One day Anni was twirling and singing one of her original compositions.
"It's my gift!" she declared.
Dizzy, she fell with spectacular gracelessness.
Laying on her back on the tile floor she began flapping her arms and legs
as if she were making a snow angel.
"Falling down is also a gift!" says she.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Fever Pro

Home again, but not without incident. Another endoscopy and round of sclerotherapy on Friday, where the doctors discovered that her four huge varices are still four huge varices. In other words, the sclerotherapy is not really having much success at shrinking them. Bummer. However, we are now officially on the surgery schedule for Nov. 30 for the Rex shunt. Anni will be admitted on Nov. 29 and then our surgeon, Dr. Superina, has scheduled the entire day for her. He also made sure that his calendar didn't have him leaving town anytime soon after performing the surgery, so that makes me feel better, even though that date leaves us smack in the middle of holiday scheduling. Annika told Jörg that she didn't like missing him and Frankie while she was in the hospital, so Jörg took Friday off from the university and we all traveled together. Just like a family vacation! Except with needles and microscopic cameras and noxious chemicals injected into the throats of small children! Truly Annika enjoyed having everyone around, and by "everyone" I mean especially Frankie. Frankie crawled into bed with her, stroked her head when she was crying, and murmured "It's OK, Nonny, it's OK," when things got tough. She took her position as companion and comforter quite seriously. Everything went relatively smoothly - I.V. in on the first try, and pretty close to where Annika requested that it be placed, blood draws well done ("Please be careful with that needle! I like it slow so you don't miss!" she explained to the phlebotomist each time), no gas mask, and the anesthesiologist even switched sedation when she spotted the white syringe and told him that she didn't want the white medicine (or did he just color it? I don't know. Anyway, Jörg tells me that it was pink instead.) But then she woke up all friendly and ready to eat. And promptly threw everything back up. Again and again. So they gave her the usually miraculous anti-emetic, Zofran. To no avail. Because we really wanted to go, they went ahead and released us on Friday night, even though Annika had yet to keep anything down beyond water. We got home close to midnight, which was when we discovered that Anni had a fever, 102.5 That's not terribly high for Annika, but I was going to give her some Tylenol, anyway. Especially since I thought her throat might be hurting. But she curled up in a ball and moaned, "No more medicine! Pleeeeeeeeeease!" So I let it go. At 2 a.m. she was burning up. The thermometer registered 105.2 Now that's more like it! So I stripped her down and turned on the ceiling fan when she refused to take a bath. And, of course, she got the Tylenol. A few hours later she was back down to 102, and by the time we got to the pediatrician's office she was, of course, down to 99.8. With no sign of any infection, we headed back home. Annika managed to keep down one yogurt and 4 crackers, so we counted the day as improvement. The night brought another fever, but nothing very spectacular. So I think I'm going to count this trip as falling on the mainly "fun" side for Annika. This was due not only to the excitement of having Frankie and Jörg with her this time, but also in no small part to the newest addition to Annika's animatronic army, Furby. Oh, oops. Furby is actually an "emoto-tronic" friend. Excuse me. Our friends, the Ketters (you may remember their daughter, Natalie, with the trademarked Huge Laugh from one of Annika's September hospital stays) sent this little guy/girl/thing (?) Annika's way. Annika and Frankie are both in love with him/her/it. Here's Anni opening the package just before we left for the hospital:
The most exciting feature? By far? He/she/it tells knock-knock jokes! Both girls have been giving original knock-knock jokes their best shot lately. (A typical Annika example: "knock-knock" "who's there?" "banana" "banana who?" "Banana, you peeled your pants!" followed by much uproarious laughter. A typical Frankie example: "knock-knock" "who's there?" "banana" "banana who?" "ummmmmmm, BANANA!" followed by a confused, but slyly proud smile.) Furby provided much happy distraction during this stay, so thank you Becca and family. As usual, though, the best thing about going to the hospital is coming back home again. Especially when you're almost 5. Birthday pictures coming soon.


Blogger liz said...

Glad you're back home and safe.

Thinking of you everyday.

