Mariana’s Surgery & The Future of Ynot2.
First off, let me say: I FEEL BETTER TODAY! Woohoo! I just have a massive sinus headache. Hopefully it’s not the cold turning into a sinus infection. But the cold virus itself seems to be leaving me. Thank goodness.
The bad news is that Ada is crying all night long tonight because her throat hurts. She’s such a terrible patient. She wails and wails, for hours. How does screaming help a sore throat, child?
Summer colds. So much fun!
We had a dramatic night over here on Sunday night.
A few days after Mariana got here she got a splinter from our wood floors. There aren’t really any rough spots, but the floors are 111 years old so…hit it just right and you’re out of luck I guess.
The chaperone, Andrii, pulled the splinter out with tweezers. There was no more splinter in sight, we pulled out a nice sized piece. She screamed, we put antibiotic ointment on the spot with a bandaid, and all was well again.
Fast forward about 16 days. Sunday.
We were sitting on the porch and Mariana told me her foot was hurting. I asked her to show me. (My Ukrainian skills are kicking butt!)
This is what I saw.
A tiny bit alarming.
You can see a tiny hole below her middle toe where the original splinter was, the one we pulled out.
I debated over what to do about it during the day, and by evening when I looked at it again it had grown longer. It was no longer circular. The redness was spreading downward on her foot.
At that point I knew we needed to go to the doctor. It was a Sunday night, so we had to go to the ER. She doesn’t have medical insurance, which makes it extra awesome.
I called my friends to come with us to translate. BaBa Galina, who is an older lady that looks like the kids’ foster mom came. She has eight adult children, so she is phased by nothing. She also brought her adult daughter Esther, who is a little younger than I am, because she likes Esther to speak English for her. Galina speaks pretty good English, but heavily accented and if you talk to fast she gets Esther to translate. I absolutely adore them both.
Mariana is the most challenging child I have ever faced. She shuts down when she is afraid. No eye contact, no speaking, not allowing anyone to touch her, and she will stand in one spot refusing to move. Other times she responds with physical violence–kicking, hitting, biting, punching.
Of course she refused to get in the car. The other kids coaxed her in. Once we got to Galina’s house she refused to get out of the car and into Galina’s car with me. Tyler was going to take all the other kids somewhere else, so she had to move from the van. We all tried to gently get her out, but finally Tyler had to drag her kicking, screaming, and biting.
We sat in the backseat of Galina’s car and I held her while she sobbed. Misha came too, for extra comfort.
Once we got to the pediatric ER she wouldn’t get out of the car. Doctors in Ukraine are very no-nonsense. They don’t use pain medication. Slice, dice, and be on your way. So of course my poor little one is utterly terrified of what is going to happen in this hospital.
I had to carry her in shaking and crying. She was clinging to me for dear life. She’s nine years old, but due to malnutrition and neglect four year old Ada weighs more than Mariana does. It’s not hard to carry her around.
Since she doesn’t have any insurance I refused to sign the paper making me responsible for payment. Legally they can’t turn us away. I’m hoping it will get written off since she is an orphan.
They have medical insurance for major emergencies, but from what I understand it’s basically useless. I gave the ER that medical card.
The pastor of the Ukrainian church talked to me and said that he has a contact at that hospital in the financial department. This means I will not have to worry about the bills. Then he smiled at me, a very large man impeccably dressed in an expensive suit with a crisp white shirt and multiple gleaming gold teeth.
I will be sure to stay on their good side.
One Ukrainian friend told me that their cousin got in a terrible car accident. His leg needed three surgeries. They did the first emergency surgery, then left the wound open. The hospital told them they wouldn’t perform any further surgeries until he paid. He didn’t have health insurance. The pastor visited the hospital financial department on the cousin’s behalf. The cousin was immediately able to have the surgeries and did not have to pay anything.
They tell me the pastor’s nickname is the secret agent of medicine. Take that for what you will.
Anyway, back to Mariana’s foot.
