Talitha is enjoying being home almost as much as the rest of us are loving having her at home. In the picture we took of Talitha this evening (see above), you can see a few of the fashionable items we lovingly call Hospital Jewelry. You can accessorize most any hospital wear with plentiful options for feet, wrists, arms, chest, nose, head, etc...in the form of ID bracelets, IVs, oxygen absorption & heart monitors, blood pressure cuffs, central lines, NG (feeding) tubes, external head drains, and the like.
In the above photo, Talitha is modeling the ever popular double lumen Broviac catheter (central line) and the intubated Nasogastric (feeding) tube.
You can see the central line splits off to two portals through which IVs can be administered simultaneously without the need for lines inserted into and taped onto wrists. This central line was surgically installed on January 11th and will be permanent throughout her therapy. The chemo drugs are injected through these ports which empty near the heart where maximum blood flow quickly disperses the harsh substances that would be too much for and burn the smaller arteries in the arm. It is also through the central line that Audrey injects preventive antibiotics at home while Talitha's blood counts are too low to fight infection. In order to maintain the central lines, both portals must be flushed daily and then "locked" with hepron to avoid blood clot issues.
The Nasogastric tube (NG for short) is the line you see running from her left nostril and wrapping around to her back side. Clear tape is used on her cheek to hold the tube in place and to help prevent its accidental removal. There is probably a good 18 inches or more of tubing that you can't see in the picture. We usually coil and tape the excess to her shirt in back to help us avoid snagging and tangling. This tube is not permanent but is used when she is not getting enough to eat (or drink) on her own. (She's eating pretty good now...still not much luck with drinking.)
Though hard to see in the picture, Talitha's hair is very thin now. She still has some beautiful long strands in the front but most is now gone in the back and so her scar from the tumor removal in the back is always visable. She saw the red head band and asked Audrey to put it in her hair. Then Audrey asked her if she wanted to see in the mirror. She enthusiastically replied, "YEEEEAAAAHHHH!"
She pretty much lost her smile during the unexpected week back in the hospital. But as you can see she's feeling pretty good right now. Lot's of sleep and entertainment from her adoring siblings have combined to lift the corners of her mouth a bit. She even laughed today which just warms the heart.
We love our little girl!