Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Last kidney procedure!

I am so excited to report that the stent is now out of the ureter!  As a quick recap for those who have missed it, Emily had kidney stones embedded in her kidney as a result of the steroids over the past three years.  Because they were large, they realized that they were not coming out on their own, so they opted for surgery.  She had one surgery to place the stent to allow the ureter to open enough to be able to see the stones, one procedure where they lasered the stones apart but left the stent to allow drainage, and one last one today to remove the stent.

I am usually the mom that loves everyone and has a hard time finding fault with the people and situations that pop up in the hospital.  I wasn't even really angry when we had to change rooms two weeks ago at midnight- after I had already fallen asleep.  Today I was livid.

We have two hospital choices when it comes to the urologist.  One is a big hospital with a children's hospital attached, and one is a hospital that is only for children.  One would think that the primary children's hospital would be... child friendly, right?  No.  This would be the same hospital that never checked vitals when we were there for her staph infection that was inside of her port.  We usually won't go there, but in this case I had to make the decision in the middle of Kohl's with my calendar being my phone.  I just thought this would have the stent out two days earlier, and it couldn't be that bad, right?  

I knew we were in trouble when we got there and Emily pointed out that we all forgot to numb her port area with lidocaine (Emla) cream.  We discussed it with a nurse who was more worried about getting Emily to pee.  One would think we would work on the Emla first since it needs time to sit, but nope.  She gave her a gown 12 sizes too big and demanded a urine sample- without the little cleaning cloths.  Em was like, "but this won't be a clean catch!"  They put her chair at the opposite end of the hall, and kept knocking to see if she had peed yet.  We finally gave up and went back to the room.  This time there were 3 nurses in the room, none of which had Emla.  I finally texted Daddy to run out to the van.  Oh yeah, did I mention that only 2 people were allowed back there with her?  At our other hospital there was much less room but we could all go back together.  Here they said that we could bring them back in "a little while".  She also gave me the wrong room number so I almost didn't find them again.  She said 9.  They were in 10 with the curtain closed.  Whatever.  One of the three nurses never mumbled a word until it came time to attempt to access the port.  It took two of them, one asking the other to grab supplies, but neither seemed to know what they were doing.  In the end they hurt Em a bit, and then used a seriously oversized bandage on it.

I could be cool with all of that.  Mostly.  My final problems were that they finally allowed Dad & Zach back after two and a half hours back there, only to have them hang out for only five minutes.  The worst part was that they didn't give her anything to help her calm down before leaving the room.  In fact, they didn't even give us the, "last call for hugs" warning.  It was just bars up, say goodbye.  They said we could have a moment in the hall, but they kept the bars up.  She cried all the way down the hall.  You would think they would have handled that a little better, especially knowing that she is medically complicated.   I was so upset about that.  We all decided at that point that we were never going back there.

There were a few bright spots.  The anesthesiologist was very sweet and he took his time, asking excellent questions.  He even pulled a tooth while he was in there!  :)

The other bright spot was our nurse practitioner.  She has RA, and she used to see our first rheumatologist, now known to us simply as, "He Who Shall Not Be Named".  She made a Freudian slip when discussing him that had me cracking up!  He tried to screw her over, too.  It was great to have someone who understood- if only for a few minutes.  Overall though, we will never go back there.  I don't care how new or beautiful an establishment is, or how good the view.  If the quality of care is lacking, it just ain't worth it.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Endocrinology & stuff

This has been the quietest week, mostly because we scheduled it for recuperation. Emily can feel the stent in her ureter and it hurts, but I don't think it is horrible. I keep telling myself that it will be out in another week, & hopefully she will feel much better. She has been refusing pain meds, so that is a plus.  Prayers would be wonderful, specifically for the ureter to be opened enough to grab all of the stones out of her kidney this time, no reaction to anesthesia, & of course to guide the surgeon's hands. 

Biofeedback is seriously one of the best things that we have ever done for her. I think that every child with chronic pain needs to try it.  Not only is she learning techniques to help her to deflate the pain but she is also learning how to take control over it. I really wish we had done this when she was five and limping everywhere, when the anxieties were so high that she seemed to be obsessive-compulsive. This would have been so life-changing then. I will have to tell our pediatricians that. And like all of that isn't cool enough, she is giving us some common-sense nutritional advice that I would not have thought of. Instead of keeping our fruits in the produce keeper, I am now washing them & placing them in a bowl on a low shelf so that everyone can see them. As Ginny says, people are more likely to eat what is already prepared. So true!

Aquatic therapy is still a challenge for her, but last time she got through it with the help of Xanax.  We try hard not to use them, but when they are needed I am happy to give her a half of one. That is the only way she did well last week. She told us at biofeedback that she is afraid that the kids in the pool will laugh at her, & the old people will pinch her cheeks. We found a time with no kids & few older people. I know she will love it once she chills out a bit. 

The big news of the day is endocrinology.  You may recall that she was seen last month. The doctor, who was absolutely one of the sweetest people I have met, ordered a bunch of lab work to be done. We had it drawn when she went in for kidney procedure #1. She already received 6 of the 8 ordered tests. So far most of it looks great. However, she also asked for copies of her growth chart from our pediatrician. I don't think I ever realized but Emily has always been in the 2nd percentile for growth. Yes- second, and she really hasn't grown this year.  Granted, I am NOT the queen of height (4' 9.5" myself!) but I think even I was taller back when I was her age. I worry about several things: A) the theory that the body holds in more pain when the cells aren't regenerating as quickly, causing her to feel amplified pain, and B) I worry about her jaw. One of the things that I have always noticed about adults who had JA as kids, and especially those that were on prednisone for long periods is that their jaws never seem to finish growing. It's like the jaw only grows to a certain point even if the rest of the body isn't finished growing. I didn't want her to be the kid with the tiny jaw. Imagine the implications of that- not having enough room for your teeth to fit (already a reality here), the need for more medical procedures to correct it. As it stands she only has a few more good years of growing. Her bone age is delayed, but not by a tremendous amount. It may be possible to catch up now- if we hurry. 

The doctor (her name sounds like Tab-ew-wad-a) said that she feels that Emily would benefit from growth hormone. She asked me to talk it over with Emily. I took that as "give her a choice". So, we discussed it last night. Her shots will be every day but she is okay with that.  She wants to try it.   I think she is getting irritated by people always thinking she is so much younger.  When they know her age they express shock. That's probably not good. I really hope that this is the beginning of a new, happy road. We will be so thrilled if this works.  All in all, things are looking up!  Thank goodness because this has been one heck of a summer that we wouldn't care to repeat.  Would anyone like to share their stories of aquatic therapy, biofeedback or growth hormones?  Please let me know!