I don't really know what I am musing on these days. It's more like an irregular stream of consciousness thing...it seems to be working.


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w April 16, 2003

Flo's Daughters

We had to take Bean in to the hospital today for a brain/chest MRI...she's dealt with anesthesia before, but she's older and more crabby this time around, and the last time was just an opthalmological exam. Nevertheless, she was a champ, as usual, and the initial results look pretty good. Her cardio results were not nearly as complicated as we had been cautioned to believe, and we'll get the head results in the next day or so. Our cardiologist swung by post-op and told us the good news about the heart and his 'non-expert' opinion about the brain....it's there, and it fills the skull, and it's not immediately obvious that anything is funky. He's very laconic, and we adore him, truly. Thank you to Dr. Murphy (I won't link to anything---even cardiologists need privacy), and if any of y'all live near Stanford University and need a pediatric OR adult cardiologist, go see him, he's the man.

This huzzah, however, is really a paean to nurses, pediatric or otherwise. We haven't had to deal with hospitals as much as some families, but we've definitely done a couple of tours of duty, and I have to tell you, I am constantly amazed and impressed at the consistent good humor and compassion of ALL the nurses we've encountered. From the very beginning, when all of Bean's issues were either diagnosed or misdiagnosed, the only medical staff who even attempted to treat us like rational yet emotional human beings were the nurses. Midnight, two p.m., 6:30 a.m., didn't matter. They were unfailing kind and supportive, and made a lot of unpleasant experiences bearable.

Today's true huzzah goes to the nurse in the anesthesia/MRI unit who swung by, looked at Bean on the gurney, looked at the poor anesthesiology resident (nice guy, kind of flaky), looked at Bean and asked, "how did you plan to take her back to PACU? Where's the crib?". He just sort of looked at her, stupified, and couldn't figure out what to say. Apparently she got a crib, because Bean showed up in post-op in one, but it was pretty funny. I don't want to be nasty to the resident, because he really is a sweet guy, but it was also obvious who has their finger on the broader pulse.

I think maybe you had to be there, but we were kind of shooed out of the room without even getting an introduction to the MRI wizard, who was then overheard to say something about needing to stop her breathing for a (very) short time...no one filled us in on this. No one even intimated that this was a necessity. Is it a huge deal? No, of course not, she's right there with four million monitors on, but it was the principle of the thing. We've gotten this shrift a lot, and you get the feeling that parents are a sadly necessary and unwelcome nuisance for most doctors. From the nurses? Never.

I don't really know what I was trying to convey in this post...it's been a long and draining day, even with the positive outcomes, but I do know that Florence Nightingale started a very, very good thing with her nursing program, and I, for one, want to raise my current glass of wine to all the underpaid, overworked, and seemingly underappreciated nurses and nurses' aides out there. There is one family, at least, who knows they maybe couldn't have handled this all as well without you.

Thank you.

by Heather Hoffman at 9:15 PM

w April 12, 2003

Food Nirvana

We have found it. Thanks to a clever and food-loving friend of ours, we undertook to try the House of Soul Food in Santa Clara.

Picture this: spicy and messy BBQ link sausages, chicken, crusty-topped mac & cheese, hot and peppery collard greens, studded with chunks of pork, cornbread to die for, and a huge pile of the best fried okra I've ever had. My only gripe is that the tea was unsweetened, but two Equals later, it tasted perfect. We sort of slobbered and gobbled and stared at each other over our dripping chins and thought, "we have attained food Nirvana".

The tagline for HOSF is "Our food is soul good". I'd have to agree.

by Heather Hoffman at 11:06 AM