Monday, August 25, 2008

Clinic day again.

As much fun as we had upstate this weekend, in the back of my mind I was brooding over the upcoming clinic visit Jordan had scheduled this Monday morning. As always, I was dreading it. I was also debating the right moment and manner in which to let him know he had to see the doctors again. I didn't mention it during the trip to the grandparents because it seemed cruel and pointless to stress him out and ruin his good time. But by Sunday night, after we got home and settled in, I knew it was time to bring it up.

In the past, we've gone back and forth about how best to prepare Jordan for a clinic visit. When he was younger, it wasn't an issue. We just packed him up in the morning and strapped him in the car. It's not so simple anymore.

Now that he can verbalize his fear and articulate every shade of emotion as he experiences it, we owe it to him to prepare him for unpleasant experiences. At the same time, we can't tell him too far in advance or it becomes meaningless or worse - something to stress about. So, I compromised and told him the afternoon before.

As expected, he reacted with dismay.

"Don't want to see Dr. A----. I don't want her to listen to my heart. I want to stay home. I'm just playing in the playroom."

And other variations of the same.

But, we've learned some tricks along the way. One thing I like to do is redirect his attention to something he can do to reassert some control over the situation. In this case, I suggested we bring along his stethoscope so that he could listen to the doctor's heart while she examined him. He liked this idea, so we practiced using his stethoscope for awhile.

I made sure to pack it this morning in his "special Jordan bag." The bag was part of a birthday goodie bag gift, which I thought was very cute. It came in handy today.

I'm pleased to report that clinic today went well. We had a blood draw, which was stressful and teary. Six blood vials later, Jordan emerged. He recovered quickly and met with the pediatric transplant nurse practitioner, whom he addressed very nicely. As we walked down the hall, he introduced himself to other people he encountered with the following exchange:

Jordan: Hi!

random person: Hi there.

Jordan: What's your name?

RP: My name is ---. What's your name?

Jordan: My name is Jordan. It's nice to meet you, RP.

Jeff and I were cracking up. He can be very cute when he wants to.

One very long echo cardiogram and an EKG later, we waited for the meeting with the cardiologist. I'm really proud of how well Jordan behaved. There's a video game in the waiting room, which attracts a lot of attention among the kiddie set. Jordan displayed good manners in taking turns with other patients and didn't fuss when his turn was over. I can't say some of the other kids behaved as well.

And he was even cooperative with the technicians during procedures and with the doctor doing the exam. I couldn't have asked for much more. During the discussion with his cardiologist, we talked about various concerns. Much remains to be seen as Jordan gets older. My greatest desire is to have the reassurance that everything will be great, that he'll grow up healthy and normal and developmentally on track. No one can tell me that or give me big picture perspectives on any of this. But then again, no one gets that guarantee for their kids, in any situation. All we can do is hang in there and try to live the best life we can right now.

There are some interesting developments in the transplant field. The cardiologist spent a few moments addressing some topics we raised with her, which was a welcome conversation. There's lots to hope for in the future. Hope is good. Hope keeps me happy, particularly when I see how far Jordan has come.

By this evening, all was forgotten.
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