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At the end of July (2010) Atia was scheduled for her quarterly spinal tap. These appointments are always the most emotional and frightening of them all. There is so much involved…
Atia had to stop eating and drinking by midnight the night before (which made her irritable in the morning, just like it does for hungry adults), then she had to have her port accessed, her blood drawn, walk around with the needle taped to her chest and wait for the anesthesia team – which was 2 hours late, 2 hours! That was utter torture for Atia.
By the time they got there, she was super duper starving and was fed up with the stupid needle in her chest and IV drip she was attached to. Finally, they administered the anesthesia and she fell asleep.
The spinal tap procedure began.
All in all, with the exception of the drawn out wait time for the entire medical team to get it together, things went smoothly. Before the procedure, Atia actually sat in the big turquoise chemo chair all by herself when her port was accesses and she didn’t shed a tear.
She was elated when she was invited to select a toy from the Treasure Chest. She lives for that reward.
As always, when she drifted off to sleep she was serenaded by Steve and I singing “You Are My Sunshine”, including our modified lyrics at the end, “… I love you more and more every day.”
The spinal fluid Dr. Rubin collected was clear (which is what we hope for -- cloudy fluid can be a bad sign). He injected chemo into her spine, injected chemo into her port, and then it was over. We waited for her to wake up.
Everything was routine until she began to stir. We don't know if it was because we tried waking her up too soon, or if she was having a negative reaction to the anesthesia this time, but HOLY COW! She was a raging maniac as she "came to."
Still half in a twilight state, she thrashed her body back and forth knocking her head into my lip (ouch!), she screamed and cried at the top of her lungs, she pushed all food and drink away (which is totally unlike her, normally she's ravenous), she started yanking out the needle from her port (terrifying), and she told me that she didn't love me (a first).
The medical staff was shocked by her behavior too. No one knew what was going on. As the drugs began to wear off and she began to truly wake up, she calmed down and became our sweet little hungry girl again; however, the interim had totally freaked us out. It felt like we’d been dealing with Linda Blair’s character from the Exorcist.
It was so weird! We hoped it was a one-time occurrence that we wouldn’t have to deal with again. It was scary watching her like that, and extraordinarily difficult to soothe her while in the midst of what felt like her being possessed.
In the end I walked away with a bloody lip, but I had my sweet baby back. Small price to pay, I guess.
Per usual, it marked the beginning of the 5-day steroid week. We were expecting the worst, but surprisingly this instance was relatively unremarkable. We were relieved to say the least; it was good for her, and it was good for us.
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