Monday, October 20, 2014

"Cali, I have a bubble & a port"

The title of this post fits perfectly. Tonight, while talking to her big sister, she said that same exact sentence about 47 times. Ok exaggeration??? Slightly. Maybe it was more like 12. But it seemed like 47.

Rewind about 14 hours.....

First off, why have another round? Well let me show a couple pictures that I took last night...of one last time looking like this. She will NEVER look like this again, so of course, I took pictures.

Dr. Bauer said he could easily lower that right side of her forehead by doing another round. He also said he could get rid of those zig-zaggy scars at the top of her head.
So lo & behold...what did Brooke & I do this morning?? We slept through my alarm. If that surprises you, we should be better friends! ;)  Anyways, some advise from a couple friends that have done the surgery from Ronald McDonald House thing before...we needed to leave like 2 hrs before we were supposed to be at the hospital. We needed to be there at 9:45am for an 11:10am surgery. That means we should have left at 7:45am. I set my alarm for 6:45am & 7am. We woke up at 7:18am. So! Luckily we both picked out our clothes last night so all we had to do was get up, throw our clothes on, brush our hair & teeth, & be out the door. We walked out the front doors at 7:38am & headed the 5'ish Chicago blocks to our car. We validated our parking, spiraled out of the parking garage, & followed my phone's GPS to the hospital...all by 8am! I did find it quite different that it had me taking side streets the whole way there. Didn't bother me any b/c Dustin & I have driven these side streets numerous times & LOVE the drive, but I'd have figured it would have been longer. It wasn't though, cause we got to Highland Park at 9am! We stopped at Starbucks & then checked in at the hospital 15 mins 9:30am!
Since Brooklyn is a year and a half older now, I did explain a LOT to her about the surgery. Thank goodness we'd done this 6 times before, b/c I knew exactly what to expect. Bless her little heart, she asked me to explain it all about 4 times before we actually got to the hospital.

With our cape on!!

Reading books w/ our cape on...with Lamby

Coloring our new coloring book given to us by the hospital.

Waiting at the door for a "nice nurse" (as she called them) to come in so she could give her a picture that she colored for them. :)  They hung it in the nurses station, which Brooke loved! She's so stinkin' cute in her gown!! :)
They took her vitals when we got there & b/c she was in her 1-piece PJ's, her temp was 100.7!!! Uhhhhhh, WHAT?! Immediately after that it was 99.8...which they still said was too high. So like a super great actress would do, I totally brushed it off, & changed her into her gown! LOL That temp dropped down to 98.9 fairly quick! :)  Thank goodness!
Finally at around 11:15am they came with her pre-surgery "happy medicine". Unfortunately, the poor girl HATED it. Some went down her front, some went on the towel, even LESS stayed in her mouth. I tried everything until the nurse & I had to hold her down to give it to her. :(  She's my awesome medicine-taker...except for that "yucky stuff".
They let me stay sitting on her bed w/ her while they wheeled us down to the pre-surgical waiting area. We weren't there very long when Dr. Bauer came in & said he was just going to be doing 1 expander. :)  He said he was thinking about it & decided that just 1 expander on the right side would be good enough, since we're just lowering that one side. He said he'd do the regular 250cc expander & we'll just make it a good size. Then the anesthesiologist & CRNA student came & talked to us for a few mins. And then just like that, they were all ready for her! And, of course, b/c I was there all alone, I didn't have anyone to put their arm around me, so I just let it go! ;)  I waited for them to wheel her around the corner first though. It was such a sight to see...your little girl, looking ever-so-little in that huge bed, being wheeled to the OR, & just sitting there w/ a smile on her face, but you can completely tell that she didn't know what was happening. I could tell that, if she wasn't high from the drugs already, that she would have hopped out of that bed & into my arms saying "Mommy will you come with me?"
But she didn't. And she was fine as they wheeled her back. After they turned the corner & I knew I was in the clear...there it came. I couldn't stop. I was all alone. What was I going to do now?! So I walked all the way back up the hall, into the waiting room, & straight over to a corner chair away from other people. Now, I wasn't sobbing...people didn't come over to me to make sure I was's not like I was uncontrollable. But this surgery was different. It definitely doesn't get any easier. I think, in all actuality, it gets harder as they get older. Before, when she was so young, she didn't get it so she just went with the flow. Now, though, I had to explain it all to her & yet she was still so confused. Thank the Lord she didn't freak out when they started taking her or I'd have fell to my knees...
So there I sit, by myself, on my 33rd birthday, in the waiting room at the Highland Park Hospital Ambulatory Surgery Waiting Room when a man comes in & asks "Is there a Merilee Vance here?" He handed me a small box & walked away...

