She and I are on our way to pick up Dorothy at camp in North Carolina. We'll be back this weekend.
Thanks for all of your prayers and well wishes. Vivian is doing GREAT! You'd never know she went through major surgery just a week ago; she hasn't taken even an Advil since Friday morning. The swelling on her arm went down after about 24 hours. It's still a horrendous shade of dark purple, but Vivian doesn't seem to notice.
I apologize for not updating again sooner on Vivian. She is doing so well that I plumb forgot that everyone didn't know that!
The last time I gave Vivian any pain medicine was Friday morning. That was a dose of Advil, and I don't even think she needed it by that point. The swelling on her upper arm decreased substantially within 24 hours, though it remains every shade of black, blue and purple you can imagine. I can't say that it ever bothered Vivian, though.
Saturday morning I was talking to Vivian and she told me, "Dr. Brown give me my pink cactus. Love it!" It was really sweet. We are scheduled to go back to Dr. Brown's office next week. Vivian may be really sad when she realizes he has to remove her beloved cactus!
I've been amazed at how well Vivian has managed with her "cactus." She dresses and undresses herself frequently and with ease, acting like she's not the least bit encumbered. Perhaps because her arm has been bent at that angle for a year now, Vivian doesn't even notice a difference.
Vivian and I leave in the morning on our little road trip to pick up Dorothy in North Carolina. We are stopping to see dear friends in Birmingham, Knoxville and Jackson on the way there and back. I am quite excited! I also can't wait to see Dots and hear all about camp.
Robert and I are immensely grateful for the many kind expressions of love and thoughtfulness we have received on Vivian's behalf. We truly appreciate your prayers and well wishes. To God be the glory!
"I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels. For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations." Isaiah 61:10-11
Vivian did pretty well last night, though let me say that a hospital room makes for a miserable night of sleep for the patient's companion.
Vivian was intrigued by her hospital bed and kept imploring me to "please make the bed big." I finally realized she wanted me to adjust her bed's mechanical controls. I made the top of the bed sit up a bit, and Vivian told me, "Thank you. Now I can go to sleep in my big bed."
Vivian woke up around 2 and was pretty agitated about her IV and pulse/oxygen monitor. This time I knew to call the nurse for a dose of morphine before the situation escalated. The morphine calmed Vivian immediately once again, but she refused to go back to sleep so I walked her around the 6th floor of the hospital in her stroller for an hour or so. Vivian eventually dozed off and I got her back into her hospital bed where she slept very soundly. I finally fell back asleep around 4, only to wake up at 5 when the nurse took Vivian's vitals and at 6:30 when they needed me to give Vivian her morning seizure medicines.
This morning after Vivian woke up, she was in pretty good spirits and she ate a great breakfast of scrambled eggs, French toast and cantaloupe. Vivian contentedly watched movies on my iPad but kept barking at Robert and me to "turn off that TV" as we attempted to watch the Mavericks Championship parade, and she continually accused us and the nurses, "Hey! You woke me up!"
Late in the morning Robert and I took Vivian for a stroll down to the PICU on the 5th floor where we were able to see many of the nurses who so wonderfully cared for her last summer. Vivian was a bit groggy at that point, and like I've said before, she remembers little of her time there, but Robert and I were glad to see everyone and they were thrilled to see Vivian looking so much better.
Leaving the hospital
We brought Vivian home from the hospital around 1. She was so glad to be in her own room again! Vivian immediately ordered me to go find Percy, but before I could follow Vivian's command, Percy came sauntering in and jumped on her bed where he's slept devotedly near her all afternoon.
Sleeping at home with Percy by her side
Vivian's arm is terribly swollen and hideously purple just above her cast. The cast is split down the front and back, so we used a coin to separate the sides a little more to give her arm some additional space. The hospital nurse called Dr. Brown in the middle of the night and Robert spoke to his office again this afternoon, and Dr. Brown said as long as Vivian's fingers on that hand are not swollen and have good circulation (measured by pushing on her finger and watching for the color to return within seconds) and provided we can fit a finger inside the top of her cast, the situation is not alarming. All of those conditions are met, but that part of Vivian's arm looks AWFUL and appears to me would be uncomfortable. Vivian doesn't seem bothered by it too much, albeit she's not moving that arm around a whole lot. She still loves her pink "cactus" and admonished every nurse who came near her today not to take it off.
We enjoyed a nice visit from Vivian's Aunt Patti and cousins Owen and Hollis this afternoon, but otherwise Vivian and I slept the day away. Robert has attentively administered Vivian's alternating doses of Tylenol and Advil since she's been home, and those seem to be adequately managing her pain.
Vivian and I are planning to take a road trip to pick up Dorothy from camp in North Carolina next week. Vivian is scheduled to visit Dr. Brown and have her cast removed the following week.
Praise God that we have passed the point where Vivian spiked a fever after her original arm surgery. Praise Him that she has responded well to pain medication and seems comfortable. Please pray that the swelling above Vivian's arm subsides and that she experiences no other complications from the surgery. Continue to pray that the range of motion in Vivian's elbow shows improvement.
