"Look At Me"

"Look At Me"
monotype and screenprint

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Hell Week 2012: Part 3 (Stepping Stones)

 “An obstacle is often a stepping stone.” - Prescott

This is the last blog post of Hell Week 2012.  About time, right?

On Wednesday 12/19/12, Derek had his MRI.  Once again, I had to drive to Omaha.  Once again, Derek wasn't allowed to eat after midnight.  And once again, I had to set up babysitters for Tyler. 

Deja Vu...

We got to the hospital at 7:45 in the morning.  Derek recognized where we were and instantly wanted to watch the water at the wishing well.  He did NOT want to put the medical ID bracelet around his ankle.  He also did not want to go back into the hospital room. 

He refused to change into the hospital pajamas, so they said we could wait until right before they wheeled him away.  The room this time had a window, so Derek wanted to climb up onto the window ledge and watch the cars driving by on the street below.  The first time he did it, he accidentally hit the Code Blue button on the wall and sent a team of doctors into a panic.  OOOOPS. 

Looking out the window in the hospital room.  Notice the Code Blue button on the left?  :)

We watched a Star Wars movie on the tv for a while, and Derek played with his action figures and looked out the window.  I could tell he was nervous this time.  He knew what was going on.

The nurse brought in 2 masks and let Derek choose what scent he'd like to fall asleep to.  Derek didn't understand what was going on, so I set the example.  I smelled a pink mask--it was bubblegum.  I said, "Mmmm.  I like this one."  Then I held it to Derek's nose.  He said, "Yucky" and gagged.  The next one was strawberry.  I sniffed it, "Oooh, I bet you'll like this one, buddy."  I held it up.  He didn't say anything, but he didn't gag either.  So we decided to go with the strawberry mask. 

Have I mentioned how awesome Children's Hospital is in Omaha?  They do everything in their power to make kids comfortable.  I mean, seriously...scented masks????  AWESOME.

Finally, one of the nurses came back to give him the "Happy Juice" (Versed) so he wouldn't wake up violent like he did after several of his dental surgeries.  Unfortunately, he spit about half of it out...so I don't think he got the full "Happy" effect. 

Derek sat in my lap and watched Star Wars until he got drowsy.  Then they came to wheel him away for the MRI.  I was hoping he'd be so doped that he wouldn't care.  But he cried out, "MOMMY!!!  Help!  Go HOME!!"  I had to fight back tears.

My brave little boy. 

I truly hope Derek remembers little of these hospital visits.

The MRI took between 45 minutes and an hour.  Afterward they wheeled him back into the room and we had to wait for him to wake up.  He did NOT want to.  What finally woke him up?  When we asked if he wanted to go home. 
Out cold.
Being wheeled to the car.

The weather forecast was predicting 4-6 inches of snow that evening, so I wanted to get on the road as soon as possible.  I didn't want to rush Derek, but I didn't want to get stuck in Omaha, either.  Especially because I'd gotten a call from Tyler's school saying he'd been released early for weather.  Luckily, his babysitter was able to pick him up from school 2.5 hours early.  (Added stress I didn't need...)

An hour down the road, the rain started.

30 minutes after that, I was in blizzard conditions.  I had to drive 35 miles an hour in what was regularly 75 mph zones.  I could barely see 20 feet ahead of me.  And I still had at least another 2 hours on the road. 

I expected Derek to sleep most of the way home.  He didn't.  He had some juice and some crackers, and then he kept telling me he had to "Trow up" (throw up), but he never did.  I pulled over twice for him, but nothing happened.  Poor kid must have felt rotten. 

FINALLY, I made it to the babysitter's house and picked up Tyler.  I was SO relieved to be home.  They closed the interstate later that evening and cancelled school for Tyler the next day as well.  It may have taken me forever to get home, but I had made the right decision.  I wouldn't have gotten home until Friday!!!  And who knows what I would have done with Tyler?

I got the call from the neurologist with the results from the MRI on Friday.  The results indicated that my son had a brain injury of some sort early in life. That is what is causing the seizures. I never dropped him, so he must have fallen sometime and hit his head. I don't remember a specific fall, other than the time he injured his front tooth--but he fell on his face that day, not his head. The doctor said there is nothing to be done, except to treat the seizures with medication. The rest of his brain looks completely normal.

I'll admit, I'm upset.  Who wouldn't be?  Just like when Derek was diagnosed with autism, I am feeling overwhelmed by guilt.  How did my child injure his brain without my noticing? 

I keep reminding myself, at least it's not a brain tumor.  It could always be worse.  I also keep reminding myself--at least we pursued all of this, rather than letting it go.  The procedures were awful, but we have answers now.  We have a treatment plan that will hopefully help.

Derek is not phased by any of this.  He is adjusting to the medicine (both for the seizures and for the vomiting) and is already focusing better in therapy.  He's an amazing child.  Cooler still?  He's MY amazing child. 

I don't know why any of this is happening, but I have to believe there is a reason my son has had to suffer so much in his short life.  He has overcome every single obstacle he's met with flying colors.  Seizures won't stop my son.  He's still going to move mountains--one tiny step at a time.

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