I have no clue how she did it... But inside the card it said "Love Mom"

I opened the box & this was inside.

I was an only child who lived w/ my mom & grandparents growing up. Of course in my family my birthday was bigger than Christmas. I'm not kidding. I've NEVER gone to school on my birthday & I've always taken a vacation day from work (except for ONE time). So my birthday has always been HUGE. I got quite a big present for this birthday...(my iPhone 6 PLUS will be shipped to me after I get home from this trip) but I didn't think I'd have one thing to open this year...& then I get this box. It meant so much to me that literally seconds after I stopped crying, I got the box & started up again!!! Thanks so much, mom! :o)

So after about 50 mins, Dr. Bauer came in & said that he did the 1 expander & that she did great. :) It seemed to take a while, but eventually I was able to go back & see her. She's never had a secondary airway in when I've seen her before, so when I walked around the curtain & saw her w/ one in I gasped. I'm a nurse, yes, but when it comes to my daughter, I'm a mom! I kind of had an internal freak-out moment for a second, but then was fine when I watched her monitor & realized everything was just fine. She was sleeping so soundly. And she had her regular head dressing on.

About 1/2 hr'ish later, we removed the airway & woke her up. The little trooper woke up SO great. I was a little nervous at how she'd do being almost 2 yrs older but she, again, amazed me! She looked at me & then sat right up!!! She was like...Hey mom! LOL  Her poor voice was scratchy & she was coughing, but other than that, it was just like she'd taken a really long nap.

Our wonderful nurse, Okhee, who we'd had almost every other time, moved Brooke over a little bit & let me sit in the bed w/ her then snapped this picture:
She was given a purple popcicle...& she ate them both!
After about 1/2 hr Okhee got the portable DVD player for her to watch. She only got to watch about 1/2 of it before a room was ready for us. She wheeled us down, again, while we both got to sit side by side. :o)

After about an hour or so of cartoons, someone decided she wanted to have fun...

And by about little Brookie was back.
(She looked so tiny in that big bed!!)

Finally at around 5pm she got her clothes back on & decided she was ready to boogie. She went potty, started walking completely on her own, & then started singing "The Ants Go Marching" while doing a *careful* little dance.

I swear on everything I own...the Dodger's part in this was completely her idea!

Our nurse must have been busy b/c it took FOREVER to get out of there! She was all dressed & ready to go but we ended up waiting around 1 1/2 to 2 hrs. :(

Finally at about 5pm we got to leave...can you tell that someone was happy?!

She didn't want her picture taken while we were waiting at Walgreens to pick up her scripts.

We drove back to the parking garage (after a LONG hour car ride), got in the stroller, & walked the 5 blocks to the RMH. It was dark, but it was only about 8pm. We first stopped at the 7-Eleven on the corner cause I promised Brooklyn some M&M's (& I found some little mini bottles of Moscato that literally fell into my hand). Then we stopped at the Burger Bistro, which is an upscale burger joint kiddy-corner from the RMH. Holy cow this place was amazing! It smelled divine & holy cow the menu was amazing. TONS of different kinds of meat...which all looked so great! I ended up getting the BBQ burger, which had brisket on top of a patty, doused in BBQ sauce & some cheddar. It was so wonderful!!!!

On our way back up to our room we had to stop & turn the wheel a few times. This little contraption is one of Brooke's favorites. She likes to turn it & watch it go around & around...

And with that...we came up to our room, changed her drain, & attempted to lay down. :(  BUT...she wasn't having that at all! It hurt too bad, and of course she hates the taste of the Tylenol w/ Codeine. So some regular Tylenol sufficed & eventually she laid down. She's sound asleep right now & I'm not...far.....behind.........her..................

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