Sunday, May 14, 2006

Blood Tests, X-rays and Prescriptions, Oh My!!!

I wrote this on May 14 but just posted it June 11. Little did I know just how behind I was really going to get! It has been a VERY full month. So, to Amanda, Perri and my dear brother Shane, I promise to work hard to get you all caught up.

Yout Blog Slacker Friend

I have fallen a bit behind in blog land lately because real life butted in. Last weekend, I had to take Grace to the Urgent Care to have her TB test read; a seemingly inocuous task. When we arrived, there was no one in the waiting room. Things were looking good! I walked up to the registration desk and let the nurse in on the purpose for our visit. She smiled and told me that there would be a $5 charge. That was fine with me, since our regular co-pay is $15. I dug out the money and Grace's shot record to be prepared for the next step. As I was handing over the cash, the nurse asked me if I had the form from the doctor's office. I figured she meant the shot record and was able to produce it right away. I was feeling good about this. The nurse stopped, looked at me like I hadn't heard her request and asked for the form again. I had NO idea what she was talking about. She explained that I should have received a form from the doctor, telling what time, in what arm, etc., the test was given. Well, no dice. I told her what time we arrived and left the doctor's office on Thursday, pointed out the notation about the TB test on the shot record and showed her the bump on Grace's arm. That took care of the problem in my eyes. No dice again.

After consulting the doctor, the nurse told me she could not read the test without this magic form. I asked to speak with the doctor myself. He explained that the liability is too great for them to take any chances. If they read the test outside of the prescribed 48-72 hour window, the results could be inaccurate. If they mistakenly said she was negative, then she went and passed TB on to someone, they could be held accountable. I couldn't argue with that logic, but I also wanted an explanation for the lump on Grace's arm. I told the doctor that I was not asking him to write anything down, but asked him to share his opinion about the result of her TB test. He took a quick look at her arm, ran his finger over the bump and said, "I would call that positive." Yikes!

I took Grace to see her pediatrician first thing Monday morning. After apologizing for the missing form, they agreed that the TB test was positive. The doctor ordered a chest x-ray, STAT, and sent us off with a prescription for Isoniazid to be taken daily. FOR. NINE. MONTHS.

Will and I took her for the chest x-ray that afternoon. The waiting room was so full, there was not one empty chair to sit in. We were told to sign in, and come back in TWO HOURS. That's a new one on me. We drove through Arby's, headed home and enjoyed dinner together as a family. That sure beats having the kids at home with a babysitter, while we sit, feeling hungry and tired, in an overcrowded waiting room. I think I like this new method of waiting.

When we got back to the x-ray place, the tech was just finishing up with the patient before us, and she took us right back. Grace was very displeased about being placed half naked on a cold, hard x-ray table. She was even more upset when we had to do it again for the second shot. Poor thing. Cuddles were most welcome when we were finished.

The next day we had our one month post-placement visit (I can't believe a whole month has already passed!) with our social worker. He is such a good guy. He takes care of the business at hand, but we always end up spending more time talking about lots of other things. It's nice to feel comfortable and know that we really have an ally in all of this. We look forward to seeing him again in a couple months.

Wednesday was blood test day. I was dreading it. I could have taken Grace in by myself, but the thought of it was REALLY stressing me out. I waited for Will to get home. When we got to the lab, it was just a few minutes before closing time. There were a couple other people waiting, but it certainly was not destined to be a repeat of the x-ray experience. After filling out the necessary forms, we only had a couple minutes of waiting. I think I was wishing it could be longer. When our turn came, we headed back to begin the torture. The first phlebotomist struggled to find the vein. After digging around for a while and reducing Grace to hysterics, she gave up. Fortunately, the second person had better luck. When we came out of the room, all the lights were out and the waiting room was empty. They told us that they were closed for the day, but I think Grace's screaming scared everyone off.

