STEMpowerment

Big Accomplishment Friday – May 29, 2015

accomplishment fridayFriends, I’m writing to you in the very early hours of Sunday morning, but I haven’t forgotten about you, I promise!! There have been so many things going on this week that I’m just running a couple days behind schedule everywhere. So much got accomplished this week, but I’m going to leave a few things for future updates.

I only made it in to the office this week two days last week between Memorial Day and sick kids (I’ll get to that in a minute). That put me on a total time crunch, so I spent a lot of time at home working too. There were so many deadlines to meet! I had a proposal due Friday, and two paper revisions were submitted this week. I have a few other papers in various forms of submission, and three more grants due in the next three weeks, plus the rest of my job to keep up with! It’s a lot to juggle, but I get so much accomplished when I’m under the gun!

I finally finished something else I’ve been promising you for a few weeks now. I did my first “cool job” interview. Boom! It was harder than I expected to accomplish. I posted a few weeks ago about getting the webcam setup, but I didn’t realize it would be hard to logistically figure out when to actually interview people. Apparently I keep odd hours? I work all day, spend the evening with my kids, take care of chores, and then blog after that. Between the hours of 11 pm and 1 am isn’t the most opportune time to coordinate with other professionals – who knew?? Now that I’m over the hump of getting the first interview done, hopefully it’ll be easier to get going more regularly. I’ll try to post it in the next week. I have some more really interesting people in the pipeline with really neat STEM careers that I can’t wait to introduce you to!

OK – so getting back to the sick kids and missing work. My kids were sick on Thursday due to a bug that was going around daycare. Pretty normal sick kid stuff – no big deal.

Wednesday, however, was a different story. Back in March, my daughter got really sick and had to be hospitalized overnight. She took several days recovering at home to get better. About a week later, she got very sick again, and had to go back to the ER. She got a course of antibiotics for that, and was feeling better several days later. A few days after the end of the antibiotics, she was sick (again!). She took antibiotics again, and felt better after several days. Good. We were in the clear.

For like 2 days.

Then, she got sick….again. If you’re not counting, this is four pretty major sicknesses in about 6 weeks.

I’m normally pretty laid back, but by then my nerves were frazzled, I was really behind at work, and the poor girl was miserable. I had to do something. So, I called a favor in to one of the doctors I work with, and got her an appointment to see a specialist. We spent Wednesday morning getting tests done, and met with the specialist in the afternoon.

The results were a little mixed. We know for sure what caused her to get sick so many times now (yay!). It is serious (boo!), but it’s not life threatening (yay yay yay!). We have to be really vigilant about her health for the next few years, but she should go on to live a normal, healthy life as an adult, and I’m very grateful about that.

She will have to go back in at least two more times (but probably more) to see the specialist and get repeat testing done, which is kind of a bummer. One of the tests she had to have done was an imaging test. The patient has to hold really still during the test to ensure a good quality picture. In adults, it isn’t a huge deal because adults can lay still. But she is two, and two year olds don’t lay still. They wiggle and squirm and cry. So, the standard solution in the medical community seems to be either sedating or restraining children. For the test Wednesday, she was restrained.

Coming from a medical technology background, I 100% understand the need. You can’t diagnose a problem if you don’t have a good picture. But as a parent, it is terrible to see something traumatic happen to your child. I am really glad I knew what to expect with the test in advance.

I watched the whole process, and wondered why we haven’t come up with a better way to do these tests in kids. The crappy thing is, that this IS the latest and greatest. Before the imaging existed, I don’t know if there even was a way to confirm the problem – and that’s even worse! This is the reason I went into biomedical engineering, however. Seeing the way that the tests are done now made me remember how important it is to keep pushing innovation to improve healthcare technology.

Kids bounce back really quick, and my little STEMinista was pretty much back to herself by the time we left the imaging room. The ladies who worked with her were incredibly sweet, and showered her with gifts after the test for being such a brave girl. A coloring book, box of crayons, and teddy bear will fix anything, right?

So, I have a little weight lifted off my shoulders, now that we know why she was sick. We have specific strategies to keep her healthy, and if she does get sick again, I know exactly who to call, what to say, what to expect, and how to help her get better. It’s reassuring (and that’s an accomplishment!), even though it means doing more on a daily basis to keep her healthy.

What about you? What did you accomplish this week?

–theSTEMinista

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