Thank you for your kind words of support for Robert and me and for your love and prayers for Vivian.
"Thine, O Lord is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all." I Chronicles 29:11
Vivian went in to surgery at 7:55 this morning and Dr. Brown came out to speak to us around 12:30. Shortly after that we were taken back to sit with Vivian in recovery, and we were brought upstairs to a room around 2.
Vivian came through the surgery well; there were no problems with anesthesia. Dr. Brown was disappointed, however, with the amount of improvement in Vivian's range of motion that he was able to achieve. He removed almost all of the hardware from her arm and shaved away two cups worth of excess bone, but there was still a lot more that could not be removed without significant risk of damaging a nerve or weakening the integrity of Vivian's arm. Dr. Brown was able to realize about 10 degrees of improved motion in each direction (opening and closing), but he fears that may tighten back up before he is able to remove the cast.
Certainly we would not have put Vivian through the trauma of the surgery if we had known this would be the outcome, but there was no way to predict the result without undergoing the operation. I am thankful that at least we didn't make things worse.
The status screen in the waiting room. Vivian's coded name is third from the top. The Band-Aid next to it showed she was in recovery. When she was in surgery, the symbol was a little scalpel; finishing surgery was a little row of stitches like a railroad track. The monitor was very handy for tracking Vivian's progress. We were so glad to finally see that bandage!
Earlier this afternoon Vivian was awake, she ate a bagel and she drank a Sprite. She was in good spirits and not in any discomfort. Dr. Brown came by to check on Vivian and was pleased with how everything looked. Vivian politely asked him to take out her IV, which is wrapped in a splint on her good arm. He told her it could come off in the morning if she did well tonight. Vivian looked at Dr. Brown and said, "Will you go get the lady?" (meaning "You're no help. Maybe that nurse will rescue me!"). It was pretty funny. She also instructed Dr. Brown, "Don't take off my pink cactus."
Vivian with the wonderful Dr. Brown
About an hour ago, however, Vivian began to cry and pleaded with us to "take it off, it's hurting me" as she attempted to pull at the bandage covering her IV. I crawled in bed with her (shades of last summer) and restrained her feet while Robert stood by the bed and held her hands to prevent her from grabbing the lines. Her crying turned into desperate sobs of, "Take me home. Please take me home. I want to see Percy.". It nearly broke Robert's, the nurse's and my hearts. Finally Robert suggested that Vivian's pain perception might be misplaced and that perhaps her arm that just underwent extensive surgery might be hurting her. The nurse gave Vivian a small dose of morphine, and within five minutes she fell asleep.
I hope that tonight and tomorrow are better for sweet Vivian. I definitely plan to try and stay ahead of the pain.
Please pray that Vivian's pain remains manageable and lessens markedly each day. Pray that she is protected from any infection. Please also pray that Vivian is able to bend her arm even a little bit more after her cast comes off than she was before the surgery. Praise God for Dr. Brown and for the wonderful nurses caring for Vivian. Praise Him for keeping our sweet Vivian safe during her surgery.
Thank you for your love, support and encouragement. Special thanks to Robert's mom Dorothy for meeting us at the hospital with breakfast early this morning and for sitting with Robert and me all day.
The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him. Psalm 28:7
Robert and his mom in the waiting room during Vivian's surgery
His mom and me - I'm working on my stocking - hooray!
Vivian went in for surgery at 7:55. She was very sweet and cooperative, even agreed to change out of her favorite clothes into a hospital nightgown (it helped that I *accidentally* spilled water on her shirt). Vivian was easily distracted while the anesthesiologist started her IV, though when the time dragged on, she decided that perhaps she didn't want an IV in her hand. Fortunately Robert caught her before any damage was done while the anesthesiologist quickly added a sedative to her IV.
We haven't received any news from the OR, but I'll update after we do.
***Copied from an email sent tonight to family and friends***
Vivian is going to have additional surgery on her arm Wednesday morning.
Though Vivian recovered completely in all other areas after her month+ stay in ICU last summer, she has very little range of motion in her left elbow (essentially it is stuck in a 90° angle). This is due to heterotopic ossicifation (excess bone) that grew around the location of the break in her arm and is impeding the elbow joint; essentially Vivian's arm "overhealed."
Vivian's surgery is scheduled for 7:30 Wednesday morning at Medical City Children's Hospital. Her orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Brown, plans to remove some of the hardware in Vivian's arm that is no longer needed in addition to as much of the excess bone as he can. Dr. Brown expects the procedure to take about three hours. Vivian will spend Wednesday night in the hospital, and I hope that we can take our time getting discharged Thursday so that she can be monitored for as long as possible (last summer Vivian's high fever occurred about 36 hours after her surgery).
Vivian will wear a cast (or in her words a "cactus") for two weeks. After her cast is removed, Dr. Brown wants Robert and me to encourage Vivian to reach for things with her left arm as much as possible, but not to force it as that could cause the bone to overheal again. Vivian uses her left arm a lot right now so Dr. Brown is very hopeful that she will be able to regain some range of motion in that elbow.
