Travis Becker

Lets see it all started Valentines day, February 14th 2007 at approx 2:30 am. My son woke me up in a lot of pain. He said his shoulder hurt him really bad and he could not bear to move or lift his left arm. He was crying and if you knew my son you would know this is far from normal for him. He was 17 and very much involved in sports at school. At the time all happened he was doing wrestling with the state tournament approaching. Knowing the pain I could see he was in, this was an emergency and I needed to get him to the ER as soon as possible. When we arrived I gave them what information I could that might help them find what maybe wrong. Which was he had a injury to his shoulder during a match in November. They took an x-ray of his left shoulder. Looked over the x-ray and said that it did not appear to be dislocated. They gave him pain killers and sent us on our way. Now mind you if your a parent you know when something just don't feel right. We got home and I could not bear to see my son suffer as he was. My other thought was to get him in to see his doctor. I had to wait until 8:00 am when the doctors office opened to get him a appointment. Their soonest was 1:30pm. I said I will take it if that is the soonest one possible. It felt like eternity just waiting and watching my little boy in pain. I call him my little boy even though he weighed 220 lbs and 5 ft 11in tall. He is my youngest of three boys so he will always be my little boy. Finally it was time for his appointment. The doctor came into the room and did the usual poking around and questions. She then looked at us and said this young man should be in the emergency room. I stated to her we were there this morning and she just said I want you to get into your vehicle and go straight there and I will call them to let them know you are on your way. Yes my heart dropped but I also felt relieved that finally we might get some answers to this terrible pain he was in. Now we arrive and they admit him once again and put him in a observation room, which means they will work on trying to figure out what is wrong. Oh the ordeal he had to go through. Blood tests that hurt because he has very deep veins. MRI which caused him great pain to lift his arm during that process. Other test such as throat cultures etc. They even did another x-ray. By this time he had a 103 temperature and vomiting. The only thing they could do for him was painkillers which I swear had very little effect. As evening approached I knew it was going to be a very long night. We had to wait for test result. I stayed with him right by his side praying God would help us to find the answer. When morning finally arrived they had a joint specialist come in and stick a needle into his shoulder joint to see if there maybe fluid there that should not be. It cause me more pain then my son I am sure just to watch this process. My son was in to much pain to even care by this time. The day was long, very long. By late afternoon a doctor who was on shift at that time had the nerve to come into the room and start babbling about how sometimes a virus can act this way. I wanted to kill him!. I think he knew by my look what I was thinking and exited the room. The PA doctor on the same shift came into our room shortly after wards and felt my sons neck and shoulder. She decided to order a CAT scan. When they finally got the scan, I watched the doctor which made me up set and the PA doctor from our room look at the CAT scan. Then the doctor left and went to another level in the hospital which left the PA doctor to over see things. As evening was approaching all the sudden we hear the PA doctor yell out I FOUND IT! Oh my gosh I get goose bumps just recalling the memory. She was not sure what it might be but something was in the area of his collarbone. I feel that I owe this PA doctor my life. I will be forever grateful for her determination. She informed us that he will have to be transported to OHSU (Oregon Health and Science University). Up on arrival there he would go straight into surgery. We we were informed that OHSU would need a copy of the CAT scan which would take a little bit for them to get a copy of, but my son could be transported right away if someone stayed behind to wait for them. I hesitated but volunteered knowing the faster my son could get to the hospital the faster he could get better. I cant tell you how the clock ticked ever so slow during that time. Knowing my son was being transported by ambulance and I could not be with him. Finally something was being done. Later I found out during his ambulance ride they had to shove a breathing tube up his nose and down his throat fearing he may go into respiratory arrest. His nose bleed off and on for a week. I got the CAT scan and hurried to OHSU. Only to be told my son was in surgery and it might take about 45 minutes or so before he will be out of surgery. I went to the waiting room to wait. An hour pasted and I was getting real nervous. Finally a doctor the (ENT specialist) came in. He was shocked to see over a dozen people waiting for answers. He has a very big and loving family waiting eagerly to know if my son was going to be okay. The doctor went on to say, that my son will be in ICU to be watched and the surgery went well. He had a very very bad bacterial infection under his collar bone they had to clean it out and put drain tubes in. He also stated that he has done a lot of surgeries but has never ever smelled something so foul in his life then this. Another 24 hrs would have been devastating. Now we just wait and time will tell if they got it all. I wanted to see my son so bad and only a few of us could see him at a time. We were directed to ICU and told before entering what to expect. I know they tell you but its so hard to see tubes and machines every where. He had a incision approx. 