Thursday, May 21, 2009


Awful day.

We didn't bother setting our alarm this morning, "Don't worry, Harp is my alarm" I say to Ian. She usually wakes at 5am - which is when we wanted to get up to get our butts in gear to get to the Hospital by 8am - but last night she decided to wake at 2am and then went back to sleep until 6.30.

So we manage to get up, get dressed and out the door by 6.45am - with my Mum (and Harp's arch nemesis) arriving to look after Miss Harper-Potamus. Off we go.

Arrived at the hospital on time. All starts well. Dr L comes in with an Orthotist, Physiotherapist and nurses. Room fills up quickly. 2 other children also in the ward getting Botox today. They've both had it before.

Physio & Dr L want to assess how Isla is walking. She refuses. Will only move if she can race the 36wk pregnant physio across the ward. Thankfully, physio agrees.

Dr L asks how the dynamic taping is going, I say it makes a difference on the days I can get her to wear it.

Orthotist has a look at her AFO's, says they're too small (which indeed they are) and agrees to flare them out at the calf to stop the bruising they're causing. Dr L mentions that after the botox, Isla will be casted for new AFO's. BOOYAH.

Dr L and someone, another doctor perhaps, I'm not too sure who she was, but she seemed fairly official, put the elma cream on Isla's calves and hamstrings then wrapped her legs in cling-wrap.

Isla went off to be weighed and measured (14.2kgs and 101.2cms) before returning to her bed to do lots of colouring in and stickers that I'd bought for her, in between watching play school on the tv.

At 9.40am the nurses came with a syringe full of sedative medicine (According to the form they sent home with her it was called Chloral Hydrate). She spat a mouthful out, then had to have 4 people pin her down to get the rest into her mouth. Cue bawling from both Isla and I. Lovely nursing staff were patting me on the back in the midst of Isla's screaming, which caused the medicine to gurgle in her throat, sounding like she was choking. I was a complete mess.

After she'd swallowed as much as they could force her to, a nurse gave me a wet cloth to wipe her tongue with to get rid of the taste. Poor Isla.

10.20am the nurses came back with a needle. One of them told me that I could wait outside if I needed to when they gave it to her. They said that it will hurt her, but there wasn't anything they could do for the pain. So, Isla's thigh was jabbed with Droperidol and Morphine - and she again, screamed the place down. I was laying across her to help hold her still while they injected her, and to also distract her while they were doing it, I failed miserabley on both counts.

The next 20ish minutes were hell. I have never been more upset and terrified in all my life. The medicines were starting to take effect. Isla was becoming disorientated, and the nurse said she was probably starting to feel dizzy as well. She was crawling around the bed, unable to speak properly, couldn't move around properly, her arms and legs seemed to be too heavy for her to move. She cried and screamed, kept saying "I don't want to be here" in a slurred voice. I couldn't stop crying.

I wanted to bundle her up in my arms and run out of the hospital. I tried to cuddle her, she screamed and hit my hands away. I tried stroking her hair, she yelled and moved away, all the time saying, "I don't want to be here".

It took forever for her to get to sleep. She kept saying her nose was running, and was sticking a finger up there. Suddenly, blood started pouring out of her nose, and on to her sheets. I called the nurse, who called the Dr. Ian held her head forward and pinched her nose to stop the bleeding. She was still screaming and crying. I could do nothing but watch on, crying, she didn't want me anywhere near her.

Finally, she started to quiet down. She was almost asleep when a very rude nurse came to put the heart rate/oxygen saturation monitor on her foot and startled her. She started screaming again. Nurse snaps at her "Go to sleep!! Go to sleep!!" - Well lady, she was almost there before you came along.

After another 5 or so minutes she falls asleep. I can finally touch her again, I sit next to her, stroking her beautiful hair and holding her hand. The nurses come in and say she'll go for the procedure in 5 minutes. They're lovely. I am still in tears. They tell me that I can go with her to the procedure room so I know where she'll be, but they don't let parents in, although if she were to wake up, they'd come and get one of us to be with her. I crossed everything and hoped that she'd keep her little eyes shut.

We walked her around to the room. A big room, she looked so little in her bed, sound asleep, completely unaware of what was going to happen to her. I am still crying. Dr L see's me in the hallway and asks what's wrong. I didn't know how to explain it all. I sobbed, "it's not fair". He didn't seem to understand. I told him that I just wanted to make her better forever and it can't be done. He told me he'd look after her, and that we need to do this to give her the best chance. I know he's right.

They say it will take 20 minutes. We decide to go outside to get some fresh air and call Mum to see how Harp is doing. Good news on that end, Harp and Mum have bonded and they're now best friends. She's been asleep for an hour, unwrapped in her bed (opposed to wrapped, in her swing and only lasting 20 minutes for me). Explain to Mum what Isla's been going through. Mum bursts into tears.

We go back inside, I'm waiting outside the bathroom for Ian, the mother of the little boy in the bed next to Isla comes up and tells me that she's back in her room, still asleep. Ian seems to be taking forever. As soon as he emerges, we run up the stairs, back to her side.

She looks so peaceful. Someone had been stroking her head during the procedure, her fringe is sitting funny. She'd be pissed off if she knew. I sit with her again, holding her hand. Nurses come in and say that they're able to rouse her, but she's still very sleepy. She's had Nitrous Oxide while the injections took place.

Dr L comes by to tell us that she did very well. A lady from the pain team tells us that they weren't game to move her during the procedure. She's still in the same position as when she went in.

