845 AM September 7th, 2007 Teagan and I walked into the doctor’s office. We did all the usual things like height and weight and blood pressure and temperature. I explained to the nurse not only the story of how she fell when she did a cartwheel but the balance and coordination problems we’d been having as well. She took a few notes and we waited for the doctor.
Once the doctor came in he started asking questions and checking things like squeezing hand and hopping on one foot. The growing look of concern was not doing anything to alleviate my level of panic. He then said he needed to check with a neurologist that he knew and he would be right back. Yeah –neurologist didn’t sound good. Trying to maintain a calm façade for Teagan was not going well but in all honestly I’m pretty sure she knew something wasn’t right and had known for a while but when you’re 5 it’s not easy to describe what’s wrong with you.
I vaguely remember the conversation with the doctor explaining that she needed a scan of her brain done. I’m pretty sure there were explanations of why and what they wanted to “rule out” but I don’t remember any of it. All I saw was a look of panic on the doctor’s face and that was enough for me to know it was bad. I remember being told they were setting up an MRI at Peyton Manning’s Children’s hospital and the doctor asking me where Dave was and could I get a hold of him. I guess my façade of calmness was not really working at this point. Dave was at work. So I texted him to say I needed him to come to the doctor’s office. I didn’t want to call him because I didn’t want to explain things in front of Teagan. Well that didn’t work because Dave ended up calling me because he didn’t understand why he needed to be there for an MRI of her arm. I guess he was still working on the dislocated-something-or-other in her arm theory.
When Dave got there we were given instructions of where to go and what time to be there. Unfortunately because she had eaten breakfast and she would have to be sedated to do the MRI we had to wait until 4pm. So we went home. To wait for HOURS with a child who only knew she wasn’t allowed to eat lunch so suddenly she was starving. I remember calling in sick to work and babbling to Mike about what was going on. Staying home didn’t last long because every 5 minutes Teagan wanted a snack.
We did something really stupid, but I think we did it out of sheer desperation to hang on to “normal.” She was supposed to start soccer that night and she didn’t have any shin guards so we drove to the mall and bought shin guards. I guess I thought that after the MRI we would go home and she could go to soccer that night. Going to the mall was a distraction for a while until Teagan saw Chick-Fil-A and McDonald’s and the crying about being hungry started over.
Finally it was close enough to the time we needed to be there that we went and picked Dawson up from school. He was in his 3rd grade class doing Math and was beyond excited to get out of school early. On the way from the school to the car I tried to explain that we had to take sissy to the hospital to “take pictures.” He wasn’t that concerned because he’d had an X-ray before and they had referred to it as “taking pictures.” The whole way to St Vincent he was telling us how his day was at school and he was super excited not to have to stay for Math. I remember Dave being on the phone several times during the trip up there to various people, but I don’t remember calling anyone. Did I? What did I say?
That’s the odd thing about this day. I have very vivid memories of some of it. And other parts are a complete black hole.
I remember that Teagan fell asleep just outside the MRI room before they even administered the anesthesia. The nearly 8 waiting to do the MRI had just been too much for all of us. I know while she had the MRI we were in the waiting room and more and more family members showed up but again I don’t remember calling any of them or what was said to them about what might be wrong with her.
We found out 45 minutes later. When we walked into the recovery room the nurse told us it would be a while before her room was ready. Dave gave me a puzzled a look and mouthed “her room?” I shrugged. Then the nurse looked at me. That’s when I knew it was really bad because she looked like she was about to cry. She told us that the neurologist was on the phone for us – we never did meet him in person. Dave would still like to punch him in the nose. Which is probably why we’ve never met him. He told Dave that she had a golf ball sized tumor on the right side of her brain and she was being admitted to the hospital. That was it – no apology for not being there in person or instructions on which doctor would see us next or anything. I actually found a glimmer of hope because of the shortness of the conversation – that Dave was going to say everything was fine.
Dave came over to the side of the cart where Teagan was still sound asleep and told me exactly what the doctor had told him. To say I “lost it” would be an understatement. Not the “lost it” you see on TV where people fall to the floor or scream or whatever – but I was sobbing so hard I was shaking. Dave was doing good until he went out to tell the various family members in the waiting room. That’s when he says he “lost it.” I don’t know because once I could breathe again I stayed in the recovery room with Teagan.