Sunday, April 27, 2014

MRI Friday.

SS had her MRI Friday and we are grateful we got that out of the way. P greeted us Thursday morning by declaring the next day MRI Friday or MRIF. What can I say, not only is he brilliant and hot, but also witty.  By the time I fell asleep Friday something I never thought possible happened, my admiration and respect for my kids and husband had increased tenfold. P has done the waiting room wait five times while I have been cut open. My count was three, but P reminded me about my two knee surgeries. I was surprised he included those, there was nothing to worry about. But he did, and I had no idea he was worried at the time.

This was our first time in a hospital setting with our child since JJ's pulmonary embolism. I was a mess, but P has clocked a lot of time waiting for me and he was very calm, cool, and collected. JJ was there and because they allow only two at a time at the MRI prep and recovery, he was out in the waiting room for hours. Not one complaint about spending six hours just sitting around. Then there's SS, my guardian angel, our baby, a child whom we know spent time hospitalized before we met. A child who went through three surgeries with her lame Mama. SS had every right to be scared, she was, but she was also a champ.

I was up by three in the morning, I was an anxious mess and needed to get out of bed. P joined me downstairs at five, with JJ and SS getting up at six. I had been looking all over the house for SS's lovie, DOG. You'd think since there are three one would be found quickly. But that darn security blanket was nowhere to be found and I started to panic.  I washed SS's Snoopy blanket, there was no doubt in my mind that SS was going to need her baby comfort items. SS found DOG just as we were about to leave, and what a relief that was.

We arrived at seven thirty, with SS decked out in her Batman costume. SS loves all her super hero costumes, but Batman is her go to outfit when she is insecure. It is what she wore her first time back to school last year after getting her teeth knocked out and nose busted. Our tiny super hero was ready to take on the MRI.  We got a LOT of looks as we made our way to the hospital accompanied by a lot of smiles, and aw how cute. There was also a "Oh my gosh what a cute little boy," we are used to that.

It was bad enough that I had not set foot at Loma Linda University Medical Center in about sixteen years, but they are also under construction, and we were totally lost as to where the check in desk was located.  As I was about to call for directions, a woman ahead of us asked what we were looking for. She was dressed in scrubs and obviously an employee. She took us through the maze like corridors and waited in line with us to make sure we were at the right place. I thanked her and told her we would be OK, since I did not want her to be late. The woman said she was right where she needed to be. P was very impressed by her eagerness to help. And that is pretty much how I remember my experiences at LLUMC.

For someone who is so super hero crazy, the leg crossing cracks me up. Just because SS likes adventure does not mean that she is not feminine. And as you can see, DOG was by her side the entire time.

Then it was time to get SS's vitals and she did much better than we expected. We had the usual background questions about SS's health, and the Dr. did not get the fact that our child is adopted. I know, how the hell is that possible? We carefully framed our answers by prefacing the fact that what we know is from a week before sixteen months to now. Finally the nurse said that she didn't understand. Really? a freaking doctor and  nurse see a Caucasian guy and a  Hispanic woman with a Chinese daughter and they can't put it together? So I had to spell out to them that SS was born in China and we adopted her. When the nurse asked me how SS got here, I was tempted to say on an airplane, but was able to bite my lip instead. The nurse then cracked us up by thinking SS was wearing a Batgirl costume. She then asked SS what princesses she liked to dress up as, and SS's look was just one of pure disgust. The nurse still did not register that look and pressed SS about liking princesses because her granddaughter does. Well, good for you lady, but come on, get off my daughter's back, she's made it clear it's not her thing. And for the record, P and I are very sensitive about people trying to force feed SS pink s*** and girly crap. It royally PISSES us off because it UPSETS SS, makes her feel like she is doing something wrong. She isn't, she is being an amazing little girl who is true to herself, and we pray she remains that way.  Wow, feels good to get that out. Before moving on to the play room we changed SS into her scrubs, must to the delight of the doctor and nurse. They were amused that there was a costume change going on.

SS had the playroom to herself, and had fun exploring. The room could use an update, some of those toys were really old. But we had a backpack full of super heroes for SS. We brought most of the big figures Grandpa gave her for Christmas. Did I over do it? Maybe, but my goal was to make SS as comfortable as possible.

