Thursday, January 28, 2010

Splish Splash

After 10 days of sponge-baths, Nathaniel enjoyed his long-waited return to the tub! He was excited to find all of his favorite bath-buddies waiting-- Winnie and Piglet, Mr. Turtle, Mr. Crab, Mr. Jellyfish, Mr. Porpoise, Mr. Pelican--and seemed content to splash about all night until we had to literally pull the plug...

Yeah, It's Time For Gates...


Monday, January 25, 2010

Following Up...

In what hopefully will prove to be the final chapter in Nathaniel's recent trials and tribulations, this morning found us back at Sick Kids Hospital for a followup appointment with Dr. Salle in Urology. Since the appointment wasn't until 9am, we didn't have to leave at the crack of dawn like the last time. Although given the day's weather condition--the first day this January that actually felt like January--we probably should've departed a bit earlier.
No matter: we were seen promptly around 9:30am by the always-cheery doctor and he was pleased with the progress of Nathaniel's war wound. The catheter was removed with a few snips without a flinch from our little trooper. No more double diapers!
Another appointment was arranged for May and after a frustrating exit from the underground parking garage we were on our way back home through downtown's newly moist, always treacherous streets (as of this writing, 13 pedestrians have been killed since the year began).

Throughout this entire ordeal, Nathaniel has been an absolute joy. He required not a drop of the heavy-duty painkillers prescribed, didn't pull-and-pry at his dressings, and soldiered on with standing exercises and round-the-clock play whereas many of us several times his age would've crawled into the fetal position and inhaled Tylenols like they were breath mints. He's clearly up for any challenge but I think we've all had enough drama to last us through the winter. With both boys starting to figure out the whole walking-thing, Pops needs to conserve his strength for the thaw, when those painkillers just might come in handy...

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Take A Message...

Grandma and Grandpa call from Pembroke...of course, the first button Carter figures out is the one that disconnects...

Friday, January 22, 2010

Shoe Shopping

A trip to the Mississauga Wal-Mart for winter boots wasn't a complete waste--while we came up empty on the footwear front, we managed to score a sweet deal on a very cool Lightning McQueen toybox/bench, which Pops assembled the next day with a minimum of bloodshed...





Thursday, January 21, 2010

Speechifying...

Well, apparently, we're doing everything right, which is a relief. Today, Kathy came by for a session with a guest, speech therapist Chris Guest (not the film director or co-star of "This Is Spinal Tap"). Chris works for Surrey and wanted to evaluate Nathaniel as a possible candidate for speech therapy. She didn't need much convincing: upon arrival, Nathaniel was at the kitchen gate, waving them to come over and chatting away. They were very impressed with his range of silly noises, interactive nature, and cheery demeanour. Upon conclusion, we were told to continue on with pretty much what we've been going all along!



Here's a shot of Nathaniel from a previous day, but obviously with a lot on his mind...

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The "Big Day"

Not time to fret--gotta get this over with. So, it's rise-n'-shine for Daddy-O at the ungodly hour of 4am to do his save, shower, and prep routine, then, we scooped our sleeping beauty--The Man Of The Hour--right out of his crib, wrapped him in a light jacket, and packed him into the car seat. He didn't stir...not once.
My usual queasiness about having to drive on Toronto's insane, inane, nonsensical network of streets was minimal in that at the early hour, there was almost no one to be found on the roads--save for some service vehicles and a few cabs. We pulled into the Sick Kids parking lot at 5:28 am and had our choice of spots nearest the elevator. For the first time, my knuckles weren't white.

Since we weren't due until 6am, Nathaniel and I waited for a half-hour outside Day Surgery Registration on 6B. I watched the morning traffic as the neighbouring Delta Chelsea Hotel--where guest stars of many Toronto game shows once stayed--began its morning. Once we checked in and found a cozy spot in the waiting room, Nathaniel awoke and was all smiles (some out-of-control brats had threatened to ram his car seat with a pedal car on more than one occassion, to the obliviousness of their Blackberry-addicted parents). But I rocked him gently in the car seat and he fell back to sleep again, all the while trying to maintain my composure as an urbane cool cat who knew what-the-hell-he-was-getting-into. My crossed legs should've provided some indication....



Eventually, Nathaniel's name was called and we brought down in a private elevator to surgical prep on the second floor. We were assigned a bed, where the first order of business was to change Nathaniel into his hospital jammies. Of course, that triggered the usual wrestling match. The gown and pants were about ten times too big for him, but he enjoyed playing with his extra large slippers. And once the prep nurse raised the rails on each side, he found a new challenge to climb. He thought it was just a grand adventure, all the while charming everyone by waving, yabbering, yelling, laughing the whole time. And with each visitor, he tried to grab their pens, clipboards, nametags, stethoscopes. I had to distract him with silly faces while the nurse attempted to weigh him, check his blood pressure, and listen to his heart rate (she was the second person in under a month to be completely bewildered by my alien "na-na-na-na" sound). None of us could believe Nathaniel's energy at this cruel hour--considering he hadn't had any food or liquids since 9pm the previous evening. "Is he always this happy?" I was asked. "Always", of course!

As zero hour 8AM approached, Dr. Pippi Salle (on whom Nathaniel had urinated during an unfortunate oops during his initial exam last June) and his assistants came by to discuss the specifics of the operation. As did Monica, the very friendly anesthesiologist, who queried me about Nathaniel's known allergies (none), his medical history (c'mon, he's a year old!), etc. By now, Nathaniel was starting to get cranky--clearly, the hunger pangs were setting in.

