Oh boy. I just re-read my latest posts, and I was rambling a bit, wasn't I? Shock, I guess. Sorry, though, for all that repeating of myself. Over and over and over again.
We're on a hospital vacation again! Only this time I told them, "How about we skip the Kohl's House step-down and just go for the gusto? How about all the way home
?" Everyone seemed to be on board with that idea, and Annika was more than just on board with it. She asked me every hour, on the hour, (OK, not at night) for two straight days whether it was time to go home, yet.
I was particularly happy to be heading home, since my little Frankie was clearly having a rough time. My mom told me that she wasn't sleeping very well and that she had had several mishaps through the week, including falling out of her booster chair and having a run-in with the cat (The cat won the battle but lost the war, since my mom made the cat stay in the basement for the rest of the day for bringing her claws way too close to Frankie's eye. Don't worry, cat lovers. Hepburn had food, water, litter pan, boxes to play in and balls to bat around, but it was quite an indignity nonetheless.) When I called home on Thursday, just two days after our difficult talk with Anni's doctors
and the same day that we found out about the insurance crap (hitting the fan and all that), Frankie broke my heart by refusing to return the phone to my mom and wailing into the receiver, "I want you baaaaaaaaaack! I want you baaaaaaaaack!" She dragged out the vowel of "back," and pronounced it "ah," as if grief had turned her into an upper-crust Englander all of a sudden.
So I knew it was high time for both girls to have everyone at home again. Unfortunately, just 15 minutes before Jörg was due to arrive to ferry us home, Annika's main doctor decided that perhaps she should stay in Chicago after all. They had started her on the new med to help control the bleeding, propanalol, which is a common blood-pressure medicine. But Annika's response to the drug had been mixed. It appeared that her blood pressure had lowered nicely in response, but her heart rate appeared to have actually increased, the opposite of what is expected (and wanted).
Feeling like a lousy, rebellious parent, I said, "Really? Are you serious? I don't think we can do that. Not really." I mean, Annika has had way too many promises broken over the last few months. At some point she's going to stop believing us at all. One solution, I suppose, would be to stop making promises, but really that is the only way she gets through everything. Knowing that there is always an endpoint in sight, just one more day or maybe two, allows her to keep her spirits up.
So we made a deal. We brought Annika home, but agreed to take her in to her pediatrician every day to have her blood pressure and heart rate checked and reported to Chicago. On Tuesday she'll go to the hospital here to have labs drawn from her PICC line. On Thursday we'll head back to Chicago, with the understanding that they may want her then to simply stay. This way, at least, I have a chance to pack for a more long-term stay, and I can arrange to bring Frankie along, so that I'm not missing out on things like, for example, Frankie learning to operate a door knob (heaven help us all) and she's not missing out on having a mommy to tuck her in at night.
Warning: not so interesting thinking out loud stuff to follow. Also a shameless feeler to see if anyone is interested in taking on two cats.
I'm going to need to figure out, too, how to give my mom a break. She's suddenly spending her retirement caring for a 2-year-old. A 2-year-old that can operate door knobs (heaven help us all). I think that, as long as Annika is not in the PICU, we should work out how to keep Frankie in Chicago with us. Other moms do it, so surely I can, too.
And I need to figure out what to do with the cats. I think Hepburn's unprovoked attack on Frankie was probably linked to irritation at the upheaval of the household, but perhaps also due to illness. I've been suspecting for a while that she is maybe becoming diabetic, or maybe her thyroid is just going nuts. It's just such strange behavior for her, since she and Frankie have been really very good buddies. Either way, we need to give her more attention, and I'm worried that she's not getting what she needs. Hepburn is no youngster, 15 years old, and I've had her for 14 of those years. But I'm thinking that we should look into better homes for her and her young buddy, Redster, the furball cat who only likes women with soft voices. The only problem is that most really devoted cat lovers already have cats in the home, and Hepburn is such a competitive spitfire, even in her old age, that I'm sure she'd stir up some trouble. And probably come out much the worse for wear, given that she's a tiny little thing. Still, if anyone happens to know someone who's just been waiting to lavish some serious love on two cats, let me know. Don't worry: I'm not holding my breath on this one. And I also know that we'll be able to care for the cats. It's just that I'm worrying that perhaps they would be better off with someone not living life two seconds from crisis mode all the time.
Regarding the COTA
account for Annika, I'm hoping that we will have it all set up by tomorrow. Jörg just called to tell me that Children's is faxing in the patient paperwork to them this morning. I do appreciate the calls to simply put up a paypal button, and I know that would be easy and quick to do, and I appreciate that so many of you trust that any money collected will go toward Annika's medical care. But my skin is way too thin right now to withstand even one comment suggesting illegitimacy. ("Right now
?" I can hear you laughing, Jörg. And, really, now is not the time!) So for the protection of my own mental health, we'll give COTA a chance to set this up for us quickly. They seem to be very responsive, so I bet they can do it.