I took Vivian up to Medical City for her pre-op visit today, and she did great! Vivian seemingly has little memory of her extended stay there, likely due to the amnesiac drugs that she took when her condition was most grave (I wish they had given me some of that medicine too). The nurse asked Vivian what happened to her arm, and Vivian told her, "Percy scratched me." (Percy is Vivian's beloved and devoted cat who has no front claws.) Then Vivian said to the nurse, "You will give me a Band-Aid to make my arm better?" If only it were that simple!
We would greatly appreciate your prayers for Vivian this week. Please pray that her surgery is successful and uneventful, that Vivian tolerates the anesthesia well, that Dr. Brown is able to remove the excess bone growth without complication, that Vivian remains free of infection and that her recovery is swift. Pray also that the nerves and blood vessels in the crook of Vivian's arm are long enough to allow increased motion in her elbow. Pray that no heterotopic bone develops in Vivian's arm after the surgery. Finally, pray that Vivian remains pleasant and easy to manage during her hospital stay (you might also pray that I remain pleasant as well).
I will post updates on my blog and on Facebook Wednesday morning and will send an email as soon as Vivian is out of recovery.
Thank you so much for your prayers for Vivian. Certainly God honored them last summer; He has used our sweet, funny little Vivian to bless people all over the world in ways I could have never imagined.
I cannot adequately express how much Robert and I appreciate your words of concern and encouragement.
"I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders. I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High." Psalm 9:1-2
Vivian tonight with the sweet, long-suffering, patient Percy
Last night's Game 5 of the NBA Finals was hands-down the most exciting sporting event I've ever attended! The lead bounced back and forth throughout the game, but the Mavericks were always in contention. At the end Dallas pulled away sufficiently for me to be able to watch and enjoy the victory; really close games tend to send me hiding my eyes behind loosely clasped fingers!
I doubt that I will ever experience such a banner year of attendance at big sporting events again. What a fun time it's been, though!
"It’s not winner-take-all, but it’s winner-take-the-lead-back-to-Miami for Game 6. And I will argue that’s what makes American Airlines Center not only the place to be Thursday night but the site of the biggest local sporting event since the first Cowboys-Packers NFL Championship in the Cotton Bowl."
~Tim Cowlishaw, The Dallas Morning News, June 9, 2011
And I am going!
Pictures from Game 6 of the NBA Western Conference Finals, when the Dallas Mavericks beat the Oklahoma City Thunder and clinched a berth in the NBA Finals
Dots left for camp in North Carolina this week. This will be her fourth summer to attend the same camp where I went as a girl. Since we live so far from where I grew up, I love being able to share this part of my heritage with her.
On Tuesday Dots flew to Birmingham, where she stayed with a good friend from camp for a few days.
Waiting for Dots' flight at the airport. You can tell she is trying hard to fight back tears of impending homesickness
"It will be okay, Dots! You'll be home in three weeks!"
Dots: "Really, Mom. You can go now..."
I liked this view of the Dallas skyline from the top of the parking garage at Love Field
I'm guessing Dots was sad to be trading that view for this one from her cabin at camp
I texted Dots Tuesday afternoon, "I miss you! Send me a picture!" She responded with this picture of her with my wonderful friend Anne-Murray, who lives in Birmingham. AM met Dots for ice cream after getting to town. I told Dots that seeing the two of them together only made it worse for me!
Dots rode with her friend CG and CG's mother to North Carolina on Thursday so they could be there bright and early for the first day of camp on Friday.
Dots and CG Thursday night at Sweet Treats, a favorite ice cream and dessert shop near camp. You'd never guess that Dots has a sweet tooth
CG's mother emailed me last night to report that all had gone well dropping the girls off at camp. Dots and CG are in the same cabin, and they have a very cute young college girl for their counselor.
Neon tank tops are all the rage with middle schoolers in Dallas right now. Dots custom ordered two with the camp initials on the front for her friend and herself, and she and CG wore them on the first day of camp (after that the girls will wear uniforms dating back to the camp's founding in 1919 - gray middie tops with dark green shorts and a matching green tie - not nearly as exciting, though I love the tradition!)
CG's mom reported, "Someone came in the cabin right after we got there to take a pic of CG and D in their CMW tank tops. About a million girls asked where they got them. Dorothy is a trend setter!"
I wish I could go to summer camp again.
I'm not thinking anyone ever referred to me as a trend setter, though.
Married for 27 years to Robert, three kids: Will (23), Vivian (20) and Dots (17) ~~~~
Majored in mathematics at SMU, taught elementary school for six years before Will was born, currently tutoring math ~~~~
Things I enjoy: playing duplicate bridge, working NY Times crossword puzzles, reading good books, entertaining, visiting with friends, planning trips, traveling, playing board games, spending time with family, cooking, keeping up with old friends ~~~ happy to correspond with other parents about raising a child with special needs
I unintentionally contaminated all of the pictures on my blog when I changed my privacy settings on Flickr. I am working backwards to correct them all, but it is quite a tedious procedure! If you encounter a post with error messages from Flickr where the pictures should be, then I haven't gotten to that post yet. Please let me know and I will update it immediately. Thanks for your patience!