Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Anemia

And another little medical issue for Henry. Anemia.

We learned something was wrong shortly after Henry's 9 month appointment. At that appointment, he had a routine finger prick to do basic blood work and a lead test. I got the results of the blood test and they were not within normal ranges, so I knew immediately something was wrong.

Our pediatrician called and let us know that she thought Hen was probably anemic, but we also needed to test for some genetic issues because the numbers were so off. This meant we had to go back for further testing. Unfortunately for Henry, and for me, this meant he had to get an arm draw. This was not a fun experience for either of us. I had to hold Hen down while two techs tried to find a vain. It took two pokes attempts to get a vain. Henry was hysterical by this point, and I was once again was at the point of tears having to watch that.


The results of these tests confirmed the doctor's suspicion that Henry had iron deficiency anemia. Henry's iron levels were very low. For example, his iron saturation level was only 4 percent (the low end of normal is 15 percent). When our doctor called she described him as "seriously anemic." She also let us know that since he is so anemic the results of the genetic testing are inconclusive, so he will need to be retested later.

The next step was to figure out why Henry was so anemic, since he gets plenty of iron in his diet. There were two possibilities. One, because Henry is on such a high dose of antacids his body cannot properly absorb the iron from his food. Two, he has some sort of internal bleeding that was causing the anemia. To eliminate the second possibility, we had to do some poop smear tests ::barf, gross, barf some more:: to make sure there was no blood in his stool.

So we did the poop tests. Thankfully, they came back clear! So no blood, and therefore no internal bleeding. Which left us with the reflux meds. Of course. What doesn't come back to reflux? Bah.

So now that we had an idea of what we were dealing with, it was time to come up with a solution. So our doctor prescribed prescription iron drops. The good news is that we don't have to mess with his reflex medications which have been working really well. But we do need to make his stomach more acidic to absorb the iron. So the solution our pediatrician came up with was to give the iron drops to Henry mixed with some orange juice. This way his stomach gets some acid, but only for a very small period of time. Hopefully, this will make it so he can absorb the drops without causing his reflux to flair up.

I really hope this works and his iron levels increase. We will recheck at his 1 year appointment. Right now we are having a tough time getting him to drink the juice, but over time I think it will get easier! And of course, I'll keep y'all updated.

How do these posts always get so long? If you made it all the way through, you deserve a prize.

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