Thursday, February 24, 2011

Post-Surgery Diet

My Registered Dietitian sister-in-law once told me that after you have had surgery, your body needs proteins to rebuild and heal.  Maybe that is why Angelee has become so picky about her food.

We sit down to a (I thought) tasty and well-rounded dinner of turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, vegetables, stuffing, and cranberries (thanks to the great Man-cook for my birthday dinner!), and what are the first words out of Angelee's mouth?  Everyone else said something along the lines of "Yum!'  But Angelee wrinkled up her nose and proclaimed, "I need meat!"

She picks the fish out of our sweet and sour rice.  She eats the ham off the baked potatoes.  She liberates the lunchmeat out of the sandwich and leaves the bread.  She scoops the beef out of a taco.  We hear it often, "I need meat!"  She makes us laugh, our little carnivore.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Home Again Again

We were able to get our angel home later on Friday night.  Here she is, ready to ditch the hospital and go home with a soft crocheted cap instead of the hard helmet.

And here it is Wednesday afternoon, and I'm just now getting around to telling about it.  We've just been busy since then.  It reminds me of when Angelee was in the hospital the first time and her first-grader brother, trying to find positives in the situation, said, "Well, at least it is quieter around here."  Yes, it is quieter when our little spitfire isn't here.  But it's a too-empty, not-good kind of quiet.  I like my active house with our happy, on-the-go family.  It's just not right when we aren't all here.

Some random notes from in the hospital:  Angelee slept really well in the hospital this time.  Sleeping helps her to heal, and it helps Dad not to be a basket case in the morning.  The hospital gives plain cloth dolls (with hospital gowns) to the children to decorate.  The staff can use the dolls to demonstrate procedures, too.  Angelee loved her dolly, and wanted Mommy to draw lots of happy faces on it.  It's neat that volunteers make these dolls to help so many sick kids!

We were initially told that she had damaged the speech center of her brain, and may not talk or understand language.  Her CT scans now show a completely empty spot where her brain was damaged.  Her language skills now are nothing short of miraculous, and even better now than before the fall.  It was nice this time that she could tell us when it hurt.  "Owie, right here."

  Angelee's head drain worked better this time, and didn't spill out onto her head and pillow.  That was kind of gross last go around.  After surgery, they leave a small tube under her skin, connected to a little plastic ball.  The ball slowly fills up with fluid (we called it Angelee juice) that otherwise would have made her head and face swell up.  The drain wasn't working right for the last surgery, and she swelled up.  This time, however, we had very little swelling, even after we went home.  Yes, she swelled.  Her face was pretty lopsided for a couple of days.  But she didn't get a black eye, and her left eye didn't even swell shut.  Now she's looking pretty good - except for the long line of stitches snaking across her head.  Here is her first self-portrait, taken when she stole my camera.  You can see a bit of swelling:

And here she is, with a happy brother, two days after surgery.  This is the most swelling she had.

Her brothers are sure happy to have her back home and doing so well.  Here she is, singing with another brother on the piano.  Love it!

Friday, February 11, 2011


Things are going very well.  Angelee got the second IV out, and the first IV line unhooked from the pump.  She is taking in all of her food and liquids by mouth (but they like to leave one IV in until it's time to go home, just in case).  The drain in her head just came out, and she doesn't have to be hooked up to all the constant monitors.  She is bouncing around the room, asking for apple juice.  Sip.  Chockee (chocolate) milk!.  Sip.  Water.  Sip.  Shoes!  No, the other shoes.  How about Mom's shoes?  And can we go for a walk?

If she keeps this up, they will let her come home tonight.  Happy dance!

I am so grateful for the miracles modern medicine can pull off.  I am so grateful for our bodies.  They are amazing machines!  I am grateful for all the kind people who make helping sick kids their profession.  I am grateful Angelee is doing so well.  Thank you for your prayers!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Surgery, Part III

Here we are, back at the hospital for Angelee's third surgery.  She is going under the knife (what a great expression) today to get the synthetic plate put in her head.  We like our girls good and hard-headed.

She didn't get in to surgery until about 1:30 this afternoon.  The doctor said that it looked like she had been regrowing some skull, so he'd try to keep as much of it as he could.  He'd rather cut out some of the implant than new bone.  Good doc.  They said the surgery would likely last about 2 1/2 hours, so we're not anticipating hearing anything until later this afternoon.  The nurse popped in after the first hour (while I was grabbing some lunch, of course) and said everything was going well.  So for now, we just sit and wait.   I guess I won't be home for dinner, after all (and there is a yummy roast in the crockpot, too!).

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Big Day Tomorrow

Well, it looks like we'll be going back to the hospital tomorrow.  She doesn't have the first slot, so we don't have to leave quite so early.  On the other hand, it's a bit more waiting time.  Not much, though.

Her daddy took Angelee to the hospital today to do the pre-op work.  Paperwork, paperwork, and more paperwork, a quick visit with the surgeon, a bloodwork poke for the poor girl, and her branding.  Now she's got a sticker on her back and a "watch" (blue plastic hospital ID bracelet) on her wrist.  She did pretty well until she saw the doctor, and then she got a panicky look on her face, jumped into Daddy's arms, and tried to hide.  I don't think she'll be very excited when she figures out where we are going tomorrow.

We got the model of her skull they used to make her implant.  

With the results of her last CT scan, the company made a life-sized 3-D model of her poor little head.

So this is what she looks like right now, with a hole in the side of her head.  The actual edges are very jaggedy, but the doctor drew on this little skull model to show where he was going to cut.

And here is the implant they made to fit the hole nicely:

Fits so well!

And this is what she'll look like tomorrow night.  Nice and sturdy, but I'll always feel like she's fragile.

Wish us luck tomorrow!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Surgery Ahead

Sorry.  Bad pun.  I couldn't resist.

Angelee is scheduled for surgery this Thursday.  We'll be taking her in on Wednesday to get all checked in with the wrist bracelet (which she hates) and the blood tests (which she hates more) and the paperwork (which I hate).  We'll go home, try to settle our last-minute details, get up at o'dark-hundred the next morning and make the drive back.  It doesn't seem as long now since we drove over 750 miles last week for the funeral in Alaska (and that was after the seven-hour plane flight).

So we'll spend this week cleaning, resting up, and playing.  I like playing at home with my kidlets.  They are fun.  Angelee just came in, upset, and told me, "Mama!  Nate.  Foo.  Boom.  No!"  Evidently the kids (Nate and Foo) had been rough-housing and one had made the other fall down (boom).  She doesn't like it when they get hurt.  Now she's saying, "Need potty.  Shappy (her word for sucker).  Yeah!  Potty?  Mama?  Potty, peesh?  Shap-py!"  Can you tell that we're potty training?  And what her favorite reward is?  Oh, I'd better go take her.  She's unplugging my computer.

I'll leave you with a shot of the sticky girl, eating a candy stick she got at church.  So happy!