Thursday, November 29, 2012

"Totally worth it"

We have returned from Disneyland.  A little more grey hair but all in all a good trip.  I'm sure that Kris will post with all of the fine details so I will give the Readers Digest version of our trip.  We left early Sunday and made fairly good time to Disneyland.   We checked into the Disneyland Hotel and had some dinner.  Then to our room to watch the Disneyland fireworks and bed.  Monday morning started with flat tires on the stroller. We sent the wheels down with a worker from the hotel who managed to destroy one of them while pumping it up.  The result was two rental strollers and a free meal and free night in the hotel.  Unbelievable customer service.  We spent the day in Disneyland where the girls were treated to a makeover at the Bibbity Bop Boutique, complete with a hilarious hairdo for Bridget and a beautiful Rapunzel wig for G.  It was great to see G with hair again.  We spent the rest of the day riding rides and having dinner with Princesses.  We watched the fireworks from Main Street in Disneyland and got to watch it snow in Southern California.  The look on the girls faces were precious.  The next morning was breakfast with Minnie Mouse and then we noticed G starting to run down.  By about 1:00 pm she was looking pale and feeling warm.  Kris and I went into cancer parent mode and b-lined back to the hotel.  G went to bed and relaxed for a couple of hours.  After some food, rest and water she was feeling much better and wanted to watch the evening parade so we jumped on the Monorail and rode back into the park to watch the parade.  The next morning G seemed pretty tired.  We met Grandma and Grandpa for breakfast and on the way out Grandpa was carrying her.  I looked over and saw her eyes roll back in her head and go limp.  Once again we went into cancer parent mode.    We had pre-planned the closest Children's hospital and knew where we were going and what we needed to do.  Luckily Children's Hospital of Orange County was close and they were not too busy.  Kris was able to access her port after the nurse's first attempt was unsuccessful.  G got fluids and had blood tests so we knew what we were dealing with.  Turned out that everything looked pretty good and she probably just got run down.  We were discharged and went back to the room to recover.  That night G started feeling pretty bad and vomited a couple of times.  This morning she woke up with a low grade fever which caused us some concern and made the decision to drive home pretty difficult.  We made the decision to head north and the girls were amazing for a hard press home.  With hourly temperature checks and multiple pee stops (we were pouring lots of fluids into G) we finally made it home and G is feeling much better.  Like I said, all in all a good trip.  All's well that ends well I guess.



I wish I could say our Disneyland trip was 100% event free and purely magical (which it absolutely was) but it wasn't event free. I'll start off with the magical.The drive down was pretty decent although it took us 8 hours...driving. We were thinking of flying but being a big holiday travel day and taking about the same amount of time (airport drive, flying, car rental, etc.) we thought it would be best to drive and enjoy the ride. Traffic was thick once we hit 46 but after 19 "How much longer"'s, we were there. Adam and I had a bet to see how many "how much longer"'s we would here...I bet 30 and he bet 25...he won.  At one point, Bridget started to say, "I wan yo go ome" and kept asking to go home. G kept trying to convince her how much fun she would have.

As we drove up to the Disneyland Hotel, the girls became incredibly excited. The lobby smelt like cotton candy!  Adam called ahead to set up a special surprise in our room...we walked in to snowflakes, glowing lights, cookies and treats, Mickey and Minnie stuffed animals, autographed pictures, and a gorgeous view of Downtown Disney.  As the girls were absorbing every inch of the excitement,  Adam and I were trying to hold back tears of gratitude...overjoyed that we got the chance to give our girls this opportunity, grateful that we made it, and exuberant of the exciting days to come.  Needless to say, Bridget stopped asking if we could go home and when asked, she would reply, "I don wan yo go ome".   (We're working on the speech and getting rid of "me" still.)

G has had a persistent cough, same one I had after the sinus infection and same one Adam got after me. I feel terrible to think I gave it to her.  We were keeping a close eye and all ears on the situation. After dinner, we were attempting to get the girls to bed at a decent time (ha ha) and the fireworks started. Our room had a "premium view" (not only of the fireworks but of the downtown as well) and we got to watch them as the colors lit up the sky.

The following morning was spent with a quick breakfast and an appointment at the Bibbity Bobbity Boutique.  Gabriella was in heaven as soon as she walked through the doors. All of the fanciest princess dresses with all the accessories were displayed on a huge wall and the "salon" was in the back.  Bridget wasn't too excited about being a princess but she was pretty sleepy still after the long ride. I knew she would have wanted the princess experience when she saw G doing it so I bribed her...with sugar gummies. I know, I felt like one of those crazy toddlers and tiaras parents forcing my child into dress up but I knew Bridgy would love it once she got going, especially once she saw how much G was enjoying it too. I didn't want her to miss out on the experience.   G chose Rapunzel (hmmmm...coincidence?) and Bridgy (after not wanting to be a princess, being indecisive, us choosing the Brave character for her and her saying "no"), she chose Rapunzel as well.  Once again, as Adam and I tried to hold back tears as we watched our little girls transform into full princess characters as make-up was applies, nails were painted, hair was styled for Bridget and as the "maids" placed a long Rapunzel braid on G's bald little head which she wore as proudly as she wears her beautiful bald head.  After they were finished with the princess transformation, glitter dust was applied and the curtains opened so they could see their glowing faces in the princess mirrors. They were escorted into the back where a beautiful Cinderella carriage awaited and they got to pose for pictures.  I thought it would be fun to have Bridget with rainbow braids in her hair but she picked out a tiara. After mommy decided the rainbow braids would be fun for her and were applied, she took one look in the mirror before ripping them out. The tiara was then applied. Mommy lesson learned.  

