Wednesday, February 08, 2012

an afternoon at Children's Hospital...

monday afternoon we had the pleasure *ahem* of visiting Children's Hospital once again for spidergirl.

it's a place we're quite familiar with since she sees three different specialists there, and ashlyn also sees the rheumatologists and orthodontist. there was a time several years ago when we were here on a weekly basis for ashlyn's occupational therapy (sensory integration), but now we have to make the visit about 2 times a month for these other specialists.

it occurred to me, i've never really documented a whole afternoon at the hospital. so, come along with me. see what we do while we're there. see what we see. and how we keep ourselves entertained in some not-so-entertaining situations.

it's a fun little time we have (well, as fun as going to the hospital can be)--only because we make it that way.

we first pull into the parking lot loop and find ourselves a parking spot. every time she sees the building with the heart at the top she starts talking a mile a minute---usually begging to go to the gift shop or stop at the vending machine for cheetos. it's always met with a "we'll see, maybe."

spidergirl is what most people would refer to as a motor mouth, LOL. talk, talk, talk, talk, talk. that's all she does. and it's never a repetitive subject. she can carry on an intelligent conversation with anyone, anywhere.

she stops at the sewer grate to relay that she's scared to walk on them because she's always afraid she's going to fall through. so we pause for a minute to talk about it, then move along.

the jaunt from the car to the pulmonologist's office is about 1/4 mile. i say to her "are you ready for this appointment?". she replies, "i got this." and flashes me this face that says, 'are you seriously doubting me, mom?'

we walk into the lobby and she immediately tries to divert me to the mini-gift shop just around the bend there. "pleaaaase, please, please. we have time." when i say no, she says, "okay, cheetos, pleaaaaaaase?" no little miss. let's get walking. we comment on how they finished the orange vinyl on the floor that helps guide you to various parts of the hospital. something they were working on the day in january when she was rushed to urgent care twice in one day for asthma attacks.

we walk around the front lobby and make our way to the elevator. going up. 5th floor. she loves getting to be the button pusher.

we've arrived. Dr. T, 5th floor. pulmonology clinic. i notice how little she looks next to that gigantic door.

we check ourselves in, get a hospital i.d. bracelet, and make ourselves cozy. the waiting room is hand-painted with a princess castle and rolling green pasture scene. within the scene the artist has hidden little things like a mouse, a dragon, diamond ring, a dog, etc. we sit and find them...again.

it isn't long before we're called back to do the basics. height. weight. blood pressure. oxygen saturation. she tells the nurse that she measures her height on the framing that goes between the kitchen and livingroom and she checks it, like, every day. but her sister doesn't. the nurse said she does the same thing with her kids. she's excited to be 4ft and 1/2" today. she finally broke the 48" barrier.

time to get the E.T. finger. O2 sats are good today...98%. we're ushered back to the waiting room until Dr. T has a room open up.

we take a potty break. spidergirl talking the whole time. talk, talk, talk, talk. she loves the technology in hospital bathrooms. automatic soap. automatic water. automatic towel dispenser. she doesn't love when her hospital bracelet gets in the way and she can't push her sleeves up and she's sure to tell me so.

we steal a picture in the mirror together.

then i ask for a closeup, and she obliges. this is what i get. it takes a lot of bribing to get a normal picture of her without making silly faces.

she finally agrees, but.............

only if i'll do a silly face one with her afterward. sure, baby girl. sure. i think she needs another dose of personality, don't you? LOL.

on the way back we comment on the artwork hanging outside the doorway. the hospital has gobs and gobs and gobs of children's artwork beautifully displayed throughout the hospital. children's artwork makes me smile.

back inside and they have a room for us. YAY! at this point we've already been at the hospital for 45 minutes.

she plants herself up on the examination table and i pull my tricks out of the bag. except, my only tricks today are 4 crayons. what was i thinking!? i have a special bookbag filled with busy-type activities (flash cards, coloring books, markers, Highlights magazines, lacing cards, etc.), but forgot to grab it.

this isn't as big of an issue with emma. she's her own built in entertainment. if i was with my older daughter i'd have more gray hairs by the time the visit was over.

color crayons and the exam table paper. not the best combination, but it works.

good thing spidergirl is a 'go with the flow' type of girl. she's good at making her own excitment.

"look mom! i can make my tongue pointy. can you do that?"

"i bet you can't find my tickle spot!"

i reply...."i bet i can!" and i soak up her laughter while she says "mercy! mercy! *giggle* mercy!" while the girls in the hallway try to imagine what we're up to in here. LOL.

the giggle fest leads to a love fest where she clings to me like a little monkey butt and she acts like a gopher. i take the opportunity to snap some pictures with the wrong settings in a poorly lit room. but i love them anyway.

then, she pulls some tricks on me. i should know by now that any time i take pictures with spidergirl she'll lick me. every.single.time. but somehow it catches me off guard.....and we laugh some more.

what the crazy!? she licked my cheek, my head, my neck and my ear. grosssssssssss.

time to settle down and get back up to the exam table. at this point i feel like i've run a 20 kid daycare for 8 hours. she's got more energy than i know what to do with. phew.

i was able to distract her for another few minutes by talking about all the gadgets on the wall. she's fascinated by the otoscope. "what do they see in my ear with this mom?"

