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Saturday, December 8, 2007

Happy Hanukkah!

It's been another crazy week around here, what with grading and finishing up my courses, another doctor's appointment for Hallie, and more importantly, all of the celebrations underway, namely Hanukkah/Hanukah/Chanukah (I never know which spelling is better) and Sharon's birthday. We also had our first snow that stuck (and made the roads really icy, which led to a near miss when my friend Carmen and I spun out in front of the outlet malls on Route 30 coming home the other night and then limped slowly -- with me acting as the driving coach, which is pretty ironic given that the biggest reason why I don't drive is because of my extreme driving anxiety). This snowfall, alas, such as it was, primarily constituted a nuisance and did not lead to any cute pictures of Hallie making a snow angel, learning how to not eat yellow or brown snow, or even staring wonderously at the falling flakes.

Fortunately, Hannukah proved to be more fun for our girl than the snow did. She was riveted by our singing of the blessings on the first night (until she got bored and ran off to play with her Little People school bus; the melding of "Maoz Tsur" and "Stop and Go, Stop and Go, Off to School and Take it Slow" was charming in its cacophony, really). And she thought the flames on the candles were really cool to watch, too. Remember that this is her first "real" Chanukah, since last year, with the oxygen and all we were consigned to using an electric menorah. Turning a light bulb does not impart the same sort of holiday spirit as lighting a candle does. Call me old-fashioned. Anyway, we've been trying to light candles every night, and have hit a 50% mark (last night was night four). This, of course, means that we'll be left with more Hannukah candles to add to the stash we already have. And since we never buy precisely the same kind each year, this means that some year we'll have enough for all eight nights (assuming that we actually manage to light candles every night) but that the menorah itself will take on a pretty crazy quilt appearance.

I digress (as usual). In any event, on Thursday night we were thrilled to have over to our house our friends Rachel, Dan, and Maya, who are in from San Diego for Dan's work for a few weeks. Elisabeth and TJ also came over with their baby, Sam, who is about seven months old (Hallie shared some of her food with Sam and I wish that she had taken notes from both Maya and Sam about how to eat, since they are both champs.) And Mark and Vanessa brought Karina over, too. So it was quite a little gathering. The girls had fun together and managed to create a lot of fun toy messes and it was really nice for us to catch up with everyone--Rachel and Dan, obviously, since they now live clear across the country; and Elisabeth and TJ, whom we don't see often now that Sharon doesn't work with Elisabeth anymore; and even Mark and Vanessa, since Karina was sick for a week and we were deprived of their presence as a consequence of that. We ate latkes (I made them Wednesday night; the house still smells like cooking oil and potatoes and it's now Saturday morning), sang, chatted, drank wine, ate yummy desserts and had a generally nice time. We took horrible pictures with our camera (the lovely shot above is courtesy of Rachel; thanks Rachel!), but here's a cute video of the three girls on the couch:

Yesterday morning, bright and early, Auntie Neystice picked up me and Hallie so we could speed over to her GI appointment at CHOP. This was just a routine follow-up visit and I was none too thrilled about going. Not only did it mean Hallie would miss breakfast and screw up her eating day, but I hate the idea of taking her in to a hospital full of sick kids smack dab in the middle of cold and flu season. Synagis shots provide a bit of reassurance but not much. Fortunately, when we got there the waiting room was empty with the exception of one six or seven year old (who was still trached and had a feeding pump; I couldn't help but notice this, nor could I help but notice that this did not seem to slow him down one iota. The only indication of the stress involved was the tired look on his mom's face, and that made me feel like a woos and an ingrate for complaining so much about things like vomit and Simply Thick and reflux).

We got called in very quickly and did our weight and height check. As we suspected was the case, Hallie dropped some weight between ten days ago (last feeding clinic appointment) and now, but not a frightening amount---she is 1058 grams (that's just shy of 23 lbs 3 ounces). She was 23 lbs 6 ounces at St. Joe's on their old-fashioned scale, which was probably as accurate as can be. And we know that she has been eating poorly over the past ten days, so a loss of 3 ounces doesn't seem terrible. That said, we need to figure out how to reverse this trend, and I am not sure how simple that one's going to be. She also shrunk since St. Joe's, but this isn't real so much as the difference that one typically sees when different people assess squirming toddlers.

