The hospapital

You may not have ever noticed a little mark on Tuesday’s right cheek. I guess I was mostly taking pictures of her “good side” with out even realizing it. But when she was about one I noticed the tiniest of little marks. The pediatrician told me it was a “vein thing” and not to worry about it, so we didn’t.  In late spring something happened to it, seemingly over night. It was red, Tuesday said it hurt (“get this owie off me!”) and it looked like a big white head. I took her back to the pediatrician and she told me that Tuesday must have been playing with it so it got infected, not to worry. I just didn’t think Tuesday would have done that, and it seemed like something else to me so I made an appointment to see a dermatologist in town. By the time I got us in the thing had gone down a bit but now was hard under the skin. The dermatologist had never seen it before, but asked to visit the clinic’s library to check out something he thought he remembered reading about once (the awesome guy was a retired dermatologists filling in). He thought it was a pilomatricoma, not a big deal, but it would have to come out with surgery and I should talk to a plastic surgeon (!!!).
There is no pediatric dermatologist in our town, so we went up to Portland to meet with one that confirmed the first dermatologists finding. She was a little more comforting, “oh this, no problem, we see these every week.” This kind of benign tumor/cyst thing has to come out because it can spontaneously have episodes in which it grows, breaks apart and changes quickly (as we had noticed). Since it only happened once to Tuesday the doctor thought she could get it just by making a small slit in the skin, what a relief. I was thinking it was going to be a football shaped chuck of skin to make sure all the cells were removed. Still she had to be put under for the procedure. The doctor told me that even though she was awesome at all the consults no two year old was going to hold still so she could cut their face.
Well after a little back and forth with the insurance we finally got in the end of last month to have it removed. We went up to OHSU and they were fantastic. It wasn’t that difficult not having her eat or drink (even with the hour car ride) because it was an early morning appointment.

When we got there they put gel and super exciting see-through stickers on four places on Tuesday so that she wouldn’t feel the I.V. as much. When we got back to our room (a private area of a bigger ward) there was a TV and they swiveled it right in front of her face. I try to tell people how she becomes an absolute zombie in front of the TV… I know every kid is different but mine zones in so hard. They were able to get the IV in even though they had to try twice (tiny veins) with out any extra medicine because she was so focused on the TV. And then she was just asleep, it was so weird. She got that drug that killed Michael Jackson, so that didn’t give me the best feeling. We left her in the room and not 15 minutes later they were out to come get us. They got all the pieces of the thing (of course I asked to see it!). When she woke up she was totally fine, she never touched her “owie” and was happy to play with her new playmobil set.

(on the drive home). She totally dug picking out her bandaid every day for a week.

This was taken right be fore the most traumatic part, getting the stitches out. I really wish I would have saved myself the $25 co pay and tried to get them out myself. The doctor’s scissors and tweezers were not nearly as good as my Tweezerman set (or course I know I would have had to sterilize it) and she totally jabbed at Tuesday’s face. I asked if it would hurt the scaring and she said, “I hope not.” oh geez, thanks.
So besides that part everything went so well. I wanted to share a few tips I think really helped (Tuesday was 32 months, FYI):
-Right from the beginning we told Tuesday exactly what was going on. We told her that doctors would be looking at her face, and how they would be doing it. She knew they were going to be shinning lights in her face and she didn’t flinch when they did it.
-I played up the hospital BIG TIME. She knew she would get to see TV, that there would be a present involved, and ice cream. I feel that special days can have special flexibility on normal rules and routines.
-We read about the hospital a lot. These two books were our favorite: Going to the Hospital and Going to the Hospital (just about every book on the subject is titled that). She was very excited for the bracelet with her name on it. When we got there she was told it also had her birthday on it! Can you imagine anything as wonderful?!?! It was fun to see her point out things she remembered from the book, like the fact that everyone who works in a hospital has a name badge. She knew there would be toys to play with, and what the bed would look like. Even after the fact she wanted to read the books over and over and talk about what she went through. One of the books has a picture of a boy playing with an I.V. port showing on his arm. She likes to tell me every time, “I had that, on my ankle!”
The playmobil set, which includes a woman with an I.V. was a huge hit. We gave it to her while she was recovering and the nurse took it around to show her friends how cute it was. Tuesday switched out the woman for a little girl and played with it the whole way home.
-We took our time, and even got to ride the tram down and back, which Tuesday really loved. We sat outside at a pavilion. Really, it’s the prettiest place, the view is insane. It seems a crazy place for all these hospitals up on the hill.
-I never really talked about her going to sleep, and she hasn’t asked about it. I don’t think she remembers that part at all. I didn’t see any reason to bring it up since I wasn’t asked.
-Don’t underestimate the power of branded bandaids.
So why all this detail? Mostly I just want to say how grateful I am that it’s nothing that serious and that we could afford to take her to three doctors to get it figured out, that we have insurance for her. It may not seem like much, but four separate trips add up to $100 in copay alone. And I am not the sole breadwinner, if I was and had to take off work that would be another expense. We have a wonderful library system and the inter library loans are so awesome. I was able to get her many books that helped so much in preparing her for the experience. I’m just all around grateful for my little darling and so glad it was really nothing in the grand scheme of things.

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  1. I’m so glad Tuesday did well! OHSU is amazing and we are so so thankful that we are close to such an exceptional place! The local doctor we took Olive to after birth told us we didn’t need to come back until she was a year old, I didn’t believe that. OHSU said she would likely have been totally blind or very near it if we hadn’t come (we still don’t know what she will see but at least now we know we tried everything we could). All in all, it’s a place I recommend over and over again.

  2. I’m so glad it was a positive experience for Tuesday. Bad experiences with hospitals/dentists/doctors early in life can scar someone for LIFE – so it sounds like she’s off to a wonderful start.
    My baby girl (who is now 15) was attacked by a dog when she was 4. Cocker Spaniel tore her lower lip almost completely off. She was in surgery for 4 hours and we weren’t sure how she would come out. Well, 137 stitches (some, in her tongue !!!) later, she was just fine. And the blessing in this situation came six weeks after her reconstruction surgery. While they had her in for the reconstruction, they removed a large birthmark next to the affected area. After the biopsy, they told us it was one stage away from being an active malanoma on her head. We might’ve lost her if it hadn’t been removed when it was. What we initially saw as a tragedy, was a blessing in disguise !

  3. So glad it went so well!! Sounds like you prepared her so well, so even if hadn’t gone so smoothly, I bet Tuesday would have handled it okay.
    Good that you stood your ground and took her to the derm even if the ped wasn’t gung ho about it.
    Oh and I lOVE that playmobile set–so cute! Sarah has the OR set, but I think she took it to DC with her…she has pretty much any hospital kids toy known to man. LOL

  4. I’m so glad it went well. I still remember how traumatizing it was for miri to have all the blood drawn and ivs and such. I’m glad Tuesday was old enough when this happened that you could help her understand it. She’s a trooper! (And so are you!)

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