Friday, February 19, 2010

Spending Quality Time with the Remote

The past few weeks have tested my skills as a mother to the limit. Montezuma’s Revenge has taken on a new meaning as Tom and I chased between the beds of vomiting children. Of course, it doesn’t help when mommy is down. There is no euphemism to describe my husband driving with the windows down on a cold Midwestern evening while I sat in the passenger side losing my lunch. Thanks to the advent of modern medicine and a couple of days, it is hard to believe I was ever that ill. Our ER doctor was wise enough to prescribe wonderful anti nausea medication and gave us enough for the whole family with the exception of Sidney.

Of course Eli and Sidney have both been struck. As always, Tom and I continue to laugh about the situation. We have paralleled it to a combat situation. This all began when I woke up at 3am to Eli leaving me a surprise on his bedroom floor. This was only after waking up at 1am to find Sidney leaving me a surprise in her bed. Unconsciously, I screamed down the stairs, “Eli’s down.” Tom was sleeping apart from his already sick wife. We refer to Tom as “the last man standing.” Better days ahead!

Sidney is tough and a little trooper. After about an hour of getting sick, she quickly fell back asleep and slowly worked back onto foods the following day. She has been found spending many an hour hogging her half of the couch, inhaling pedialyte and saltines. Eli, on the other hand, was the recipient of a small dose of medication and is relaxing in mom’s bed watching cartoons. One of the many qualities I love about Eli is that he is the constant optimist. He might be sick, but he gets to eat popsicles in mom’s bed while school is going on!

Meanwhile, Sidney’s fingers are healing beautifully. We head down to Iowa City on March 1st for the surgeon to have a final look. One finger is completely healed with no scabbing and the other is well on its way to the scabs totally falling off. Another mother asked recently if she tries to take off the splint. I can report she has done beautifully. She knows it is supposed to be on, and I wonder how she will react when it is totally gone. Dr Lawler said six months for the other hand, so we will continue to ask more questions during the next visit.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Sinusitis & Summersaults

I can count the number of times Tom has stayed home from work for illness on one hand. Yesterday was one of those days. Mom was down for the count, as well as Eli. Sidney appears to be getting over the funk. Eli and I hauled our sick selves into the doctor and were immediately prescribed antibiotics. The photos above are Eli attempting to look sick for the photo. Where does he get this flare for drama?

We will not be visiting genetics with Sidney today and will reschedule for the second time. This is driving me crazy! We already had a screening with the genetic counselor on Monday over the phone.

She had several very interesting questions. “Do her thumbs look normal?” Yes. When we received Sidney’s referral a Chinese pediatrician from Des Moines advised that if she has thumbs it is a positive sign that Sidney’s condition is not part of a greater syndrome. “Are her teeth straight?” Yes. “Is she able to use her hands?” Yes. I wished the genetic counselor could only be a fly on the wall. “Have you had her assessed by AEA (at least I think that is the proper acronym)? No. There is nothing we have witnessed in 6 months that she struggles to do. “What about a computer and if she needs to type?” I was thinking, have you seen my husband type? She advised that we might want to have her assessed prior to starting preschool or kindergarten. We will cross that bridge later.

As Sidney heals from her surgery, we see a completely different person from 6 months ago. Gone is the vacant and stoic eyes of a child which has experienced too much for her age. Gone is timid behavior around Tom and I. What is left is a happy two year odl that is learning to be a kid. She finally smiles while she is playing and openly laughs when we play with her. We play Nadia Comaneci as Sidney puts her head to the floor ready to go over in a summersault. This was something she learned in the orphanage. One of the first days home, she put her head to the floor with her backside in the air, and looked at us like, don’t make me wait forever, roll me over. Now she now rolls over by herself. I never would have thought of putting her into gymnastics, but she loves rolling around and having mom flip her off her lap. There is a small program in our community, so I am thinking one night per week might be fun for her after she turns two.

Speaking of performing, Eli did taekwondo in his schools talent show. As we were driving to school, he said, "Mom I can't wait to get on stage." Wow! He is sure of himself. It is so cool to have a child that is not shy and makes friends with anyone he meets. He did a great job. It was one of those moments as a parent I was thinking, see all those people looking at MY CHILD!

OK, back to the writing that pays instead of the writing that I love.

A medical sidenote: Sidney’ hand continues to heal well and the scabs are falling off her fingers. We were on the phone with the resident on call in Iowa City last weekend. Tword the base of the fingers the skin is a bit raw and oozing, The doctor in training advised this was very normal with skin grafts. We were relieved and happy not to make another trip to Iowa City. Instead, we were instructed to wrap guaze around the outside of the fingers and not between. I asked Tom how this could possibly work as the fingers almost looked like they could grow together. I guess I need to relinquish control to the medical experts as this worked.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Finding Another Finger

One cast removal later, and Sidney is modeling a purple splint with hot pink Velcro. I personally thought the color combination was fashion forward. As Sidney wore a large set of ear muffs for the loud saw, a cautious medical professional cut through her cast. Sidney was feeling the effects of the muscle relaxer and pain killer which were suggested by the doctor for such an occasion. Another trip back into the orthopedists side of the clinic, and light gauze was painstakingly removed after dipping her hand into a bowl of liquid. This took awhile to accomplish, as it was obviously important not to disturb the grafts. What was left was dark brown skin around the inside of two separated fingers with the appearance of thick scabs. While contentedly eating fruit chews, she simply looked at her fingers as if to say, “I know something is different?”

My mother came along, and like myself, has an interest and stomach for all things medical. Anyone else looking at the grafts after the gauze was pulled off might have been a bit grossed out. We were both amazed at the appearance of two puffy fingers versus two fused together. I never took good health care for granted, however this morning, I felt a bit overwhelmed at the thought of what could have been if Sidney had not been our daughter and living in the United States. I cannot explain how cool it is to be the person facilitating this care. It is humbling and amazing all at the same time, and we feel extremely blessed.

Next, we were off to physical therapy for a splint. A physical therapist traced her hand and applied adhesive strips of Velcro. After only an hour and a half, we were back in the car headed to Independence. On March 1st, we will go down for our final appointment. Until then, we leave the splint on and take it off for baths!

Our next surgery is supposed to be in 6 months. Our hand surgeon said today, the next surgery will require another full arm cast, and it will be necessary to pin the bone. I was unaware that when a pin is removed, it is simply pulled out. The hand surgeon advised it is over, before a kid knows what is happening. I know she is cautious about pain control, so I trust her opinion. Thankfully, a skin graft will not be necessary for the procedure. We will find out more on March 1st. We are thinking a cast will not be much fun during a humid summer but know that we will do what is best for Sidney’s long term health. In the meantime, we look forward to watching how the first surgery changes her quality of life and function.