We book an appointment with Dr L for June 16 while Isla is having her legs casted by two orthotists. I get to pick the design for her new orthotics. I choose mauve butterflies. She has no idea any of this is happening. Orthotist measures her up for a wrap-around brace. I know nothing about it. No-one has mentioned anything to me about her needing another aide. I ask about it, assuming it's a second-skin type thing. He says it'll be made of metal and canvas. I panic. What the hell is this thing. "Is it to be worn at night?" I ask this guy, he says she can wear it at night. It will go up her thigh, it's to keep her knee in place - just like the AFO's are for the ankle and foot, this is for higher. I think it's meant to be worn simultaneously with the AFO's. Great. We pick them up in 4-6 weeks.

She sleeps and sleeps. The 2 other boys come back from their botox, and she's still sleeping. They're up and eating, she's still sleeping. We keep trying to wake her, she keeps groaning at us to go away. The nurses need her to drink something, she refuses. The other boys are getting dressed to go home, she's still sleeping. Nurses try to get her to drink apple juice, she refuses and puts her hand across her mouth to stop us trying to get the straw in there.

She says again, that she doesn't want to be there. We tell her if she has something to eat and drink she can go home. She groggily gets out of bed and sits on Ian's lap and eats half a cup of jelly. Again refuses the apple juice and asks for water. Drinks 1/4 of a cup. Still groggy, she says her tummy hurts and goes back into bed.

Every blink, her eyelids get heavier and heavier. There's no expression on her face. She is so groggy, so sleepy. The other boys go home. Isla drifts between awake and asleep for the next hour and a bit.

Around 2.30pm she manages to eat some chips and with the promise of a trip to the fairy garden, starts to wake, sits up and plays with some stickers. We're all worried she's either going to fall backwards and hit her head on the bedrail, or fall forwards and hit her face on the table. She rocks around woosily the whole time.

She starts to brighten up, we get her out of bed to walk around, we're finally able to leave around 3.15pm, but before we're allowed to go home, we have to go to Radiology in the adult part of the hospital for a hip x-ray, then wait for the films and take them to physiotherapy.

Isla is a trooper. She's so sleepy, her walking is wobbly and unco-ordinated. She's smiling though. We play in the playroom, we pretend to make cakes in the toy oven (an ice-cream cake). She's an angel for the x-ray, is practically asleep on the table. Films are ready within a minute then we're on our way home. Finally.

My head is pounding, Ian is cranky because we're going to be in peak-hour traffic. He wants me to drive because he has to drive in it all day every day at work. I am exhausted. I put Isla in her car seat and tell her it's okay to sleep. She is asleep within 10 seconds. This was around 3.40pm.

She slept all the way home, when we came inside I put her into my bed, so I can be close to her tonight if she needs me. It's 8.40pm now and she's still asleep. I've been waking her every hour or so to ask if she's okay, does she need anything. She says she just wants to sleep - and with all those drugs in her system, is it any wonder.

So I'm still awake. Ian fell asleep as soon as we got home, I had to feed Harper and get her off to bed, then wash up all her bottles, and tidy up. I want Isla to drink something, I'll persist over night. I think I am over-tired now.

We go away on holidays on Sunday. I hope she's back to her beautiful self by then.


Elisa said...

Oh Ally, that just broke my heart. It is unfair and no child should have to go through pain. I am sorry and I hope that this procedure has miraculous results and your gorgeous girl doesn't suffer more pain in the future. You are amazing and she is lucky you are her mum xo

Shoppin'Mama said...

It sounds horribly traumatic for both you and Isla, I agree, it really is so unfair. I hope one day our gorgeous girls get the chance to have a playdate, Isla is such an inspiration.

Penelope said...

Oh Beautiful Isla...I'm so sorry that you both had to go through that Ally...

Vicki said...

Oh Ally, poor wee Isla. What an amazing AMAZING little girl. She is so brave. As are you and Ian (albeit he needs a swift kick for falling asleep and not helping you tonight!)!

I hope this is worth it for her. I hope that it helps. Thinking of you. xx

Heather said...

Oh you poor love. Here's hoping its all worth it!

Big brother, Little sister. said...

Ally- thinking of you and I really hope it' been worth it. How is Isla today? thinking of you all xx

Belinda said...

On Ally - What a horrible day! Hope you all feel better today and that you get the necessary results! Thinking of you all! xx.

Katy said...

God Ally, what a bloody awful, long day for all of you. xoxo

Alison said...

Oh Ally
I am sorry it was such an awful experience. Hopefully the results will make it all worthwhile.

mandy said...

Ally, I am so sorry to hear about your's, Ian's and Isla's dreadful day.

I can imagine how distressing that whole thing would have been.

I just have to say that here in Melbourne,at Monash, the girls have G.A.s and the gas is all they ever have to cope with. It is not like your experience at all.

I am sure you are never ever wanting to go through that again.

Nice of them to throw in the old metal and canvas splint too, great timing, just what you want to hear, more bloody stuff for her to deal with.

The AFO's sound pretty similar to my girls ones, and thankgoodness she is getting new ones. My girls are much more flared out at the top this time too.

I hope you got some sleep last night and that Isla is back to herself today.

Hugs to you

Anonymous said...

I had tears in my eyes reading this. I am so sorry you all had to go through such a traumatic day.

I think I might be asking some questions about their procedures. There's no way something like this should be so traumatic for a little girl.

Thank for writing about your horror day in such a detailed and honest way but I just wish you all didn't have to go through it.

And you're right. It's just not fair.

Sending big hugs around your way and I hope Isla is feeling better today. I think you all deserve a very special treat tomorrow (and then a great holiday!!)


Ally said...

Wow Mandy, that's really interesting about your girls getting GA's. The info Dr L has given me about the sedation was that they need to be able to check for proper localisation and testing of the muscles.

Will ask about it next time though.

The other interesting thing was Dr L said that she had numerous needle spots but not all the marks were injection sites, they poked her a bit before they found out the right location for the actual botox????