The day after the day before

In the last 4 months we experienced many changes.  One of the greatest for us is how quickly Woutertjie gets tired. 

After yesterday’s adventures Boeta is obviously tired today.  He doesn’t run, he doesn’t work on Carien’s nerves.  He sits quietly and watches TV.  And he is easily irritated.

Irritation is one of the signs we’ve learned to recognise as a sure indication of his Hb (haemoglobin) level taking a tumble.  The most obvious sign of anemia is paleness but since we see him the whole time we don’t really notice that.  When he answers an innocent question with an ear-piercing scream we know that it is time to stand back and look at how pale he is. 

Here are our signs with the associated estimated Hb level:

(Normal healthy level = 13 / adults are flat by the time it drops to 9)

Doing well, running round like he is 100% fine  –  –  –  estimated level 9 – 13

Pale but not yet irritated  –  –  –  est level 8 – 9

Pale, irritated and tired  –  –  –  est level 7 – 8

Pale, irritated, tired and with red rings around his eyes  –  –  –  est level 6 – 7

I don’t know why his eyes become red-rimmed when his Hb goes really low.  It is a sure sign that we have blood transfusions in our immediate future.  At the moment I estimate his Hb to be in the high 7 range.  We will see what the blood tests say tomorrow.  Will let you know!


One Response

  1. My 8 year old son has Crohns disease and we have to keep a constant check on the Hb levels.
    I have found over the course of the year that irritation and impatience is a huge red flag for low iron. When it was v low, he would also keep taking big breaths and said he felt as though he couldn’t get enough air.
    It has taken a year, but he is finally in the normal range.
    He is repeating grade 2 because of the tough year in 2008, and I am seeing my ‘real’ little boy again.
    Glad to hear of someone who confirms my ‘day to day diagnosis’ of low iron.
    I had just a small taste of having a sick child last year, nothing like what you have had to go through. But the constant blood checks, doctors, uncertainty and little surgeries were enough to allow me to empathise!
    We are adapting to life with a chronic illness but it has not been easy.
    Always thinking of your family and praying for a healthy boy.

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