Monday, January 15, 2007

MRI at Children's Hospital

Ana's MRI went reasonably well on Friday. She was coughing in the night and awoke with a snotty nose, which triggered my thought of, "Great! Here we go again." Just when we're all recovered from the Christmas cold, here comes the one for January.
Coming down with a cold did not stop the MRI procedure, however. We arrived at Children's Hospital bright and early to find it bustling with activity as if it had been in business all night long. Which, of course, it had. It's a hospital. I may be an early riser most of the time, but I'm used to solitude and quiet at that time of day.
I made up my mind that if I had to be hospitalized, this was the place I'd want to be. The decor was bright and cheerful, with murals and paintings all along the walls. Leon managed to find his way around by noticing the different paintings we passed. "Yes, we're going the right way because I remember this painting," he'd murmur as I scanned the signs overhead to figure out where I was.
The staff were all morning people or otherwise revved up on caffeine. The lady at the desk cheerfully handed me a survey to fill out, "so you can tell them how crazy I am." I grinned and replied, "Not as crazy as I am right now." I'd been up since 5:30 with no food, no hot chocolate, no journaling to center my mind.
Ana was as good as gold--she's a morning person, too. We went back and got her gowned up while a young woman with long, wavy blonde hair who positively radiated warmth and friendliness took her vitals. Then we waited. We played with Happy Bear (a gift from G.G. Walker). Leon flew her in and out of our cubby while she shrieked with her arms and legs outstretched. There was much talk of the Bubblegum-Cherry guy, who finally arrived to pick up his form, then disappeared to prepare the going to sleep medicine. Ana had latched onto the bubblegum and cherry news instantly. The going to sleep medicine was going to smell like bubblegum or cherries or both.
It was a disappointment, however, since it came with a forbidding looking mask. Ana decided that they could keep their bubblegum, their cherries, and their ugly mask--she was ready to leave right then. It took a fair amount of cajoling to get her to keep the mask on long enough for the anesthesia to start flowing forth. The Bubblegum-Cherry guy, who looked as though he spent his evenings eating good food, drinking good wine, and reading books off the New York Times bestseller list, having had his fill of children all day, remarked that the sedative smelled more like Shrek mouthwash than bubblegum and cherries. But by then Ana's eyes had started to roll up into her head and it was time to collect Happy Bear and go find breakfast in the hospital cafeteria.
Why does all hospital food smell the same? It doesn't matter which hospital I visit, I breathe in the aroma of their food and I know I'm in a hospital--some hospital. Leon and I went to have breakfast. Desperately hungry and determined to get the few remaining breakfast items, we did not choose well. Hospital cafeterias also all seem to having an annoying set up that the staff are accustomed to but make visitors wander in a confused circle looking for forks. The food was excellent when I sat down to eat--I was ravenous--but once I had my fill the spell was broken and it became ordinary cafeteria food again.
By the time we finished and had found our way back to the MRI area, the presiding nurse was racing towards us with a relieved expression. Everything was over and had gone well, and Ana was sleeping in her curtained off cubby.
We set up camp beside her bed, prepared to read, sketch, or knit, but Ana was soon stirring. All went swimmingly after that. She ate her cherry popsicle, had her IV removed (which made the most alarming boo-boo), received her fairy princess outfit, and got dressed to go. She bounced out of the hospital, into the parking lot, and into the car, where she wilted on the way home.
It was as if someone had clicked her internal switch to "really sick" mode. Her breathing grew fast and shallow and she began to shiver and tremble violently and complain that she was cold. I felt her forehead, which didn't feel feverish, and covered her in a towel in case she barfed up the popsicle. She didn't improve when she got her home and settled in the guest room bed with "Go, Diego, Go!" on TV. We both dozed off, and when I opened my eyes I reached for her forehead. It was hot. I jumped up and took her temperature. I didn't get a really good reading, but evidently it didn't matter. 105.
I grabbed the phone, while Leon switched the setting from infant/toddler to child/adult. He got 103. The kind gentleman who answered the phone recommended Tylenol, if that didn't work call her pediatrician. We got the Tylenol down her and waited for an hour. It worked. Ana was no longer curled up in a shivering ball. She lay and watched Diego with interest, drank Gatorade, and eventually asked for the crackers we'd been offering. Her temp came down to below 100. The worst was over.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Pets and Vets

Today I'm off to take the dog to the vet, likely to be an all morning task. I'll allow myself the flexibility to stay with her or leave her. Sitting in the doctor's office is one of those time-sucking experiences that make me feel the minutes crashing all around me, breaking apart, and evaporating uselessly. Sitting with Sammy at the vet is little better. Unlike the groomers, I feel compelled to stay with her since she gets so skittish and frightened. I have more sympathy for a dog at the vet than a dog at the groomers. I figure it isn't my problem that dogs hate baths so much.
But what to do about the time spent there? Aha! I could do some nagging paperwork related to pet care while I wait. If I'm going to spend my time taking care of the dog, I might as well get as much out of it as I can.
As I sit here and write, I can hear Sammy doing her morning shake, tags jingling. She'll get restless soon and I'll want to let her out for the day.
Ana has her MRI scheduled for Friday--general anesthesia required. I don't like general anesthesia. If it were me who needed some procedure, I'd consider acupuncture. As it's Ana, I don't have that particular choice. I wonder if I could ask for alternative ways to quiet her for the procedure. Every time I mention it to her she asks if it's going to hurt. Perhaps the "going to sleep medicine" is best.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Small Mysteries

Today I plan to bake bread all by myself. I'm intimidated because bread baking is one of those tasks that once you start you have to finish, and it takes hours, even if part of it is waiting for the dough to rise. But perhaps it can be relaxing, creative, and rewarding, and nicely dovetailed with any enjoyable task I can think of. All I can do is jump in.
In my quest to begin the Feingold program, I had a nice little chat with the pharmacist yesterday. I figure there's no point in putting any effort into starting the program if the meds are full of artificial colors and flavors. The pharmacist was pleasant and helpful enough, (God, I miss my dad.) and the next step is call the physician for samples of the adult formularies. Plus a mortar and pestle to crush the half pills to dilute them in pear juice or milk.
This Feingold business is worth a shot, but I have a funny feeling that Ana is exposed to something at daycare that she doesn't come in contact with often at home. The daycare is a wonderful place, but I just would like to figure out what it is that sets her off. Yesterday evening, Leon commented that she was positively vibrating with excess energy. Something she comes in contact with is firing up those ants in her pants. Maybe it's worth keeping a journal of her behavior before beginning the program as well as during. Again, all I can do is give it a shot.