Annika had her MRI today. It went relatively well, considering that this is the first we've used the hospital in Peoria (OSF, Children's Hospital of Illinois). That hospital does both adult and pediatric patients, and Joerg noted that sometimes there are advantages in taking your child someplace that also does adults, as it seems that the waits for the equipment are not so long (just you try scheduling an MRI at Children's in Chicago--ha!), and then also the kids seem to get extra special treatment, you know, because they are kids (obviously at Children's in Chicago nearly all
the patients are kids). I read an article lately about how medicine is often geared towards adults (the "reverse life-boat phenomenon"--kids last), and that's just begging for a write-up soon.
I have been doing a little reading up on neurological conditions, and it sounds more and more to me like Annika might have something called dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy
, but a very mild case. This all started because the pediatrician first noted that her reflexes were a bit fast, and her muscle tone a bit tight at her 4-year check-up. Upon checking with her Physical Therapist, Jane, we discovered that this is just the opposite of her evaluation a few years back (then she was slow, and a bit loose). This reversal, from what I understand, is pretty typical of CP. She also exhibits lots of other symptoms, such as early hand preference (which I had attributed to the PICC line being in place), general awkwardness (I believe I have mentioned her astounding fall record), toe-walking, facial grimacing, and speech that is somewhat more difficult to understand than that of others her age. And then there's her fidgeting. Some days I'm just constantly saying, "Hey, Annika, go use the potty, please!" thinking that surely anyone who has to wiggle that much must be working mighty hard to keep the bladder in check. She insists that she doesn't have to go, and then if I insist that she just try, it turns out that she really didn't have to go. But off the potty she comes and back to hop, hop, squeeze legs, and hop and turn. Still, this is not so outlandish given her age and steroid levels. Makes me wonder, though. Finally adding to my suspicions, she experienced one of the known causes of this kind of CP--high bilirubin levels as a young baby. On the other hand, all these symptoms are really very mild and could be attributable to other causes. We'll wait and see what the MRI tells us, and also to hear an opinion from an actual doctor