Yep, we went to the Regina Elena clinic in Milan today to see one Professoressa Marchisio, an expert on infections of the respiratory tracts in children, in order to hear the results of our little one’s recent, and now, routine blood test.
I happy to report that everything seems to be OK, apart from the slightly low level of antibodies my son appears to have. He should have 500 or so but he only has around 400, per milligram or something like that. Anyway, the number of antibodies has been falling, so we have another appointment with an immunologist next week. Just to keep an eye on the level of the things and to see if anything can be done to raise the number to normal in-range levels. Although we understand that this could well happen naturally as he grows.
If you see my robust little four year old, you would not think he has low anything. He is energetic, highly articulate, and as mischievous as they come, which means that neither of his parents are overly worried by the low antibody level. If he happened to be a visibly sickly little sprog, then we might have more cause for concern.
The root of these routine blood tests is that my son, as you may have read before on this blog, has a recurring infection related to a slight malformation in his nose which has left him with a tiny area of very thin tissue within his left nostril. This fragile area of tissue, to all intents and purposes, a small hole, allows minor colds and the like to cause his sinuses to become inflamed and the infection also tends to cause his left eye to swell up. The technical term for this illness when it spreads to his eye area is ‘orbital cellulitis’.
He has had around eight attacks of orbital cellulitis over the last three years of his four year life. And when he has an attack, the last of which happened in May last year, he usually ends up in hospital for a week or so being pumped full of antibiotics in an attempt to keep the infection from spreading any further and leading to nasty complications such as brain ulcers.
Now, while my understanding is that orbital cellulitis is not that dangerous as long as it his caught and kept under control, each time my son has had an attack, the area of thin tissue in his nose has become progressively weaker and this has lead to an increased chance of colds etc causing further attacks. Due to the weakening of the tissue, each additional attack is potentially more dangerous. Luckily, so far, the antibiotics have done their job and the thing has been kept under control.
Talking about antibiotics, our little one has been taking them every day since he was about one. And I wonder whether there is any connection between the low level of antibodies and all the antibiotics he has taken. I’ll have a hunt around on the Internet to see if I can find anything out about this.