We're alright, Shriner's Hospital for Children, Chicago!

We're alright, Shriner's Hospital for Children, Chicago!

As I sit at my computer to write of the weekend that ended today with a new cast, exhaustion is the first thing that comes to mind.  I am tired.  That is not to say the weekend wasn't truly wonderful, it was just tiring.  With any good exhaustion comes limited thought process.  I'm all, I'm all, I'm alright.  I had my good old friends here with me tonight and I guess I'm feeling alright.  That could easily be the end of my post for the night.  I will attempt to push through to give you just some of the high points and maybe a glimpse at the exhaustion. 

Mammaw and Pappaw came with us on our trip this time and I am so glad they did. We always have fun when we are together and this weekend was no different.  They pulled up at our house on Saturday a little before noon and caught Chad and I in a heated argument in the driveway about Chad's new coat.  I am actually chuckling right now thinking of how funny we must have looked to the neighbors arguing about a new flippen coat.  I bought the size I thought would work and apparently it was tight on his shoulders.  All he said was thanks for the coat, it's really warm and doesn't fit. 

Me: Why didn't you try it on yesterday so I would have had time to take it back. 

Chad: Why didn't you buy the flippen size you know I wear. 

 Me: Because it looked rather large and I assumed it would fit. 

Mammaw and Pappaw laughing their asses off was enough to end the fight and get us on the road.  Half way down the road Chad pipes up with I am wearing a fleece...it will probably fit without it.  More laughter and the trip was on.  If you know my husband and I, we are the couple that bickers constantly but loves big.  Us without a fight would make me worry there was something wrong. 

We checked in at the hotel 7 hours later.  The GPS was a fricken nightmare but after re-routing we made it and we were surprised at how nice it truly was.  For us this was a relief.  We were really nervous about the switch.  The pool was great and the kids really enjoyed this form of distraction.  We slept peacefully in our heavenly beds and were ready to tackle the Brookfield Zoo in the freezing weather the next day.  The Zoo in the winter is amazing.  The animals are surprisingly alert and put on quite the show.  One piece of advice...bring your lunch.  It is free to get in to many of the special exhibits, the only catch all the canteens are closed.  We spent about 3 hours and had to leave for a late lunch. 
Panda at Zoo Egg Head at Zoo
That wrapped up the vacation portion of our little trip now to the highlight reel from casting.  William was scheduled to be cast 3 of the day.  We arrived at 6 a.m. checked in and headed to our unit.  Gwen was there and smiles were instant.  She was brazen enough to leave us for Hawaii last cast, vacation when we have a cast day?  Good natured razzing and we were back together like old times. When you are one of the worlds greatest nurses, in the worlds greatest hospital I guess you are entitled to a vacation!   William was amazing during check in.  BP which is usually the no dice procedure for him was like clock work.  Cathy, Dave and Kiya arrived at that point.  Nothing like seeing your best friends on cast day!  With the #1 slot out sick everyone got bumped up.  That moved Kiya to one, William to two and Giana to three.  GIANA at three you heard me!  I thought Sarah was going to do a happy dance right in the hallway.  Giana is usually 4 sometimes 5.  Can I get a what, what!  The rockstars at Shriners moved them in, Tom was snapping x-rays with total grace, & Katie and Rayo taped them and moved them out!  William took his meds for Ruby and the Super Nova Rockstar Dr. Bonasera put them under and woke them up with ease!  If ever I have met an anesthisiologist who knows her stuff it's this women!  William and Kiya were on the road by 11:30 and Giana was hot on our heels just an hour later!
Will & Mom in Pre-op
OK so now to back track....When we came out of Pre-op holding I saw a tall beauty in the waiting room taking off her coat with the beautiful little girl beside her.  I would know that beautiful mommy anywhere.  Our friend Chrissy and her sweet Natalie came to cheer us through our day.  I still fight tears when I think of how much I love these ladies.  Tracy has done this in the past and now with Jackson in brace my beloved Chrissy was there as well.  Chrissy, Linda the Great, our Shriners Rock, Cathy and Sarah were all there to make sure whatever news exited the PACU doors was met with a hand held.  Cathy was first...KIYA HAD CORRECTION!!!!!  Amazing news.  Hope restored it was our turn.  We no longer have expectations.  Expectations lead to disappointment.  Dr. Hammerberg came out and said the number I had placed my chips on...18-20 which meant no change.  I am sitting looking at this amazing man waiting for the green light to keep casting and it came.  I know 3 casts with the same number and I should feel something different.  In a world of unknowns, I know casting. As long as he is willing to keep casting, we know we still have a dog in our sons fight.  We were teasing Dr. H about needing a photo of him talking to Sarah and Ryan for the video Chrissy made.  He has this smirk and said ah the pressure of the photo.  Surgical hat on his head I said we warned you so you have time to fix your hair.  He touches his hat and said no hope there.  Yep Dr. H your going to have hat hair!  LOVE THIS MAN!!!!
Dr. Hammerberg

The last to get news was Giana.  As I prepare to type this my heart has skipped a beat.  Sarah and I talk daily.  We share joys, fears, & sorrow.  She is a realist and we all in the LCC always knew Giana was casting for time.  We also knew with kindergarten approaching her time was going to get less with each cast.  Giana's report was a few more casts and then we will start mapping out her surgery.  Sarah and I talked last night and again this morning.  She was ok with me sharing this news.  She is also ok with the news.  She found her peace with this long before yesterday.  Call it reality, self preservation, or peace with a higher power, she is ok with this.  If Sarah is ok with it, then by God I need to be too. 
Giana and Girls in Pre-op

Three kids walked into Shriner's Hospital for Children yesterday for casting and three beautiful kids walked out with their new armor.  This is standard procedure for all the casting families.  We are given few guarentees when we start this journey.  Your child will have time to grow, they will be treated as if they were celebrities by ,in my opinion, the greatest hospital team ever, & you will head home for 12 weeks of what for many is normal.  The news you get while you are there is yours to interpret.  You control how you feel about it and what it means to your family.  NO ONE CAN TELL YOU WHAT YOU ARE FEELING IS RIGHT OR WRONG.  It is yours to own.  I am choosing today to rejoice in Kiya's correction, be grateful for our continued casting time, & remain stoic and optimistic for Giana.

I'm all, I'm all, I'm alright.  I had my good old friends here with me tonight and I guess I'm feeling alright.

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