Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The SickKid at the heart of it all

Last week we had to take Nate for follow up at the SickKids Stroke Clinic. It's almost always a nerve wracking process. Well-meaning doctors and nurses looking at your son with eagle eyes. Do they see something wrong with him that we don't? It makes me second guess myself as a mom and I hate that part.

They had to take blood for some new tests that help determine causes of pediatric stroke. Nate falls into the 30% of kids for whom there is no explanation as to why this happened. I have several theories myself, but I can't be certain. There are no studies to prove my mother's intuition.

After a very long physical and Q&A assessment by a gentle and wonderful doctor, we were all kind of peckish. We took the glass elevator down to the main floor of the atrium. There is so much for kids to see there, from the fountains to the suspended floating sculpture, that it takes some of the anxiety out of being in a hospital he associates with his sister breaking her collarbone. The food court has better options than a mall and sitting in the atrium to have your meal makes any kid excited. I figured, better they stick him with that needle on full stomach. Thankfully, I had a sweet trick up my sleeve.

He stepped on every footstep sticker marking the long walk to the other wing of the building. Just one more test, we told him, nothing to worry about. He had asked me that morning if he was going to get a needle and I said no. It was the truth -- at the time. I didn't know about these new tests until we got there. Still I couldn't shake the feeling I'd betrayed him.

He sat in the chair waiting for the nurse/lab technician, on his dad's lap while I waived a lollipop in his face. You'll get this after your test, I told him. I wished for a TV so that he could get sucked into something on Treehouse, but no such luck. They tied the rubber band on his arm. I talked him through what they were doing the best I could. J and I telepathically debated whether or not to tell him about the needle and then silently decided that it was better for him to be surprised.

I unwrapped the lolly just as they were about to poke him and he was having his first lick when they did. He expectedly screamed out and tried to escape the situation, but J held him down. Oh the feeling of guilt over the betrayal when you let someone hurt your kid, regardless of the reason. Thankfully it was over quickly and he soon had the lollipop in his mouth and a round yellow bandaid on the needle site. I drew a happy face on it when we got home.

I love SickKids hospital more than words can say. They have been nothing but supportive over this whole ordeal, and while I can't say they are the reason that I have a healthy son who recovered from massive strokes, I can say that they've got our backs. My boy is fine, for now. Time will tell if the scar on his brain will cause epilepsy, or whether he'll have learning difficulties. My gut says no, but if ever anything should come up, I am so fortunate to have a resource like SickKids on my side. We all are.


He doesn't remember that he was smaller than Loogoo is now when they did this test for him... Now doesn't that just make you want to whip out your wallet and donate?

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