I just noticed that my French phrase-a-day calendar declared “C’était une enfant surdouée” for June 12. The translation: She was an exceptional child. That phrase pretty much sums up our very long day at the hospital yesterday.
Charlotte and I dropped Daddy at the train and headed to the hospital. We checked in at about 8:15 and played in the Radiology waiting area. There’s a kinetic sculpture that has balls that travel around (think MouseTrap in perpetual motion). The ball jumps off of things, rings bells, slides around. You get the picture. Charlotte was entranced. She spent at least 20 minutes checking it out, cruising around it, and banging on the Plexiglas. Another 10 minutes or so were spent flirting with a little 2 year old in the waiting area.
We were escorted up to Nuclear Medicine where we waited for the IV team. Usually, I leave the room when the IV team shows up because I just can’t stand listening to her scream in pain and fear while they poke her vein for the IV. This time, though, I took one look at Charlotte and realized I had to stay. She looks for me the minute she’s mildly upset and I know that she would have known if I had left. She needed me. So, I stayed at her head, trying to maintain eye contact and petting her. Three technicians held her down while the phlebotomist expertly found her vein. Charlotte was terrified. And we were both crying. This part just gets harder as she gets older.
They strapped her to the machine for the VQ scan. It takes about 30 minutes and checks the blood flow velocity in her lungs. Charlotte screamed almost the entire time. She tried to suck her thumb, but couldn’t even calm herself that way.
After the test she calmed down in about 10 minutes and was quickly her cute self.
We had a while before we had to be at the Procedure Suite for the echocardiogram, so we had coffee with Lauren R., the CMH Foundation liaison to the Heart Center. She brought Charlotte the most adorable stuffed doggy + puppy. Charlotte loved her gift. Lauren and I talked about the Heart Center, the new hospital and fundraising. I learned a lot and it was a nice break.
Off to the Procedure Suite…after a long wait, we were escorted the suite where we went through the usual paperwork. Since Charlotte was undergoing anesthesia, the Cardiology LPN, two RNs, and two anesthesiologists asked me about her health, weight, food intake and medications. I had to sign consent forms. The usual stuff—it takes about 30-45 minutes.
Then, Dr. “Butch” Uejima, the anesthesiologist, gave Charlotte a little bit of Versed through her IV. Up until then, she’d been alternating between calm and anxious. Just seconds after the Versed, Charlotte broke into a goofy grin and then an evil giggle. It was like watching my kid on laughing gas. She willingly cuddled into Dr. Butch’s arms and he cradled her as he carried her to the procedure room. I love when the doctor carries her away, rather than rolling her on a gurney. It says so much about the hospital and how the people there care about kids.
Philippe met me and we had lunch during the procedure.
Around 3 pm, we went back into the Procedure Suite and found our little one fast asleep, looking like an angel, with an oxygen cannula. Because of our previous anesthesia experiences, we expected mild delirium, perhaps nausea and a difficult awakening. Well…now that she’s older and her function is pretty good, Dr. Butch was able to use something called Proforol. He sedated her via her IV, not using gasses. She was not on a breathing tube. The difference, for Charlotte, was astounding. She opened her eyes, recognized mom and dad, stuck her thumb in her mouth, reached for her new doggy and closed her eyes. She was calm and peaceful. She drank and tolerated several ounces of Pedialyte. She cried when the IV came out and after that she basically said, “Let’s blow this popsicle stand.”
So we did—we went home and fed our hungry kid. She ate 170 mls. If you haven’t memorized her stats, that’s more food than she has taken orally since 12/21. It didn’t hurt that she had not eaten since Sunday night. When she’s hungry, she eats a lot. Not enough. But a lot. Hallelujah.
We walked to Scooters where we confirmed that Charlotte really does like chocolate malt concrete frozen custard. Then we put her to bed and she slept 12 quiet hours.
In fact, she was an exceptional child. Truly.
As for test results—Dr. Young is hoping to be able to tell us something tomorrow. We’re hoping that Charlotte’s screaming did not negate the VQ scan. Fingers crossed and we’ll pass on news when we have it.