Friday, August 7, 2009

Sweat Test. Or not.

So, Seth and I headed out at the ungodly hour of 7 am and drove 45 minutes to our Children's Hospital for Seth to have some testing done. As I mentioned in a post last week, Seth's Pulmonologist felt like Seth had a few different markers for cystic fibrosis, and she wanted him to have a sweat test to check it out.

When we got there, the nurse assured me that it was one of the easiest tests they did. She hooked him up to a couple of stimulators...little discs on his skin that had some sort of electrical current., or something, to start him sweating. She said it would tingle and they had to stay on for five minutes each.

Well, it went bad right away, of course. When we were moments away from five minutes, the little box of the discs had come loose. We had to start over. Then it happened again. And Again.

Finally, half an hour later, the discs had stayed on for five minutes in all the locations she needed. She taped on the sweat collectors, wrapped them in fancy plastic wrap, slapped hot pads on top of those, then I put some baby legs on his arms and a heavy sweatshirt over the baby legs, and we headed out into the Florida heat for 30 minutes.

I headed back upstairs at the cutoff, feeling very optimistic about the test. I mean, he was wrapped up like a mummy...he had to be sweaty. We peeled all the layers off him, unwrapped his arms, and found...nothing. No sweat.

No sweat! Are you kidding me? We stood outside in Florida with several layers of clothing on! Usually we can't even make it from the house to the car without sweating.

So we had to start all over. All over! We had to go through the stimulation phase again, which went just about as well as the first time. Then we had to heat pack and plastic wrap him again. Add several layers of clothing. Take him outside.

What should I be doing? I thought about making him run baby laps, but he can't walk. I thought about finding a boiler room, but it's a big hospital...I had no idea where to begin. I thought about making him cry, since he usually sweats profusely when he's upset. So I just walked him around in the sun, watching him overheat in his heavy sweatshirt, long pants, and double baby-legged self. No, I didn't take pictures. I meant to, but I was too stressed out trying to make him sweat. I mean, I was sweating just trying to get him to sweat.

When the time was up, I headed upstairs, noting how warm he was, how flushed his cheeks were. This had to be good. I just knew we were going to unwrap him and he would be dripping with sweat. Probably enough for four sweat tests, or ten. Possibly more.

I peeled off his sweatshirt, his baby legs, his other baby legs, and the nurse pulled the hot packs and layers of plastic wrap and tape off. She pulled the discs off and pulled out the tubes to collect the sweat.

Which was...


Four hours at the hospital, nearly two hours of driving, and...nothing. We know nothing more, and apparently you can't perform the test more than twice in some time period because the stimulation is too strong for them to deal with.

Ergh! I could have screamed, really. We've had to drive to this hospital three times this week, and none of the visits have gone the way I would have liked. I. am. frustrated. Poor Seth. I hate that he has to go through all these tests, even when they're not invasive. He could have been playing. Man, I could have been drowsing while pretending to play. Seriously.
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