Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Our trip to Children's

The beautiful "little arm." We believe that Rita did receive very negative comments (from an evil adult) while she was still in the orphanage. She likes for me to reassure her that I love her "little arm"...I do and I kiss it and act very silly acting like I'm talking to arm dramatically saying "I love you little arm!!! These are pictures that we received when we were considering Rita's file. Now that Rita is home you would never she her two little fingers that have nails without nail polish. Also when Rita is counting to Ten she can still count to five on this hand. One is her wrist bone, two is her 'thumb-nubbin' and then her 3 fingers 3-4-5. Just yesterday we learned that Rita could move her wrist (she can't move her fingers but she does use them all of the time for 'hooks'. One of Andrew's friends met Rita for the first time and said to Andrew "Hey dude, can your sister move that little hand." Rita smiled real big and started moving her wrist....it kind of looked liked she was 'flapping' her little hand. It was so cute and we all made a big fuss over her and she just beamed!!!

Today was a big day for Rita. She saw 2 doctors, 2 residents, 8-10 nurses/radio-techs, had 5 X-rays, an ultra-sound and had her eyes dilated....all in just under 3 hours. We were so busy running around Children's that we didn't even have time to go the bathroom until Rita HAD to go pee half of the way through the ultra-sound at the request of the radiologist tech. We loved her orthopedic doctor, Dr. Albert. When we told him that Rita was from Armenia he thought for a minute and then shared a story. He said "About 20 years ago when I was doing my residency in Philadelphia I took a helicopter with other orthopedic doctors to Washington D.C. We worked on many Armenians who had been in a terrible earthquake who needed major orthopedic help. The patients I saw were in very rough conditions...it was quite tragic. But I'll never forget this one older women who was so cold and I gave her my gloves. She was so grateful for my small gift that she gave me a tomato out of her bag." I told him that sounded like a true Armenian bearing tomatoes. It reminded me of Rita's friend on our flight from Yerevan to London who packed his own tomatoes and cucumbers because the airplane food was so bad. Rita was thrilled when he shared his food because she was also grossed out by the airplane food. I told Dr. Albert that Rita was from Gyumri, right where the earthquake happened 20 years ago. I told him that all over the city you can still see the devastation of the earthquake to this very day. After this conversation I knew that Dr. Albert was "our kind of guy." Anyways I'm not sure if he gave me a final diagnoses or not. He used lots of big words...I think I only caught about half of them. She has her chest muscle so I think that rules out Polland syndrome (what I suspected but I didn't ask). What I did catch was "radial club hand, with missing thumb and finger, fused shoulder something or other and webbed armpit...all of this with minor scoliosis. I told him that Rita was still very concerned that he was going to cut her arm off and sew a new one on ( a fear that developed from well meaning but nosey adults in Armenia) now that she is in America. He told her right to her face that he was NOT going to cut her arm off and she was very happy!!!! At this point his main concern is the scoliosis. He said that she is not a candidate for any limb lengthening procedures. He thought the pain in her lower left ribs was coming from the bones being deformed in that area and just irritating the surrounding tissues. He said that when she is older and she so chooses she may want to consider a type of "slip on prosthesis." But she would still have limited success with that because of having no shoulder rotation. He was also concerned about her bladder and kidneys stating that the limbs and kidneys for during the same time in utero. That many kids with deformed limbs have missing or deformed kidneys. He said that if she hasn't had any problems by now she was probably okay but it would still be a good idea to know what those organs looked like. The radiology tech confirmed two kidneys but could say much else. It did seems like she had a hard time getting a view of the left kidney but she said that was because of Rita's deformities. On a side note Rita told the tech "Hey you, knock it off..you make me pee"...when she was trying to get a view of Rita's bladder. I remember having ultra sounds when I was pregnant thinking for sure that I would pee right on that table because they had to push so hard!! Dr. Albert didn't have the results of the ultra-sound today so he will be in touch. He said that if everything was okay with the ultra-sound that he would just want to see her again in 6 months to monitor the scoliosis. When I looked at her x-rays I thought her spine looked bad but what do I know???

Then we were off to see Dr. Bloom. We literally ran through the halls to make our scheduled appointment time. Our family optometrist was 99% sure that Rita would need eye surgery. Once again Rita passed her vision exam with flying colors. Her English is so amazing that the nurse could use numbers verses just four weeks ago Dr. Dickman had to use the E's (E's arm's pointing this way or that way okay now that way or this way). She then had to have her eyes dilated which stinks for an adult so I can only imagine how annoying it is for a kid. The doctor came in and then put more dilating drops in so that poor girl was still dilated when she went to bed at 10:00 tonight!! Dr. Bloom confirmed that surgery was the only option for her strabismis. Because so many have asked us why not glasses or patches or vision therapy I asked the doctor if Rita would have been treated at a younger age could we have avoided surgery. He explained that even if he would have seen her as a baby her strabismis is such that surgery is her only option. He said that his part of the surgery would only take 15 minutes and that is was out patient. He said the main thing to keep in mind is that because of her age she is at higher risk for the first surgery not "taking" and her needing a second surgery. So his surgery office is supposed to call and schedule the surgery tomorrow. I have to admit Rita was quite a trooper today. I was very proud of her.


Sam said...

Sounds like a busy day! Kieren sees Dr. Bloom and Cullen saw Dr. Albert for his latest broken arm! Both are wonderful!!! Glad to see things are going well.

Anonymous said...

What a trooper she is! That fiesty personality serves her well :) My Dad is in ER doctor who trained some of the teams that the US sent to Gyumri back in 88. He even has a Soviet military helmet that they brought back for him as a gift. Funny how life comes full circle, now we are going to Gyumri for our son :)


Sonia said...

Dear Alison,

I am so glad that I had the chance to meet Rita, because I can just imagine her making these comments and the expressions on her face. God bless her, and congrats on making so much progress. I would love to hear about her progress with the strabismus because I read so much about it when I thought Annalea had it.

StaceynCorey said...

Wow, she is a trooper! That's so much to take in and I just love her comments to the ultrasound tech. Too funny. I also love how she counts to 10. Interesting about her having a wrist. Our daughter (Autumn) seems to have a wrist but the bones are not visable on x-ray yet because she's so young. I'll be interested to see if down the road she does in fact have a wrist.

mom 2 many said...

She is such a great little trooper! I'm impressed. Keep an eye on her back. K's has curved more than 40 degrees since we got her 2.5 years ago!!


Tracy said...

That is a busy day! Sorry I haven't been around, some how your link got misplaced:(

I am glad I found it because I missed seeing how all the Homan's are doing!

BTW, I had the eye surgery when I was Rita's age, seemed longer than 15 minutes, but I was asleep;)Still working fine except when I am really, really sleepy, then only my Mom and I can tell.