Friday, June 23, 2017

A Trip to Milwaukee

So, Coraline had this thing on the side of her neck for several months. At first, I thought it was just a bruise. Then it actually turned more red than purple. I wondered if it was some sort of ear drainage from all her ear issues. It didn't seem to bother her, so I didn't really worry about it.

For the first several weeks it looked kind of like that bottom photo and seemed to be getting better. Then out of nowhere it turned bright red (like the top photo). That's when I started to think maybe we should go to a Doctor. But I'm cheap and didn't want to pay for it, and I knew we'd be seeing my brother, a Family Physician, in a couple of weeks. I could ask him, right? (I'm sure Doctors are super annoyed by this attitude, but oh-well). 

When he checked her over within the first hour of us seeing him (it'd been almost two years since I last saw him ... priorities, right?), he just shrugged and said not to worry about it. By the time he saw it, it was more like the second top photo but without the long stretch at the bottom -- it was just the two dots on her jawline. 

Then one day she was eating a Pizza lunchable and it grew. Strangest thing. The two dots that had been there for almost two months expanded, connected, and grew the line down her neck. I figured I'd ask our Pediatrician about it -- but I'd wait till Mara's six month check up. 

Well, our Pediatrician asked a couple of questions that made it pretty clear she was trying to rule out cancer. Wow! Let me tell you how great that felt. I did let her order blood work just so we could safely rule out anything dangerous.  When the results came back clear she sent us a referral to a Pediatric Dermatologist. Pretty specialized right there, huh? I figured for sure we'd get our answers and the 90 minute drive to Milwaukee Children's Hospital would be worth it. 

Nope. We stumped the Pediatric Dermatologist and all her colleagues she consulted with at the Medical College. 

And now ... on the day of this write up ... it's basically gone. What a mystery!

But all that isn't even what this post is suppose to be about. No, the point of this post is to share the joy and chaos of my day trip with four small children to downtown Milwaukee. It was a fun little getaway, a lot of work, and a day I felt so alive. Big cities make me feel so alive (ironically; open, empty desert landscapes have the same effect).

The hospital is located in the space right between city and suburb, but we hit the heart of downtown for lunch in the park and a trip to the Children's Museum. I was hoping the park would be right along Lake Michigan. Though technically it was, our view was blocked by concrete slabs of parking lots and boat docks. So we settled for that view of a little retention pond instead. 

And while it was fun to see the Milwaukee skyline smashed up against the lake from afar, it wasn't so fun getting lost and having to turn around a couple times. I swear, parking is such a hidden headache. How was it not better marked? Anyway, we had loads of fun once we finally made it inside the museum. 

I loved how they worked together in the news room. If you check out the computer screen where Lou was working on the lighting, you can see that they even used a firetruck on the green screen and Nell had Reid placed really well in the shot. It was all so adorable.

I think the kid's favorite spot was the outdoor bugs on the roof play area. The last time we visited this museum it was cold and rainy, so they hadn't played with the bugs before. If you look closely in that shot you'll see how close we really were to Lake Michigan. It was a beautiful background.

We did eventually have to make it over to Coraline's appointment. She was the cutest little patient. I loved how that tiny little robe drowned her sweet body. I'm so glad she's healthy. Between this, infant reflux, constant ear infections and her tubes -- she has definitely been our most expensive child! But she's well worth the moula. 

In the end, I guess this post really was more about her medical mystery than our fun day to the city. But ... I'm not changing the title anyway. I loved my little weekday getaway with these four kids of mine!

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