I'm not one who spends money cavalierly on these kinds of things but to see the joy it brought to both my little girls and to us as parents, I would gladly do it again.The rest of the day was spent riding a few rides including Small World, The Haunted Mansion (luckily Bridget was asleep in my arms through the whole thing), Pirates of the Caribbean , meeting princesses, having dinner at Arial's Grotto with more princesses, we ended our day catching a parade at California Adventures and the middle of the holiday Disney parade at Disney Park. The most special part was standing on Main Street to watch the fireworks and to experience the snow fall on our heads. Talk about magical.  To watch the girls faces in utter amazement at the site of all this activity was just so overwhelming. I was overjoyed we all had the chance to experience this together...and the tears started rolling, and rolling.  

The next day was more of the same. Bridget wanted to be in regular clothes (I didn't force her today) and G wanted to wear her Rapunzel wig and dress again.  I think she was really excited about everyone complimenting her on her "hair". Wherever we walked, people just stared and smiled at both the girls. It was a nice feeling for people to be staring at both of my daughters incredible outfits rather than staring at my child's bald head.  It felt somewhat normal.  We finally got to meet Rapunzel and Flynn after chasing them down the whole day before. But G was worn out. We got worried. So much excitement had taken a toll not to mention her nagging persistent cough that to our cough sensitive and sickness sonar ears had gotten worse. We took her temperature and it was 99.6. Ok, stay calm. We had her drinking lots of water and took her jacket off. Temp 45 min later 100.0. Shit. Anything above 100.4 is an immediate trip to the ER.  The fun stopped and the survival mode took over. Back to the hotel ASAP, make a plan to go to the hospital and check her temp again.  Oh yeah, did I mention our stroller tire was blown up accidentally by the hotel. They more than made up for it with stroller rentals, stuffed Minnie's for the girls, a free dinner, and they ended up comping us our last night after hearing our situation.  But the strollers had to be left at the park entrance and we had to walk through Downtown Disney carrying one sleeping child, one exhausted on the verge of getting sick child, a purse, camera, clothes, snacks and jackets back to the hotel. Both of us got a sustained biceps workout with a little cardio on top.  We also got smart and ditched the strollers at the monorail station, which dropped us off a shorter distance to our hotel.  G drank lots of water and rested while we kept our fingers crossed that we wouldn't have to hit the ER while making the "just in case" plans. Miraculously her temp kept going down.  We bundled the girls up, made it back to Disney, found our strollers, met up with our good friends and next-door neighbors and got to watch the magical holiday Christmas parade together. Once again the girls were in awe...and so were we.

The next day after breakfast where Grandma and Grandpa drive to meet us, G had a syncopal episode seeming to be from exhaustion.  Her eyes rolling into the back of her head and her head fell on grandpas shoulder.  Panic set in once again as we rushed back to the hotel room and called G's doctors. We just knew at that point, a trip to the ER was inevitable. Adam and I took G.  Luckily Grandma and Grandpa were there to take Bridget out for some fun. At the ER, Adam and I were debating weather or not we should do her access. After one miss from the nurse that left G screaming and in tears, we decided to do it. She wanted "Momma to do it".  Oh boy. I handy yet accessed her but I've seen it a million times and I've done it before many years ago (on other children, not my own).  I'm not sure what happened but I knew I just had to get it in and get it on the first try. Missing and fumbling around wasn't an option. I knew G was scared because the nurse just missed and she screamed like I haven't heard her scream in a long time...maybe ever. I wasn't going to let her feel that pain again.  Calmly and confident on the outside because I knew G would sense my tension , while trying not to panic on the inside, we did the princess count, got the access in and it flushed beautifully.  My years of second natured nursing practice took over.  The blood flowed back and we were in business.  Relief.

Her blood and other tests came back great and we were off. G kept asking to go to Build a Bear when we got out and of course, we promised her. Once we got back, she was feeling pretty lousy and didn't want to go.  Not usual. She complained of her tummy hurting and up came the throw up. Damn. I don't think the lollipop agreed with her. After that, she fired up and begged us to go to Build a Bear.  Did "no" ever cross our way!  We went long enough for the spurt of energy to keep her going but it wore off soon and back to the hotel she went with Grandpa and daddy.  Grandma, Bridget and I went to eat (and have margaritas) so G could rest. But all too soon she started to feel crappy again and threw up then passed out on the bed.

A decision had to be made today; head to Grandma and Grandpa's who were an hour away, stay a little longer and make sure she was ready for the drive, or make a run for home.  We chose option #3 and hit the road making sure we had a plan just in case she started to spiral.  We made sure we knew which hospital's were on our route, had the access kit handy, and for the more rural areas (yes, some do still exist in California)...we were ready.  Temp check right before we left was 100.2, held steady at about 99.9 for a while but decreased as we pushed the fluids and made our way.  Needless to say, it was an intense drive home.  The girls did amazingly well being entertained with videos the whole way. 

By the time we all got home, Adam and I were so relieved.  He ended up with a headache and I ended up with a bloody nose.  But to see our girls enjoy their adventure, it was all worth it!    
Now it's time to sleep.  More pictures soon!  

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