07 August 2015

Tink's adventures in health: a primer

April 2015
Today, I take Tink to see a specialist at the recommendation of Dr. M, her pediatrician.

As is usually the case with Tink, this was a next step in a long line of "stuff" regarding her health. And since there seems to be no end in sight with my sweet little problem child, I thought a primer might be in order.

My pregnancy was a bit difficult. I was healthy, and Tink was okay, but there were problems. For one thing, as I was nearing the end of my pregnancy I developed a cyst on my ovary that grew for a while. Thankfully, after Tink was born, it ruptured on its own.

When I went into labor, Monty and I went to the hospital. I wasn't really far enough along to be admitted, but when the nurse took my blood pressure it was very high, and she muttered the word "preeclampsia" to a doctor, which got me admitted, and on drugs to move the labor along. Of course, with the drugs came an epidural. Unfortunately, the tech that put the epidural in was not as skilled as I would have liked, and ended up having to move it. Very painful. Then, when she did get it in, which was still felt strange, it worked really well on one side and only moderately well on the other. By the time it was time to push, I was definitely starting to feel pain again.

When Tink decided it was time to actually be born, she didn't wait for the water to break. I called the nurse because it felt like my water had broken. She came in to look and immediately called for the doctor because Tink was really ready. But my water hadn't actually broken. When the doctor came in and got situated, he looked at Monty and said, "I've never broken anyone's water on the outside before."

Then, to make the delivery even more interesting, Tink was a face-up meconium baby, and aspirated when she was born. So as soon as Monty had cut the cord, she was whisked off to the side to suction fluid and make sure she was okay. They let me hold her for a few moments and then took her for observation in the neo-natal unit, where they put her under a light for light therapy because she was jaundiced. (I had some additional problems after she was born, but they were taken care of.)

Tink had to continue light therapy for the couple of days we were in the hospital after she was born, and the hospital made arrangements for us to borrow a light blanket to continue light therapy at home for a couple of weeks. Then, in her final exam before getting discharged, Tink developed a low-grade fever, so the doctor decided she needed to stay another day.

Eventually, we went home. And things were okay.

When she was about four months old, she wasn't growing as well as she should have been, so I was told to supplement my breast milk with formula. Then my milk dried up, so we went to formula full time.

When she was about eight months old, it was determined that she once again wasn't growing like she was supposed to be, and the doctor even used that dreaded phrase--failure to thrive--that prompted blood work and weight check appointments and special formula.

She was behind in her developmental milestones, too. At nine months, she wasn't standing (even assisted) and nowhere near walking. Her fine motor skills, too, were lacking. So she had regular physical therapy and occupational therapy for about a year, during which time she caught up to where she needed to be.

And specialists. We saw a nutritionist, gastroenterologist, neurologist, and pediatric geneticist.

At one point through all of these appointments, one of the results of her blood work was incredibly high, prompting re-testing, which came back normal.

At another appointment, Dr. Illinois was concerned about some test results and sent us immediately to the children's hospital for blood work and urinalysis, and if certain results had come up, she would have been hospitalized that day. But then everything looked normally.

And in the midst of this, we had no answers.

The geneticist was the last specialist we saw, and he said, "Let's just wait and see." The pediatrician in Florida agreed.

Some time after that, I moved back to Florida. Tink was doing pretty well, so we followed Dr. M's lead and waited.

In May, Tink had her four-year check-up. She's always been below the growth chart (or right at the bottom), but this time, she had gained three inches in a year and absolutely no weight. Really. She weighed the same in May 2015 as she did in April 2014.

And she had been having leg pain for some time in her right leg. It started out that it seemed like her knee would buckle every once in a while when she ran. Then she started limping semi-regularly. Most recently, she walks on the balls of her feet occasionally, or she'll turn her right foot all the way out and walk that way.

So Dr. M ordered blood work and x-rays of her entire right hip and leg. An abnormality in the latest round of testing has prompted a follow-up appointment with a specialist.

So here we are again. Back to tests and specialists and asking lots of questions without enough answers.

I don't know what's going to happen today or in the near future or even in the long-term future.

So all I can do is keep stepping forward, one little bit at a time. And Tink will keep things interesting.

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