5in long just above his collar bone with drain tubes out each end. I tried to stay strong for my son but the tears just fell. Seeing him so weak was very hard. I stayed there by his side through the night and prayed. He was in there approx. 24 hrs or so. Then they put him in his own private room. I found out one of the test they took at the first hospital was tested positive for strep throat. Every morning they came to draw blood to see if his white blood cell count went down at all. They said it was at 22 and the normal was around 11. They checked his blood every morning before he could eat anything just in case he was to go back into surgery. Taking blood was becoming painful for him each time they did it. He was unable to eat anything until they had blood results and the doctors okay. By this time it was always approaching close to lunch time. I stayed with him every day and night with the exception of driving home in the evening to get me a shower and return as soon as possible. My son is not the kind of kid who speaks up on what he needs so I really felt I had to be there 24 hrs to be his voice and his mom. Guess you could say he don't like to impose on anyone. Plus he is such a private kind of person. I told him many times it is their job to look after him. Guess I should of told myself that cause I found it much easier to change his bandages myself rather then hunting down a nurse each time my son would say something stinks. Mind you the first few days it drained pretty good so I was up and down applying new gauze each time. We even had to change his sexy hospital gown if any dripped on it. He could not stand the smell. After about the fourth day he was complaining of his lower back hurting him so I did plenty of back rubs to try to keep him comfortable. He also started to experience pain in his upper back between his shoulders. We figured it was just the comfortable beds they furnish and my son was unable to get the exercise he was use to. Well it was going on about a week now and he was so wanting to get out of that place. The doctor decided to release him. I was so excited but, I knew my son was more excited then me. He was still weak which I just thought was due to all he has been through. When he stepped on my running board to get into my vehicle his foot slipped but he managed to catch himself. He tried not to cry but I seen it in his eyes and I cried which triggered a emotion of tears. I believe my tears were more tears of sadness seeing my son so weak. His was more of happiness to be able to leave the hospital and irritated that he was so weak. He never had anything cause this much defeat on his body. I thought now we were ready for the road to recovery. That didn't happen. Let me explain. He slept in our living room on our recliner because he said it was more comfortable for him. His back was still causing him some grief. I did everything I could think of. Heating pads, ice, pillows, and message. I slept next to him on our futon each and every night waking with his every move and getting up to give him his pain killer medicine that they prescribed. His appetite was not so good. Seemed he could only choke down clam chowder with crackers. I swear the kid was going to hate the stuff in the close future. I took his temperature every time he felt hot because I was directed that if it was to reach 101 to take him directly to the emergency room. It seemed to bounce up and down and come very close to 101 which scared both him and I. It was about on the fourth day while at home I called our chiropractor to see if he could take a look at my son. It was his day off but he was ever so glad to meet us at his office. Course he could not do any adjusting because of the incision he said. He did tell us that it could be just muscle spasms from the whole ordeal and used some massager on his back. This was very little relief but we appreciated him taking time on his day off to see my son. By the next day I called the ENT doctor which did the surgery. I had to leave a message asking for a call back. This was on a Friday afternoon. I received no call back. My son had a appointment set to see him on Tuesday which I felt was not soon enough. I called our regular doctors office which they could get him in on Monday. So was I just being overly cautious I thought? Monday finally came and I explained to the doc that my sons back hurt really bad. They did take an x-ray not finding