Thursday, August 30, 2012

Hospital Day

Helen DeVos Children's Hospital. (photo courtesy of
Today marked our third visit this month to Helen DeVos Children's Hospital.

Abigail had a...let me copy it down because I certainly don't remember the full name... esophagogastroduodenoscopy.  Got it?  Well, spell check doesn't recognize it either! :)

In other words, she "swallowed" a scope to look into her esophagus, duodenum and stomach.  I have pictures from the scope but won't post them here.  Instead, I'll show you pictures of Abigail waiting for the procedure.

Watching a movie and playing on an iPad

This is just the IV room.  We didn't take pictures in the endoscopy room.
This hospital is amazing!  George and I couldn't help comparing it to the hospital's we've visited in Ukraine. (See my post on Ukrainian hospitals for comparison.)  At Helen DeVos there are great waiting rooms and we were promptly seen by a doctor, even AHEAD of our appointment time.  The nurses were fantastic, helping Abigail to calm her fears and giving her a warm blanket to wrap up in.  They explained absolutely everything they were doing and allowed her to ask questions.  On a previous visit, Abigail had made friends with a woman in the family resource center.  Abigail stopped in to say hello today and this woman called down to a friend (whose job it is to make kids more comfortable) in sedation who brought Abigail an iPad to play with.  Abigail was distracted from the IV insertion by the hair parlor app!  Thank you, our nameless benefactor (although I'm sure she said her name since everyone there introduces themselves)!

Abigail was sedated with this great drug that makes her fall asleep for about a half an hour but leaves no side-effects.  Within an hour of the procedure she was awake, drinking Sprite, eating a rice crispy treat, and being wheeled back to the car in a wheelchair (she was still a bit unstable on her feet). 

Now the background.  Abigail had this endoscopy because since birth she has had problems with her stomach and we've been treating her for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) without ever having it examined by a doctor.  Now came the time to do that.  Thus the three visits to the hospital (evaluation with doctor, upper-GI exam, and today's endoscopy).  So far everything looks fine - meaning there's no anatomical problem and nothing abnormal in the scope's pictures.  Biopsy results come back in a week.

We are so thankful for excellent medical care, great insurance coverage, and caring nurses and doctors who do their jobs well and love children at the same time!  What a blessing!!!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

One Month

We have been in the States exactly one month.  And what a busy month it has been!

5,064 miles (8,149 km) driven
397 pictures taken
44 different state license plates spotted
23 immediate relatives seen
 8 states visited
 8 nights as the longest stretch in one place
 7 different places where we slept
 7 doctor's appointments
 2 birthdays celebrated
 1 day of school 

Waiting for the school bus

First school bus ride

Friday, August 10, 2012

School Through New Glasses

Thursday was open house at the kids' school.  They got to visit their classroom and meet their teachers.  They chose their seats and played on the playground.  Abigail said she is really looking forward to school.  They start on Monday!  The bus picks them up at 7:55am and drops them off at 4:04pm.

Matthew chooses to sit beside our neighbor
Matthew adds his birthday to the birthday calendar

Abigail at her desk in her classroom

Half of Elizabeth's classroom

The playroom attached to Elizabeth's classroom

Elizabeth in the play area of her classroom

The kids all like their new school.  Their teachers are very friendly and welcoming!  Everything looked great - especially through the lenses of their new glasses.  :)
Matthew and Abigail in glasses

Sunday, August 5, 2012

New Country

Our vacation is winding down.  We are in Minnesota on our way back to Michigan.  We have spent the last 12 days in South and North Dakota.  Traveling over 3,000 miles (4,800 km), we have seen part of the country never experienced before.
Drive from South Dakota to North Dakota

Mt. Rushmore

North Dakota badlands

It was wonderful to spend such quality time with my sister, Lori, her husband, Rolly, and their six beautiful children, Briana, Meghan, Zachary, Rebekah, Courtney and Isabella.
Our two families

Medora Musical

Mt. Rushmore

Petting a baby alligator

Counting nine

We saw herds of wild buffalo (bison) in the National Park

Wild horses

Wild black stallion
My 90 year old grandmother flew in from Oregon to see all of us.  My aunt, uncle, mom, and her boyfriend also joined us.  It was a mini family reunion.
Our family with my grandma, mom, aunt and uncle

Celebrating my sister's and my birthday (try to figure out the reasoning behind the candles!)
George joined Rolly out in their fields to combine barley.