Saturday, July 20, 2013

Hospital Visit: George's CT

At our last appointment with the cardiologist, he told us that he wanted a cardiac CT and angiogram to be done for George. So yesterday was the day for that. We got to go to the new James and Connie Maynard Children’s Hospital at Vidant Medical Center to have it done. It just opened about 3 weeks ago. It’s a very nice building, and they won me over from the very beginning with their free valet parking. Very helpful for a mom with a baby and a heavy diaper bag. Walking in the doors, I had to remind myself that I just walked into a hospital and not an aquarium or a day spa. Everyone was so nice from check-in, to the waiting area, and when we got taken back to George's room.

Our appointment was at 9 a.m., and the CT was scheduled to begin at about 10 a.m. I got George into his tiny hospital gown and Miss Leah, who was with us the entire time, played with him and kept him entertained and distracted.
Nurse Elizabeth and Dr. Nguyen did their examinations of him to make sure he was healthy enough to be sedated for the CT. Everything checked out well, so it was time to get the IV started. This is where the tears began, of course. They numbed his arm so he wouldn’t feel the needle, but he still screamed just from having his arm held out against his will. I was able to hold him on my lap while they did all this, which was comforting for me and hopefully for him. I was sad he was crying, but at least I could hold him and kiss him to try to make him feel better. I would have hated to be sitting in a chair in the room away from him or even out of the room and have his sad little eyes looking at me. They first tried the IV in his left arm, but the vein blew out because of the size needle they needed to use (because he was going to be injected with contrast during his CT, the needle needed to be thicker than usual). So then they looked at his right arm and decided to call the nurse practitioner in to start the IV to make sure they got it this time. Everything went well, and afterwards I was able to lie down on the bed with George on top of me as he sobbed himself to sleep.
I took this opportunity to snap some pictures of the room we were in. The lights in the room changed from blue, to green, and to red. They were like black lights so everything in the room glowed. It was pretty neat. They also had a screen over the bed and on the wall for the children to watch some calming things. The particular shot is of some hands drawing all those fish shapes in the sand.
George napped for about 1 ½ hours, and didn’t wake up even when we were being transported down to CT. We had to wait a little longer than expected because some trauma patients had come in and they got first priority. Finally our turn came and they wheeled us into CT. They got everything hooked up first and then I was able to stand up with George and lay him on the CT bed. This was when he woke up, and he was not very happy. The doctor then had me pick up George again and I held him while they sedated him. It was a strange and almost  scary feeling of holding my little boy while he was being sedated, watching his little eyelids go down and his body first jerking around and fighting the sleep and then finally going limp. I laid him back on the CT, and removed his pacifier. Then they put the oxygen on him and it was time for me to leave the room. I went back to the waiting area and sent my husband an e-mail (I left my phone in the room but had brought the tablet with me) to tell him what was going on. Then one of the nurses came to tell me that the CT would take a bit longer because George's IV had kinked up when they tried to inject the contrast. After this, it did not take long at all. I think the entire process was about 15 minutes. I got to see George immediately following the CT.
He looked so pitiful. I rubbed his head (to comfort myself, because obviously he was totally passed out) and kissed his forehead. And since it’s not every day that a toddler lies perfectly still with his mouth wide open, I took the opportunity to check for new teeth coming in. Finally, they said for me to get back on the bed and get comfortable and they would put George in my arms. They wheeled us across the hall to wait for him to wake up. This took about 30 minutes. During this time, the nurse told me of all the things to look out for when we got home, how George may still be wobbly, look out for vomiting, etc. Then finally my little prince began to wake up! The nurse quickly got his IV out and George was able to fully wake up. I was so happy to see those big blue eyes again!
He was back to his usual self in no time, and took the opportunity to throw a piece of gauze over the edge of the bed, then look over and say ”uh-oh!”. Yep, he was back. We were then wheeled back to the room where he got some apple juice and crackers.
Then after taking a couple of steps for the nurse, we were able to leave! We received a voucher to be able to enjoy some snacks at the Ronald McDonald House in the children’s hospital. Even though George just had a snack, I was HUNGRY! By this time, it was almost 2 p.m. and I was running on one small glass of chocolate milk from breakfast. Now, being a vegan, McDonalds and I are not friends, but I will say that I am grateful for the work they do for the families of tiny patients.
We took our time leaving the hospital, strolling down the main hall, looking out the windows, looking at the fish on the walls, etc. They even had a huge aquarium in the main lobby. I hope that are able to maintain the new hospital and keep it looking this nice. We were very impressed!

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