Ahhhhh. It's been good to be home. Annika has been eating better, and smiling more. And Frankie, my little Frankie, she has changed so much just in the past few months. It's funny, because I'm usually all over my kids, every single second of the day, which means their growing is really a gradual process, no matter how much I moan about it happening too quickly. But now that I've been away from her so long, the changes are overwhelming. Like I must have missed a few steps leading up to these amazing accomplishments. And, no, I'm not going to go on more about the fact that she can operate doorknobs now (But, man
! Could she even reach them when I left? Much less grasp the slippery circumference with enough strength to hold on and turn
Mainly, it's little stuff. Like the fact that she constructs these long sentences with careful and agonizing effort to make sure no words are dropped, no matter how insignificant, sometimes rewinding and repeating the sentence with emphasis on the missing part. "I not
going to upstairs to take a bath!......I am
not going to go
upstairs to take a bath!" Annika just watches Frankie now, with this amused grin on her face, like she, too, is surprised to come home and find this willful creature in place of the baby she expected.
Annika announced the other day that it was time for Frankie to become a big sister, too. Like it was a rite of passage that she deemed Frankie now worthy of. To my pronounced, "Oh, really?" Annika rushed to assure me that it didn't have to be immediate, but perhaps when Frankie turned 3. When I explained that Daddy and I didn't really think now
would be a great time for a baby, without going into any explanation of why the timing was bad of course, and, besides, we kind of liked having just two girls, Annika generously offered to have the baby herself. Jörg, always one for keeping it real, broke the news that Frankie would then be an aunt
, not a big sister, but Annika's skeptical look pretty much ended that conversation in a draw.
The day after I posted my thoughts on relocating the cats, I found myself chasing Frankie, trying to corral her into the bathroom for the nightly hands/face/teeth cleaning. Frankie was squealing, running about half-clothed, clutching one of those magically disappearing juice bottles for her baby doll, and generally exhibiting better evasive maneuvers than I remembered of her. Hepburn came up the stairs to investigate the commotion and ascertain whether any tuna might be spilled in the ruckus. Frankie heard Hepburn's tuna-beseeching mew, and stopped the chase to proclaim, "It's my friend, kitty!" Jörg explained that, despite the scratches and run-ins of late, that was the only way Frankie referred to Hepburn now, "My Friend Kitty." I took advantage of the distraction to scoop Frankie up and head for the bathroom.
Frankie, oblivious, twisted over my shoulder to beam at Hepburn and proclaim, "Her my sunshine!" As in, please don't take my sunshine away. So I'm thinking she won that one without even trying.
Then Frankie turned back around and cheerfully shoved the doll's magic juice bottle right up her nose.
A-ha! The total aversion to bottle-feeding as a baby? Mystery solved!
Things are moving ahead with Annika. We've heard that she's been approved to be relisted for transplant, so I suppose that she should be officially on the list very soon. Of course, her surgeon still wants to wait to transplant her until she's stronger and has had more time to heal. But it's good to know that all the paperwork is in place should her situation change rapidly.
Tonight we had to change the dressing on Annika's PICC line
. It's actually a Power PICC, and so goes into a larger vein than usual. All her lower, smaller veins were completely destroyed from overuse. The placement of this line is insane. It's right in her armpit. Good luck getting a good occlusive dressing in a place like that: all hollows, curves, and bends. To solve the problem of securing it, the IR team went a little crazy with the white tape. And this was not the white silk tape, which releases from the skin with moisture. No, it was the white tape that is the medical world's equivalent of duct tape. It doesn't come off skin without much tugging and gnashing of teeth. And I don't know what the IR team was thinking when they taped this particular PICC line, but it honestly looked like it was Bring-Your-3-Year-Old-Nephew-To-Work Day and they had let little Buster go wild with the tape. That tape zigged; it zagged; it crossed over itself, several times, in completely unexpected ways. By the time we got it all off, there was a ball of tape on the floor large enough to headline a roadside attraction in western Kansas.
Needless to say, Annika did not enjoy the experience. She decided, at 6 p.m., that she had had enough of this particular day and requested that we put her to bed. Frankie made sure that she stayed out of sight, just in case we got any big ideas concerning an early bed time for her, too. After just one story Annika snuggled into bed and fell to sleep pretty much right away. Frankie, on the other hand, negotiated and procrastinated until past her bedtime, clambering up on my back and asking for a "Piggy Ride." (And Jörg has been so wise not to jump on that little opportunity for humor.)
The contrast reminds me how sick Annika still is, but she did have a very busy day. The morning started off with more letter and package-opening from our backlog. I just saved her letters and packages until she was feeling like opening them herself, and thus we had the joy of a little postal time-machine,
courtesy of Christmas cards and a lovely set of antlers provided by Bettie Bookish
to accessorize the morning's festivities. Then we headed to the ped's office for blood-pressure and heart-rate checkup, and then off to the hospital's outpatient lab, staffed by the friendliest phlebotomists around. We returned home just in time for a Valentine's delivery
from the Minnesota liver crew, Marisa
, and Sami and Kyle
: a cookie bouquet loaded with those much-needed calories to combat Annika's 4-kilogram weight loss. Annika just kept muttering to herself, "Cookies on a stick!" in a will-wonders-never-cease type voice. Top off the day with a surprise visit from her good friend, Kelsey, and you've got one exhausting list of activities.
So, sleep well, Annika. You deserve it.
P.S. Annika's COTA account is set up now. You can access it by going to this page
and selecting "Annika Tiede" under the drop-down menu under Donor Designations
. There will be a more detailed page put up about her soon on the COTA website.