Friday, April 24, 2009

Blood Has Been Shed

We checked into the Zhejiang Xiaoshan Hospital without any problems on Thursday. We received the royal treatment not only from our driver and the hospital staff, but also from Mike, another patients dad, who was waiting with some of the staff to greet us at the door and to help with our luggage. It was Mike, Drew, and mom, Kristin's, second time to Hangzhou for stem cell treatments. In fact, the blog account of their first visit was my first real look into the patient experience and a large part of the reason we felt comfortable seeking treatment here. I commented on their blog and have been corresponding by email, and phone, for the last couple of months.

We feel very fortunate that our first and their second visits have overlapped. Not only are they showing us the ropes, but they are also really fun people, and the similarities between Drew and Fletcher are many (including being born at the exact same gestation at identical weights, down to the gram!). You can check out their current blog (which unfortunately doesn't include entries from their original trip) here. Speaking of blogs, we also met another nice family from Texas who is here with their precious curly-haired angel Sierra. You can find Jason and Rosetta's blog here if you want to "meet" them and get their take on the whole process.

We spent the first day settling in our room and getting set up. Mike, Kristin and Drew took us over to the RT Mart (like a Super-Target plus) a few blocks down from the hospital and we bought some food, drinks, toiletries, etc. It is a very interesting place, with tons of exotic food and precise procedures on how to buy some of that food (the bakery and produce sections in particular). We have a dorm-room fridge in our room and then there are two common kitchens on the floor (well, one common kitchen and one closet-sized room, to be more precise) with assigned cabinets for each room and small electronics (toaster oven, hot plates, etc) with which to cook the food. Otherwise the staff will come by your room with menus and certain times of the day and you place your order with them for take-out. I will try to take and post a few pictures of our "home away from home" in a subsequent post, but all in all they are decent accommodations.

The afternoon of our first day Fletcher had a PT evaluation with his therapist, Anna. It went well. It is always interesting to see a new person get their hands on Fletcher. He always looks so much worse than when we handle him. I guess it is because Trevor and I know all the positions where he can have the most motor success and tend to hold him in those positions. He tolerated the evaluation well (thanks to my Zen mp3 player). We had free time for the rest of the night, but could not give Fletcher any food or drink after midnight because they were going to draw blood in the morning. I was a little nervous because Fletcher hasn't quite adjusted to the 13-hour time change and has been waking in the night, at which time it is easiest to comfort him with a bottle. Luckily he slept through the night (well, until 5:30, but that counts) and the nurse came in to draw some blood soon thereafter. He protested some, but recovered quickly.

The nurse did the draw in our room on our bed and things got just a touch messy, thus the title to this post.

Chinese Hospital Bracelet

Trevor and Fletcher are napping right now, and then Fletcher has PT at 2:30 followed by electric wave therapy for 45 minutes, which will conclude today's schedule. Tomorrow (Sunday) is a free day and then Fletcher has his first stem cell infusion (via IV) on Monday. Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers at that time (or dreams, maybe, as it will be around 2am Monday in the States).

And finally, since it worked so well the last time around, I am embedding another annotated slide show of our last day at West Lake and the first couple of days at the hospital.


C Evans said...

Go, Fletcher, Go! Lots of good thoughts coming from Houston. Love, Catherine said...

Good luck with the first infusion!

We put one of those little urine bags on Nathan, then you have to cut the diaper so it hangs out of the diaper underneath, otherwise it's hard to collect the urine.