Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Monkey’s Monday

Yesterday was a day all about Monkey…not a fun day though. We were up and out of the house by 9 am dropping Bubba and Zim off at their Gramma’s then we headed to our destination…the Children’s Hospital. Yesterday Monkey had a procedure done on his left knee because of his JA. His left knee has been so swollen causing him to limp and also leaving him in pain.
The fluid on his knee created a Baker’s cyst which was also making him uncomfortable.
bakerscyst(Photo courtesy Mayo Clinic)
We arrived at the hospital early and were checked in right away. Oh the things you tell your child to convince them that the situation they are in is all about fun. Bracelets that give you a pass to the toy room, popsicle bracelets (you know, so that they know you’re allowed to have a popsicle when you’re done), and ‘special’ pens…all colorful explanations to keep a three year old calm. While I talked to the nurse Monkey and Hubs played sock toss and soon the nurse even joined in. Most of the nurses there are so wonderful and truly gifted with kids! After talking to Dr. Kietz and Dr. Poff and reviewing everything with anesthesiology we were given the ok to go play…boy was Monkey happy about that!

They have a great playroom at the Same Day Surgery Center. Big open windows to let it lots of light, a couple of computers with fun games, a coloring station, a train table, TONS of toys, board games, and even a Rock Band station! I’m not sure what Monkey liked better…playing the drums and singing with Hubs or knocking down towers of soft blocks…he just had a great time all around. It’s such a wonderful thing they have and a great way to keep the kids happy while waiting and to keep them distracted.

Since we were early we had to wait a bit. Around 12:40 we were called back to get the procedure going. They let me carry Monkey (he was NOT going to get on the bed) and while Hubs waited in the temporary waiting room I walked back to the procedure room with the doctors. There’s something unnerving about walking into a room full of machines and bright lights and seeing a table with long needles and such and knowing that you have to leave your child there. Then I saw so many friendly faces (including his two doctors) and I was immediately more at ease. Monkey was getting arthrocentesis on this left knee. (Arthrocentesis is when they use a needle to go into the joint and drain excess fluid.) Then they would inject a steroid directly into the joint to help with any residual fluid as well as inflammation. Because of the delicate nature of the procedure they had to sedate Monkey with some anesthesia gas.

The staff was so understanding…they didn’t insist that I lay Monkey down when they saw his death grip on my neck. They told me I could sit with him on my lap and two nurses came around while the anesthesiologist cradled Monkeys head in one hand while putting the ‘candy air’ mask on with the other. Monkey fought it and was not happy…I’m not going to lie….but the staff was amazing. They talked so sweetly to him and assured him (and me) that everything was ok. Once he was relaxed and falling asleep they gently took him from me and laid him on the table (which was warm and soft amazingly!) and covered him with a warm blanket. They let me give him lots of kisses and tell him I loved him before I left. As I was was walking out fighting tears Dr. Kietz caught my eye and assured me that he was in good hands…I knew he was right.

We were shown to a waiting room where we were greeted by two nice ladies who took our information and told us that the procedure was supposed to take about 28 minutes and that we could help ourselves to coffee while we waited. Before we knew it though Dr. Poff came in and told us they were finished…man was that fast! Even she said everything went so well and that the thing that took the longest was waiting the required three minutes for the cleanser they had to use on his leg to dry. We had to sit tight a little longer and then they took us to recovery. Poor Monkey, he was laying there so sad and as soon as he saw us he started to cry. The nurse unhooked a few wires and moved his IV line so I could hold him. We got comfy in a rocker, he was hooked back up to the monitors and soon fell back to sleep in my arms. The nurse assured us that his vitals were great and informed us that the IV was in to keep him hydrated and that they gave him some meds to help with pain and possible nausea (last time he threw up on the way home). We were then moved to recovery stage two where he was able to watch TV and get something to drink. He actually didn’t want anything to do with drinking until we told him that if he wanted all the ‘stuff’ on him off he had to drink for the nurse…that was motivation. Dr. Kietz stopped by to check on him and as soon as he walked in our bay Monkey closed his eyes…it’s like he was saying, “Dude, I do NOT want to see you right now. If I close my eyes you aren’t here!” We all got a chuckle out of it and Dr. Kietz played along by covering his face and closing his eyes and told Monkey that when he was better he wanted him to come back and see him so they could race down the halls. (That is Monkey’s favorite part about his office visits with Dr. Poff and Dr. Kietz…racing down the hall.)

Soon Monkey was alert enough to play with some toys and drink all of his drink. We saw the discharge doctor and we were given the ok to get out of there. Woo-hooo! Unfortunately that also meant them taking out his IV. Poor kiddo….see, they waited until he was asleep to put the IV in so taking it out was a bit of an ordeal. I don’t know why they haven’t invented a better medical tape…one that isn’t so painful to remove. After some crying and squirming though the IV was out and he was all band-aided up, dressed and ready to go…well, actually he wanted to stay and play but Hubs and I were ready to go!

As we were walking out to the car Monkey was telling us we forgot something. That we needed to get something to eat at the doctors. We asked him what he wanted and he informed us that he wanted a hick-gog (hot dog) and French fries WITH ketchup. How could we say no to that? So on our way home we stopped at Steak and Shake for some food. I mean, the poor kid deserved a treat after all he’d been through not to mention he hadn’t eaten since 8 pm the night before! He sat with us and devoured his fries and ended up mooching a good bit of my hamburger.

We got to Gramma’s and he was as happy as can be blowing bubbles, drawing with chalk and of course asking Gramma for food. You really wouldn’t know that anything had happened to him at all. To him, he was having just a normal end of his day with his family. Thank goodness for short memories and wonderful things that make us ‘forget’ the not so nice things. And thank goodness for amazing doctors and nurses who have dedicated their life to taking such great care of kiddos and their families.

(I know this is a really detailed record of our day and to some it may be wordy and boring…but to others it may be comforting. There are over 300,000 kids that have been diagnosed with JA and more are getting diagnosed every day. When you are first starting your journey with JA (as with any diagnosis) it can be scary and daunting. My hope is that by sharing our experiences I can help other parents understand what is ahead for them and let them know that they aren’t alone. If you or some one you know is dealing with JA and could use some comfort and support or just the reassurance that there are others out there just like them please feel free to share my post with them. You can also email with any questions at mommaonamission@comcast.net.)