Lydia Zylstra

First post: Aug 7, 2018 Latest post: Aug 13, 2018
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On July 25, Lydia started to not feel well with what we thought was a typical stomach bug.  Over the next couple of days she struggled to eat and drink and symptoms worsened.  We took her in to our family physician where she received fluids for dehydration and test results showed positive for C. Difficle (bacterial infection of the intestines).  Lydia started on the antibiotic Flagyl.  Over the weekend Lydia's symptoms improved.  On Tuesday, July 31 she took a turn for the worse with symptoms back which led to loss of appetite an the desire to drink.  August 1, she went back to the doctor to receive more fluids and switched antibiotic to Vancomycin.  Unfortunately, Lydia had no improvement.  Friday night, August 3, we took her to ER.  Unfortunately tests showed her kidney levels slightly elevated and blood platelet levels decreased, so Lydia was admitted to PRHC overnight for IV fluids and monitoring.  Test results were not fitting together well.  Dr. Posthuma consulted with Blank Children's hospital and they agreed that she needed to be transferred to Blank so further testing could be done.  Saturday morning Lydia was transferred by ambulance to Blank.  Unfortunately test results were still inconclusive, and C. Difficle showed negative and a certain strand of ecoli was positive.  It was clear that her kidneys took a hit and needed monitoring by a Pediatric Nephrologist (kidney doctor).  The nephrologist at Blank was not in the country so Dr. Cyr (Blank doctor who was awesome at explaining things to us) consulted with Dr. Lyndsey Harshman at the University of Iowa.  Dr. Cyr went to school with Dr. Harshman and said "she was the smartest person in our class".   The decision was made to transfer Lydia before something went south.  So, around 4 p.m. Saturday Lydia was on her way by ambulance to Iowa City.  Test results were pointing Lydia's diagnosis toward some bacterial infection potentially leading to hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).  This syndrome causes a person's hemoglobin to drop, platelet levels to drop, and kidney function to decrease.  Supportive treatment is the focus in this situation including monitoring fluid intake and output in order to allow the kidneys time to recover.  However, ecoli was negative at U of I.  Lydia is keeping the doctors on their toes and making them think hard!  Lydia's pancreas levels were also elevated which is not typical with HUS.  So on Monday, in comes Infectious Disease (ID) doctors and they ask a lot of questions of what exposures Lydia has had - such as food and animals.  The ID doctor suggested that Lydia's symptoms and tests were pointing toward Leptospirosis.  Leptospirosis is carried by rodents and can live in soil for a long time.  Did we mention Lydia cares for a calf and 6 sheep at home with cats that like to catch mice?  Leptospirosis  can be treated with IV Penicillin.  So that was started Monday night, and blood was sent out for testing to confirm this diagnosis.  Tuesday morning, Lydia's kidney function was lower and pancreas levels were lower - baby steps.  Dr. Harshman wanted a PICC line inserted for nutrition, but Lydia's platelet count needed to be higher so her blood would clot.  Early that morning Lydia received a platelet transfusion.  And that is where the journal updates below start.

We have been very blessed by the doctor and nursing staffs at all hospitals that have helped us.  Despite the uncertainty and lack of clear diagnosis, we do clearly see the hand of God working for Lydia.  Through the medical staff, friends, family, and others, we have been blessed!