Leave it up to SS to find every single car and truck in that room. P had not even noticed the Tonka dumpster until SS pulled it from a corner. Wow, it just hit me that SS has never had a Tonka, we are going to have to correct that oversight.

There was some silliness going on...

And SS decided she needed to check our hearts and lungs.

And this is where the fun stopped. SS became immediately withdrawn and shaky. It was weird, like she knew the nurse was about to come and get us, kind of eerie. I held her and suggested we go and see JJ to say see you later. And that is where SS fell apart, sat on the floor of the waiting room, hugged her knees and it broke my heart to see how scared she was. P being P simply pointed out that at "at least she is not being c-u-t o-p-e-n." At least he had the decency to spell the last two words. I was a bit upset with P and his lackadaisical attitude. When the nurse came by and asked if we were ready, SS buried her head in my neck and began to sob. On instinct I said no, she is not ready. My oh so cold and helpful husband simple retorted, "yeah but they are waiting so she has to go." And at the time I did think he was being cold, and quite annoying. I now realize that we had a role reversal from JJ's close call. P was the one curled in fetal position on the floor, while I was talking to doctors, with my jaw set, and not a tear. I am at a loss as to why I was such a mess, but I was.

The nurses were simply amazing, all four of them. We were quite impressed with how many they had, we expected two at the most. And they obviously do this a lot, and have it down. The greeted us, and SS still had a death grip on me and was having none of their smiles, and reassurances. They offered SS a smell of the scents they had for her mask. The choices were lemonade, bubble gum (the most popular), strawberry, watermelon, vanilla, and grape. SS would not choose, and that is when my brain kicked into gear and my neurons finally fired. I had to nip the crying and stalling right there. I told SS that the MRI was happening and not choosing would not get her out of it. SS deferred to me, and I selected a watermelon and strawberry mix. That's when I realized that I have been robbed every time and I have been under anesthesia. I have NEVER been offered a scent! Next time I am not going under unless I get to smell something nice.

When the nurses realized SS was wearing scrubs and personalized no less, they were all over that. They asked SS if she wanted to do rounds, and asked if they could trade places with her. They had several sheets of stickers and not a one seemed surprised when SS chose a super hero sticker, then they kept adding more stickers to her mask and to her bracelet. We are so impressed with the amazing job they did. We thought it was going to be an ugly sight, and something we would remember and cringe about for years to come. But the nurses were simply amazing. They played with the stickers then asked SS to try breathing with the mask, and showed her the balloon. SS was told that the doctor placed five dollars inside the balloon, and if SS popped the balloon she would keep the money. SS fell for it, and it took me a while to realize they were really anesthetizing her, not just getting her used to the mask. We had been warned about SS becoming hyper with flailing, and eye rolling as she was going under, but that did not happen. SS kept taking deep breaths, and soon there was a nurse holding her back, because they did not want to force her to lay down. SS had been smiling the entire time, as the nurses kept praising her breathing.  Then I saw a smile I have never seen on SS, our girl was HIGH.  I helped the nurse lay SS down, and that was it, SS was under. It was so difficult for me to leave SS in such a vulnerable state. And I did cry, rationally I knew she was in great hands, but it was awful to part with my baby.

No one had had breakfast or even coffee, for me it was a conscious decision, I was not going to eat until SS could. P and JJ intended to eat at the cafeteria. P was dying for a cup of coffee when he had a thought. P asked me if the hospital carried caffeinated products. Oh shoot, I had forgotten about that. It is a Seventh Day Adventist hospital, and they are bat sh*t crazy about health, fitness and no caffeine. If we ever return we are bringing a gallon of Starbucks with us. Even though I drink caffeinated sodas in the mornings and do drink regular coffee, being raised by strict SDA standards, my preference is for decaf sodas. So while P stared at the soda dispenser in horror, I was glad to see so many of my old favorites. There's also no meat in their cafeteria, something Min had to suffer through when P's mom was hospitalized at LLUMC's sister hospital. In short, the offerings at the cafeteria made JJ and P abstain from eating as well. Yeah, that bad.

