Pedia Clearance & Lab Tests: Requirement for Cochlear Implant Surgery #CalEars

When we gave the CT Scan of Nia to the surgeon, we had to get a pedia clearance to show that Nia is healthy for the surgery. The surgeon sent us a list of all the lab tests needed to be given to her pedia to get clearance. It was a long list, but mostly it was through blood test. Once I received the list, I started calling different clinics, lab and hospitals to check where we can get the tests done. Some of the criteria that I had was the cost: how much is the total of all the tests; time: how long will the test be done and finished, will we need to come back again or can it be done in just one visit?; credibility of the clinic: will the results be accepted by our pedia and surgeon; proximity: how far is the clinic to our house, given that I didn't want to travel too far with Nia. 

Our original surgery schedule was April, second week Being a Type A, OC person, I scheduled everything perfectly. We would accomplish all the tests week after holy week, get pedia clearance, and lastly our swab tests done a few days before being admitted (because you know, pandemic).

It was a little difficult finding a lab/clinic because some didn't do pedia tests but alas I got a schedule. We went to the first lab I contacted. There were a few people getting different tests done too, but we were given priority because Nia was a baby.

They needed a few vials of her blood, ECG and also an xray. XRay was tough because she was scared to be put down the table, she was awake unlike during the CT Scan, but we were able to do it with the help of my husband and two techs. Nia is very strong.

There was also ECG. I timed it when she was already tired. I nursed her to sleep and we, ever so gently, placed the equipment on her so she won't wake up. She also had to stay still. The tech said it's not necessary that the patient is asleep, however, we just found it easier to keep her still. She was already very mad at this point so there was no way she will allow the tech to put anything on her body.

We actually let her sleep a little long because she was already tired from crying. And there weren't a lot of patients who needed the room anyways. It was also the time my husband and I took a breather.

Blood extraction was so so difficult, because Nia didn't trust anybody who holds her. She's also very strong so it took 4 people to hold her and extract blood. Unfortunately we couldn't get enough blood from her little veins. They poked her so many times, sooo many times but in the end, there was no blood coming out anymore. I was already crying the fourth time they poked my daughter. Imagine, a 1 year old little girl. She kept calling mama, crying, and looking at me. She was asking for help. She was in pain, she was scared. Yet, we didn't get enough blood. The lab told us to come back again after 2 days and let Nia rest. They saw how in pain and afraid she was, and they just couldn't finish.

My poor baby's arms. They tried to extract blood on both her arms, to no avail.

Before going for another round, I called the branch (this was a different branch, same lab) and for the most senior tech to do my daughter's extraction. On that day, we were scheduled for the last hour so that the clinic won't be too full. As always, my husband and I were very nervous and Nia, very scared. After 3 more pokes, they were still unsuccessful at retrieving blood. We couldn't get all the tests done because the blood drawn was not enough. Nia was too tired, hubby and I both frustrated.

I called her pedia asking if it's okay that there are 2 tests we couldn't do because they couldn't get enough blood. However, her pedia said she couldn't give clearance without those tests. :( That meant that we had to schedule another blood extraction. Mind you, this was our 4th day of going back and forth to finish all her lab work.

I just distract her and make her smile by playing with filters like this.

For the last 2 tests, we went to a big hospital with the hopes that the tech will be more used to pedia cases and babies. Upon registering, I mentioned what had happened previously and that Nia has already had 7 pokes already. She said that for the remaining tests, it can be done via pricking the finger. I thought it was easier that a full on blood extraction. I remember thanking the nurse so much.

We were then ushered to a room to get Nia's blood drawn. This time a male nurse came in, he was to do the procedure.  I saw that he started preparing the syringe. I then said, "I thought the tests could be done via pricking only?" By the way, NIa was already crying. She was sooo traumatized. Anybody who comes near her, she would cry bloody murder. The male nurse said that one of the tests requires a blood extraction from the veins. I was so sad to hear this. Good thing, Nia started screaming, so the female nurse came in and saw that the male nurse was prepping Nia for the extraction. She immediately stopped him and said that pricking the finger will do. Thank you God! Obviously, Nia still cried a lot, but it was much faster and they were able to get enough blood for the tests.

Haaaayyy what an experience! Parents will understand how heart breaking the entire ordeal was. To see your child in pain, asking for your help, staring at you while calling your name. It broke us and traumatized both my husband and myself. The three of us always came home exhausted, emotionally, physically, drained.

After 4 days of finishing all the lab work, we received the results and sent it to the pedia and finally got our clearance for Nia's operation. Praise God!

Last thing we needed? RT PCR or swab test for covid because of the pandemic.

Here are the links to all the requirements:

Part 1: CT Scan

Part 2: Pedia Clearance & Lab Tests

Part 3: RT PCR Swab Test

For Nia's #calears journey, click here. And for continuous donations for Nia's therapy and other medical expenses, you may refer to her story here. Thank you so much.

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