Once they took us back into a room they needed to do a basic exam–take her temperature, listen to her heart, all of that good stuff. She was shaking all over. Terrified. Heartbreaking!
They were telling her in Ukrainian that it was ok, that none of this was going to hurt. She thought that the thermometer was a huge needle. She fought the little monitor on the tip of her finger. She screamed, and screamed, and screamed at the top of her lungs while I had to hold her down. Nothing would calm her.
Once the nurse left the room she settled down a little snuggling me on the hospital bed. Any time a doctor or nurse would enter the room she would start shaking all over, like a terrified little puppy. It was all I could do not to cry!
They numbed her foot with gel, then lanced the blister. So much puss came out. It just kept pouring out of her foot! The doctor said the puss looked like it was caused by inflammation and not infection, which meant there could still be something stuck in her foot.
Thank goodness we went to a pediatric ER. The doctors and nurses were so sweet and kind. They weren’t at all bothered by Mariana fighting and screaming. My translators were amazing too, working so hard to calm Mariana down and explaining each thing that was happening.
The doctor brought in an ultrasound machine. The ultrasound showed something huge still inside of her foot! But it wasn’t visible from the outside at all, we had no way of knowing it was in there. It was lodged in somewhere deep under the skin. What the heck??
They gave us two options. The first was to use a local anesthetic and then essentially dig around with a scalpel until they located the splinter and could remove it. The second option was to knock her out and then slice and dice her foot.
We clearly had to choose the second option, because they couldn’t very well explore the contents of her foot while she kicked, screamed, and bit people. Plus it was incredibly stressful for her to be that afraid.
The whole time she was begging me to just take her home to our house. Telling me to make them stop, that she didn’t want it. I could barely stand it, my poor little girl! There was nothing I could do to make it better aside from hold her and stroke her head.
This picture is really funny in hindsight. I am exhausted. Mariana isn’t screaming for one second. And Misha? He’s back there with all the gloves blown up. He said they were cows and he wanted us to milk them.
Funnily enough her main source of panic was that they were going to give her a shot in the butt. We kept telling her in Ukrainian that wasn’t going to happen, but she remained unconvinced. Hahaha!
They had to put in an IV, which was extra fun. Whew. My muscles were sore the next day from holding her down!
Mariana screamed up until the IV sedation kicked in. It was sort of funny. She was in mid scream when she just…stopped.
They said that parents are required to leave the room, but since Mariana was so upset they wanted to be sure I was the only person she saw when she woke up. The doctor let me stay in the room and watch the whole procedure. I’m not the least bit squeamish when it comes to blood.
It was supposed to take them one dose of IV sedation to find the splinter, but that thing was hidden so deeply it instead took three doses! Each dose lasts 8 minutes before wearing off.
The IV sedation was unnerving. Mariana still had her eyes open. Her eyes did this strange alien-like flickering back and forth. She moaned, drooled, and stuck out her tongue. A nurse had to stand there with suction so she didn’t choke on drool. It’s somewhat upsetting to see your child helpless like that, laying there with eyes open unseeing. I see why they make parents leave the room!
Finally they found the splinter.
It was gigantic.
How was she walking around for two weeks with that lodged deeply within the pad of her foot??
As soon as the sedation wore off she started vomiting. Dry heaving painfully over and over. They gave her three doses of IV Zofran and it just didn’t work. That was the max amount she could have.
They could also give her a suppository, but can you imagine trying to get that inside of her? Talk about inflicting more trauma on an already hysterical child! (And I’m sure she would totally think she was getting the dreaded shot in the butt she feared…)
They wanted us to stay in the hospital until she could stop vomiting, eat and drink, and keep it down. We were able to explain to them that she had extra issues and often refused food and drink due to anxiety. She only eats and drinks at home, period. Sometimes not even there.
Eventually they just went ahead and sent us home with instructions to watch her closely for the rest of the night. Lucky me, champion of all nighters. ;)
By the time we got home it was already nearly 1:30 in the morning. All of the kids were up since we’d ridden together. It was a family affair. Whew.
