Yesterday we had Amaya's yearly check-up with her pediatrician, Dr. Dixon. After getting weighed (she's still only 45 pounds), checking her height (she's 46" tall) and checking her eyes, the nurse led us back into an examination room to wait for Dr. Dixon. When the nurse pulled out a hospital gown for Amaya to put on, Amaya looked at me with worried eyes and asked why she had to wear it (it was similar to the one she had to put on before her last surgery). I assured her she was just getting a check-up today and then she complied. She didn't like it very much, but just "dealt" with it.
Dr. Dixon came in and examined Amaya. She said Amaya looked great then she looked at her knee and could tell a huge difference from the last time she saw her. She hasn't seen Amaya since her last yearly check-up (last November), prior to her super-knee procedure. She was so happy with how Amaya's knee was working. It was nice to see her excitement and joy. She said that she remembered that before the surgery Amaya's knee "was all over the place" and now it was "stable." It's pretty amazing! I remember after she got out of surgery I told Dr. Nelson "I can't believe you fixed her knee in just two hours."
Dr. Dixon asked what was planned next to correct Amaya's leg. I let her know that the lengthening surgery was scheduled for March. Dr. Dixon paused and gave me a look that kind of made me feel nervous. She said "that one is the difficult one." Which made me feel a bit nervous; knowing that the future holds some trying times leaves me a bit uneasy. She said that we need to think about the possibility that Amaya might need home hospital (so that she doesn't fall behind at school). She said that from her own experience other kids miss about a month or so of school. I told her that we have Amaya's surgery scheduled during her next off-track session (a five week session). And she agreed that that was good timing, and hoped that Amaya would not miss as much school. She asked how Amaya was doing in school, and how she handled the last surgery. I let her know that she did great during the last surgery but, that she still had some lingering fears of death. Dr. Dixon looked at Amaya and asked her if she was still afraid, and Amaya said "yes." Dr. Dixon told Amaya "your leg won't kill you. Whatever is wrong with it is nothing that can kill you. You don't have to worry about that." I could see Amaya was understanding and believing Dr. Dixon. Dr. Dixon went on to ask Amaya how often she worried, if she lost sleep over it, or felt sad during the day. Amaya told her that she did think about it, but was able to sleep and eat and didn't feel sad. Dr. Dixon let us both know that what she was feeling was normal. She said that children begin to understand, become aware of and fear death around age seven or eight. But, since Amaya was around hospitals and had a surgery, that made her think of it sooner. She said that Amaya seemed quite mature for her age. She made the analogy that since Amaya was around hospitals and surgery she knew more about them than another child her age who hasn't gone thru that. And if a friend of hers had gone to Hawaii, that friend would know more about Hawaii than she would. That made a lot of sense and gave me the reassurance I needed. Dr.Dixon let Amaya know that if she did begin to worry more or lose sleep to let me know so that we could get her the help she needed (a counselor).
Dr. Dixon suggested we give Amaya the flu vaccine since she'll be exposed to many germs and offered to have her take the nasal spay vaccine instead of the shot (she said Amaya has put up with a lot this year so we should give her a break). Amaya was relieved and enjoyed this special treatment. While we waited for the nurse to come in with the vaccine we got a surprise visit from Marylou (she is the insurance referral coordinator at the Beaver Clinic). It was such a nice treat to see her smiling face. Marylou has given us so much help for several years now; making sure that all the insurance papers are processed in a timely manner to get all of Amaya's medical referrals taken care of and her procedures covered. I've said it before, she's amazing! While others are more passive in helping us Marylou always makes a big effort to help us. It was so nice to see her and the fact that she made the effort to come by and say hello meant a lot. She asked Amaya what she was going to have done to her leg, and how she felt about it. Amaya told her that she use to be scared, but now she's ready. Marylou told Amaya "we'll be rooting for you!" Then I hugged her, thanked her and off she went leaving us feeling refreshed and encouraged. It meant a great deal to me that she has followed Amaya's journey and made the effort to come visit her. Kindness like that means so much to me. I also appreciated how Dr.Dixon handled Amaya's fear of dying, how happy she was for her that her knee was fixed and her honesty in letting us know about the upcoming surgery.
I'm so thankful for the great medical team that helps Amaya and our family. They are talented, gifted, kind and go above the call of duty. We are so fortunate.
This is Amaya wearing the sticker she got from the doctor's office "Built Tough."
Amaya asked me to "take a picture of Lidie, to show people who my sister is that takes care of me."