Nathan Schmitz Nate's News

First post: 8/19/2017 Latest post: 10/23/2017

Welcome to our CaringBridge website for Nathan. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support, prayers, thoughts and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.


On August 11 at 1 a.m., we brought Nathan to the hospital due to extreme pain he was having, including difficulty breathing.   After a CT showed that there was a couple of bacterial infections on his lungs, the entire day was spent answering questions and doing various tests to collect the bacteria.    He underwent pulmonary examinations, infectious disease examinations, ultrasounds, CTs, and so on.  He needed oxygen and had pain that wasn't subsiding.  It soon became clear that this wasn't a run-of-the-mill issue and he was admitted to ICU.   The good news was that they had ruled out major issues like autoimmune disease or cancer but still weren't sure why he was so ill.  

On August 12, they performed a lung biopsy.  This test would solve the mystery of the type of bacteria, but there are risks so it was saved until last.  Now that they had finished all the tests to collect the bacteria, then they could begin administering antibiotics to start fighting the infection.  After some of the blood cultures came back, we were told it was something called Lemierre's Syndrome.  In short, an abscess had formed behind the tonsils undetected and ruptured creating an infection in the blood and lungs.  The occurrence of this is very rare, literally, affects one in a million people. 

We were stunned to be sure, but heartened that we had some answers and there was a treatment for the condition.  He was to be on IV antibiotics for about one month to get rid of the infection, would get his tonsils out at a later date, but would return to a normal teenager ready for his senior year.  The next days continued with more tests and monitoring.  He had a drainage tube inserted to get rid of the  infectious gunk that had built up on his lungs and Nate was feeling better,  but still had persistent pain in his left shoulder and lower right abdomen/hip area. An ultrasound didn't show any clots, which were a concern.  They wanted an MRI of the clavicle, but he wasn't able to lie flat for the 2 hours needed in the MRI machine.


On Tuesday, August 15, he was feeling better and moving around a bit for the first time, but then on Wednesday, the 16th, he was feeling worse again.  It was thought that the chest tube might just be clogged so a larger one was put in.  It was thought he had about 1 litre of fluid in the pleural space around his lungs but after the larger tube went in,  over 2 liters came out!  He had a PICC line put in as well.


We moved out of the ICU  on Thursday, August 17, to a regular room.  He only needed the oxygen mask occasionally and there was less "gunk" draining from his chest tube.  They even opened up his limited diet so we could bring him Jamba Juice and Noodles & Co., as he was down 10 pounds already!  

On Friday, August 18, we were told that the earliest we might be able to discharge from the hospital was Monday, August 21.  Things were looking up!  

On Friday night, due to continued fevers and the persistent pain that he was experiencing in his left clavicle area, they conducted an MRI and found that he had an  abscess in the ligament, one over the pectoral muscle, and another at the top of the lung.  Because the ligament is encased, this morning (Saturday), he'll have it drained and cleaned as the antibiotics can't reach it via the bloodstream.  The abscess that is deeper in the shoulder at the top of the lung will need to be addressed but because that is a bit riskier, they want to take care of this one and then monitor it and that will help guide them in how to address the other one.  He also had a liver ultrasound that is unremarkable so that is some good news!

We SO appreciate your thoughts, prayers and support.  Greg & I have been with Nate every day and night and it helps us to know so many are out there cheering Nate on to feel well again.  We really can feel it.  He still isn't up for visitors but appreciates knowing that he's being prayed for and all of the well wishes, cards, flowers and balloons that he's received.  This is a journey we certainly weren't expecting and won't be over in a flash, but we look forward to getting Nate home and back into the swing of his very busy teenage life soon.  

Love, Greg & Tracy

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