Valentina’s Origin: Episode XI — To Recovery and Beyond
By May of 2015 things seemed better. We received the blood pressure medicine in the mail and you took 1 tiny ML of it every day. Or twice a day. I forget.
Every few weeks we went back to Children’s Hospital in Boston to visit the dermatology department. While it was the same hospital, it felt very different. We were in for a quick visit, and were not staying overnight. We didn’t even stop for a Croisbun. I think your mother expected better results overnight, but since the doctor seemed happy with your progress, so was I.
With your hemangioma no longer the center of attention, we finally got to do some fun family things, but you weren’t ordering off the kid’s menu just yet. All the oral issues early on prevented you from latching, but your mother didn’t let that change your diet. We rented a hospital grade breast pump at $65/month, and everywhere we went, the pump was sure to follow. We had a car adapter so we could make you food as we drove to a place to feed you so she’d be ready to pump again. She pumped while sleeping. She pumped while eating. The mechanical sucking and slurping sound was the soundtrack to your babyhood. She made so much milk that we didn’t have any room in our freezer for anything else.
The hospital would call me every few months and make sure we still really wanted the pump. They could offer a slightly lower rate if we paid quarterly, and not month-by-month, but I was optimistic that the pumping would come to an end soon. You mom said we’d pump for a year. 18 months later, we called the hospital to come and get their pump.
In late 2015 you suffered from constant UTIs, and kidney reflux, and in early 2016 you had surgery to correct this. A medical expert may argue that we were never in grave danger during the hemangioma saga, but it was the unknown that was most frustrating and worrisome. They also may argue that from a doctor’s perspective, the UTI troubles were more worrisome as there was more potential for long-term damage if it wasn’t addressed, urgently at times. We probably went to the emergency room at least 6 times over the 9 months before the corrective surgery. But because it was a somewhat common childhood problem, with a textbook diagnosis and corrective process, I was never as worried about it as I probably should have been.