Steven and Sean on the Polar Bear Cam
Steven and Sean on the Polar Bear Cam

Thursday, November 17, 2005

It's My Brother's Fault

Steven chose this shirt for Wednesday

We were scheduled for only a single appointment Wednesday, but things changed after we got up this morning.

Before we left our room, a woman called to ask if we'd consider having Steven's MRI Wednesday instead of today. I said yes and Steven's face fell, he wasn't psyched up for getting the IV in today, never mind that he wouldn't have been ready for tomorrow either.

We walked over to the hospital and the neurologist called us early for his appointment. The neurologist at St. Jude has prescribed ritalin for Steven, to help combat worsening processing speed and attention deficits that have cropped up secondary to radiation to his brain.

Steven getting ready for the needle. Miss Angie has her hand
at her throat to help the sound of her turkey gobble.

Next it was time for the IV. Steven was in tears on our way to see Miss Leslie, who has a perfect record of getting his IV in right, the first time, every time. Miss Angie is at his side to help distract him.

Needle in, trying to find that vein

Steven was a trooper, no ativan this time (thank God), and this was the first time he's sat up while the IV was being inserted. He hung in there after the needle was in and they were trying to find the vein, but they found it and everything was good.

I violated my own rule about not setting expectations for Steven and I'd told him he wouldn't have to keep the IV overnight, but since his oncologist wasn't at the hospital yesterday, the nurses suggested we keep it in until we get the official MRI results.

He shed a few more tears on finding out that he'd be having his IV in overnight and the audiologist asked him what was wrong when we went in to have his hearing tested. He told her and she said, "Well, at least it's not your fault, it's your brother's."

The audiologist looked in his ears and said there was no wax. The hearing test revealed some slight high frequency loss in his ears, but not out of what they consider a normal variation and not statistically significant. They hypothesized that using headphones for his hearing test at school might have collapsed his narrow ear canals, causing the results found by the school nurse.

Getting ready for the MRI

Then the MRI of his brain. Things went smoothly for the first part, then he fell asleep and there was significant movement on the scans for the second part after they injected contrast due to twitching.

They came in and repeated the second set of scans after asking him to try and stay awake. I stayed at his feet during the scans and squeezed his toes whenever his eyes would close all the way, and they said the second set were perfect.

Steven and Zach at Le Bonheur hospital

After all our appointments were done, we went to see Zach, another St. Jude brain tumor patient who lives about an hour away from St. Jude and who had radiation at the same time as Steven. Zach turned 10 years old on November 15th.

Zach has had a rough go of it lately, he had a mini-stroke (TIA) last week due to narrowing of the arteries in his brain after radiation. Yesterday he was in the hospital having an arteriogram, which showed that the carotid artery in his brain has narrowed by 80%, which will require some sort of further surgery.

Despite this, Zach looked great and Steven and Zach had a chance to visit with each other for a couple of hours.

Today we see the oncologist and get Steven's MRI results.

- Kathleen

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