Well, we made it! Zoé blows my mind! she is such a trooper.
We left on Tuesday late afternoon, ate at a small cafe on the river in Sacramento, checked into our hotel. Unfortunately, Zoé sleeps so well at home, it is hard for her to adjust to a portable crib. We had a pretty difficult night and had to wake up at 4:30 am in order to be in the pre-op room by 5:30. Zoé was the surgeon's first case of the day.
Shriners is an amazing Children's Hospital, not your run of the mill kind of place, but a real kid-friendly medical center, where you don't feel that your child is a number. I guess that's why Joe, Dr. Rab's nurse greeted us there on our first visit by saying: "Welcome to the Shrine!".
After checking Zoé's vitals, we were escorted to the pre-op ward, where other kids we also waiting for their turn. The intern on Zoé's case came and introduced himself, then the anesthesiologist and his assistant explained exactly what medication they would definitely NOT use on Zoé, known as "muscle relaxant". They tend not to use them on kids, unless of an emergency procedure, and would definitely not use them on a child with a neuro-muscular disease.
The surgeon came in last, they administered Zoé some Valium, which I could have used myself, and whisked her away into the OR. We had brought her "doudou" Trotro (French term for comfy Blanket) and her little music box, and they took them in order to help Zoé's transition into a new place. Though Zoé's been through so much that another doctor or another place doesn't seem to bother her...of course, Valium probably helped her quite a bit.
We then had to wait in a waiting room, before seeing her after the surgery. We were greeted there by a volunteer, ex-doctor who explained why Sacramento is also called "Sack of potato" and funny stories that alleviated the stress we were both going through...
BACK FROM FRANCE 2 DAYS AGO. I AM NOW ABLE TO FINISH MY ACCOUNT OF ZOE'S SURGERY.
We then saw both surgeons and were told Zoé had done great. One parent was able to go into the recovery room and they told me that Zoé had asked for me. She was in a total state of what is called "emergence delirium". I have to admit I was quite freaked out, for she was screaming and nothing seemed to sooth her until they gave me a rocking chair, a video of Dora and a bottle with watered-down apple juice for Zoé. We stayed about an hour in the room and she was then ready to be transferred into her room two floors down.
She did great most of the afternoon, I spent the night on a cot in her room; we hadn't slept much the night before and were exhausted emotionally and physically.
That afternoon we went down to the play area where the Mayor of Sacramento came to read a story to the kids. We participated in a raffle and later on Zoé got to pet a beautiful dog (some animals -- rabbits, cats, dogs -- are often brought to Shriners to soothe kids. Zoé enjoyed Callie the Collie.
The following day, when we were ready to leave, Zoé got to meet Hare Bare the Clown. You can see a few clowns roaming the halls of Shriners they come and entertain children. Zoé first got completely freaked out when she saw the clown, I don't think she expected seeing such a sight, but I sang her our French clown song and she recovered quite nicely. She enjoyed the clown's hat with a little teddy bear on it...
The one amazing thing that happened at Shriners, and I like to add "only in America", they allowed Zoé to take her little Trotro donkey toy and her music box. What did I discover when I was rocking her after her surgery, they had casted Trotro too!!!!! Amazing. It has helped Zoé feel good about her cast, she and her fluffy toy both have one. Zoé likes to call her cast: "new shoe".
Well, I am sorry it has taken me so long to update you. I know some of you were worried, I would like to send a big hug to Gwen who even called from Mauritius to ask about Zoé. And all of you who had us in your thoughts and prayers.
The cast comes off next Tuesday. Suspense until then.
Zoé is now running with it, it is like the helmet, second skin.
Voila dear blog readers, until our next post we send our love