We have had many friends go to the hospital for a check-up and end up checking-in, but that only happened to Kai right before his transplant. Now we know to bring some extra skivvies just in case.
Kate brought Kai in last tuesday for an ultrasound, because his platelets were dropping, they were concerned about blood flow through his liver. A CT scan confirmed that he does have a partial clot in his portal vein. This sounds very bad, but there are several options for treatment.
The first thing that we tried was a heavy dose of heparin, an IV blood thinner. Things went swimmingly for almost 24 hours and then Kai started pooping blood and throwing up blood (more or less simultaneously). His doctors shut off the drip right away and spent Thursday doing some more tests and consultations with all the specialists.
Because of the great benefits that many patients get from heparin, his team decided it was worth trying again with a low dose and some very vigilant monitoring (i.e. lots of blood draws). Unfortunately the result was the same and Saturday night was probably the last heparin that Kai will be getting for a while. He stayed for observation Sunday and came home Monday.
As usual Kai enjoyed the hospital except for the poking and prodding. His repertoire of smiles is bigger than ever and he got reacquainted with several of the nurses who helped his recovery in July and August. He spent a lot of time cruising around in a little flintstones-style police car. I don't know where he learned to drive since he always rides backwards in real cars. He did a good job with the steering wheel but was very prone to unnecessary honking.
The next step is to try an oral blood thinner, coumadin, which works on a different clotting pathway. We're giving Kai's gut a chance to heal up for a week first. If that doesn't work there are more invasive ways to deal with the clot if that becomes necessary, but ideally the medicinal route will pan out.
Thanks very much to Grandpa and Granddad (Bill and Mike). Bill was here last week to help Kate during Kai's hospital stay, as Paul was out of town for work. Mike will be here to lend a hand this week. Thanks Jackie, Mike, Sonja, Amy and all the other friends who lent a hand!