Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A Glimpse Into Our Daily Routine

     Hazel and I just got settled, in what will be our room for the next 4-5 days, at the hospital. She is happy to be back, but always struggles with the routine of settling in.  When we arrive at the hospital, we have to get visitors passes at the front desk that will allow us to go to admitting.  Once in admitting, I have to fill out several sheets of hospital paperwork, provide my insurance card and I.D., pay my insurance co-pay and receive our admission papers and wristbands.  Then we have to go back to the front desk with proof of admission to get the correct passes to allow us upstairs to the 4th floor.  When we finally get up to the floor, we have to find our room so I can put all of the stuff that I was able to carry the first trip down, while Hazel checks out the room.  Sometimes she gets upset when we get to the room because it is not the same one as last time (typical 2-year old, right?!). So I have to spend several minutes calming her down and showing her that it has all the same amenities as every single room we had before.  Then, right of the bat, the nurse has to ask me tons of questions to make sure their system is up to date on everything Hazel, while the PCSA (Patient Care Service Aide) takes Hazel's blood pressure and temperature.  The nurse then has to listen to Hazel with a stethoscope, put her hospital wristbands on, draw blood for labs, connect her IV fluids and swab her nose to check for infection.  I think I may even be forgetting a few things!  Then I need to go back down to the car to get the remaining things I was not able to carry the first time, bring it back up to the room and put it all in it's place, all the while keeping our little Hazelnut entertained, of course!  
     Usually, once this routine is done, we go right out for a walk to say hello to all of her nurse and patient friends, and to check if the playroom is open!  Unfortunately, Hazel has been sneezing a lot today, so we have to stay in our room in isolation until they can determine whether or not she has a virus. They do this by spraying water up her little nose and sucking out mucous with a small machine to have it tested (TMI, I know!). However, right after spraying the water in her nose, the suctioning device decided to stop working, so they have to come back and do it again!  PLEASE PRAY HAZEL IS NOT SICK AND THAT GOD WILL TAKE THESE SYMPTOMS AWAY! IF SHE IS SICK, WE MUST STAY IN ISOLATION THE WHOLE TIME WE ARE HERE!  In addition, Hazel will also be getting a blood transfusion before they start her Chemo Round #5 tonight and will have to get her dressing on her line changed tomorrow (this happens once a week and she absolutely hates it!).  It is so hard to watch her have to go through all of this, but she continues to remain positive and a smile comes right back to her face once the tough part is over.  I admire this little one so much....
     Another part of our new routine happens at home.  Aaron and I have had a crash course in nursing school because she not only requires care in the hospital, but also every day at home.  I believe I have written about this before but as a quick recap: we have a home nurse who comes out twice a week.  She draws blood and does a clinical check on both days, and then on the second day she also changes Hazel's dressing.  Then each and every day Hazel has to take 2 different medications and a third one is added to prevent nausea and vomiting as needed.  When we give her a bath, we must cover her line with plastic wrap (Press N' Seal has become our best friend), and medical tape because it is not allowed to get wet.  For at least a week after Chemo, while Hazel's white blood cell counts are low, we are also required to give her daily injections.  Aaron must prepare the syringe, which take many steps, and while I hold her down he cleans her little leg and gives her the shot.  We have her throw the, what she calls, "yucky shot" supplies away and gets a handful of M&M's.  Then, before bed we have to flush both of her lines with a syringe of saline to clean it out and a syringe of Heparin, which is a solution that stays inside her line to keep it from clotting.  This requires many steps which I laid out in these photos:

Setting out all of the supplies
Cleaning the red line
Flushing with saline

Flushing with Heparing

Cleaning the blue line

Flushing with saline, and Hazel loves to help!

Flushing with Heparin

Throwing the trash away!

     This is just a small glimpse into the changes our family has gone through over these last months and I am sure we are in store for plenty more.  But for now, we have adjusted to these routines and continue to rely on the Lord each and every day.  Now, Hazel will be in the hospital at least through the weekend and will be getting the Chemo that causes pretty bad nausea and vomiting, so please pray that God can help her to not have severe side effects.  We absolutely feel lifted up by all of your prayers and have seen God's faithfulness at work!  He has been using Hazel's story to display His glory throughout and world and He has put so many people in our lives to bring us encouragement and hope.  Also, she has been feeling so good throughout her treatment thus far and has not lost a single pound! It has actually been pretty miraculous and I am reminded of these verses about His faithfulness:
  • Psalm 91:4 "He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and a bulwark"
  • Psalm 89:8 "O Lord God Almighty, who is like You? You are mighty O Lord, and your faithfulness surrounds you"
  • Lamentations 3:22-23 "The Lord's lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness"
     Thank you for keeping up with our family and I will update again soon!


  1. poor sweet little lady. she is a very brave one, a warrior if ever I've seen one!

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  3. So much love for hazel and your whole family <3 I struggled so much throughout my chemo and it was no where near as tough as what hazel is going through. She is so inspiring. I love her beautiful big smile, it melts my heart. Stay strong, you are all amazing! xxxxxx

  4. I will pray For Hazel and your family. She is adorable and very smart. I am sorry that your family has to go through that. Most adults don't take it as well as Hazel . Love and Prayers.

  5. My heart aches for you. Praying for sweet little Hazel tonight.

  6. Hazel is such a brave and strong girl, just as her family is. Be assured of my prayers.

    - Jeremy

  7. Wow, your description of your daily routine at home brought back memories of our year-long cancer battle with my son Bryan. I forgot most of what you described, but it came rushing back as you went through the steps. I remember putting on the rubber gloves and I was so inept at nursing tasks, shots, cleaning the port, etc. that my hands shook so bad once I took the gloves off my hands were soaked with sweat! Hang in the Lauren, one day you will forget the hard parts and remember all the blessings. Hazel is amazing and God is protecting her and using her in mighty ways. We continue to keep all of you in our prayers, especially our sweet Hazelnut!

  8. Prayers for this beautifull little girl and for the mother too you both are very strong ..your faith will keep you on this days .. love you and your family be blessed ,,

  9. Praying she isn't contagious so she can play and go outside her room! God is faithful, and your faith is inspiring. So many prayers lifted up for Hazel and your family!

  10. Praying for beautiful Hazel and you! Be strong, God will respond to all prayers! ! Xoxo from Florida. ..

  11. Praying for you all. She is a precious little angel. May God continue to give you strength and endurance.

  12. Praying for you all. She is a precious little angel. May God continue to give you strength and endurance.

  13. Hazel is amazing the way she tolerates and helps with cleaning her line, at her age. God bless you all!

  14. All the strength in the world to your family and adorable little hazelnut.. She obviously makes the best of it, I hope and pray she gets better soon!

  15. