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My daughter, my hero

February 13th, 2008 · 1 Comment

Tori was dressed in her new leotard for gymnastics; she has not gone to her gymnastic class since the holidays.  She was really excited to start her classes again.  The three of us were sitting down for dinner.  Her class was about an hour away.  Travis took a bite of his dinner and a “lightening bolt” of pain shot through the left side of his face.  His eyes got watery and he said that he felt dizzy.  He sat quietly for a few minutes but the pain did not subside.  Tori grew concerned and offered to skip her gymnastics class so that we could take Travis to the hospital. 

Travis went upstairs and called his flight surgeon to let him know what had happened.  Tori and I stayed downstairs to clean up dinner.  Tori started to cry, she told me that she hates seeing Travis and pain and she is tired of him not feeling well.  I explained to her that I felt the same way but that Travis has fought through 2 major surgeries and that he can fight through this new obstacle.

I send Tori upstairs to change into comfortable clothes and suggest that she pack a backpack with a blanket and some things to keep her occupied.  I check on Travis who confirms with me that his flight surgeon wants him to go to the hospital.  I pack my backpack with one of my textbooks and a highlighter and a couple bottles of water.

We arrived at the hospital and went directly to the CT Scan area to meet Travis’s flight surgeon.  As always, seeing the flight surgeon brought me a sense of comfort and safety.  We spoke with his flight surgeon for a while and he told us to have the radiologist call him after the CT  Scan was complete.  The three of us waited patiently for about two hours before Travis was called for his turn.  Tori tried to get some rest while I studied for my class.

After the CT Scan we headed down to the emergency room.  We checked in and took a seat.  The ER was FILLED with people, mostly parents with ill babies.  Tori found a seat and again tried to get comfortable with her blanket.  The waiting room was bright and loud.  It took hours for Travis to be called for his turn.  When we checked in we gave a detailed description of Travis’s medical history and the new problem Travis was having but all the clerk would note was, “patient has headache on left side.”  We believe that this is the reason that we were left sitting for HOURS in the waiting room of the ER.

When Travis was finally called to go back we left Tori in the waiting room and followed the nurse to the bed.  We sat and waited for a few minutes and then was approached by a doctor who asked Travis, “how is your headache feeling?” We explained to the doctor that Travis did not have a “headache”.  We told him about Travis’s medical history and gave him a detailed description of what brought him to the ER.  The doctor advised us that Travis could not be helped in that area and that he would need to be moved to another area because of the seriousness of his condition. 

All the while, Tori was sitting alone in the ER waiting room.  It was now late at night and it was a school night.  So Travis gets put into a new bed in a new area of the ER.  Another doctor came in to see Travis and ask him what was going on.  Travis and I explained to him how Travis was feeling and the doctor advised us that he wanted to do a spinal tap.  We were not happy about this because twice before doctors had mentioned doing this painful procedure to Travis and then later decided that it was not needed.  So I talked to Travis about it and we decided that if the doctor wants to do it then we should probably let him.  Then I ran back to the waiting room to check on Tori and give her an update on Travis.  A lady at the reception desk advised me to limit my trips to check on her because the hospital does not like people going back and forth.  What was I really suppose to do?  We do not have a babysitter for Victoria and we were not comfortable leaving her home alone at night for who knows how long.  We did not want her going back to see Travis getting treated because it would have been too traumatic for her to see Travis and other patients being cared for.

So after I check on Tori and tell her that Travis is okay, I return to Travis.  This time another doctor is checking on him and asking him questions.  This doctor informs us that a spinal tap is not necessary (thank god) and that they wanted to do blood work on him.  A corpsman (military nurse) comes in and starts an IV on Travis and draws some blood.  Travis sits there for a while and I began feeling very uncomfortable leaving Tori alone in the waiting room so I return to the waiting room and tell Travis to call me on the cell phone if he needs me. 

When I return to the waiting room I see Tori sprawled out across three chairs (the chairs had arms) with her blanket over her face.  She somehow managed to fall asleep.  I sat next to her in the waiting room and stared at her and started thinking.

I am so proud of my daughter for the strength and maturity she has gained from this entire experience.  She has also learned about sacrifice.  I hate that she had to give up her gymnastics class that night. And I hate that she has had to give up so much because of Travis’s brain tumor.  The whole thing is really not fair to her.  But she has never complained about the sacrifices that she has had to make.  Rather, she is always concerned about Travis’s well being.  I love her so much and I hate that she had to learn these tough life lessons but I am proud of her for the ways that she has adapted and grown through these last two years.

And in case you are wondering what the outcome of the whole ER trip was…  We left the ER at about 3:00am, the diagnosis…TMJ.  They could not figure out what caused the pain or why it suddenly came on when Travis now bites down or sneezes so they said that all it was is TMJ.  Something the we already knew that he had.  So the entire 8 hours in the ER was pretty much a waste of time.  Luckily, Travis did not have the spinal tap done.

Tags: daughter · emergency room · everyday life · family · Tori · Victoria