10/17/2005 5:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Welcome home. I think of you guys so often.

xo Catherine

p.s. Those pictures of the girls are too much--those little teeth and all that baby skin. My god!

10/17/2005 7:44 AM  
Anonymous Becca, Jason and Natalie Ketter said...

Thanks for making me cry!! It was my pleasure making your kids smile. I am so very sorry that we missed you on this hospital visit. Much love to the family from ours.

10/17/2005 8:18 AM  
Blogger Phantom Scribbler said...

It was the picture of Frankie keeping Annika company in the hospital bed that made me cry. What sweet, sweet kids you have!

Thanks for updating us. We're thinking of you everyday, too.

10/17/2005 12:32 PM  
Anonymous Beanie Baby said...

Yup, me too.

It's wonderful that your girls are so close. Frankie seems to have a big, big heart.

10/17/2005 7:05 PM  
Blogger trisha said...

Oh, Moreena! I think you all, too, every day. I wish it weren't the way it is for you guys.

Frankie's role made me cry, too. What a sweetheart.

As always, your writing is absolutely amazing. You really should write a book about your family.

Love to you and yours.

10/17/2005 8:48 PM  
Blogger Amanda M said...

No knock knock jokes...but Annika might like telling this one to the adults, because it's fun to make grown-ups smile:
Q: Why did the chicken cross the playground?
A: To get to the other slide...

Groan. I know, but Katie liked telling it when she was Annika's age.

Tell Frankie that she rocks. What an amazing little sister she is.

I'm scared for Anni with the shunt - are there examples of it working well in other places? I was hoping Anni wouldn't have to go down that path. I hope it all goes really, really well.

Love to all,
Amanda, Aunt to Katie, age 7, BA, kasai

10/18/2005 12:49 AM  
Anonymous peripateticpolarbear said...

So sweet.

10/18/2005 11:20 AM  
Blogger Yankee T said...

They are so adorable, and the way Frankie takes care of Annie warms my heart. They are so lovely, Moreena. You're on my mind.

10/18/2005 3:48 PM  
Blogger allison said...

I just want to tell you that I think you and your family are very very brave, and that the smiles on your girls faces just beautiful. I've heard somewhere, as you probably have too, that being brave is not being not afraid, but proceeding in the face of the fear. And a book I recently read called Strong Women Strong Hearts, used the phrase, "Do it afraid". That's what you are all doing, and it's inspiring, to say the least.

10/18/2005 4:01 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

What little sweethearts. You all are always in my thoughts and prayers. Hope to see you again soon.

10/18/2005 4:06 PM  
Anonymous Miriam said...

I have been reading you for a while now, and it really aches to read about what you are going through, especially when you seem to handle it so well. Your children are so beautiful. I'm glad some fun was possible, and I wish your family the best of luck.

10/18/2005 7:47 PM  
Anonymous Robyn said...

I'm sorry the varices arn't getting any better with the sclerotherapy. I hope and pray that the shunt does exactly what it is supposed too.

10/18/2005 9:16 PM  
Blogger Running2Ks said...

Welcome home again. My prayers are with you for a successful Rex shunt.

I love that her sister gave her a nickname.

I love that she loves Furby.

Hugs to you and your family. When you come back to Chicago, call me. Seriously. The holidays need more "everyone" there!

10/19/2005 10:25 AM  
Blogger Running2Ks said...

Knock knock
Who's there
A confused cow
A confused cow who

10/19/2005 10:26 AM  
Anonymous Rowan said...

I know you wrote this a little while ago, but I have only just now had time to sit down to hours of blog reading.

Your's is one I always MUST check. I feel a compulsion to see how everyone is doing.

It is wonderful to see the girls smiling and happy. I feel for you for the photos that weren't taken, or simply were not published.

It must be so hard to be facing surgery again so soon. I am glad to hear that her surgeon seems like such a kind soul. I've found it somehow easier when I can put a face and a personality on the person working with my girl.

I am not a big pray-er, but you and yours will absolutely be on my mind and in my heart on 11/30, as well as the days following.

I send you strength and peace.

10/25/2005 3:20 PM  

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