Lidia arrived earlier-than-expected just as the little fellow was ushered off to be administered his anesthetic. Fingers crossed, pray to whatever god will have my heathen soul, here we go cat go....

Lidia and I were brought to the family waiting room, where we were able to monitor Nathaniel's progress on a high-tech screen that plotted his progress like tracking a flight. The procedure would take about three-and-half-hours, so were urged to step out and get a bite. Once we were certain that Nathaniel's prep had gone well and he was now in the operating theatre, we headed down to the hospital's food court and wolfed down one of Burger King's breakfast offerings (since the Tim Horton's stand there didn't serve food). It wasn't bad...regrettably, I'd forgotten to bring the coupons my folks had mailed to be only a day earlier...

Back upstairs, we watched the chart and read to pass the time. I had my new issue of Video Watchdog and read all about the old Avengers television series with Patrick MacNee and Honor Blackman. Lidia read the papers, devoted mostly to the subject of the terrible earthquake in Haiti. It provided some perspective on what we were going through, but when a little 20-pound, 13-month old infant is undergoing so fairly major surgery, one's world becomes quite small...


At roughly the three hour mark, I was parched and offered to step out to get us something to drink. Of course, at that exact moment, while I was standing in line at Shoppers Drug Mart waiting for the lotto people to get the hell moving, Dr. Salle appeared to tell Lidia it was over and done and everything went well. I had no doubt...well, maybe a little...such is the parents' burden.

While I was away and Lidia was in a private room chatting with the doc, the desk staff tried to find me by, get this--my pants! Apparently, when we signed in, they wrote down tiny descriptive details to help them ID various family members. And for me, they wrote "brown corduroys" (not longish brown hair, or a blue button-down shirt, or the ultra-cool "Watchmen" shoulder bag?). Good thing I returned when I did--they were in the middle of asking a man who was black and about twice my weight if he was Nathaniel's father...nice pants, though...

I didn't miss much. We spoke with the doc about pain medications, various do's and don'ts, warning signs to look out for etc. Nathaniel would have to sport a catheter for about 10 days, and it was essential that no one pull it out--esp. him with the quick fingers! Dr. Salle suggested a followup appointment in a week to ensure the pieces were healing properly and then he was off to next procedure. I couldn't help but marvel as to what these doctors achieved in a mere half day--at my workplace, people spend four hours playing video games and trying to determine where to go for lunch. It was a somewhat painful realization that my own profession was shallow, vain, and ego-driven, and whatever these people were being paid, it probably wasn't enough for their selflessness and committment to good work.

Lidia and I were then taken to Recovery to comfort our little trooper. Nathaniel was awake, but logy, and still had in his IV and little thumb diode that monitored his heart rate. He smiled, glad to see us, but was clearly hungry. The nurse had been feeding him his first taste of apple juice to put something in his stomach, and she boosted his morphine just a touch to help him relax. Urologist Dr. Brycewebber, who had been part of the operation, brought us a variety of prescriptions--a once-daily antibiotic, and just-in-case, an anti-spasmotic and some heavy-duty codeine (in case the off-the-shelf Tylenol wouldn't suffice as a pain-killer)--and discussed the specific function and dosage of each. He also gave us his on-call number in case we had any questions and concerned before our next official follow-up appointment.
Soon, we were on the elevators to the parking garage and home in under 15 minutes (some days there aren't a lot of reasons to love living downtown, but this is one of them). Karen and Carter were anxiousy awaiting, having had a day to themselves (they'd been to Shelly's drop in and who knows what other trouble?).
I immediately ran out for childrens Tylenol, but Nathaniel didn't seem to need it beyond an initial dose. Nor, as of this writing three days later, he require the anti-spasmotic or the extra-strength codeine. We let Karen go home early, since she came through for us at the early hour, and spent the rest of the day making sure Nathaniel was comfortable and pain-free. By day's end, it was like the day had never happened...Nathaniel and his brother slept soundly, as did Mom and Dad. To paraphrase a Bruce Springsteen song, there really are saints in the city...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Prelude To The Big Day

It's gonna be a short night and even shorter entry: tomorrow is the date of Nathaniel's long-planned corrective surgery at Sick Kids Hospital. It's what we're assured is a "routine" procedure--a standard fix of something we're told is common in twin boys and was discovered in passing by Dr. P during the boys' first appointment last January, when they were all of a month old. I'll spare you the details and a link--suffice to say it involves Nathaniel's "plumbing" and is known in official medical lingo as a "chordee correction" (a downward curvature) and an "orchiopexy" to drop an undescended testicle. Something best taken care of early we're told, as the condition could lead to problems as he matures if ignored.

The appointment is at 8 AM sharp, which makes having to delay Nathaniel's feeding schedule a lesser issue, and we're supposed to show up two hours in advance (as in, 6am!!!) at Surgical Day Care. So I'll be up before the rooster crows (or Carter, if he ever perfects his impression) and we'll scoop Nathaniel from his slumber, and hopefully, he'll barely stir before having to undergo his surgical prep.

Of course, I'm a little nervous--it is SURGERY, after all--but I've met Dr. Salle and we've had nothing but the best experiences with Sick Kids and I'm convinced our little trooper is in the best possible hands. Soon it'll be over with (we'll likely be home mid-afternoon) and Nathaniel won't remember a thing, but it'll be quite a tale to spin some day when I'm at a loss for words on long car trips(and he'll want to kill me when he's older for even writing this!)...