The sun did come out today in L.A.—literally and figuratively. Compared to yesterday, today was like a Mediterranean Cruise, followed by dinner in Paris and a Broadway show. Charlie, now on his ninth bedridden day in the same position, was in a great mood with yesterday's ordeal forgotten.
The only hellish part came when the IV in his left hand failed around 7 pm and they had to remove it and look for a new vein. During his five months in the NICU he had dozens of IVs and his veins are now as accommodating as those of a longtime heroin addict. On top of that, he’s developed a phobia about anyone even looking at his IVs because after his surgery last week he had two that had to be removed and it seemed like the tape the surgeons used was applied with super glue. None of the adhesive removals the nurses tried worked and they had to rip off the tape with Charlie howling in agony. So now, even though they use much gentler paper tape in the PICU, he goes nuts whenever they approach him for a new IV. They had hoped to move the IV to his foot but after endlessly trying to find a good vein they gave up. They couldn’t find one in his right hand either and had to resort to his poor left hand that was already in bad shape from the one they had just pulled out. Poor baby. As they were doing the procedure Kendall and I had to hold him down, I held his legs so he wouldn’t dislodge anything. I just pray this one holds through his next surgery.
Other than that, it was a delightful day, full of surprises and good cheer. Our social worker at Cedars is a Jewish woman from Chicago so naturally when I met her we played Jewish geography to see if we knew any people in common. I mentioned my grandfather’s clothing store, Karoll’s, and she said, “Wait a minute, my best friend here in L.A. is related to the Karoll family!” Turns out it was the sister of my late cousin, who was married to one of my Karoll cousins. I met her today in the Swifty Lazar lobby and we had a great time. She had a lot of stories about my family and visited Charlie and bought him some books. It seems like a very small world here at Cedars-Sinai. Right after that, I was getting on the elevator and spotted a respiratory therapist who looked familiar. “Hey, it’s Charlie’s dad!” he exclaimed. We left the NICU three and a half years ago and this guy treats hundreds of kids (if not more) a year. Isn’t it crazy that he not only remembered me but recalled Charlie’s name? That happened again later today with one of the NICU nurses who was visiting a patient of hers in the PICU. Amazing.
In medical news, the bag that is still attached to Charlie’s abdomen will be pulled out tomorrow—all of the excess fluid is gone and is currently being studied. The best news today was that both of the brilliant surgeons who will be doing Charlie’s new shunt internalization (the same duo that performed all of his surgeries—one working in his brain and one in his abdomen) think there’s a good chance now that the surgery can take place on Monday, much sooner than we expected. I’m very excited about that possibility but yes, Mr. Evil Eye, you killjoy, I realize only too well that things could change before then. Either way, I am filled with tremendous gratitude for the expertise and kindness that has been heaped upon us by the great doctors and nurses at Cedars-Sinai, not to mention the support of our family members, friends, and people we don't even know. I know there are many complaints these days about the American healthcare and insurance industries, and I’m sure most of those complaints are extremely valid, but all I can say right now is…you ain’t gonna hear me complaining!