10.19.2008

Urgent Care, ER, Hem/Onc Ward... OH MY!

Well, as soon as I woke up, that crazy Mommy was trying to get me to walk again. Why couldn't she just let me take my time waking up? I saw her concerned looks and overheard her talking to Daddy about how "weird" it was that I wasn't wanting to walk. She and Daddy called Nanna B. to get her opinion (which they do whenever they need medical advice, since she used to be a nurse).

I learned that the "plan" was going to be 1). Mommy and I going to the Mason Children's Hospital Urgent Care, 2). Lily going to Kings Island with Daddy, and 3). possibly Mommy and I meeting Daddy and Lily at Kings Island later in the day. This sounded like a good plan to me. I liked going to the doctor, and I was glad that Mommy and Daddy wanted to find out what was wrong with me. I also loved Kings Island, so it was a win-win. Mommy and Daddy knew that it wouldn't be fun for Lily to sit in an urgent care for an extended (or even short) period of time, so Daddy made the decision to not go into work.

Around 11:30 that morning, we all headed out, blowing kisses from our carseats. After finally finding the Urgent Care (and screaming "Doctor, doctor, where ARE you?" for a long time while we were lost), we checked in with the receptionist at the front desk and waited in the waiting room for about three minutes. The nurse called us back, asked me to stand on a scale with stickers, and took us into a room where she asked Mommy lots of questions. The nurse then moved me from Mommy's lap to the other side of the room. Mommy asked me to walk to her, and I limped pretty quickly, since I didn't know that nurse person. She typed some information into her computer and told us that "the doctor" would be right with us.

A few minutes later "the doctor" came in. She was different than any of the doctors I had seen before (she was a "she"), but I liked her, because she asked me if I wanted a popsicle after I walked a short distance to her. Mommy held the red popsicle halfway down the hall, and "the doctor" put me down on the floor next to the scale where I had been weighed a few minutes earlier. Boy did I take off for that popsicle!

Another doctor peeked her head out of the file she was looking through, and agreed with "the doctor" (my doctor) that I was limping on what they said was my left leg. They picked me up, placed me on my back on the examination table, and began moving my legs in crazy circles. I heard them say that the left one was definitely "stiffer" than the right, and that they wanted to do x-rays of my hips.

Mommy had to wear a really heavy apron-thing, but she was allowed to stand next to me and sing while the nice x-ray lady took pictures of my hips and legs. I sure like it when Mommy sings, but she says she can't understand why.

We went back into that room with the big table, and Mommy tried to keep me busy and quiet. After a pretty long time, "the doctor" came back in to tell us that the picture of my right hip looked a little different than the one of my left one. She told us that they were going to take some "B-L-O-O-D" (that's how she put it) to find out a little about what was going on. She also said that sometimes after a viral infection people get what is called "septic arthritis" in their joints, and she thought that might have been what was making me limp. I had been sick with bronchitis and a touch of pneumonia about ten days before this...

Mommy and I went to lunch at McDonald's while we waited for the blood test results to come back. They told us it would take about an hour, and we came back after 45 minutes. As soon as we walked into the waiting room, the receptionist waved us back and "the doctor" and the nice nurse came in and closed the door. They looked really serious, and they told Mommy that they were going to be something called "blunt" because "that's what they would want in this situation."

As Mommy began squeezing me more tightly, "the doctor" explained that there were three markers that they were looking at in the blood test: 1). red blood cells, 2). white blood cells, and 3). platelets. She told Mommy that none of the levels looked good (they were all low), and she gave some numbers, but I don't know all of mine yet, so I didn't pay attention. At this point, the nurse came over to put her hand on Mommy's shoulder, and "the doctor" told Mommy that these levels can indicate something called "Leukemia."

I didn't know what it was, but judging by Mommy's reaction, it didn't seem like something I wanted. She started getting some tears in her eyes, and "the doctor" and nurse did, too. She went on to tell about another test that they did on my blood called a "smear," and that they look for something called "blasts" to indicate that it could be leukemia. She said they saw some blasts. Mommy began to cry a little harder then, and the doctor and nurse told her that she needed to take me to Children's Hospital as soon as she could.

The next hour or so was kind of a blur... Mommy and I drove home so that she could pack our bags and meet Daddy, Lily, and Nana. Nana would take Lily, and Daddy, Mommy, and I were to go to the hospital and meet Nanna B. there. I saw some tears, and I gave Lily hugs and kisses (even though she didn't want to at first, because Daddy had told her that I was sick, and she didn't want to catch it). I didn't realize at the time that this would be the last time I would see my home for two or three weeks...

