Wednesday, December 19, 2012

There and Back Again: A Somewhat Expected Journey

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat; it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.

Ok, just kidding...that's the first sentence from The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien (in case you didn't know...seriously, read the book if you haven't. I'm sure the movie will be FANTASTIC, but the book is AMAZING!). I'm kind of excited about going to see it this month. Now, on with the real story.

Downtown Atlanta, GA
By now, most of you have heard that we went on a little trip to Atlanta, GA at the end of November. My first post regarding the trip was more emotionally driven since we were gently asked to voluntarily sterilize ourselves (I'm moving past that now). Here's how our somewhat expected journey began...

The process of having a muscle biopsy scheduled for Rae began on her birthday (Happy Birthday! You get to have surgery! Such an awesome present...did I mention she also got AFO's for her birthday?) I was given all the contact information (more like send them an email they'll get back with you) for Dr. Shoffner and his team at Medical Neurogenetics in Atlanta, GA. It didn't take long before I heard back from a member of his staff who sent me a link to a special encrypted email box and a ton of paperwork to fill out (sigh...more paperwork detailing our genetic gumbo and everything Rae).

Once the paperwork was submitted, we were ready to begin the scheduling process. The first appointment offered was quickly someone else...ARGH! I just learned a valuable lesson...when you get this high in the "specialist" world, take the first appointment and make everything else work around it. The next email they sent offered me an appointment during Thanksgiving week . I immediately took it and then prayed that even though it was a holiday week we would be able to make it work. Nope! There were no surgeons available to perform the biopsy during that week...can we make it to Atlanta the following week? I again replied with an enthusiastic, "YES, we'll take it!" (I really wanted to get this whole thing behind us.) I then made it known that should a cancellation occur (haha, yeah right) that I would be more than happy to bump up our trip....that so didn't happen. I have to give props though. While it was a tad frustrating trying to pull this together via email, the staff at Dr. Shoffner's office were on the ball, always courteous & helpful, and responded quickly (I hovered over my computer for weeks waiting for encrypted emails).

Now we found ourselves in another period of waiting...followed by even more waiting...oh and did I mention praying? We did ALOT of that too. Rae could not get sick before her appointment! She couldn't have multi-vitamins two weeks prior or any pain medications that would thin her blood (I called to verify that it was okay for her to have her anti-seizure meds the day of her procedure). No fevers, no sniffles, no nothing...period. Of course she managed to get a double ear infection (her first)! Eek! Fortunately, we were able to get that nipped in the bud about a week prior to our appointments.

We did not sit idle while we waited. I called our insurance company (repeatedly) to verify coverage for Dr. Shoffner and the surgical center. I emailed Medical Neurogenetics and requested they get a voluntary pre-certification for the procedure and lab work (all companies like to add disclaimers). We scheduled & completed a modified barium swallow test and then started the process of setting up our newest therapy. I scheduled our evaluation with the children's rehab center for the same morning we were scheduled to leave for Atlanta and our first official appointment for the Tuesday following our return (I don't let grass grow under my feet...for long). In between all of this, we had two birthday parties, Halloween, a Pre-Thanksgiving Day Dinner (we host that one), Thanksgiving (we hosted that too, but on a much smaller scale), and miscellaneous doctor appointments (whee!).

The week we were to leave, I made sure we had beds to fall into while we were in Atlanta (I have an Aunt (and family) and a brother that live there), printed up directions (with maps), verified appointments, and pre-paid copays (that was a first). I made a (mental) list, gathered piles of "stuff" we had to take, and borrowed my parents van. In the early morning light on November 27th, I locked the door to our home and then I realized I forgot to give our cats fresh water and food (Oops! I was bound to forget something). To say I was nervous seems like an understatement.

The further we moved away from the "planning" stages of our journey, the closer we came to actually going. I wasn't sleeping well. I became a tad edgy. My mind seemed to wander off into a haze of "what ifs;" which, I would try to beat back into my sub-conscience...sometimes successfully (other times not so much) and it wasn't until Rae woke from her anesthesia induced stupor that my faculties finally began to return. Those two months just seemed to slip through my fingers and it was only the beginning...

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