Sunday, September 19, 2010


     This past week, B had two specialist appointments. We saw a pediatric gynecologist on Wednesday. What an incredible specialty. Only two such specialists practice in Vancouver. We discussed suppressing B's menstrual cycle, because I don't think she will have the ability to handle it, and the public health nurse, her pediatrician, and her neurologist all agree. B will not remember to check and change her pads, and would likely need physical help to do that. I want to spare her the stress of having to do all that.
     Our choices are hormonal treatments, of which there are less choices than with adult women, or a Mirena IUD, if her uterus is large enough to accommodate one. I don't want to do anything that will affect her ability to have children in the future. I don't feel that I should make that choice for her, and certainly not now. Nor do I want to affect her libido in any way, as I have no reason to expect that she will not want to have loving, sexual relationships when she becomes an adult.
     We have to wait until she menstruates to do anything, but the appointment answered my questions, and helped me to feel like I've made a good choice. Before the appointment, I showed her videos on menstruation, and then some on fetal development. The one on fetal development had a rotating 3-D representation of a fetus and, for some reason, B found it uproariously funny. She laughed all the way through it, then ran into the kitchen and yelled, "I am a fetus. I am just developing arms!" then she started spinning and said, "Now I am at 26 weeks," and laughed herself into hysterics. I laughed because of her laughter, but I remain unclear on why she found it so very funny. I suppose that I've just not mined fetal development as a source of comedy, but I should start.
     In the waiting room she played with a Rube Goldberg machine. It has two wheels that, when you turn them, move balls up and down a complex series of buckets and ramps. Even I find it very captivating. As she played with it, a young boy about her age came in with his grandmother. He seemed very angry about something, flopping down in a chair, crossing his arms, and giving Grandma the old stink eye. But then he saw B, turning the wheels on the machine, and he went over and asked if he could play. She said sure, and he sat down and started giving directions, to which she kept replying, "I know that," growing quickly annoyed at him.
     "Do you come here a lot?" he asked her, "I do. I am a hemophiliac. Do you know what that means? It means I have special blood. If I cut myself," he drew a hand across his arm, "I could bleed to death!"
     She turned to him and said, "Do you know that I had a stroke? Do you know what a stroke is? It is when a blood clot goes into your brain. If you had a seizure, you would scream!"
     "Oh," he said. And then they repeated the whole conversation.
     I found the conversation fascinating, sad, funny, and very revealing. B does not usually volunteer so much information, and I found myself thinking that the two of them would make good friends. But grandma did not look very happy and I let it go. Children's hospital is very stressful, and you have to get a good read on people before you just approach them.
     On Friday, we saw her neurologist. Apparently I had missed some calls the day before changing the time from 9:30 a.m. to noon, but after some phone calls the doctor came in at 10:30, so we didn't wait long. The nurse took B for weighing and blood pressure, and I went right into the doctor. We have decided to change her meds, from Lamotrigine and Epival, to Epival and Tegretol. The next few weeks will prove stressful, as I wean her slowly off the Lamotrigine while slowly increasing the Tegretol. That means taking three seizure meds until the process finishes. As usual, I hope this combination will work, but have to remain practical that it might not.
     After we got home, the doctor's nurse phoned to tell me that when she had B alone, in response to the nurse's casual chat while she weighed her, B had said she wanted to blow up her school. She doesn't mean that, of course, she picked it up somewhere, and it entered into her series of perseverations that occur when she feels anxious. But, of course, the nurse does have to report it to me, and I have to report it to her new counsellor who will take over her therapy in October. I have had many talks with her about why saying such things might scare people, and had another talk with her after talking to nurse, during which she felt awful, guilty, and embarrassed despite mine and Andrew's assurances that we know she doesn't mean it, didn't mean to say it, and that we both love her.
     In other news, she had two seizures this week, one on Wednesday crossing First Ave. at Commercial, which scared me because I had to hold up the traffic, and one tonight, in the bathtub. I can't pick her up anymore, so I will have to get a bath chair or something, because trying to move her around the bathtub has become very difficult.


  1. thank you for sharing this, you are truly an incredible parent, and Andrew: the best B could have

  2. I know every case of seizures is different, but I've had such tremendous luck with Tegretol - particularly the XR formulation - that I can't help but feel good knowing that B will be taking it. :)

    Cute story about the boy in the waiting room. Maybe you'll see them again and g-ma will be in a better, more approachable mood.