The New Adventure

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Rocking and Rumbling

Wow...long day.

So, today we got to go to The Children's Hospital in Birmingham, AL for an opinion on McKenzie's cyst. If you will recall, on our 25 week ultrasound, the doctor noticed a cyst forming in McKenzie's brain. We were referred to specialists at the Regional Obstetrics Group for their opinion. Prior to delivery, they called it a porencyphalic cyst. After delivery, a head ultrasound was done and the cyst was classified as an arachnoid cyst. There was no brain tissue involvement seen and we were basically told to wait and see what would happen. Our pediatrician got us a referral to see Dr. Jerry Oakes, a neurosurgeon in Birmingham to get his opinion.

So, we went to Birmingham. It was a lovely day for a drive. Cold, rain, and fog the entire way down and back. We left the house at 7am for a 9am (central time) appointment. My mom came over to keep Molly for the day so we didn't have to worry about 2 kids. She's a great mom cause she brought Hardees biscuits for the road. Yay!

And, we're off...McKenzie seemed to tolerate the driving just fine. I think she slept most of the time. The same could be said of her mother. For those of you not familiar with the route to Birmingham from Chattanooga, it involves about 130 miles of driving on I-59, the best interstate ever created (note the sarcasm...)

Seriously, bad road. It's like the state of Alabama transportation department decided to put in a rumble strip to keep folks awake but instead of putting it on the shoulders, they just put it in the main traffic lanes.

Dear Alabama,

Come to Tennessee and see how to build a decent highway. We don't waste our tax dollars on dumb stuff like healthcare or education. You shouldn't either. We build awesome roads. You should too.



Yeah, they are that bad. Strangely, the fast lane is much smoother than the slow lane. So, you'd be driving along and run up behind an 18-wheeler and they would refuse to move over to let you pass. I hope passing on the right isn't against the law in Alabama...I guess it isn't until you get caught.

So, we get to the hospital, which is really neat. Unlike TC Thompson, this hospital is a purpose-built children's hospital. It's very nice. So, we find our clinic and we're actually on time (8:40am central time) We meet with a few nurses, a med student, and finally the doctor himself. It's actually kind of funny because he refers to himself in the third person and attempted to answer all of our possible questions before we asked. It was like, he'd be talking and say, "So, Dr. Oakes, in all the patients you've seen with similar issues, what is the likelihood of complications or problems?" And then would go on and answer it.

It was quite funny. Anyway, the diagnosis at this point is unilateral hydrocephalus or unilateral ventricular dilation. Basically, there is some scar tissue that formed within the ventricle of the brain that slowed the flow of cerebral spinal fluid causing the ventricle to expand. Therefore, there is no cyst! Just the enlarged ventricle with some extra fluid on board.

Dr. Oakes wants to get an MRI in 3 to 4 months in order to see the complete structure of the ventricle in detail as well as make sure it isn't getting larger or changing. He doesn't expect there to be any issues going forward. MRI's are usually performed on patients from youngest to oldest beginning at 7am. I think we'll be spending the night in Birmingham before we consider leaving Chattanooga at 4:30am to make the appointment.

So, while in Birmingham, the med student asked if McKenzie was jaundiced. Yeah, maybe a little. So, on the way home, we called Dr. Jeanie to find out what we should do. She suggested that we get a baseline bilirubin level drawn. This meant a trip to TC Thompson before we went home. My limit is 2 hospitals in a single day. Seriously...

So, McKenzie got poked. Prior to that, we decided to treat her to something special so we went to Cracker Barrel for lunch. She's killing Molly in accomplishments at the moment: she's up to 3 states visited and a real restaurant! Molly must be mad!

Back to the car ride, Lindsey really tries to be a good traveling companion, really. You know the "head nod" you get when you're trying to stay awake but you close you eyes for a second and all the sudden, it's like your head is trying to commit suicide by jumping off your neck only to be caught at the last second by a violent neck snap? Yeah, saw a lot of that both on the way down and on the way back. 

At one point I asked her why she didn't just lean back and rest against the seat. Her response? She felt guilty about falling asleep...I told her I didn't want to have to take her to the hospital for whiplash so she shouldn't feel guilty about sleeping...even though I couldn't...

So, that's our big day out. It was long but we all survived. I'm looking forward to a restful Wednesday!

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