Scoliosis Update: The New Cast

I write letters to Ellen DeGeneres. No particular reason. Just because I can.

Dear Ellen,

Last week I took my 20-month-old back to Atlanta for her second cast. The good news was, I knew what to expect. The bad news was, the doctor who performs the surgery wasn’t available at the hospital we’ve been going to, so they scheduled us at a different children’s hospital. Which totally makes sense. I mean, now that I knew where the infamous “building across the street” was, of course they would send us to a different location.

 

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Oh well. Onward and upward. Since we live anywhere from 2 1/2 to 14 hours away (because that’s the way traffic flows on I-20,

 

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my plan was to drive to Atlanta on Monday night, stay in a hotel, and then go to the hospital Tuesday morning. The problem was I got so caught up with my day-to-day life that I didn’t get around to making a hotel reservation until Sunday, the day before. But that wasn’t a problem. Atlanta is a HUGE city with thousands of hotels. It’s not like they’d be completely booked up for a Monday evening. Especially since it wasn’t a holiday weekend.

 

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 I quickly found out how wrong I was. As it turns out, every hotel/motel was booked last Monday night. After consulting a few friends we came to the conclusion that there was, in fact, a weekend holiday in Atlanta and it was probably related to football.

Here’s the thing, Ellen, I respect the rights of people who want to go see their favorite team play. That’s fantastic. But here’s a thought, when the game’s done, GO HOME!!! Most games are over by Sunday night. There’s no reason to still be in a hotel room on Monday.

 

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I was left with no other choice but to get up very early on Tuesday morning, and drive to Atlanta before her 11 a.m. procedure. An 11 a.m. procedure meant that I had to be at the hospital by 9:00 a.m., which meant I had to leave my house no later than 5:30 a.m.. Technically with no traffic, I could get to Atlanta in two hours and seven minutes. But Las Vegas isn’t the only city that doesn’t sleep. I had to give myself extra time.

The next morning I woke up and filled my travel cup with coffee.

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The drive went fine for the most part. In addition to my GPS system which sometimes asks me to make U-turns while I’m driving on freeway overpasses for no particular reason, I also purchased a map of downtown Atlanta just in case. Fortunately, I didn’t need it. But as I was driving along my GPS system told me there was going to be a one hour delay in the next 50 miles and would I like to take the detour which would save me 40 minutes?

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I opted for the detour. And that’s when things got interesting. The GPS system took me through some exciting neighborhoods. One minute, I was terrified I was going to be carjacked. And only a block later, I was worried that my car was going to be reported as a suspicious vehicle because it didn’t fit in with all of the other $85,000, 7-seater SUVs that had leather interiors, sun roofs, jacuzzis, and a Starbucks barista in the center console.

 

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I could just see how that conversation with Atlanta PD would go.

 

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Police Officer: Excuse me, ma’am. Some of the local residents have called to complain that your minivan is frightening them. You wanna explain why you’re in this neighborhood?

Me: You look like a cool dude, so I’m gonna be straight with you. I’m pushing cookies for my kids’ fundraiser. (I lean against the window.) I tell you what, Officer. You look the other way while I work this ‘hood and I’ll slip you a few boxes of Thin Mints.

Police officer:

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Me: Not interested? Well as fate would have it, my son’s school is kicking off their annual cookie dough fundraiser next week. What’s your pleasure officer? Chocolate chip? Funfetti? How about Brownie Batter? I promise you it’s all good shit.

 

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We made it to the hospital with ten minutes to spare. So to recap, we left the house at 5:30 a.m. and arrived, parked, and checked into the hospital at 8:48 a.m.

 

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From here, everything went as expected. This time there was a slight change to the procedure. She was still wearing her old cast, so they’d remove that first. If we lived locally, I could have brought her in a few days before the procedure to have the cast removed so that we could give her a regular bath – as opposed to the sponge baths we’ve been giving her, but that wasn’t an option.

The two hours went by pretty fast which is a good thing because the baby had to fast before the procedure. She hadn’t eaten anything since 8 pm the night before. I could tell by the way she was acting that she was a little hungry.

 

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I tried to keep her busy by playing some games with. The first game we played was called, “Throw the hedgehog.”

The above picture is of her with her hedgehog. The rules to the game are simple. She throws the hedgehog in any direction and either I or one of the nurses picks it up and hands it back to her.

 

We played this game for a while and before I knew it, it was time to give her the goofy juice, which she fought.

Baby Girl: Momma, this is ridiculous. I do not require goofy juice. That’s a ridiculous name for this serum and I won’t ingest it!

(Five minutes later)

Baby Girl: Have I always had toes. Look at the way they wiggle. That’s so weird. (Giggle, giggle, snort, snort.)

The nurse came to get her a few minutes later and she was off.

Since I didn’t have a tire to contend with, I almost didn’t know what to do with myself. I grabbed some food from the cafeteria and then I went back to her room and ate lunch while watching the most recent episode of Manifest on my tablet. About an hour later the doctor came into the room to tell me she was doing fine and that they had her in a recovery room where they were going to observe her for a few minutes.

“Anyway, they’ll bring her in here shortly,” he said. “But in the meantime I wanted to hand you this.”

He handed me her old cast.

“For the record, the cast weighs approximately two pounds and it’s also the cleanest cast I’ve ever removed from a child. Whatever you guys are doing at home, keep it up!”

 

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 A few minutes later, they rolled her back into the room.

 

It wasn’t long before she demanded food. The nurse wasn’t comfortable with me feeding her applesauce so she brought the baby jello. This was the first time she’d ever had it and WOW! She couldn’t get enough. When she finished what was in the little cup, she cried for more. It was a sensitive situation. Anesthesia can cause nausea. So feeding her too much, too fast would be bad. But, it was now just aft 1:00 pm. She’d gone 18 hours without food. No matter what I did, it wasn’t going to be right. I chose to give her another cup of the jello. She cried when this cup was done but at this point I cut her off because I didn’t want her to get sick.

I packed up all of our stuff and we headed home. Post-surgery x-rays were not needed this time so I didn’t have to worry about finding any other “buildings across the street.”

Twenty minutes into the car ride, I smelled a very sweet and fruity odor coming from the back seat. I glanced back in the rear view mirror and saw the baby vomiting up all of her jello.

 

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I found a gas station and pulled over. I tossed the jello chunks out of the car, changed her top and wiped her down the best that I could. And then we were on our way. She slept for most of the car ride home and we when finally pulled into the driveway, she was ready to move.

Because this is her second cast and she was used to the weight, it took her no time at all to get back onto her feet. For the rest of the day she was groggy and out of sorts but by Wednesday morning, she was ruling the house once again. Reminding everyone that everything in the house belonged to her.

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In case you might inquire, the doctor said he felt she’d have to go through two or three more procedures before we could put her in a back brace. The back brace will stay on either until she is cured or until the curve in her spine increases at which point she’d have to go back to a cast. And in case you’re wondering, Ellen, I have no idea what the back brace looks like. I hope to find out soon because that means she’s getting better.

Sincerely,

A. Marie

Thanks for shopping Snark, Sass, & Sarcasm! I’ll see you next time.