anything. She felt since he had a appointment with the ENT doctor the next day that she would consult with him. So now we wait again. At his appointment with the ENT we waited in the little room. The moment he walked in he said man you don't look so good. My reply was I Know he is just not bouncing back like he should be. He is weak and his back pains him. The doc ordered a CAT scan. Off we went to get him his CAT scan. When that was done we were told to go back to the doctors office for the results. The doctor came into the room with not so good news. He said it appears it made into the pleural space of his right lung. This is the cavity which holds the lung. I don't think that upset my son as much as knowing he was to be admitted back into the hospital. His doctor now referred him to a chest doctor. He was admitted into the hospital but they had no private room open for him at this time. The only room right now was in the dept where the cancer patients are. It wasn't a private room but they will work on getting him one. I could not stay the night with him. Let me tell you I didn't sleep well at all that night. Knowing I was about 40 mins away from my son in the hospital. The next morning I was at the hospital bright and early. Thank goodness I was. They come in to take his blood. This is the first time I seen him cry from taking blood. I informed one of the nurses of the pain he had during this taking of the blood. Come to find out his veins are collapsing due to being poked so may times. Just a couple hours later they decided to put a picc line in (this is a tube which goes in to a main vein that will release medicine just above the heart). With this picc line they can draw blood and put medicine in it. It took a couple of trys to get it in the spot they needed. Now finally the doctor comes in and tells us the battle plan. They will be putting a tube into his back to pump medicine into this cavity. It will be pumped in and left in there for 4 hrs then drained. This will go on for at least 4 days. After this surgery he will be able to be put into a private room again. They had one open. I was so glad I could stay there with him again. The first time of pumping the medicine into his lung cavity was very hard and painful for him. He could hardly breath and it hurt really bad. We learned that timing of painkillers were very important during this process. He was attached to a suction unit on the other end of the tube which came from his back. When ever he left his room to go to the cafeteria or a walk he had to carry this square box with him at all times which was also attached to this tube in his back. After about the second day he was able to walk part of the way to the cafeteria. By day 4 he walked the whole way by himself with only a couple of stops to catch his breath. By day 5 he was doing it with no stopping at all. He much preferred the cafeteria food then any food brought into his room. I did notice he was getting better when he ate some of the food that was brought into his room. His appetite was coming back! Remember I said he weighed 220? Well when he came in for the second battle he weighed 190. I was now feeling he was going to get well and so was he. He was doing a lot of grumbling and grouching and just wanted to go home. I knew then he had a good chance that he was beating this thing. What a relief. By day 6 he was released from the hospital with his picc line still in place. We had give him infusions, which means we pumped his meds (Piperacillin) into his picc line every 6 hrs. This went on for three weeks. He slowing got back into school. I woke up every morning at 4:30am dosage cause I knew if he was to get back into school and to recover he needed his sleep. I was so scared something might happen at school with his picc line. He reassured me no one would mess with him and it would be okay. It still puzzles me some on how this all started. He injured that shoulder during a wrestling match before Christmas. Had severe ear infection during Christmas then came the strep throat. His immune system was I am sure way down there. So a multiple things all mixed into one made for a very trialing time in his life. Now,my son is back into his regular routine. He works out every day. He is a senior this year in high school. Right now he is playing football. With wrestling coming up after that. He has gained all his weight back. He is looking at being the state champ in the 215 weight class come wrestling season this year. He has a huge fan club waiting to cheer him on. He loves his football and wrestling its his life right now. I cant take that away because of my own fears, even if this maybe part of the cause. The only thing I can do is pray to God each day that He keeps him healthy. I am so ever grateful my son did not lose his life or a limb. He does have a scar above his collarbone which I feel is pretty darn lucky comparing it to a lot of other stories I have read involving this devastating disease. I pray for each and everyone of you to stay strong and that He will heal any physical or mental wounds you have suffered. Thank you for letting me share Sincerely, Terri