Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Stories

Today is Easter and it is the first "real" holiday that we haven't been able to celebrate in our traditional way. Not bad considering we live with a medically fragile kiddo.

On Friday, Tess started having what looked like petit mal seizures but they looked so totally different than I was used to seeing with her that I just didn't know for sure so I called Sheila. We Facetimed so she could watch Tess. She didn't like what she was seeing and called the pediatrician. She was instructed to tell me to go ahead and give Tess her rescue meds to try to stop the seizures.  When that didn't seem to stop them, I called her pediatrician back and was told to get her to the mainland on the next ferry. As I rushed to get ready, she finally fell into what looked like a comfortable sleep and since we were told we could stay home if she stopped, we didn't bother getting on that boat. However, she woke up around 3:50 and started in again with the weird twitches and jerks.  I debated about what the heck was going on with her and then, at 4:05pm decided that I did not want her on the island for the night. My Tessie radar was going off fairly loudly. So after rushing around like a maniac, we boarded the 4:30 (and last for the day) ferry to Rockland.

Yes, I am impressed that we actually made the boat in that short amount of time. I had to pack for myself and Tess and try to think of the possibilities:

Will she be admitted into the hospital?
Will we end up at Sheila's?
Will we get home tomorrow?
If not tomorrow, when?
How much clothing will she need?
How many diapers and wet wipes?
How much of her enteral food and supplies do I need to pack?
Grab extra oxygen for boat ride.
Grab oximeter and plug.
Don't forget daily meds in the pantry. 
Don't forget jump bag.
And for all that is holy, don't forget to bring Baby Tad!

The hubby kept asking me if I wanted him to come with me but I figured he was better off staying home because Ellie was there plus Blake was coming home on the last ferry from college for Easter and I didn't want her to come home to no parents around. 

So Tess and I rode the ferry. Alone. With her seizing. I will not make that mistake again.

For the hour and fifteen minutes we were on the boat, she seized. Small ones that cycled over and over and over again. 

Stressed? Yeah, you could say that.

I got off the ferry and drove straight to the ER where we met Sheila. The doctor agreed that it looked like she was in a seizure cycle and called the on-call pediatrician as well as Tessie's regular pediatrician. They were told to administer IV Ativan  which seemed to calm her down (and make her start giggling at LaLa Loopsy on TV). They then did a chest Xray that came back as "suspicious" for pneumonia so she got a shot of antibiotics. The hospital had no empty beds and the docs wanted her admitted so we spent the night in the ER and were moved to a room early the next morning.

                   Just chillin' out in the ER. No big whoop.

When Tess woke up the following morning, she started cycling back into seizures so more meds were given and we were told we would definitely be staying another night which meant we would not be getting home for Easter. 

When the girls found out we couldn't come home they offered to bring all the "Easter Bunny" supplies here so they could have their Easter baskets with Tess. Yup, my girls are awesome. 

They arrived this morning with the hubby, loaded down with Easter goodies that I had to get ready for them. After giving them strict "No Peeking" instructions, I laid everything out. Not exactly the pretty display that the Easter Bunny usually puts out for these girls but hey, it got the job done.

They dug into their loot, laughing at the tags still on everything and the way things were falling all over the place then they showed Tessie her stuff. Tess really didn't care and was basically very irritated that her movie got turned off so she could visit with her sisters. So she did what she does best when she is mad. She went to sleep. 

             Tessie is not impressed that her movie got turned off for this.

We were all sitting around discussing Blake's latest essay I had helped her with for a scholarship and then she asked if I would help her with her paper for her Lifespan Development Class. This paper was basically exactly what it sounds like it would be. An autobiography spanning Blake's life and development.  So we all got to telling our favorite stories about when the girls were little and man oh man, the things you remember that you had sort of forgotten about. For example her fascination with The Lord of the Dance when she was three and her total obsession with carrying around a small Bible in a purple, velvet Crown Royal Bag when she was about four. Then there was Ellie who used to dress up EVERY DAY in a Belle costume complete with tiara and scepter and wear it downtown and when people would tell her she looked pretty, she would reply with, "I know."  Needless to say, we had lots and lots of laughs. 

                           We're ready for our closeup, Mr. DeMille.

And after they left I was thinking. Would we have talked like that if we had been home? Just spent time hanging out with only the five of us, enjoying each other's company and telling funny stories about the girls? I don't think so. Between laptops, boyfriends, TV, work, and just life in general, we would have done our usual Easter morning but then probably have sort of broken off into different parts of the house until it was time for dinner. 

