15 August 2012

Anchorage: Day 2

Today was far less busy and exciting than yesterday, but it was a good day nonetheless.

We woke up at 6:00 this morning, in order to get ready and eat breakfast before boarding our shuttle to ANMC at 7:30am and arrive at Seren's pre-op appointment at 8:15am. After breakfast, we had about 20 minutes to kill while waiting for the shuttle, so we milled about outside the hotel and Seren made friends with a very nice family from Nebraska, who was vacationing in celebration of the elder patriarch's 80th birthday. Many remarks were made about how clever and bright Seren is and Seren ate up as much attention as she could glean by showing off everything she knew about electricity, lightning, the solar system, and a dozen other topics. You'd think this scenario would get old, but it doesn't. I love how much she enjoys sharing her knowledge of the world around her with people that she meets. Teaching is truly in her blood.

After the family left on their tour bus, we spent some time looking at the potted flowers in the parking lot of the hotel. I introduced Seren to the clever design of the snapdragon flowers and taught her how to open and close the "mouth." She found this highly amusing and it proved a good way to pass the time.

We arrived at the hospital in plenty of time and checked in at the ophthalmology clinic. Seren was restless with all of the waiting before entering the doctor's office, which did not help her already built-up anxiety due to a life-long case of trypanophobia. When we were taken into the office by the nurses, she sat down and described her dread. To her great relief, the nurses explained to her that they "don't do needles in this clinic" and that there would neither be any blood tests today, nor any iv medications tomorrow (assuming there are no out-of-the-ordinary circumstances while she is anesthetized). In fact, the anesthesiologist will be using a general anesthesia administered by a gas mask. Seren was so excited by this idea, instead of the iv catheter, she was literally bouncing up and down in her seat.

Dr. David Chamberlain, M.D. is a practicing family doctor, who specializes in ophthalmology. He flies down to Sitka once a year to address patients with specialized opthalmological needs and refers them to ANMC for further treatment or prescribes a local treatment that may not need advanced care. He saw Seren about 9 months ago during of these visits and will be the doctor presiding over her procedure tomorrow. He is a very nice man with a kind, upbeat manner. Seren is very comfortable with him and was excited when he explained what would happen after she falls asleep tomorrow morning. He talked to us about the procedure, made sure everyone was on the same page, swabbed her eye to see how much goop was backed up in the tear duct, set the appointment, and signed all the paperwork. And that, as they say, was that.

So the upshot is that Seren's surgery is scheduled (first!) at 6:30am tomorrow morning and there will be no cutting, needles, or otherwise intrusive equipment used. The procedure itself will take about 15 minutes, but because general anesthesia has to be used, we expect to be there anywhere between 1 to 2 hours. She is not to eat or drink anything after midnight tonight, until after the procedure is done. There will be no need for any analgesics to be prescribed, however, an optic antibiotic steroid has already been prescribed, just in case it is needed.

After we wrapped up everything there, I had to scope out our transportation options for the morning, since the regular shuttle does not run before 7am. It was a good thing I checked, because the hospital issued a voucher for us to take a taxi. Again, this saves me out-of-pocket costs and Seren is very excited to get to ride in a taxi.

We had an early lunch, there at ANMC, before taking the shuttle back to the hotel to watch some tv and take a nap.

Since Seren doesn't get to ingest anything after dinner tonight, I treated her by taking her to the mall behind our hotel and doing some window shopping. She ended up with a new swimsuit, a bag of jelly beans, and a couple of gifts for Daddy & Porter. After killing about an hour or so at the mall, we walked back to the hotel and ordered a pizza and a bottle of root beer, which we have just thoroughly enjoyed in front of the tv in our room.

It's still only 6:15pm here, but we will be heading off to bed soon. Our taxi will be here at 5:45am and it's going to be a long day. But before I sign off for today, here is one of the very last pictures you'll ever see of Seren with a goopy eye.


  1. I love these blogs. You have such a cute (inside and out) kid. Hope I get to meet both kids one day. Thanks for sharing a little bit of your life this way! Good luck tomorrow, will be thinking about you both!

  2. I can picture all of this, and it's delightful. How wonderful it is that you're raising a brilliant, curious little girl. I also love that you've turned a potentially scary situation for her into something marvelous and fascinating. Will be thinking of you both tomorrow!