Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Of Vanity and other deadly sins

So, some of you may have noticed that Thomas is wearing some sort of apparatus on his head, but have been too polite to mention it. Is he planning to play hockey? Does he fall alot? Is he hoping to be cast in the next Tron movie? (Yes, I know this one is for a very select segment, but it was a great movie. Look it up)

Well all are really poor guesses, so shame on all of you. I must admit, prior to being a parent and remotely caring about other people's children (I still really only care about Thomas, no offense to other children who may be reading this. By the way, good for you for reading!), I saw babies wearing helmets and had no idea what was going on. My best internal guess (because I never bothered to ask) was that the helmet was protecting a soft spot or something else that wasn't fully developed. Little did I know that I'd come face to face with the very helmet that I rarely gave a second thought to (probably not as ironic as I'm implying).

Turns out, the helmet is used to shape a child's head, to make it nice and round for that day in the future when Thomas decides to shave his hair either on a bet or in tribute to Michael Jordan. Thomas spent 5 and a half months, mostly on his back, which gave him a rather flat head in the back. The nurses did a great job of rotating him to minimize the effect, but you can only do so much. You basically have 2 options; Option 1, sit back and let nature take its course, hoping that the head will work itself out or that Thomas develops a talent in baseball or bull riding (where a hat is required), or option 2, shape the head with this contraption. This is completely cosmetic and he's not in any danger health-wise. We're just trying to bump Thomas up a notch more on the cuteness scale.

We debated about this greatly. We were concerned about whether this was a good investment, whether the helmet would hurt Thomas, whether we wanted to pile one more thing on Thomas' plate. There were many arguments in favor of not doing anything:
1. He could use his head as a coaster (what a great party trick!)
2. The flatness of his head would make him extremely aerodynamic in the tuck position when riding a bike.

Actually those were the only 2 real positives I could come up with, so we went with the helmet. We're such good parents.

Thomas wears the helmet 23 hours a day and he will probably wear it for 2 to 3 months. It just depends on how quickly he grows. The helmet is designed to encourage growth and we go in once a week or two and get adjustments. They measure the head and shave away the Styrofoam on the inside. He's already making good progress, so hopefully we won't have to wear it too long. It doesn't seem to bother him too much, but he does like to bang it with his hand.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Its Wednesday, so let' start cutting...

Five a.m. It probably doesn’t have much significance, or isn’t a big deal to most people, but in the Elliot household, it’s not a time of day that we see much of. We’re more night owls and thoroughly uninterested in getting up before the sun does. Even Thomas has adjusted and is more than happy to ease into the morning at his own pace. There is very little that would alter that for us; Haley’s Comet seems appropriate or a World Cup soccer match. The other reason is surgery. They always seem to schedule surgery early in the day. Such is the case today. Thomas is currently in surgery for various procedures on his private areas. In the interest of discression and modesty, I won’t get too specific, but he is getting circumcised and having 2 other procedures in the same area. I really hate that I haven’t kept you all up to speed, because there is a bunch that needs to be revealed. Just seems that every time there is something to write, I’m left without time or energy or both.

Oh well, no use crying over spilled blogs. This is a day surgery, so we’re only supposed to be here for 6 or 7 hours. Plenty of time to whip this puppy out. Today we’re at Medical City Dallas, which brings us to hospital #4 on Thomas’ bucket list of hospitals that he just has to visit. We checked in at 6 and scooted upstairs to get vitals and slip into a sexy smock (Thomas got one too). Then down to pre-op, which was (Still is I guess) a large room with about 10 beds separated by curtains. Every bed had a child of varying age waiting to meet with their doctors and get rolled into surgery. I can’t imagine how much tougher it is to deal with your child’s surgery if your child knows that something is up. With Thomas, we have a wild child who is blissfully happy at all times and almost immediately bounces back from anything traumatic. The other kids had fear and trepidation that you could see in their eyes. The doctors and nurses are obviously well acquainted with this, so they do their best to become their friends and make them laugh. It was a lot like watching a standup comedian warm up an audience, but there were 10 stages, so I could hear all of the routines.

We ran into one of Thomas’ NICU surgeons, Dr. Hermann, who had been a favorite of ours. He had performed the hernia surgery and when we saw him today, he remembered the exact bed that Thomas was in when Thomas was his patient close to a year ago. Great parlor trick. Then it was time to wheel Thomas out and scoot us to the waiting room. Medical City has a cool feature. They have monitors all around, similar to at airports that give you an update of the progress of the patient, procedure under way, procedure closing, finished. The nurse gave us a sheet explaining the monitor and said that she would write down a code so we would know which one is Thomas and still protect his identity. The tricky code is: ELL__T, T. Very hush, hush and complicated. Reminded me of the Navajo who were used to transmit messages during World War 2, inpenetratable. Wait…no…they just hid the vowels. Now Rebecca and I are sitting in the cafeteria, passing time til Thomas goes to recovery.

After this, Thomas has one more surgery, the tethered spinal cord. I’ll update you after Thomas gets out.