Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Ketamine, not just for horses.

The only thing Eve was allowed to drink yesterday morning was some apple juice four hours before sedation. She woke up feeling a bit off, so she just took about one sip from her cup before it was time to hide it. I hid in the kitchen and scarfed down some "Honey Nut Scooters" while thinking about how weird it might be to later tell someone I hid and ate a bowl of scooters.

Eve and I left the house at 9 a.m. to head out to Duke for her CT scan. We went straight up to the oncology clinic to have her port accessed. Why get there at 10:00 when her CT scan isn't scheduled until 12:30, you ask? Get her accessed and then go downstairs to radiology, and you'll get in and out quicker! Right?


When I checked in at radiology, the woman at the desk looked at me like I was the Hamburglar; shocked that I was really there, terrified that my hungry daughter would steal her snack. You do know that your appointment is at 12:30, right? "That's right. I was told to come here at 10:30 so you guys could get my daughter in earlier." Then she said the letters O and K the way a highschooler would type it on her MySpace page: Ooooooooooooooooookkkkkkkkkkkkkk...

This was the first time I have taken Eve to Duke by myself. Matt has been with me every other time and I felt these trips were old hat by now, so I could totally handle it solo. What were we going there for anyway, but to put Eve to sleep? Obviously, since I'm typing this, I made it through there alive. But there were a good two hours when it wasn't pretty.

I got my hopes up when someone called Eve's name and walked us away from the reception area where we had been waiting. Down the hall we went...into another waiting room. This one was full of people. And I mean full! I'm talking a six pound sausage in a five pound casing kind of full. And about a third of those people were adults barely covered by their hospital gowns. There was a lot of pacing around and general merriment. I couldn't keep up with who was with who, and it made me wonder if this is what a key party in a hospital would look like.

Eve was not so happy. Amidst the soirée that was going on in the waiting room, she began to wail, "Pretzels!" (Think Marlon Brando yelling Stella!) "Pretzels! Pretzels! [Sobbing] Pretzels!" I know there is no reasoning with a two-year-old, but you always have to make it appear as if you are trying to reason with them for the sake of others around you. I can't let you have anything to eat right now, but after the doctor sees you, I will give you something to eat. Louder, "Pretzels!!!" I know you're hungry. We will eat soon. "PRETZELS!"

I was asked by a nurse to take Eve out into the hall and walk her around. Someone would find me when they were ready for her. Sure, I can do this. I just have to get Eve strapped back into the stroller. Darn, it's the plank!

For those of you not in-the-know, the "plank" is a move that, when executed properly, makes it impossible for an adult to get a child buckled into a stroller, carseat, shopping cart, etc. The participant must get their body completely straight and rigid, not allowing the parent to bend them in anyway that would allow for securing the child to the apparatus. I give Eve a 9.7 out of 10. Luckily, she got the hiccups and loosened up her body for a tenth of a second, just enough time to push her pelvis into the stroller and buckle her in against her will. Eve lets out a "CHICKEN NUGGET!" before I push her out the door, so cool and collected.

There was a lot of screaming in the hallway, but fortunately we were called back to an exam room. If only the child waking up from anesthesia across from us was not being fed pretzels. There is a lot of waiting. And some more waiting. And some screaming of the pretzel variety. It's now 12:30 and I am told that Eve will have to drink some contrast before the scan. And once she drinks it, she can have the scan an hour later.

Lord, thank you for the patience you have given me. But more importantly, thank you for the portable DVD player.

At 1:00, Eve got some Versed to take the edge off. I like this stuff. (Unfortunately, you can't get any to-go.) She was very chill and by 1:40, we were taken back to the CT room. While we waited for someone to do the scan, I amused the doctor and nurse with my Eve tricks. Eve, close your eyes! Eve, close your mouth! Eve, close your eyes! This is much cuter in person as my child cannot do these things at the same time. You'll just have to trust me on this.

By 1:55, we were ready to sedate Eve. I held her as the doctor adminstered Ketamine. I witnessed an interesting state called "dissociative sedation." I'm pretty sure Eve was experiencing things that you once had to go to Haight-Ashbury to experience. She wasn't asleep, yet she wasn't awake. Her pupils shook rapidly back and forth. I think she may have even seen herself floating above...herself.

I left the room while they performed the scan. In the waiting area, all the televisions were tuned to a program called "Verminators." I started to feel a teeny bit lightheaded from the combination of hunger and the images of cockroaches. Thankfully I was called back to the CT room after a few minutes.

I looked at Eve as she looked through me. Within a minute, she twitched and said, "Mommy!" and tried to blow me a kiss, although her arms weren't quite working. We went back to recovery and the nurse and I watched in amusement as drunk Eve stared at her finger for a good ten minutes, having some sort of unintelligible conversation with the pulse-ox monitor. By 2:45, she had eaten a graham cracker with no problems and we were cleared to go home at 3:00. We were home by 4:00, Eve asleep and myself starving.

I later overate (as my scooters had long since worn off), but indigestion took a back seat to excitement as Eve's oncologists called around 9:00 p.m. They had looked over the preliminary report from the radiologist, and it appears that both kidneys show improvement. Now we are waiting for the oncologists, radiologist, and surgeon to get together and discuss things in detail before we can meet with the surgeon to determine what the plan is.

And my fortune cookie reads: It could be better, but it's good enough.


  1. Wow... you must have been exhausted after that day. I can't even imagine. That is great news from the doctors! Please keep us updated on the plan they decide on. Lots of love.

  2. i feel your pain and enjoy your humor. don't let the cancer put you down...ever. you must put it down.

  3. Wow, what a day. So glad to hear that the tumors appear to have shrunk! Too bad you didn't have a camera to record Eve when she was high on her sedation drugs...that would have been a good one to show to her future boyfriends :)

  4. I can not get over your sense of humor! I can clearly picture every scene you describe. It is wonderful news about the kidneys. Let's get this thing GONE!

  5. Glad to hear of the good news on the kidneys! Hope you two can share a bowl of scooters to celebrate.