And here are their coffee choices, decaf and decaf. My husband was not amused. I reminded P to look at the bright side, at least SS was receiving top notch care.

I was torn about the appropriateness of posting this picture, but we have always shown the good and bad, so here it goes. SS was in the MRI tube for an hour, as they did a brain and neck scan. The neck part came as a surprise to us, we only learned of it as the nurse escorted us to the waiting room. I was on pins and needles at the one hour mark and those extra ten minutes until SS was wheeled out were hell. Busted foot and all I ran to the gurney as soon as I saw them. SS was still out and they reminded us many times not to wake her up. Yeah, we are not that crazy, we know how SS gets when she is awoken before she is ready. 

We were allowed to be by SS's side until we arrived at the doors of the pediatric recovery wing. We were separated for only about ten minutes, but man it felt like so much longer. 

The recovery wing is the biggest we have been in, and it was busy, every bed taken. P was very impressed with how well cared of SS was. The child next to us was getting a prep for an endoscopy and colonoscopy, and the nurse was helping. But she kept checking in on SS frequently.

So glad SS had the comfort of her baby blanket and her DOG.

P titled this picture "Look at all the pretty colors."

SS went into stiff mode and for some reason it cracked P up. The nurse kept looking at the silly man laughing his a$$ off at his own child. Speaking of, I forgot to mention that when the nurse (different from those at the MRI) came to get us for the MRI she actually asked "are you the parents?" Took everything in me not to snap back "No, we are her neighbors, her parents had other things to do." People, I tell you.

And how did we get a smile? After much asking I changed tactics, and asked SS to smile for her teacher. Talk about feeling replaced.

A little bit of TV managed to get SS to be fully awake.

SS really enjoyed her ride on the wheelchair too much. When I went to get SS out of her carseat to get lunch she said "wheelchair,"knowing she was loopy I said yes baby you were in a wheelchair. P carried her into the restaurant and he turns to me, "she is actually requesting a wheelchair." And yes we carried her, because the girl trips on air, we did not want to risk a fall and injury.

It was recommended that we feed SS soup to gauge how her stomach handled food. We had the perfect soup for SS, Phở.  Poor SS was famished as she had dinner the previous day at five in the afternoon. I felt awful when SS said "Mama, where's my soup, I'm hungry." We are sticklers about SS's dining behavior, but man the girl needed to eat. This is the first time since meeting SS that we have requested to have her food brought out ASAP. And the staff were very understanding and very fast with her order. 

And hungry she was, I had to cut the chicken and noodles into a small plate because the soup was too hot. I added ice until I got the temperature right for SS.

And boy did SS eat really well, as you can see their kid size serving is quite large, and she polished it off. And now you know more about SS's first MRI than you needed to know. We are also happy to report that there were no complications, she handled food just fine, and spent the rest of her day with her iPad in bed. Tomorrow we need to schedule SS's follow up appointment.

Monday, April 21, 2014

SS is published at seven.

Who knew our combined post secondary degrees would culminate in such an achievement for our daughter? SS obviously took the old adage publish or perish to heart. Our girl is no lame duck like her parents, oh no, she worked hard and reached her goal. OK, we can only keep a straight face for so long. SS's class (and perhaps every class at school) had each child write about their favorite story and make a drawing to be included in a hard bound anthology.  I signed the waiver and check half asleep a few months ago, and thought the book would show up in SS's backpack sometime in May. About two weeks ago SS's masterpiece arrived.

And to our horror, the writings were not (GASP!) alphabetized by the author's last name. Why in hell did we go out of our way to find a partner with a last name starting with the letter A other than to give our child an advantage in life? I know P was pretty stunned that Arroz Blanco was not the first featured story.  I was not surprised that a child with a last name starting with the letter S was the first featured. That is because SS's teacher has her daughter in her class. It still weirds me out, to have your kid in your class, and you are the only teacher. But L's writing had a fun aspect to it, since she wrote about how much she enjoyed when Mrs. S read the story in front of the class. Quit brown nosing L, your mom is stuck with you.

