Tag Archive | Skyline Cafe

Son’s Surgery Stream-of-Consciousness

So I’m back in the University of Michigan Hospital for yet another surgery for my son, Josiah.  This is now his 18th surgery…but thankfully not one of the biggies (Open Heart, Brain Tumor, or Liver Transplant).  During the pre-op preparations he told one of the cute nurses “Surgeries are my hobby!”…& being autistic he wasn’t exactly joking…

This is the first time he is having the surgery In the New Mott Children’s portion of the hospital.  The last 2 surgeries were in the adult hospital even though the New Mott was available.  His Liver Transplant being done in the University Hospital was more of a challenge since we were told it would be done in Mott & he/we weren’t prepared for the lower key aspect of care on the adult side.  Being autistic, a Developmental Disability, means that my son is in many ways “younger” than his chronological age & he still appreciates at least some aspects of Pediatric medical care.

Today’s surgery involves the Pediatric Urologist, as these are birth related defects that require intervention.  I believe he may always need to see the Pediatric Urologist if he has further issues in this domain as an adult Urologist wouldn’t be familiar with the particular needs & concerns that go along with birth defect concerns…at least that’s the rationale why he will always be seen by Pediatric Cardiology for his Congenital Heart defects & cardiovascular management, so I’m assuming it may be similar with Uro.

Today I’m really tired from a lack of sleep for the last few days…& possibly additionally fatigued by some degree of emotional strain, just because surgery is still scary & dangerous even if it’s not being done on a vital organ, per se…I doubt that there will be much good sleep in his hospital room tonight either, but maybe he’ll be lower key in the post-op phase & both of us can get some naps in…

Being at U of M is fairly “routine” for Josiah & I so we may not be so cognizant of how many other people who are here for medical care are facing dire experiences.

The electronic computer screen in the Pediatric Waiting Area on the 2nd floor of New Mott has space for 78 cases…& 77 of these spaces were filled in–Wow!  I wonder if PCTU (Peds Cardio-Thoracic Unit) still has its own separate waiting room like it did back when Josiah experienced his 2 Open Heart Surgeries, if so there could be more than 80+ kids having surgery here today…Honestly that could be the case any way in that the 78 case space may only reflect the current cases.  Josiah’s surgeon had at least 3 surgeries today & certainly many of the other surgeons would have more than one surgical case/day.

Although J & I usually feel comfortable & safe here at U of M there are many others here that may be completely overwhelmed.  I know when I first came here when Josiah was an infant & transferred here from his birth hospital by ambulance the whole experience was surreal & intense.  I hope most of these kids & families are just briefly passing through & not looking at lifelong care in multiple arenas of intensity like with Josiah.

I went to Guest Assistance to get a new Parking Pass, & am glad that they have finally reverted to issuing them for 3 months, not just one.  It’s a blessing that they provide this service for people of limited means.  I’m also thankful for the possibility of getting some reimbursement from Josiah’s Insurance for meal costs.  It somewhat takes me back to those more intense days where I’d get those vouchers from Social Work & then go down to the Hospital Cashier on weekdays to get those funds…I’m also thankful for U of M’s financial assistance program that allowed me to personally get some medical without having further out of pocket costs beyond what our insurance provided!  If not for that assistance I likely wouldn’t have taken care of certain medical needs, at least not as quickly because the out-of-pocket costs would have been prohibitive…

I’m so thankful for the amazing quality of care Josiah has received at U of M for these 2+ decades!  This place & the people who work here are blessings!!!

This is the first surgery that had me issued with a pager that could display text messages.  Though that is quite convenient to get written updates it also reflects the diminishing of personal contact & care that a face to face with an OR nurse or student doctor could provide.  There are pros & cons with either approach…hmm.

This is the first surgery we’ve experienced with a group of people praying for us who are also checking in & communicating online to the degree the other blogs have been (CTH & Stella’s).  It’s bittersweet in that these are people we don’t personally know but they seem, in some respects, more interested & invested in what’s happening with Josiah than some of the family, friends, & church family we have…I wonder if I was “on Facebook” if there would be more of those type of interactions–but I doubt I’ll ever join & find out.

Tonight being the night for Skyline Café, the free food & music event that happens on Thursday evenings, I hope that I’ll be able to get a “real” meal there, since it’s only got a one hour window & it might just overlap when Josiah is getting out from under anesthesia.  I meant to pack up some type of lunch for our trip today, but my sleeplessness lead to even more forgetfulness than usual so I forgot!  At least there are some snacks in my collection of hospital trip crap to help tide me/him over.  I really hope the staff remember to give Josiah dextrose to help with blood sugar…

Gotta page to talk with the doctor so gotta run!…

Shorthand Hospital Run…

Image result for u of m hospital

from a Bing.com image search for “U of M Hospital”

So my son, Josiah, and I returned to the University of Michigan Hospital today because I’d rescheduled his MRI of the head (aka Brain Scan) from yesterday afternoon to this morning, so he could participate in a special needs social event last night.  We rarely have back to back hospital runs so this was kind of “fun”…

Image result for u of m hospital

from a Bing.com image search for “U of M Hospital”

