Okay. Now that mommy and Ronan have both had a much needed nap, lets go.
I put Ronan in the car and left my house by 7:25am. The drive from my place to KJ’s place is about 2 miles, with several stop lights in between. Seriously, keeping Ronan awake for that distance was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. He was SO exhausted! I was yelling at him, shaking his car seat, tapping him on the head and shoulder, pulling on his arm and wiggling his fingers – his little eyes just kept on closing. I ended up having to startle him over and over, feeling HORRIBLY cruel, and making him cry. I told myself that crying was better than sleeping, and if he fell asleep we’d have to do it all again.
KJ got in the car, and I hadn’t seen her in a few weeks, so we kept trying to talk. Then one of us would see Ronan’s eyes slowly close, and we’d interrupt the other by SHOUTING… eventually we both just focused on keeping Ronan awake for the drive. It was the longest 20 minutes of my life.
We got to the hospital just before 8 and went to Admitting. All they did was pull his file out of a folder, put a bracelet on his wrist and then mine, and get a volunteer to take us to EEG.
Roger was the name of the sweet old man that guided us through the hospital. He smiled at Ronan again and again. He dropped us off at the EEG waiting area and left. The tech came out and told us she was just going to get everything ready, and would be right back.
About two minutes later, she came out and said she was ready. She took us around a corner to a tiny room, maybe 5 feet by 6 feet, with a stretcher, a counter with a sink, and a computer station on wheels. All four of us crammed into the little green room with Finding Nemo stickers on the wall. I noticed that on the stretcher was a nifty device that looked a little like a TV remote, only it had about 30 wires coming out of it. On the end of each of the wires was a little golden metal ‘cup’. It didn’t take much imagination to figure out how those were used. BUT, let me tell you, it’s nothing like what you see on TV – little electrodes placed all over the head neatly and cleanly. There was NOTHING clean about this.
She first used a tape measure to mark his head with a red grease marker. She marked something like 28 little places down the center, an inch from lateral, 2 inches from lateral, and ear level on both sides. Then, she used a q-tip and an exfoliating scrub on every one of the marks she’d made. Ronan sat far more still than I EVER would have expected while this strange lady played all over his head. Next, she scooped a thick, gummy paste with each one of the ‘cups’ and smooshed it down onto his head. It looked a little like cake icing, and she covered each paste-cup with a square of gauze. We had to fight with Ronan most of the time to keep him from reaching up and pulling the wires off.
Once she’d gotten his head covered in cups, she put two sticky pads on his cheeks to monitor facial movements, and a pad on his chest to monitor his EKG. She wrapped his whole head in gauze to keep the cups on and then let me try to put him to sleep.
At that very moment, construction workers above us started working. It was so loud we couldn’t hear ourselves think. I just started laughing. Honestly, I thought he would probably go to sleep anyways, but I wasn’t very optimistic. The tech called her supervisor, who called the construction team and told them to be quiet – no talking, no working – until 10:30 when we would be through. About 5 minutes later, the working ceased and I laid down on the stretcher and cuddled with Ronan. I patted his back and he was out in less than 3 minutes.
The tech started asking me questions for her study, and it was hard to talk quietly with Ronan laying on my chest, so I shuffled him to the side, scooted out from under him, and laid him down on the stretcher on his own. I wish I would have taken a picture. He was so peaceful, even with his adorable headwrap. I asked how long he would be monitored for and she said they needed about an hour of information. Maybe 25 minutes later, the construction workers started again. They were making a HUGE racket, and Ronan began to stir. The tech was livid, but she said there was probably enough information for us to be through. She asked me to try to wake him up, and I quietly said his name while rubbing his back, which normally only takes a moment or two before he would startle awake. This time? I got to where I was nearly shouting his name, and firmly patting his butt – he slept right through it. Eventually I had to pick him up, and it was finally enough to rouse him. He was NOT a happy camper.
The tech grabbed a wet wash cloth and wiped out as much of the goop as she could. She said that the Pediatric Neurologist would read the study that day, and then, told us how to get to Radiology. We said our goodbyes and went on our way.
Once in Radiology, they checked us in and said we’d be going back in just a few minutes. A few minutes turned into an hour for my poor boy that woke up angry, hungry, and still tired. I let him walk around, and he charmed everyone that he saw. Somehow, despite the day, he was full of smiles, grins and jabbers for all of the hospital workers we came across. When they finally called our name, we went back into a floroscopy room and got ready. Ronan had to take his shirt off, and KJ and I had to wear lead aprons. We waited another 20 minutes in the room for a Radiologist to show up, and then we got started.
We laid him on his back on the table, and the doctor started shooting. The Floro does a constant small dose radiation so he can line the baby up and see what he needs to see, then snap an image of it. They gave him a bottle with barium in it, and he ate it gladly. They kept him on his back, turned him right, then left, then right, then left, then right again. The radiologist said he was having a hard time getting the barium to empty out of his stomach, but that that could be normal in some kids. He also said that Ronan had some mild reflux, but not to a severe degree. She said it was more likely an amount that you see in almost all kids. He finished up and told me that he would be dictating the study immediately and that my doctor would have the final report in about half an hour.
So we left!
I gave Ronan a bottle of milk and some graham crackers, and immediately he was all smiles. We loaded up the car, drove home, and this was the smile that greeted me when I opened the door to get him out.
I don’t know what the results will tell us. I don’t know what will come of this. I don’t know if it will end up being nothing at all or something terribly serious. I do know, however, that I really am the world’s luckiest mom.