Yesterday was our annual "Ultrasounds and Blood-draws Day." It's a necessary but evil time of year when we check up on Naomi, Emma, and Toby's kidneys and Hannah feels jealous. The morning started dark and early at 6:00am while I got ready, and lined up outfits, juice cups, and Ziploc baggies of cereal. Then Matt and I began pulling sleepy, cranky children from their beds and pacifying them with sippy cups of juice while stuffing their limp-noodle limbs into shirts and shoes. Amazingly, we were on the road by 7:15am, right on time.
The first pink streaks of sunlight were glowing on the horizon as we marched our troops into the Outpatient Imaging Center. The cold waiting room full of stoic elderly people warmed to a friendly, smiling simmer as the kids filed in, bubbling with excitement. As I got everyone registered, a receptionist offered Naomi a treat from their basket of goodies. Naomi confidently declined, "Those look like they all have gluten in them."
The ultrasounds went smoothly, to my surprise. Toby was a bit wary of the strange woman rubbing warm gel on his belly, but was content to listen to Matt and I sing round after round of his favorite songs. Then Matt took him to run the halls as Emma and Naomi took their turns. The sonographer immediately noticed a large mass on the bottom of Naomi's left kidney, but I calmly pulled out Naomi's MRI report from last November that showed the mass was indeed an extra lobe of kidney and not a tumor. "Wow, I'm glad you brought that with you, 'cause it sure looks like a mass!" the sonographer remarked. "I've learned to come prepared." I said.
Emma and Naomi also handled their blood-draws like old pros, probably because they are pros at this point. Collecting urine specimens from them both was a sticky situation, but we came out of that OK too. It would have been a gold star morning if we'd been able to leave then, but we had to wait for the radiologist to review the pictures and decide if he needed any more, and after two and a half hours of radiologic, phlebemotic, and urologic fun, the kids had had enough. Suddenly everyone was simultaneously hungry and hyper. They bounced about the room and up and down the hallway leaving a crumb trail that Hansel would have envied. I played the role of the birds frantically trying to pick up the crumbs and secretly hoping the children wouldn't be able to find their way back.
When the radiologist finally did come to discuss the pictures with us it was hard to give him due attention while making "I'm warning you!" eyes at Naomi, who was bouncing around the room like a doped-up bunny and threatening to crash into the ultrasound equipment. Fortunately the radiologist said he didn't see much change in the ultrasounds from last year, at least on the initial read. This is good news for my children's health and mine because, thankfully, we shouldn't have to repeat this morning again for another year. We'll take the day on November 8th to drive the crew three hours round-trip to see their nephrologist. Hopefully he will say that things are holding fairly steady, and perhaps the kids can go an enitire year without another ultrasound or blood draw. But that might be hoping too much.