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from a Bing.com image search for “who heals you of all your diseases scripture”

  • Up late, running late, getting to the hospital “on time” cause we left a cushion!
  • No traffic “cops” at the parking structure entrance like yesterday (when a screaming motorist & screaming parking lot “enforcement” personnel made me think someone just might pull a weapon–it’s Detroit area, after-all–& for once Josiah decided to Not escalate an already tense situation!)
  • Doing loop-de-loops in the parking structure looking for a space…and Josiah feels some dizziness coming on (he’d already complained how he got dizzy at his recent Liver MRI & was concerned about dizziness from the procedure)
  • Offering to drop J off near the entrance we might use (depending on what level I actually get to park on) & he finally takes me up on the offer–so hoping he actually follows instructions & waits in the right place–praying all the way…
  • making our way through the various “buildings” (interconnected) of the hospital complex to the appropriate elevators & descending to sub-basement B-2
  • walking the halls to the Adult MRI department (his Liver MRI was in the Mott Pediatric part of the hospital the other day) with Josiah getting spooked (it looks older & less kid friendly here) and saying that it looks like we’re going to the morgue (where we’ve never been but maybe he has in video games or shows?)
  • filling out the “abbreviated” pre-procedure forms (3 pages)–thankfully they don’t ask about All Organ Systems, like the pre-op paperwork, for that level of recall is really exhausting
  • Josiah wants to fill out his own forms (which is great)–I finish page one & give him page 2 and he gets stumped right out of the gate when descriptions of prior heart surgeries/devices are needed–sigh–I want to support his independence, but I know these things better, can write in an adult hand (his printing is large & grade-schoolish), and he’s already said he doesn’t want talking so wouldn’t appreciate the amount of verbiage needed to “coach” him here…I complete p 2 & he refuses p 3…
  • no problems in changing, getting a locker (I keep the key for him), nor getting an IV–I’m not allowed back with him (he’d requested me to accompany him at the Liver MRI) and he actually goes along with the staff without issue!
  • I remind the technician that he got dizzy when they moved him in and out of the other MRI machine & she says she can accommodate him there…since he didn’t complain of dizziness afterward it appeared like things went OK!
  • sitting in the waiting room working on a book (I finished), a sudoku puzzle, and a word search…then perusing a number of photo based magazines where I’m bombarded with guilt-trips of the leftist agenda ad nauseum–sigh…no napping…a TV blasts out of sight while trying to sleep & I recognize Chip & Joanna Gaine’s voices from the Fixer Upper TV show…but too tired to attempt to watch this
  • he’s done & we depart without issues & decide to swing by the “interfaith” chapel that’s just outside the elevator on our return trip to the 2nd floor
  • We are alone in the “chapel” so we search for any signs that Christianity is even one of the faiths that might be represented in that room…there’s no cross visible, but prominent Islamic paraphernalia, slightly reserved Judaism items, and eventually a “New Testament with Psalms” Josiah unearths under one of the seats
  • Josiah reads a Psalm from the lectern (we’re in full view of some security camera–yikes, does it have audio?), I sing a version of the 23rd Psalm aloud.  Josiah and I both pray aloud for many things/people “in Jesus’ name”.  Josiah begins singing “How Great Thou Art”–a song that always reminds me of my father & the first church of my childhood–solo (he asks me to Not join in) when a swarthy looking young man enters & sits adjacent to the Islamic prayer rug; J voluntarily stops singing & we decide to leave to give the other person privacy
  • Traversing 3 different buildings to get to the Family Resource Center, where we use the computers & partake of complementary snacks/drinks
  • strike up a conversation with Cameron & his mom about Cameron’s medical needs (brain tumor found 4/30, two surgeries, stroke, etc)–he’s wearing some type of helmet to cover his missing skull…I offer to post his prayer needs on my CarePages medical blog & they agree…we give pointers about living at the hospital etc.
  • J & I both work on both CarePages.com and on WordPress.com blog accounts and attend to some email business at adjacent computers
  • I decide to use one of the consult rooms to call my husband (I don’t have a cell phone) & they are now locked, a new development since my last usage
  • get a staff person to let me in and complimenting her on her new hairstyle leads to an in-depth discussion about her recent Cancer & Heart Attack scare.  We share various stories about medical issues, hospital employment (in my former life), and dealing with overwhelming emotions.  We go on a bit about Transplant issues, me from the family perspective & her from working as staff in an organ procurement organization.  She tells of a family that she turned down as a transplant donor because they didn’t want any of their son’s organs going to any N-words–Wow!
  • we’re interrupted by a volunteer & later an MSW co-worker so we never “finish” our conversation…are those discussions ever really done?
  • Quick phone call with my husband, who’s still at work
  • J & I wrap up computer work & head up to the 12th floor for Skyline Cafe, the Thursday evening complementary meal & music offering sponsored by Delta Airlines & managed by Bob (musician) & Byron (social worker)
  • We assist two different families with in-patient kids on IVs in the elevator
  • We enjoy nearly an hour of acoustic guitar & vocal music as we eat pizza, etc
  • after the event wraps up we speak with Bob & his wife Tracy about my husband’s band, The Lively Pelts, possibly participating musically sometime–I’d cleared this planned discussion with my husband previously–(Bob says Skyline happens Every Thursday of the year, except Thanksgiving)…
  • discover that Tracy & I met before as she’s actually the Pastor at the church kitty-corner from our own church–wow–small world (& I’d almost applied for a recent job opening there)…
  • Josiah tells some tales from transplant & beyond & several eyes tear up…
  • we finally head home during a rainstorm with just enough time to spare to take care of one errand before that business’ closing time; I get soaked to the skin…
  • I send Bob the promised email about the Pelts…and we await to see if God might open yet another door in our lives…

