Annika had her regular full-body CT today to monitor the status of her lymph nodes after our brush with PTLD
last year. She has these CTs every 3 months, and the last scan showed some enlargement and spreading, so we were a little nervous. The good news (very) is that none of the lymph node masses are spreading or enlarging. The bad news is that it appears that some sort of sinus infection has taken up permanent residence inside her little head. So the docs are looking for some mega-antibiotics to give her for the next 6-8 weeks.
We had to leave this morning at 5 a.m. for her 8:30 appointment. Of course she was still sleeping when I went in to pluck her out of bed. She snuggled into my neck, and then, as she gradually woke up and realized what was going on, she gave me this little progression:
in a sweet, sleepy voice: "Is it morning already?"
becoming faintly accusatory: "What are you doing
progressing to slightly hysterical: "Where are you taking
full-blown panic attack: "Noooooooooooooo! I don't want to
go to Chicago. You take me back upstairs to my warm bed right now
! Nooo! Noooo! Nooooo!"
I began to flashback to our last horrible trip to Chicago
, and regret my decision to take this trip alone with Annika. I pictured the next 3 hours, driving alone, idling along in Chicago rush-hour traffic while the wounded wails of my panicked child emanated from her car seat.
After wrangling Anni into her carseat, she began to cry that she was too cold. So I headed inside to gather the rest of our stuff, and grab a blanket for her. By the time I got back to the car with the blanket, she was completely calm and informed me, "OK, I'm not sad about going to Chicago anymore." Whoa. Talk about your mood swings. But as long as they're swinging in my direction, I'll take it.
We had just left our neighborhood when Anni remembered that we had forgotten her doll, Berf
. I had promised that Berf would help her drink the contrast solution before the CT, so of course I had to head home. Never mind that we were already leaving a good half-hour late, due to her unexpected freak-out session. Back on the road and nearly to the interstate, I realized I had left her meds for the day sitting on the counter, so back again we go. Annika was simply delighted with the apparent ease with which I headed back home again, and so for the rest of the trip she kept "remembering" things we had forgotten and suggesting we turn back around.
Of course, Anni couldn't eat breakfast, nor could she drink anything past 6:30 a.m., but she was remarkably cheerful. Mostly she requested the songs she wanted to hear, and sang along with them at the top of her lungs. We watched the sun come up together, and as we drove along with her blissfully singing the bittersweet lyrics of The Pretenders Back on the Chain Gang
("I found a picture of you, oh oh oh oh...Those were the happiest days of my life" - needless to say, the "oh"s are her favorite part), I got a little teary-eyed as I remembered some of my favorite times with her. It doesn't seem like she should be a girl old enough to sing along with The Pretenders yet.
Everything went incredibly smoothly at the hospital. Also incredibly fast, which is very helpful when you're 4, hungry, thirsty, and can't wait to get back home to see Grandma and Grandpa, who came up to stay with Frankie for the day. Bringing Berf along proved to be invaluable, as she was a great help in getting the yucky oral contrast in her. I am so glad that the straw fit in that doll's mouth.
When the nurse came in and told her it was time to get her I.V. placed, Anni responded, "OK! Let's get this party started!" She was again very good, albeit a tad bossy as she repeatedly informed the nurses, "You guys, be sure you don't hurt my vein." One of the nurses kept trying to make her look away, even to the point of trying to turn her head by force. But Anni really feels much better if she can see what's going on. Unbelievably, I managed to let the nurse know that without descending into sleep-deprived bitchiness. I must be growing up, too.
So this all seemed to be going too well. Naive me, I didn't know to let this worry me. But then comes the pre-sedation: our old friend, Versed, or "the happy juice," as it is known around those parts. Annika has had Versed hundreds of times, and always with giggly, cute results. Perhaps having started already giggly and cute, we were just doomed. For whatever reason, the Versed turned her into a screaming ball of raging paranoia.
At the sight of the CT machine, she went into a red-faced, vein-bursting, wiggling fit of terror. They had to go ahead and put her to sleep before positioning her on the table, and they had to give her a bigger dose than usual. Even with the bigger dose, it didn't take her long to start moaning and wiggling again, so they had to call the anesthesiologist back for permission to hit her again.
So she was incredibly doped-up and pukey when she awoke. With the CT behind her, though, she was ready to hit the road. Once she was able to say, "Mama" without flopping her head, rolling her eyes, and smacking her lips shut on the "m" sound like she was about to burst into symphonic humming, she was released. After picking up a Happy Meal from the hospital McDonald's and selecting an incredibly tacky hot-pink poodle from the gift shop, we were headed home. The hot-pink poodle (named "Muhsheeshee") conversed for nearly an hour with the Happy Meal Bulldog
. She evidently spent the rest of the trip decorating her feet, legs, and face with a black magic-marker ("Look, Mom. I'm a coloring book!").