Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Arizona, an Appointment and Child Life

Sorry for the delay, it has been a crazy past few days.

At last update I was getting ready for my trip to Arizona for the annual Child Life Conference. As I registered for the event, I saw that there was still room on tour of Phoenix Children's Hospital and I registered. As I prepared to get off the bus, I slipped, skipped three steps and smacked my head on the sidewalk. I felt a bit off after I hit, but was able to get up, walk to the nearest bathroom and survey the damage. I got a big hit to a forehead and another to my chin. I took 3 Motrin right there in the bathroom because I knew I was in for a MAJOR headache. I forget who, but someone there suggested I visit the ER just to be sure that everything was OK. I gave in, but knew in my heart it was the right thing to do.

Long story short, about an hour after getting settled in the ER, I started feeling sleepy and "out of it". I also vomited clots a couple times. I got an IV for Morphine, Zofran and fluids. They also put me on the monitor so everyone would know if I fainted or something. I don't remember much about the head CT except for shouting, "My head hurts, my head hurts" repeatedly. The child life specialist who accompanied me to the ER stayed with me until 6pm when another came to my side. I was surprised and relieved that a CLS stayed with me for so long even after my mom arrived ~3 hours post fall.

I was admitted to the PICU for the night. I had normal saline and D10 flowing through my veins. (I told them I had Mito at triage and told them I would need D10 after I vomited the third time, and they believed me!! I was so relieved. They also called my neuro/mito doc's office and spoke with my MD's fellow!! What a concept! Way to go Phoenix Children's.

I was feeling much better the following day and was discharged around noon. Thankfully, I was able to attend most of the conference the following day and one of the event coordinators registered me as a student member of the Child Life Council which enables me to use a lot of their exclusive member only features on their website, which is a BIG PLUS for getting all the guidance and support I need from the council.

On Monday, I saw one on my doctors at MossRehab in Philly. I have had severe spasticity in my left foot and toes since my second stoke in 2001. I have tried three oral meds, Botox A and B as well as acupuncture, but none of these has provided adequate relief and so we are exploring the option of a baclofen pump which essentially delivers a liquid form of the oral med through a pacemaker sized pump in my belly or low back. Oral (tablet) Baclofen works OK, but not very well with my spasticity. Before going ahead and surgically implanting the pump, I need to get a test dose to figure out if this entire idea is even an option for me.

I will be admitted for pre-test dose festivities ;) on July 12 and go into the OR for the actual administration of the test dose on July 13. On the 14th, the test dose will work it's way out of my body and I will be back to baseline by the 15th. Depending on how the Baclofen test dose makes me feel, I may or may not decide to progress to the next step which is neurosurgery, yes neurosurgery at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital to implant the device.

If you recall from my last post, I was going to meet with the Director of Child Life today from St. Christopher's Hospital for Children in Philadelphia. The meeting went alright, but I did not gain anything from the experience apart from meeting another Child Life Specialist. What was echoed perhaps silently during the meeting with her was that my next step will be to apply to practicums. I am not sure how many I will apply to but I'm guessing between 5 and 10. I also feel it is important to visit the hospital I am interested in so I can attach a mental image to the institution. I will have a better idea of how many practicums I will apply to once I return to Boston and look through The Directory of Child Life Programs published by the CLC. Unfortunately ther is no uniform curriculum for practicums/internships set by the council. Each hospital has their own program.

Every summer I set a goal for myself to read 10 books from start to finish. My first book is The Female Brain.

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