So you know what? THIS Easter? This HOSPITAL Easter? Crazily enough, it was a happy one. 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Thief

I am a thief.

I can steal your independence.

I can steal your ability to learn.

I can take possession of your brain and not let it go until I am good and ready.

I can steal your courage.

I can steal your dignity.

I can steal your joy.

I can steal your baby, your mother, your father, your sister, your brother; even you. Whoever I want, whenever I want, and make them mine.

I do not care about your age, your race or your religious beliefs.

I can steal your "normal" and replace it with complete and total chaos without warning. 

I can steal your life.

I am one of your worst nightmares. 

I am Epilepsy. 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

How three days of appointments turns into five days away from home

As previously mentioned in my last post, Tess was given two possible dates for her bilateral hip surgery. Either May 16th or June 25th. As it turns out, it will happen on neither of those days. I got the call from the OR scheduler last week that she has a definite surgery date set for May 14th.


In order for her to proceed with the surgery, Tess needs to be given the green light from the rest of her "team" of specialists, which basically means they have to agree she can physically handle such a major (6-8hrs) surgery. Which means they all need to see her, which means many, many appointments in Boston.

This coming Wednesday she is scheduled to see pulmonology. This will be a new doc for us at Children's because her past pulmonologist was at Maine Medical Center so I am not sure what to expect for this appointment. I'm guessing chest x-rays are a real possibility.

After that appointment we are scheduled for cardiology which includes an EKG as well as a "tentative" echocardiogram because her heart rate has been noted to be a tad jumpy and irregular. She also has been known to suddenly just look terrible and break out in a cold sweat and be all cold and clammy as if she's had a sudden drop in blood pressure. In fact, for years her dad and I had mentioned to many different doctors that we thought she needed to see a cardiologist with all of them basically shrugging off our concerns by saying things like, "Kids like Tess tend to do their own thing. Their bodies just don't regulate themselves like ours do."

Really? I hadn't noticed.

Even after the nurses at Children's Hospital had mentioned it to the doctors because they had noticed the odd fluctuations when monitoring her during some of our stays as an inpatient and also thought it was a little abnormal. Even after her pediatrician finally agreed with me that maybe it was time to see a cardiologist down there and made the call himself to talk with her developmental pediatrician at Children's to express his concerns. Still it was ignored.

Well, I am here to tell you that I am willing to let things go for only so long and I can promise you, when my baby is facing such a huge surgery and I am not convinced her heart is up for it, I am not going to let it be shrugged off any longer.

So I made the call myself. And got blown off.

Oh, no you didn't! (insert finger snap and head weave here)

I decided it was time for that grumpy old beast "Mama Bear" to make herself known.

I called again and might have, somewhat angrily, told the developmental pediatrician's nurse something along the lines of, "Her father and I have requested an appointment with a cardiologist for years and we've gotten nowhere. Her pediatrician in Maine agreed with us that she should see a cardiologist and still Dr. M (her pediatrician at Children's) didn't feel it was necessary. Now Tess is getting ready to undergo a major operation and Dr. M still doesn't think it's of any concern?! Okay then, here's the deal. You tell her I said that I want a signed note from her stating that I repeatedly asked for a cardio appointment prior to surgery and that SHE denied my request and that she can personally guarantee that Tess's heart will withstand the surgery with no problems whatsoever!"

The appointment was made later that day along with the EKG and ECHO.

That Mama Bear can be a real b*$%#, can't she? An effective one though.

But I digress.

As I was saying, her appointments are on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. I have "karate chopped my way to a better price" and booked us a room for two nights in Boston.

I just checked the weather forecast and guess what? There is a snow storm heading our way. On Tuesday. As in, the day I had planned to leave the island. Did I mention the wind is supposed to blow really hard as well? Because it is. Making the ferry trip very undesirable if it even runs.

I had originally thought we might try to leave on the 7:00am ferry on Wednesday which would put us on the mainland around 8:15 and allow us just enough time to make the first appointment in Boston at 12:30. That is if the first boat runs. And Tess doesn't have a seizure on the way. And there is no traffic.

So yeah, Tuesday ended up being the day to leave based on all the above variables possibly coming into play on Wednesday. And now a storm. Are you freaking kidding me, Mother Nature???

My new, revised plan, is to leave tomorrow. Get as far as Biddeford and bunk in with our beloved nurse Sheila and Tessie's, excuse me, I meant, Sheila's, boyfriend for a couple of nights in order to get ahead of the bad weather and insure our safe and timely arrival in Boston on Wednesday. I guess I should call and let her know that, shouldn't I?

And that, my friends, is how three days of appointments turns into five days away from home.