Friday, April 26, 2013

A Well-Worn Path

Our little Ford Escape has been traveling quite the trek lately between our home and Boys Town National Research Hospital. Since we came home on April 3, I have been to the doctor's office 4 separate times with a little one in tow. Today, I made 4 more appointments. Fortunately, everything we need is on the same campus (minus one visit) - the pediatricians, specialists, and even the hospital where Annie's surgeries will be.

It started with a nasty sinus infection that Annie had for who knows how long. After she ended the first round of antibiotics, we went back for a "well" checkup. Well...if it weren't for my mom accompanying me to this appointment, I don't know what we would have done.

Annie's appointment was at 11:15. Right before lunchtime. No problem...we'll be in and out by noon, right? noon, the doctor popped in to apologize for being late, and that he'd be right back after a phone call. (Before I continue...let me state emphatically that I LOVE our pediatrician, and his clinic.) By now, we've missed lunch. (A bit more traumatic for Annie than my mom and I, but even grown ups get a bit cranky without food.) By the time the physical was over, Annie was a mess! I asked if I could feed her before the shots and was cautioned against it, because she might throw up.

30 minutes later, we still hadn't seen a nurse with shots. I popped my head out and was told they were almost ready. There were so many tests to run and shots to give that it took 2 nurses over 30 minutes to prepare everything!

Step One: a catheter. No go...Annie had nothing to do with that. She had just relieved her bladder, and there was nothing left to collect. They tried twice. Poor girl was beside herself. (Have I mentioned that now we've missed lunch AND we're in the middle of naptime?)

Step Two: blood draws. They got half of what they needed from one arm, nothing from the other, and the rest from her fingertip.

Step Three: TB test. Attempt one: no good. Attempt two: good to go.

Step Four: 5! Count them...FIVE shots. For a total of 9 or 10 immunizations (thank heaven for combination doses!)

We did request titers to be run to see which immunizations she really needed (we have a full record from China, but no doses or dates were given.) Apparently, the only titer they would run was for Hep B. (Fortunately that one came back Hep B series for her!)

[Side note: My friend Maralee recently posted a series of very interesting articles about immunizations on her blog. You can see them at A Musing Maralee.]

By the time we left the office, it was 2:30 (did I mention it was an 11:15 appointment?) We've now missed lunch, nap, AND the afternoon bottle. The nurses were kind and did bring us a bottle for Annie, but because of her cleft, she wasn't able to use theirs. Apparently it didn't make her ill when I poured their formula into her used (but rinsed) bottle.

When we got home, Annie CRASHED. She slept in my arms for about 2 hours. Poor girl. And as soon as she woke up, her stool sample was ready. Why, oh why, couldn't she have done that earlier? We were there over 3 hours! So Dan (my hero) drove back with that precious little baggie.

Two days later, we had to return to read the TB test, and to try to cath her again for a urine sample. Mama Bear made some rather strong requests: to NOT be placed in the same exam room, and to allow Annie to sit on a little potty chair or put a bag on rather than attempt another catheter. They did comply. So after many, many, many cups of water, we finally got just enough! The doctor also made a surprise visit (we were supposed to only be seeing the nurse) to inform us that the stool sample very clearly showed our girl had giardia (a water-borne parasite.) Our dear pharmacist in our small town took awhile to learn how to compound the right medication; apparently toddlers with giardia just aren't very common in small town Nebraska.

A few days later, we finish up this round of medication when Dayna informs us her ear was hurting at dinner time. She has a very high pain threshhold, so when she said the pain was a 4 out of 5, I took it seriously. Back to Boys Town we go. Sure enough...she has an ear infection. It was after hours, and I was surprised to see Rosie on duty. Rosie was one of the nurses who went through Annie's awful appointment a week earlier. She didn't recognize me at first (I had a different child with me), but when she did, her tone went flat as she said, "Oh, it's you." Apparently that appointment was just as painful for her as it was for us. All is well now, though!

So here we are, in the middle of life with two cleft-affected kiddos. I made more appointments today for both girls to see the craniofacial team, and for Annie to see a pediatric ophthamologist and ENT (they are nothing, if not thorough at Boys Town when it comes to screening international adoptees.) We could wait on the ENT for our cleft appointment, but she seems to really be struggling to hear us, and we thought it wise to get her ears checked sooner rather than later.

So what will the weekend bring? Hopefully nothing medically related.

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