The GIs couldn't be happier where Hallie's weight/height are concerned; she is somewhere between the 25th and 50th percentiles for her actual age (18 months) and they don't bother to correct anymore (we do, but that's because, contrary to popular opinion, we're not only concerned with weight and height but development more broadly). Given their glee, I thought to myself: yet again, they are not going to listen to me when I tell them about her retching---which has picked up a lot in the last few days---and the delayed gastric emptying (ditto) and the reflux (ditto, ditto). Once again, they will tell me to taper her doses on the meds because they are too high and because at a year, kids outgrow reflux. So I was gearing up for a battle.

Hence, I was pleasantly surprised, for once, that they DID actually hear me out and come up with a plan to do something. First, they upped her Reglan once again---yes, folks, we have gone from people who were vastly afraid of Reglan and were under no circumstances even willing to try this drug to people who literally pour this stuff down their kid's throat. This is beginning to be a bit of an issue because it is far easier to 'inject' (using a syringe, but no needle) drugs in your kid's mouth when the drugs taste okay (we add bubblegum flavoring at CVS; it's very much worth the $2.99 cent cost) as long as the quantities were small. So 1 ml--no problem; 1.3 ml--easy as pie; 1.5 ml--doable. 2 ml: if the kid turns her head and it heads down her throat and she aspirates it---not so much fun. This happened last night and we had to redose her prilosec (for a second I thought about digging out all the little beads from the stuff that came up instead of giving her a whole new dose; then sanity took hold once more and I realized that this endeavor was not only hugely gross in its implications but that it's probably not a big deal if Hallie gets a couple of extra prilosec beads given her reflux situation anyway).

They kept the prilosec the same (she gets 30 mg a day, split into two doses) but if things don't get better in the next two weeks, we need to try her on Prevacid again to see if that helps. We like the idea of prevacid but the solutabs are hard to swallow when diluted if you have a swallowing disorder that leads to aspiration (read above again, this time with feeling). We'll try to see if she will just let the solutab melt on her tongue, but are not extremely hopeful. If that doesn't work, I'll see if I cannot dissolve the tab in water and then thicken it with Simply Thick. It sounds complicated but might work.

We've also now added a small dose of miralax (1/4 of a capful, or a 1/4 of the typical adult dose) once a day to soften Hallie's stools. This might make it easier to move things through her system and any little movement is a good thing.

Other than that: no real changes. We were in and out of the appointment in under two hours. Not horrible. And when we go back in three months, we're going to get the first appointment of the day again because, by the time we left the office at 10:30-ish there were dozens of kids in the waiting room. Even if March weren't still flu season, I'd rather not have Hallie running around a hospital waiting room with lots of other kids.

Hallie and I had a pretty nice afternoon, all things considered (she did refund her bottle in the car, but that was my fault: I was sleep feeding her because of my panic about her not having anything more than two ounces of formula to eat yesterday morning). This meant that there was no morning nap, but we did have a fun time reading books, playing ball, kissing and hugging her stuffed animals, and playing "keep Hallie from jumping off of her chair and climbing onto the radiator in her bedroom." I play Hallie's mom in this game, and she plays a monkey in need of a jungle gym.

Lunch was fine, Hallie's two hour nap was glorious, and I not only got to comment on and send off some student paper drafts, but also managed to wrap some of Sharon's birthday gifts. The birthday girl herself came home to a team of vomit-cleaner-uppers (read above concerning Reglan refunds yet a third time) and happily did not have to engage in said activity on her big day. What Sharon did get to do was go out on a dinner date with me; Auntie Neystice and Auntie Kim graciously volunteered to babysit Hallie for the evening. We had a lovely time; we've forgotten how nice it is to go out with one another and spend time together that way. We definitely need to work dating each other back into our lives; and not just on birthdays either.


Jennifer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jennifer said...

*sorry, had to change a noun*

happy hanukkah!

Glad to read the updates, but I must say, I'm jealous of her weight gain! Ari didn't tolerate goats milk too well (ok, she didn't tolerate it at all - vomit is not pretty and she almost never does that now). I think duocal may be in our future next. we're still hovering around 21 lbs. at 21 months :(