Mother's Day

My husband treated me to a really great day. He made a delicious breakfast for our family to share. When we finished eating, he surprised me with a beautiful "Family" necklace. It has a small eternity band covered in the appropriate birth stone for each member of our family. It is lovely, and so unique. He even told me that it is easy to add bands later if we need to. 8-)

After taking some time to relax and call our Mom's, we went out for a nice late lunch at Marie Callendar's. We ate out on the patio so we could enjoy the beautiful day. We'll wrap the day up with a slice of cream cheese pie for dessert. Yum!

Happy Mother's Day!!!

Friday, May 05, 2006


I took Grace to the Pediatrician yesterday. She is finally feeling better, so it was time for her first "well baby" visit. These appointments aren't ever my favorite thing, but the intensity went up a notch this time.

Grace is right in the middle of the "stranger anxiety" phase. Developmentally, this is right on, but all of the new circumstances in her life intensify the effects. For one thing, other than her Daddy, she wants nothing to do with men. This makes sense when you consider the fact that all of her care givers at the orphanage were women. It does make it tougher when the doctor needs to check her out though. He hadn't even touched her with the stethoscope yet when she started screaming. Fortunately, the check-up part of the visit doesn't take very long. Once she had a couple minutes of Mommy cuddle time, she was back to her regular cheery self. She played happily on the table, tearing the heck out of the paper, while I talked with the doctor.

The things we needed to talk about at this visit went way beyond the typical well-baby check-up. We needed to discuss all of the medical history that we were aware of, and of course, what we weren't aware of. That is one of the hardest parts for me. I don't like not knowing. That is such a foreign feeling for this very involved, hands on Mom. We discussed the need to run all kinds of tests. There are some that really need to be done right away, and some that can wait. So, in the interest of not draining her dry, we will do some of the blood tests now, and some at her 1 year check-up. The part that is my least favorite, is the stool testing. Gross!! It is very common for kids that come from Ethiopia to have parasites though, so I'll get over it. I want my girl to grow and be healthy.

Grace's least favorite part of the visit was the shots. She had some in Ethiopia, but the quality is questionable, and the shot record was very vague. The doctor felt it was best to just start over. That meant four shots yesterday, as well as a TB test. She is not likely to decide she likes going to the doctor anytime soon. She has to get shots every two months, get more blood drawn & have at least one more TB test in the next few months. Poor thing!!

On a more positive note, in spite of the obvious discomfort from shots and the total melt down that followed, Grace was really happy to be in my arms. She quieted down almost immediately, and drifted off to sleep as we waited for the nurse to get the lab slips for us. It was hard to watch her scream, but it felt really good to know that she is comforted by me. How I love this baby girl!!!


Here is the little cutie with his eyes wide open. He is beautiful Scot and Julie!!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


My parents were divorced when I was very small, so I have had two families as long as I can remember. I spent most of my time with one family and I visited the other one every Summer and sometimes at Christmas. One of the things I loved about going to see my family was the chance to play with my cousins. Officially, they were my "step" cousins, but it never felt that way. I had other cousins, even the biological kind, but I never saw them. This made the opportunity to hang out together extra special to me. My oldest cousin, and the one closest to me in age, was Julie. She was a little bit younger than me, but that never seemed to matter. We always had a lot of fun together.

As we both grew up, our families ended up moving to different states, and as it tends to do, life happened. We both got married and worked at setting up our homes. I had children and have stayed busy raising them. We had the chance to see each other a few years ago when we all got together to celebrate our grandparents' 50th Anniversary, but we haven't visited since. A few months ago I heard through the family grapevine that Julie was expecting her first baby. I was so excited!

Last Wednesday, Julie gave birth to a son. He is a gorgeous little boy, and has completely enchanted his Mom and Dad. Congratulations Scot and Julie!!

Welcome to the world little one!!!


Justin had a run in with a pair of swimming goggles. He found out that when he pulls them far out from his face and then lets go, they snap back just like a rubber band. Owee! He had to have special "butterfly" band-aids for the first time. He even helped trim them to just the right size. Unfortunately, his cut was still pretty sore.

Good thing we had a "Dora" band-aid to make it all better!!