Thankfully, the hospital released us last Friday. After a good 2 days of fluids and IV antibiotics, Gabriella perked up and got her energy back. She since then has been eating like a champion and drinking plenty of fluids. Even her cough has pretty much disappeared. Taking her in and having them treat her definitely helped get her out of the hole she was in. She looks healthier to me now too. Her eyes aren't as sunken in and her skin looks supple. Thank heavens it was a quick stay! Especially since though Cardon Children's is amazing in its facilities, there is nothing like the staff and morale at PCH.
Sunday, since she was doing so well, we decided to go make our Christmas list. I started to think a couple weeks ago, as we stood by Santa's throne at the mall, how is Gabriella going to tell Santa what she wants for Christmas? It quickly came to me to make Santa a picture book. So, FunSavers in hand, the kids went to their favorite stores and took pictures of the items they wanted to ask Santa for. We first went to the Disney Store, then Target. They filled up 2 cameras EACH of items they wanted to ask Santa for! We developed them (I forgot how expensive normal film developing was!) and made them little brag books of the items. They are so excited about their books, and can't wait to show Santa!
Today we met with the Rehab doctor as a hospital follow up. Gabriella has a little girl crush on Dr. Jeff, and was awfully excited to see him today. We got to hang out with our favorite Occupation Therapist, Cindy, for a bit before the doctor came in. I feel a true friendship with the people who helped Gabriella at PCH. Dr. Rabin came in and checked Gabriella out. Checked her walking, balance, muscle function, arms, proportion and quizzed us on her progress. He also gave the kids more candy than any doctor should give a child, but it was cute. He is recommending an assistive audio device for Gabriella to use as her bridge to communication, since her language is coming so slow. He said sign language is probably not the best route for her because she could potentially use it as a replacement to speech and not an accessory, but thinks an assistive device could help a lot in building her own speech. Basically, she pushes buttons to make it say what she needs to get across. He said he has seen great progress in speech with such a device, because it triggers her own attempts to say the word as well. Fascinating, yet all I could hear while he told me about it was "cha-ching!". We are going to set up for a consultation for one, and see what insurance will do to help. He also prepared me for something I was recently brought to consider. While watching So You Think You Can Dance last week, there was a short story of one of the dancers and her brother. Her brother had a stroke when he was younger, and it impaired his ability to speak and his arm. Shockingly, a very similar stroke to the one Gabriella suffered. He was speaking, with a speech impediment, and his arm was smaller and underdeveloped in comparison to his other arm. Today, Dr. Rabin brought to my consideration that that will most likely be Gabriella. he said we will be watching for a difference in growth and development, and to be prepared for a significant difference. She has only had 4 years to grow before this happened, and has the next 16 years or so to keep growing. Chances are, her right arm will be significantly different than her left. Yes, it will make her special, and she will manage just fine, and she will use it and triumph. Those things I am not worried about. As a mother though, and knowing what a perfect and 'normal' little baby she has been since day one, I struggle with the thoughts of kids possible making jokes about her. Or I worry about her own personal hardship of knowing she looks different before she can mature enough to embrace it.
She has so many other reasons to be different and unique with her heart and the story she has to tell of that, and now she has been given challenges of a physical handicap aspect. I just don't understand. But I surely hope 20 years from now to sit here and say, 'OK God, I see what you were doing now'.