As you can see, even a “simple” day at the hospital can get pretty involved…and exhausting.  Josiah & I both did decently and had an overall good time, which was capped off by the blessing of Skyline Cafe, a pretty rare treat for us nowadays…

Well thanks for stopping by and sharing a bit of our experiences.  Blessings, Valerie

Image result for who heals you of all your diseases scripture

from a Bing.com image search for “who heals you of all your diseases scripture”

PS Please consider keeping Cameron & his family in your prayers as they travel a new special needs pathway…I’ve written more about their situation here if you’d like more details:

http://www.carepages.com/carepages/JournalingForTheJazzman/updates/3856615

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from a Bing.com image search for “gently leads those with young scripture”

Rocking Detroit for Jesus!

My husband’s band, Harken, has a couple of music videos posted on YouTube, but they were hard to find via the search engine so I’m posting them below for easy access.  Both videos were recorded at the same event, Hosanna Palooza, an outdoor Christian music and craft festival that apparently occurs the same day as the Telegraph Dream Cruise (we ate at a restaurant after the concert along the Cruise route & had awesome views of some of the Motor City’s great Classic Cars that evening…what a treat!)

image from this page: http://jobbiecrew.com/6th-annual-tele-car-cruise/

The day this concert happened temps got up over 100 degrees Fahrenheit and the guys were at the music festival for several hours before playing.  It was truly by God’s grace that none of us suffered any heat exhaustion.  This was a special day for our family for it was the first time All of our kids were able to see their dad’s band play with their new lead singer.  This was such a God honoring event and a privilege to participate as a support to our family’s version of a “Motor City Mad Man”–my husband, Michael, the bass player.

He is an amazing man who has lived a life of sacrificial love before our family, friends, and colleagues.  God has gifted him in so many ways yet he remains humble, joyful, and playful as he lives out his faith daily in the crucible that Special Needs Parenting (& Marriage) can be.  Thank you, Lord, for blessing me with a Godly man to love, laugh with, and live this crazy, amazing life alongside!  “A three-strand cord is not easily broken”– that would be a husband, wife, & the Lord in the center of their marriage!

VOICE  Ecclesiastes 4:12
And if one person is vulnerable to attack, two can drive the attacker away. As the saying goes, “A rope made of three strands is not quickly broken.” Biblegateway.com

Image result for enjoy life scripture ecclesiastes 9:9

(the above image comes from a Google Images search for “Ecclesiastes 9:9)

 

 

The info is from the given youtube pages–note the chorus for “Your Will” is taken directly from scripture, a personal favorite aspect of many Christian songs of impact!

Psalm 40:8

New International Version (NIV)

I desire to do your will, my God;
    your law is within my heart.”

from BibleGateway.com

Published on Jul 24, 2016

Our original song Your Will recorded at Hosanna Palooza on July 23, 2016 in Redford, Michigan.

Published on Jul 23, 2016

Our original song Dose Of The Ghost recorded at Hosanna Palooza, July 23, 2016 in Redford, Michigan.

Finally, here is a link to their ReverbNation page with more band info, & audio for 6 songs.

Harken rocks Hosanna Palooza, July 23, 2016

this picture is from the band’s Facebook page here:

As an extra treat, here is the “tribute page” of his previous band, Binding Faith where their whole CD can be heard and there is video footage of another outdoor Michigan festival where this band was blessed to play, filmed by their drummer’s son…

“Chaoticness!”

Harken Bass Player, Michael Curren, at Rocktoberfest 2013

from the band’s Facebook page here:

Michael Curren & Valerie Stoddard engaged, Christmas 1991…What a Gift!

Photo from my husband’s Facebook page, our informal engagement pic from December 1991…“it’s not the years, it’s the mileage,” Indiana Jones.  Here’s what Michael said there on Facebook about this picture, approaching our 20th Anniversary:

I love her twice as much as the day I met her, and I would do it all again. Bring on the next 20 years!

 

Curren family at Skyline Cafe, U of M Hospital, Ann Arbor, Michigan, November 2014              (left to right) Nathaniel, Brandon, Clarissa, Michael, Valerie, & Josiah

Our family 2 years ago at the University of Michigan Mott Children’s Hospital, “Skyline Cafe”, following a day of genetic testing to attempt to pinpoint diagnoses our special son, Josiah (foreground, right) might have…usually just J & I do the hospital runs…

Well, there’s lots of personal info in this posting so I’m going to be checking back here to review pictures & sounds whenever I might need just this kind of a pick-me-up.

Blessings to All,

Valerie