Monday, August 31, 2009

First trip to Shriner Hospital

Kalysa and I made our first trip to Shreveport for an appointment at the Shriner hospital. We left Okc about 8 in the morning on Wednesday in a Shriner van. About an hour away we stopped and picked up two more patients that also had appointments. The shriners let Kalysa check out a portable DVD player and a movie.

She spent most of the ride watching "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang." It took us about 7 hours so we are all VERY thankful that the DVD player had head phones:) ! We stopped for lunch at a Mcdonalds and then the driver also stopped at a Russel Stovers store and bought all three kids a big bag of jelly beans. After we got to town, we checked into the motel that the Shriners had set up for us. After settling in a little, we all went to supper at CiCi's pizza. The entire community seems to have embraced the Shriners and the children they help. We got supper for free and there are a few other restaurants that apparently do the same thing for the Shriner patients. After supper, we had a free evening at the motel.

Kalysa wanted to go to the pool but I did not bring any suits so I told her she could just play on the steps. I was not planning on getting wet myself until Kalysa stepped off the bottom step and could not touch bottom so I ended up jumping in with my clothes on to grab her. After that she was done with swimming. We headed back to the room for baths and a little relaxing.

Keslee had called me 3 times and was really missing her mama. She wanted to know EVERYTHING about the trip and our room..."Are there 2 beds or one? Is there a tv? Is it a big screen? Do they give you soap? What color is the soap? It is white, I thought it would be blue. Do you have a sink? Is there a bathroom? You have a Dr. Pepper, where did you get it? How do you get ice? Is there any chairs by the pool?...." Kalysa and I went around and took pictures of everything from the toilet to the pop machines to the tv to the pool to the ice machine so that Keslee could see it all when we got home.
Here is Kalysa standing beside the van that we rode down on.

And here is the Shriner that drove the van.
The next morning we had to be up at 6 am. We had breakfast at the motel and then checked out and headed to the hospital by 7am. We all checked in and waited for our appointments. The hospital is completely geared toward the children so the entire lobby is full of fun things for the kids to do. Normally the kids are expected to sit in the waiting room and be quiet but here they had toys and rocking horses and tricycles and games. Kalysa instantly met up with another little boy about 3 years old and they raced all around on the bikes. When it was finally her turn, we went into the gait lab and she had to walk back and forth on a little path while being video taped. Next they did lots of measurements and stretches to verify and note her range of movement and her strength. Then she was taped up with little silver balls at each of her joints and electrodes taped to her muscles and she had to walk the path again. There were special cameras mounted all around the room that picked up the little balls and made a digital image of her on the computer. We got to watch her little digital robot walking on the screen. It was kinda like watching a "the making of..." for a digital cartoon movie.

The balls were not actually lit up but the flash from the camera reflected off of them resulting in "Kalysa the Christmas tree". She TOTALLY did not want to wear the little bikini top and kept trying to cover up but it was necessary for all the electrodes to be seen by the cameras. The 2 lab techs that were doing the tests were ladies and they assured her they would not let any boys in while she had it on. The tests took about 2 hours to complete. The doctor will now go over all the information collected (I was told it will take him about 4 hours to process it all) and customize a plan for her surgery specific to her needs. After we finished, we found our party, both other boys were finished with their appointments, and headed home. We stopped at a little buffet for lunch and everyone got to eat for $2.50 each. One of the cooks came out and gave our driver a wad of cash to give the Shriners to help with travel expenses. We got home about 6:30 pm. The trip was pleasant and it was really great to see the support of the community for the Shriner kids. I feel much more at ease now that I have been to the hospital and seen the environment. Kalysa took it all in as one big adventure and she did great. It is now about a month until our next trip for surgery. I am praying that the Shriners will allow Monty and I both to ride the van then. I was told it is possible if the van is not full with other patients and because she will be staying for surgery. My mom will be on vacation that week and will keep Kenyon and Keslee. She is planning on making the trip down when Kalysa has surgery and we are praying for her to have the finances to do so. If you would pray with us on these things, it would be greatly appreciated-and of course for the doctors and Kalysa's safety during surgery.


kc said...

That is absolutely WONDERFUL!!! I know they will be led in the right direction and get Kalysa all fixed up-not that lil booger has ever been broken:))

Anonymous said...

What a huge blessing and comfort for you and your family. It sounds like they take great care of their littlest ones and the mama's too! I will add Kalysa's surgery and your mom's travel details to my prayer list.
Love to you all,

Anonymous said...

Oh, guys... I miss you and this makes me miss you more. I pray for you and am glad that all went well during your visit. God will bless you guys for the next.

And yes, i smiled and even laughed a little and know that Jesus loves me and you. Cheers. Love Trese

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