We need to ask who created the cover art.  I don't know about you, but we were dying to find out what is SS's favorite story.

And although we had to wait until page 17, there it was, our daughter's first published work. Who knows what SS will be into in a few years, let alone adolescence. But we are keeping this book in a safe place for when SS gets too big for her britches. But right now, her love of super heroes is unwavering.

We were surprised that SS drew Hulk, we have not seen her draw him often. She gave him the funniest arms, but heck the girl is only seven.  The best part was the absolute look of joy and pride on SS's face when she read to us.

And before anyone has an awww moment, we bring you a real moment from this afternoon.  P was making a ham sandwich for SS (Grandpa sent us a HUGE ham for our dinner yesterday), and she was blabbing away. SS doesn't just yap, she demands your attention, because everyone knows we hardly ever even look in that child's direction. Among her many observations about anything and everything, SS was becoming quite demanding with P. He looked at me and said "Maybe this Maui thing was not such a good idea. She has NOT SHUT UP since we got back." A few minutes later came and even better zinger about SS's demanding nature, "She is worse than you, I never thought that could be possible." My husband, such an incurable romantic. And rightfully said coming from a man who has no faults and is so freaking easy to please. Heh.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter

JJ was not happy with SS's paltry eggs from her two egg hunts. He decided he was going to provide SS her own private Easter egg hunt. JJ went to the store while SS and I stayed in the van. He not only picked up plastic eggs for the hunt, but also got eggs for coloring.  There was no need for cloak and dagger since SS has cottoned up to the fact the the Easter Bunny is not real. As we were leaving the park yesterday SS asked me in a very matter of fact way if the Easter Bunny was real, because she had doubts. I have always maintained that I do not agree with lying to children, and that when SS asked I would tell her the truth. And that is exactly what I did, I told SS the truth. She wanted to know why make something up. I explained to SS that parents like to treat their kids on special occasions , and the idea of a bunny that brings treats was born out that desire. SS seemed OK with my lame explanation.  SS started driving P batty this morning at 6:00 a.m., because she was ready for her egg hunt. But this morning the sprinklers were on, so she had to cool her heels for a while.

SS really enjoyed knowing that she was the only kid searching for eggs.

Looking for that last egg.

JJ did a great job hiding this egg, it was on the handle of the grill cover.

A quick change of clothes and it was egg coloring time.

SS even got to mix colors for her egg creations.

SS made this egg for her Mama. 

SS is very proud of her egg coloring skills.

Then it as time for SS to receive her Easter basket, and of course it had super hero gifts inside.

SS received a Batman toy and a Captain America toy.

And a Superman rash guard to round up the super hero theme.  Plus summer is just around the corner and SS is going to spend a lot of time in the water.

You know you did well when your child exclaims "Wow Mama you guys got me A LOT."

Thanks JJ for making SS's day so special.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Easter egg hunts.

Yesterday SS participated in an egg hunt sponsored by a church youth group at B& G club.  SS usually scores at least two Easter egg hunts a season, but with my return to work, we did not know if SS would make one this year. P stepped up and paid the $10 fee so SS could get at least one egg hunt this year. It was a disaster.  The first Easter egg hunt where kids were left crying because they did not find an egg. There were not that many kids, about 23, and why in hell did they not have more than a handful of eggs. SS got two, one found by her group leader and one found by P. SS gave one egg to her friend S, the guy who relentlessly courts SS. Our baby girl has a good heart.

Bouncy house fun.

Off they go.

We felt really bad for SS so I went Online and found an egg hunt that was taking place this morning.

They divided the kids in age groups in 15 minute intervals.

Ready to go with her Spiderman basket. Cute as hell outfit a gift from the Abus.

Darn there was quite a crowd, and they had five age categories.

And off she went. Initially adults were not allowed in the field, and that was scary.  SS out in a sea of kids made me anxious. Granted, the area was fenced, but I do have irrational fears about my kids getting lost/abducted in plain daylight.  At a point I lost track of SS and was upset.  JJ to the rescue, with 7 inches in height above me he reassured me he had a visual on his sister at all times.

Love SS's is that it? face.