Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Days 2-5 - California, Dr.Black's Evaluation and still...Dominican Republic Bound!

Just got to a point where I could get some quiet time to focus on writing without the bouncing effects of our washboard highways. We just pulled in to a little Arizona town (Benson) off Interstate 10 and Mailia and Max are resting.
I suppose I should commence where I left off in my last blog post…with our heading south to Mailia’s grandparents house in Turlock, Ca. where we had a wonderful visit with them and spent the night.

 We were to head out the next day, Sunday…into the beautiful city by the bay…San Francisco.

San Francisco was amazing to experience, especially for Mailia. She took it all in and photographed everything she saw. After checking into our little hotel, a convenient 3 blocks away from California Pacific Medical Center…we decided to take Mailia for some dinner and so, grabbed a cab down to Pier 39 for dinner at Bubba Gumps.

Mailia had not ate at Bubba Gumps since her Make a Wish trip to Maui…she remembered the shrimp…and what a feast it was. They did their best to accommodate her huge appetite and brought her out 1.5 pounds of Canjun hot shrimp. Made famous from the Forrest Gump movie…it is one of the best places on earth in our book and the quotes all over the walls…oh my gosh, like the following Mailia could not believe:

Bubba: Anyway, like I was sayin', shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. Dey's uh, shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There's pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich. That- that's about it.

When we finished, we called the same cabbie, Carl…and he whipped over to pick us up after dinner and amused us with his liberal wit and philosophy. Topic…Health care and reform...sigh.
After a peaceful night, we checked out of our hotel and made it to the California Pacific Medical Center right at 8:00a.m. Monday morning and there standing inside the hospital entrance waiting for us as promised, was heart surgeon Dr. Michael Black. He took us to admitting and visited with Mailia and SteelDust while dad went and parked and I got her admitted.

We then went straight for the ECHO that was done by Liz and Dr. Black. From what he could see…it all looks good except for some leakage that is hard to see on a ECHO. We then went to his office and had a good long talk.
He would consult with Dr. Popper on Tuesday and have the ECHO read and reported by Wednesday and pdf us copies for Dr. Grekos in Florida.

We discussed the future options he has for Mailia:

1. Banding the pulmonary artery

2. Banding the pulmonary artery combined with a double flap patch for the VSD

3. Artificial heart or right ventricle assist device implanted

These would potentially occur after seeing improvement or at a period of time where there would still be a window of opportunity for the stem cells to be still viable and able to heal her lungs.
He wanted to know if we would be able to come back through SF on our way back home to see him and Dr. Popper for a follow up…that just might be a possibility.
All in all…a great visit which left us very hopeful and clear on a miraculous path forward for Mailia.  Dr. Michael Black is a diamond in the rough...our hero.  We are very grateful to him for spending an enormous amount of time giving us hope and validating our wish...to see Mailia healed.

When we left San Francisco Monday afternoon, we headed south on I-5 thinking we could make it in to the Palm Springs area for the night.  We managed to skirt the L.A. area during rush hour and made excellent time.  This morning...we slept in a bit and got a late start but also made good time getting though Phoenix and Tucson Arizona without much ado.  Mailia was absolutely facinated with the desert and the cactus varaties all over the plains and mountains.

We had to make a pit stop in Casa Grande to exchange 15 empty oxygen tanks...that surprisingly only took 20 minutes, including time to visit with the folks at Lincare.  Mailia's respiratory therapist...Ken Guin from Richland, gave us a Lincare directory and is a phone call away to set Mailia up with oxygen on her journey to Florida and back.

We have been getting daily updates and photos from home, of all the critters esp. the ones that are super attached to Mailia and she them.  This is the hardest part of the trip I think...her homesickness.  We validate this...but can assure her they are all fine and she will be back home soon.

Tomorrow we do the great state of Texas...and will see what the next couple of days bring.

Till then...all our gratitude, love and blessings.

The Goforth's...

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