Thursday, 10 May 2012

Spina Bifida Clinic

Time passes as a blur sometimes and I find it hard to define time and stages as I just keep going and going. My brain is consumed by helping Faith move forward, to gain weight, to have feeds on time, to exercise muscles, practice speech and time passes. But, I must remember my husband too and make time for him as he is my best friend and without him I couldn't do this. It is so exciting Faith hasn't been in hospital since November (3months) and that is a big achieve for us. I hope it continues. It is so nice to just have a routine. To plan and follow through. Faith is sleeping pretty well at the moment but we are still having the challenge of UTI's. Will it not end? I only know two other families whose children have spina bifida and they live a great distance away. It would be so good to communicate with others who have been through similar experiences and know the day to day struggles and be able to share life with ideas on coping and moving forward more.

We made a phone call to the urology nurse and she spoke to the urologist and he said we should catheterize more frequently. I can't see the reason in that considering when we do catheterize there is barely 10mls of wee, in my opinion I think we should be stopping catheterizing as Faith's nappies are always heavy now. We have a spina bifida clinic in a week, so we can talk to him about it then.

I am not looking forward to going to Brisbane as not only do we have spina bifida clinic, Faith is having a sleep study, neurosurgery appointments and other ones too. So it will be 3 days of appointments. And we have just discovered another UTI so we have put her on antibiotics but the vomiting has increased and when we usually go to Brisbane and have such big days Faith's vomiting increases due to stress and lack of sleep. I think sometimes the doctors and nurses forget the stress it causes on the patient and then on the families. This is an ongoing concern we struggle to communicate across to the Brisbane hospital. It is wonderful they want to keep such a close eye on her but she is well now and since we don't live locally that needs to be considered. Since Faith is still on oxygen we have to take 5 bottles of oxygen with us so we are prepared. I am finding all the extra planning stressful. I am so grateful my husband is taking time off work to come with us.

We have booked hospital accommodation and we arrive after lunch, as Faith's first appointment is the sleep study that night so we don't have to be there until 5pm. Last time Faith spent the first hours there screaming from all the cords, wires and prodding so I am feeling quite apprehensive about this one. Faith might be 19th months now but since she has a UTI she is more clingy and wanting to be left alone. She has a temperature and increased vomiting too. We had a very helpful nurse who let us give Faith a bath first but then came the preparation of all the cords and wires. She cried and cried, there was nothing that could calm her. It took quite a while for her to settle, hours actually. Around 1am an alarm went and woke her up and that was it, we spent the next two hours with Faith happily chatting, it was beautiful to hear but it is a sleep study not a talking study. Around 3-4am Faith went back to sleep until 5:30am at which point they decided to finish the study and send us back to our accommodation; hopefully to get a few hours sleep before the days appointments started. Sadly Faith still needs the oxygen and will be reviewed again in 6 months. I knew it was a possibility as Faith hadn't gained much weight but I had hoped and I will continue to hope.

When we were just about to leave to start the days appointments Faith pulled out her NG tube which of course meant we had to put it back down and run late for all our appointments. The exciting news is that the spina bifida clinic went really well and all the doctors were happy that she was starting to progress now. She did spend the entire 3 days vomiting off and on.  A couple of the highlights were no more catheterizing. We were to catheterize 1 a day for a week and if the wee continues to be in small volumes then, ready for it, no more catheterizing. Yay!!! The neurologist said that we can start really slowly weaning Faith off some more medication. She has been on so much so we are very pleased. The other exciting news was that Faith is to get AFO's, at last her feet are bigger enough. And when that all goes well we can look at a standing frame. Love the positiveness! Usually spina bifida clinic doesn't give us good news, so this is wonderful! What exciting days to come!

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