Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The dreams and ambitions of a little boy

First - not the dreams and ambitions of a little boy, but the nightmares of the mama:

I am, yet again, in a cast. This time from surgery on my torn tendon and weak ligament. Apparently, my ligament started thinning while I was in the first cast. How that even happens is anyone's guess. On the day of the surgery, Kyle and I got up at 5:15 a.m. to drive the 5 minutes to the hospital. After checking in, we were lead to the surgery prep area so I could change into a gown, pee in a cup (they have to make sure I'm not pregnant - I told them, "don't even joke!"), and have an IV put in. I know a lot of people claim to be a difficult stick when it comes to drawing blood or putting in IV's. I'd like to know where I am on that sliding scale of difficulty, because after 2 tries by the first nurse, 2 tries by an E.R. nurse, and 3 tries by a nurse claiming to be the best, they finally hit a vein (it only took 45 minutes). The surgery itself was pretty quick, I forced myself to stay awake once I'd opened my eyes in recovery so they'd move me downstairs and I could go home.

Once home, I slept a little, watched some TV, and waited for the kids to get home. No big deal. The next morning, I had some breakfast, watched some more TV, crocheted a little, and then around 11:00 a.m. started to feel a little nausea coming on. "Okay," I thought, "have a few crackers and some soda and it will pass." Ten minutes later I was in deep concentration. I have a personal policy when it comes to vomiting. I don't like it, so I don't do it - or so it's been for the past several years. 3 minutes later, my personal record was majorly broken, broken again, and 2 minutes later, broken yet again. "Okay," I thought, "maybe I didn't eat enough crackers, and this time, I'll drink water." Nope. "Just water?" Nope. Not one thing would stay in my stomach for longer than about 30 seconds. By about 6:00 p.m. that evening, I felt weak, dehydrated, and still nauseous.

So, Kyle gingerly picked me up off the floor, helped me to the car, handed me a plastic bag  - which I immediately vomited into - and drove to the ER. Because I had absolutely no fluids in my body, the ER team had an even harder time getting an IV in. Unfortunately, until they did, they couldn't give me any anti-nausea and pain medicine, or any fluids. So, there I was, filling their handy little blue barf bags. At one point, the male nurse filling out the paperwork asked the other male nurse who was attempting an IV for some help. When he turned the chart in our direction, I saw a small section at the bottom that said, "Well groomed? Signs of abuse? Came in alone or with someone?" On mine, the nurses had checked off the "well groomed" box. I said, "Really? This (gesture towards myself) is well groomed? You must have some pretty poor standards for what you considered groomed." To that, the nurse said, "Well, your toe nails are painted." Well then...

It's funny in hospitals and doctors offices to see the staff work their way up the chain of IV command - the next supposedly more expert than the last. This ER was staffed with several over-confident male nurses who gave me the "I totally got this" look when they walked in, then after a few tries, left the room obviously defeated. One nurse even brought in an ultrasound machine to use as a guide to find a viable vein. It didn't work. Finally after about an hour, one guy used a pediatric needle and was able to find a vein. The needle was too small to deliver as much fluid as I needed, but at least they were done. I thought.

In the meantime, the doctor, having listened to my irregular heartbeat, got concerned about a possible floating blood clot from the surgery. So, he ordered a battery of tests - x-rays, CT scans, EKG, to see if he could find anything. Normally no big deal, but I was shaking so bad from exhaustion, pain and dehydration, that I was having a hard time holding still. Not only that, apparently a CT scan on the heart and lungs works best when they inject a dye into your blood stream. The dye is administered through an IV, but a pediatric needle isn't large enough to deliver the volume of dye required. After the nurse explained this, he said, "So, we're going to have to put an IV into your neck." I actually laughed when he said that. "Are you serious? You actually do that?" "Yep," he said. "Now we are going to have to invert the table so the blood can run to your head." At that moment, Kyle stood up and said, "You know what, I'm just going to grab a drink, or . . . no . . . I have to go to the bathroom. I'll be back in a little bit." I didn't blame him a bit.

The neck IV actually hurt less going in than the arm sticks I'd been enduring for the last hour, but still, it was a little creepy. It worked, though, and I could feel the rush of fluids rehydrating my body and my strength returning. The doctor came back a while later and said there was no sign of any blood clot and he thought the vomiting was most likely a delayed reaction to the anesthesia from the day before. Weird since this was my fourth surgery in the last 18 months and I'd never had a reaction to the anesthesia. Thankfully, they sent me home after that, and although the nausea stuck around for a few more days, I was able to keep everything down.

A final note about the surgery: At the post-op doctor's visit, Dr. Suh showed me a picture he had taken with his iPhone during the surgery. It showed my open ankle (oogy) and the tear in my tendon. He said the MRI reported length of the tear (3/4 of an inch) was nowhere near the actual size of the tear (5 inches). How that happened, I'll never know. I'm a little concerned about what the scar is going to look like. I still have the cast on and can't see anything - not natural.

Okay, if you've stuck with me this long, I'll tell a little bit about the dreams and ambitions of a little boy.

Davis LOVES transformers - still. He likes Harry Potter, too, but there aren't nearly enough battles in his opinion. So, we've learned to use transformers as motivation for just about everything. "Davis, if you want to be a transformer robot designer when you grow up, you have to know how to read and do really big math." We tell him. "Really? O.K. I love math." "Oh, and you have to know tons of science to know how it will all work." "Science is my favorite now. Science, and math. And reading." We spend a lot of time team-reading transformer comic books. At least he's reading, right?

A recent assignment came home from his teacher to create a mini cardboard Davis dressed to represent what he wants to be when he grows up. No surprise there - transformer designer it was. Once I finished the outfit and the badge, Davis decided to draw the face and "color in" the face and hands with "skin color." This was accomplished by scribbling with an orange marker all over the exposed parts of the poster board. Anyone who knows me would have been so proud of me for biting a hole in my tongue and letting him do it. Here is the finished mini grown-up Davis:

One thing Davis has never wavered on is his desire to serve a mission. My friend Monica's son Gray is on a mission in Chicago right now and Davis loves writing to him and hearing what it's like to be a missionary. A missionary in our ward who recently came to dinner told Davis that being a missionary is kind of like being a transformer - you get to fight against evil and wear a suit. A suit of armor. The whole armor of God. Brilliant, right?

So one Sunday morning a few weeks ago, the girls decided to surprise us and get Davis dressed for church. This was the big reveal:

I told him he could be a missionary for Halloween and hand out Book or Mormons to every house that gives him candy. He loved the idea at first. Then it was like, "Optimus Prime, or missionary, Optimus Prime, or missionary." I'll let you guess which one won that internal debate.

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