June 22, 2015

Finding Peace with Frustration

Yesterday we spent Father's Day in NYC and had a fantastic time as a family. We strolled through the city, saw Blue Man Group and had dinner at Mandoo Bar, our favorite restaurant in Koreatown.

Today Evan was scheduled to have a Functional MRI (fMRI) before we left the city. This is basically a specialized MRI used to map brain activity. It requires an IV to inject contrast during the scan so we showed up early to get the IV. Evan has difficult veins and a decent amount of phobia of needles -- a direct result of bad IV experiences.

We arrived at the appointment hoping for the best. Evan always says he prefers to have the IV in his hand vs. arm and this is where things always start to take a turn for the worst. Today was no exception. After some effort to cajole Evan into letting the nurses look at his arms, he points to the tiny veins on his left hand and tells them he wants the IV there. It's a long process to get him to let them pick up a needle, including tears and hyperventilating. Finally, I get him to take a deep breath and focus on me and the newly opened Pokemon cards that I slowly reveal as the nurses work. On the second card I know there is a problem. Evan's focus is strong and he doesn't flinch. It looks like they are fishing for the vein. Evan holds steady, his gaze contradicting what I see when I glance at his hand. Three more cards and the nurse pulls everything away from his hand and holds gauze over the small mark. She blew the vein. I show Evan the rest of the cards and he looks at his hand and then at me, in horror.

We both know this means they need to try again and I feel like I have somehow let him down. Over the course of the next two hours we try to gear up for another attempt. Evan is resistant. We try everything to calm him and encourage him to let a new nurse try a bigger vein in his arm. He cries, hyperventilates...we explain the importance and try to encourage him to let them try once more... The nurses give him breaks...this goes on and on and on. His appointment slot passes but they say we can still do the fMRI if he gets the IV. More tears, hyperventilating and failed attempts to convince Evan to let them try one more time. In the end he refuses the IV.

We leave the office and we are all exhausted, frustrated and deflated. It's a mixed bag. We are frustrated with the nurse for messing up, with Evan for not trying again and with the knowledge that we have to come back to New York in a few days to try again. 

We are on our way home now and the frustration has passed. No sense dwelling on what we can't change. We will be back in New York on Friday for another fMRI appointment and we will arrive hopeful that Evan will have a better experience.

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