Consequences

People who have been reading the blog for a while know that Elanor got deathly ill when she was a week old and that we almost lost her to sepsis caused by a bacterial infection.

She’s been out of the hospital since 11/30 and has been growing, getting strong, and generally developing into a healthy and happy baby.  We have been relieved to discover that thus far she has had zero hearing loss, no long term damage to her liver or heart, and seems to be hitting the developmental milestones.

However, she has had persistent hypertension, for which she has been on medication since her hospital stay.  It’s been a puzzlement as to why she has persistent hypertension, as her kidney numbers (creatinine) had returned to the normal range.  I mention the kidneys because infant hypertension is almost always kidney related and we had already ruled out heart damage.

This week we discovered what was going on.

One of Elanor’s kidney’s did not recover from renal failure and has stopped working…effectively dying.  It has begun to shrink, which the nephrologist assures us is a good thing because once it shrinks and disappears the body will stop trying to send it blood.  The surviving kidney will grow larger than usual and she should end up with approximately 70% of normal kidney function.

This is hardly the worst thing that could happen, and honestly I was waiting for the shoe to fall as her recovery had seemed too perfect, too miraculous–especially for an atheist like me.

There is almost no chance that she will need dialysis or a transplant unless the remaining kidney is damaged in some way.

To prevent damage to the remaining kidney, we will have to be cautious about what antibiotics she takes (as some affect kidney function in the short term), give her tylenol and never ibuprofen, and keep her away from high contact/impact sports like field hockey.  She’ll be able to play other sports like tennis or whatever, and certain sports like soccer or basketball will require a vest to protect her kidney from damage.  She may also have some trouble with taking a pregnancy to term…I believe because of blood pressure issues.

Ravi and I took the news remarkably calmly, but I think that it has a lot to do with the impact that only having one kidney will have on her life as opposed to things we’re REALLY scared of, such as impairment because of the stroke in the higher order thinking/language center of her brain.  One kidney does not affect her potential for a full and rich life, excepting of course, that she will NOT be the first female player in the NFL…which we can live with.

Besides…the one lesson I will always carry with me from that horrible day when she was admitted and the doctors weren’t all that confident that she would live is that it could always be worse.  We will accept the consequences of her illness and be grateful that we have a happy, social, good natured baby sleeping upstairs in her crib.

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