Mommy held my hand on the drive to the hospital, which was nice, and I fell asleep for a few minutes. She carried me into the emergency room around 4:30pm (where Nanna B. was waiting for us - YAY - I sure love her), and this is where I met lots of people who kept doing the same things over and over. They asked Daddy and Mommy tons of questions about their family history, my health over the past two years of my life (if I had been sick a lot, if I bruised easily, if I had been hospitalized, if I had any ongoing health problems...), and why they were there with me then. Couldn't they have just talked to the urgent care where we just were? These people also kept listening to my heart and belly with stethoscopes, pressing on my belly, taking my temperature, looking in my mouth and ears, and putting this awful thing called a "blood pressure cuff" on my arm. Its job was to squeeze my arm or leg so tight that I couldn't stand it anymore. They kept telling me it was just "hugging" my arm/leg, but I sure hated it! I decided to let them know how much I despised it by crying each time. Mommy and Daddy were great about singing and counting so that it would distract me.

A couple of mean ladies (who looked nice, but weren't really, because of what they did) came in talking really sweetly to me, bringing toys and popsicles. This was great, except then they took some of my blood again and put an IV in my hand while Mommy and Daddy hugged and sang to me. Besides sticking me with a needle that actually stayed in my hand, they also put a big pad-like thing in the palm of my hand and taped everything together. Nothing like having a big paddle for a hand! I seem to remember this from when I was in the NIC unit at Bethesda North about two years ago. Anyway, I didn't like it at all (BIG understatement), but everyone told me that I did really well. It did earn me another red popsicle and some chocolate ice cream, but I'm not so sure it was worth the pain.

More doctors came in, some of them were called "oncologists" and "hematologists," and they asked the same questions and did the same things to me. The one oncologist told us that he was going to admit us soon, and he tried to explain a little more about leukemia to Daddy, Mommy, and Uncle Jonathan (he switched places with Nanna B. after a little while). He said we were hoping for the ALL type of leukemia, rather than the AML type. Apparently, the ALL type is the "good type" to have, because the treatment is more than 85% effective.

He gave some more details, but with only a half hour nap, I got a little tired of listening. I did hear the oncologist tell us that Dr. Absalon would be our oncologist while we were in the hospital the first week or so, and that his specialty is leukemia. I think this was supposed to make Mommy and Daddy feel better. The phrase "blood transfusion" was also used, and I was a little curious as to what this was and when it was going to happen. They sure had been talking about my blood a lot today.

The oncologist also said that I was going to have two procedures in the morning. One procedure was called a Bone Marrow Aspiration (BMA), and the other was a Lumbar Puncture (LP) or spinal tap which would take fluid from my spinal cord to see if there was the presence of leukemia. They would give me my first dose of chemotherapy while they were doing the spinal tap, since they have found success with this. The whole thing was sounding really scary to me and Mommy and Daddy, and I started to realize that this was really happening.

After a much longer wait, during which I continued to lay on Mommy's chest, they told us that my crib was ready on the fifth floor. Mommy and I got to take a fast ride on a wheelchair, we got up to my crib (which looked like a shiny, metal monkey cage), but they needed to listen, poke me, and "hug" my arm some more. They put some button stickers on my chest and tummy, and then hooked the wires to a machine that flashed numbers and beeped a lot. Another tether was the glowing red Band-Aid-like thing they put on my toe. How could they expect me to get away from all of the pain that was coming with such short leashes?

The final straw of the night was when they did that blood transfusion that the oncologist had mentioned down in the ER. I didn't like it at all! The blood felt and looked a lot different than the IV fluids, and everyone was confused as to why I was hating it so much. They kept inspecting the needle in my vein, but I really didn't like them messing with it (and I let them know).

Mommy kept rocking me, singing to me (did I mention how much I like that?), and counting with me through all of the rigamarole. I kept telling Daddy and her that I wanted to go to "Mommy's house," McDonald's, Kings Island... anywhere but there! They told me that they knew that and that they would rather be in those places, too. So why were we in this awful place?!

Around 10pm, I finally got to sleep in my cage. I think I did a great job of staying awake, considering I only had 1/6 of the nap that I normally take and I was up two and half hours longer than normal! During the night, though, they didn't let me sleep very well. They kept listening to my heart and belly, taking my temperature, and using that darn "hugging" thing.

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