yes, we're still waiting on the doctor. these visits aren't in and out. they average about 3 hours. :(

so we do the only thing there is left to do..........tell our own stories, exchange some jokes, and take more pictures. these are some of my favorites.

i wish i could bottle up her laughter and sell it. (and this picture is my new favorite)

so, again, we attempt to color. she's telling me she's pretending to be a kitty while drawing a kitty. didn't you know, it makes her draw better. :)

i'm thinking she was filled to overflowing with personality........and then some.

and maybe, just maybe, a little too much energy. i remember a day when i had her kind of energy. when she ran out of jokes, lost steam playing hangman, and got bored coloring she turned the table into a set of bongo drums and made up lyrics to her first single.

then, there was a knock on the door. finally. but in comes a resident......not her doctor. and so it begins. they review her chart, ask a million questions, check her heart/lungs/ears, and we wait again.

so we use the tongue depressor to make a striped worm....

and turn the spinning chair into an amusement park ride. and wait. and wait. and wait.

until we're ushered into the aquarium room for lung function testing. emma looooooves this test.

she gets to sit with her nose pinched and mouth around the big white tube and exhale, trying to blow out the candles on the computer screen.

and SHE DID IT! she blew out every.single.last.little.flame. and got to the confetti screen for the first time EVER. she was beaming. but i'm too slow and missed the picture.

usually she fails this test, then she gets an inhaler, we wait, and she has to repeat the test. we didn't have to do that today. awesomesauce. that knocks about 45 minutes off our appointment.

back to the exam room we go and Dr. T makes his way in to talk. we go over everything the resident did. talk about changing medications. talk about how these medications are off-label use of FDA approved drugs (just not approved in pediatrics). talk about prophylactic use of zithromax.

i express concerns of changing too many things at once and concerns of limiting her ability to take zithromax in an acute situation.

he treats my concerns respectfully. i agree to entertain his recommendations.

and he ultimately decides that these changes need to be coordinated with cardiology and the allergist to make sure everyone is on the same page and touch base with him after i've done all that.

he exits the room and we wait.

at this point we've exhausted all of our entertainment options......except running water into the sink and watching it swirl down the drain.

we're finally given the Asthma Action Plan and we're ready to go. but spidergirl is dying to know what time it is so she knows if the gift shop is still open. it's after 5pm. nearly 3 hours after we arrived.

i make her 3 month appointment while she digs through the sticker basket.

and we're on our way out the door......

back in the elevator. down to level 1......

back to the lobby and following the orange vinyl.....

admiring art along the way. this particular one is made from painted board, screws, and bottle caps. soda bottle caps, milk jug caps, water bottle caps. just gobs and gobs of caps.

here's a detailed look. AMAZING, yes!?

now that we've walked 1/4 mile to the other end of the hospital we finally arrive at the big gift shop. spidergirl is in heaven. she's first drawn to all the stuffed animals, but decides today she'd just like a balloon.

not any old balloon. a GIGANTIC balloon. a hannah montana guitar balloon. $3, on clearance, inflated for free. $3 = happiness.

we had to make a quick stop at the family resource center to use the facilities, then rounded out our trip with a stop at the playground.

she quickly climbed the rope pyramid and once at the top proclaimed......."i'm too scared to come back down." LOL. she managed to make it down, unassisted.

i pushed her on the tire swing while trying to juggle the ginormous guitar, her bookbag, coat, an oversized water bottle and my keys. i'm sure that was a hilarious sight to witness.

and our visit winded down with the monkey bars and being approached by a panhandler begging for money just to get a gallon of gas for his broken down car.

we love our Children's Hospital, but the area of location isn't the safest neighborhood. so that was my cue to get the heck out of there before the sun went down any further.

and we made it back home at 545pm feeling like we'd be there for days instead of just hours.


  1. This is just a GREAT documentation of what she goes thru on a visit. I LOVE the fact she is smiling and making the most of it. It is just proof that you are a WONDERFUL mother and raising her in a positive light no matter what is thrown at her. LOVE Spidergirl!! and love the pics of you two happy!!! hugs, Katrina

  2. thanks for all the positive affirmation, katrina! :)

  3. I just loved reading this-- how you have made what could be stressful visits for your daughter into fun times. What an incredible documentary to remember them. You are such an amazing mom!

  4. Love this peek into the day of Em and momma. That girl is so darn cute and I wish I could just hug her [and you, too, my sweet friend]. Love all the photos, but especially those of the two of you and the last one. Your long shadow in the photo is awesome.

  5. Awww aWwwww loved reading this post Tania!! Am glad it was a good day! Hugs Smitha

  6. Glad you were able to find your own entertainment and that she was able to blow out the candles - awesome getting finished a bit quicker :)

  7. Wow, what a day! And I thought the weekly appointments I have with my ADHD son were long and exhausting. I will never complain again, I promise! Loved all the pictures especially the ones of the both of you. Beautiful girls, the two of you are.

  8. What a day! Love the pics of the 2 of you ... she's lucky to have you as her Mama!

  9. I had no idea there was a playgroud nearby! Good to know. We go every 2-3 weeks for our preemie's appointments...and the boys are none too thrilled should they have to go with us (5 years and nearly 2 years). Your girls are troopers!


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