Since then Mariana has gone back to her bad behavior–biting, hurting the other kids and causing trouble on purpose, crying a lot, and peeing the bed again. All of those behaviors had stopped and she was doing very well. I’m sure it’s from the anxiety caused by being forced through medical procedures. It had to be done though. I feel so bad for her.
I have to baby her a lot. She refuses to put on pull-up’s at night, of course. I’ve given up on battling her. So every morning when she wakes up I have to carry her to the bath tub, undress her, let her squirt in her special bubble bath we picked out, and wash her off then dry and dress her like you would a toddler.
I can tell she embarrassed about peeing the bed. She doesn’t want to get up out of bed, she just wants to hide there. I don’t make a huge deal of it. I have several waterproof mattress pads, so I throw one in the wash and put the clean one on the bed.
Every time she has to take her antibiotic (two tsp. twice a day) there is a huge battle. She refuses to take it. So we hold her down while she fights. Someone pinches her nose until she has to open her mouth to breathe. Another person squirts in the medicine a bit at a time then covers her lips so she can’t spit. It’s so much fun.
There’s no way we can hide in food, since she barely eats. There is no food she will regularly eat and nothing she will drink to hide it in. She won’t just take it. It doesn’t even taste bad.
What a lesson in love and compassion this child is!
Just because she is difficult and full of emotional turmoil does not make her any less deserving of love. Sometimes it’s hard to love her, like when she kicks and bites, or when she is being contrary and causing issues with all of the other kids who are happily playing. (Misha included.)
Every time I want to run away from home I just keep reminding myself to choose love.
Inadvertently, I may have discovered the purpose of Ynot2.
When talking to the Ukrainian pastor about Misha and Mariana our friends told them that Mariana has webbed hands and oddly shaped feet. The way her fingers are webbed, as they grow the bones are forced to become crooked because of the way the skin is holding them. (At least that’s how it looks to me.) Something is not right, her muscles are somewhat stiff too. I think she has some sort of mild syndrome. Her mother also has it, which is why she lost custody of her children. She is too handicapped to work. Their father died in a car accident, and the children became neglected because their mother couldn’t provide for them.
Well the Ukrainian pastor said that he knows of people involved in medical missions. They have a child coming here from Ukraine next week who was involved in an accident and needs orthopedic surgery. The pastor made some calls and has arranged for Mariana to go to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital at the same time to be evaluated by the surgeon for her hands and feet.
If she can be helped with surgeries and physical therapy then the medical missions people will arrange everything.
That means she will go back to Ukraine at the end of hosting, and they will work on getting her a medical visa to return for treatment at some point soon. I will have custody of her, and I will care for her while she is getting medical care. When she’s all better she will return to Ukraine to be with her five siblings.
There is a possibility this could help her live a normal life instead of becoming deformed like her mother. Wouldn’t that be amazing??
None of this would have ever come about if she hadn’t have gotten the mysteriously horrible splinter.
The appointment is on July 24th. (Remember how it took us months to get Henry seen by a specialist at the children’s hospital up there? Mariana’s appointment is in a week!) We will know more about it after that. We’re meeting with the social worker on Sunday to discuss further plans for her future with the medical missions program.
I’ve been trying to write this entry for three full days now. I am continually interrupted. Baby has been staying up until 12:45 every night for some reason. Ada has been crying all night due to being sick, and I keep on waking up dying of that tickling in my throat from the lingering bits of this awful cold. I am so tired!
I can keep going though–because I am making a conscious, purposeful choice to love this difficult little girl no matter what. It’s not her fault that her father died, or that she was neglected due to her mother’s disability. Just like it’s not her fault she was born with webbed fingers and feet like blocks. I don’t think she is contrary and mean on purpose either. It’s because she is afraid and sad.
I have to read this over and over to keep myself in a good place:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.