he's a poor anaesthetic risk. Any surgery then becomes a major life risk. So that's not an option we want to think about. One day we may have to, but for now the antibiotics and pain killers work.

These are just details in his condition, but the devil really is in the detail here. And there's some little devil going to get a pitchfork right where it hurts if I finish up in the furnace.

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