Clinic Day #51

April 13, 2011

We got to meet Champ at Medical Play!

We really didn’t expect Tanner’s counts to come up to 1,000 or above today. Generally, counts below 500 take a while to come back up so we were genuinely surprised when Tanner’s neutraphils came back at 1,040 today!!!

I told Tanner, we high-fived in celebration and then she immediately asked, “Can I make to school for recess?” Too funny.

We missed recess, but we did high-tail it back in time for her to spend the afternoon happily at school. At pick-up, she bounced to the car with a big smile on her face and asked if we could play outside when we got home… which we did.

We got to see one of Tanner’s all-time favorite nurses today, too! Blaire was Tanner’s ER nurse that first touch-and-go night when she was lifeflighted to Vanderbilt two years ago. Then, she happened to also be our nurse when we first heard in the ER that Tanner probably had leukemia. Traumatic situations make for tight bonds. Blaire is now a advanced practice nurse in the ER ICU, so we haven’t seen her in a while (thankfully). We loved seeing her; she still keeps up with Tanner through Tanner Time.

Tanner and Blaire in 2009

So that’s the good news… here’s the part that keeps me from celebrating too much, though. We started back at 50% chemo dosage today and go in next Wednesday for her monthly IV Vincristine and a lumbar puncture with methotrexate… her Final Spinal. No rest for weary bone marrow, I tell you. Makes me a little nervous to pile so much chemo on as soon as her counts recover, but this is how cancer treatment works. You don’t stop for much of anything. Call us cautiously optimistic.

Many of you have been asking about Sleeping Beauty tickets. They went on sale today. You can get tickets by calling the Boilerroom Theatre in Franklin at 615-794-7744. The shows are on Saturday, May 21 at 3 pm; Sunday, May 22 at 7 pm; and Monday, May 23 at 7 pm. The theater is tiny (holds about 120) so call quickly for tickets. You’ll want to arrive at the theater ½ hour before to get a good seat. I must ask, for fear that we might sell out the theater with Tanner fans and some poor parent might actually miss her kid in his premiere, for you to please consider one of the evening shows. The matinee is very popular with families.

Thanks to everyone for the good mojo!!!!


House Calls

December 15, 2009

Well, Jake’s school stint lasted two days. He has a cold and I had to keep him home today. He missed his Christmas party, bless his heart. And, I was supposed to take Tanner to see Princess and the Frog while he was at school, so that was also a no go. We’re hoping Tanner doesn’t catch the cold and end up spending Christmas at the hospital.

BUT, the day was saved by a special visitor… Tanner’s favorite ER nurse, Blaire, came to play. Seriously, how amazing is that? Blaire was Tanner’s nurse back in March when Tanner was lifeflighted to Vanderbilt for a Bactrim reaction. All that long night, while John and I sat in chairs and hung on to hope that Tanner would make it through the night, and that someone would figure out what was wrong with her and be able to fix it, Blair was there. She was quiet and competent and sweet to my child and to John and I.

The next time we were in the Vanderbilt ER was on May 30; the pediatrician had sent us in after having spent most of the night at Williamson Medical Center’s ER with excruciating back pain. We were sent home having been told that Tanner was constipated. The next morning, after not sleeping for most of the night due to the pain, Tanner developed a fever and we went to the pediatrician’s office. They sent us to Vanderbilt where she had numerous tests and were told that she most likely had leukemia. Again, Blaire was there, this time with Megan (who Tanner also loves). I think going through that kind of trauma bonds you in a strange, but powerful, way. Blaire and Megan came to visit Tanner while she was in the hospital that first week, even bringing gifts for her. They said they rarely get to see what happens to their patients after they leave the ER. We thought they were amazing.

A month ago, Tanner needed a blood transfusion and John took her to the ER. Guess who was there?!!! Blaire! I think it’s unusual to keep getting the same nurse like that when there are so many shifts and the Vanderbilt Children’s ER is so big.

Blaire contacted me through the blog the other day. She said she had the week off and would love to come play with Tanner. Of course, we said yes. Today, she and Tanner danced, dressed up Build-a-Bears, played restaurant and doctor, and even played wii. Tanner loved it. She needed it. I don’t have the stamina to play with that kind of intensity anymore… I’m burnt out on pretending.

I think it is amazing for a nurse that sees sick kids all day at work to choose to spend her time off with a sick kid. But, honestly, that’s been our experience at Vanderbilt. John and I say constantly how awesome it is that the people that work there are unfailingly compassionate. For example, when Tanner has a CT scan, you can only imagine that she is the 20th kid the tech has scanned that day, but you would never know it. They are kind to her, and kind to us. They genuinely care.

We are so fortunate to have a hospital like Vanderbilt so close by. I keep up with the CaringBridge site of a little girl named Kinsee that has T-cell ALL and just had a bone marrow transplant. She lives in a small town in West Tennessee and travels to St. Jude for treatment. When she is in intensive phases of treatment or her counts are low, she and her mom have to live at the Ronald McDonald House or the Target House. I can’t imagine how disruptive this is during what is already an unbelievably stressful ordeal.

Today, Blair reminded us of just how lucky we are. Not only do we live 20 minutes from Vanderbilt, they make house calls! I meant to take a picture of Tanner and Blaire for the post, but forgot. Tanner says Blaire took some with her phone. Maybe she’ll send them to me (hint, hint) and I’ll post them if she doesn’t mind.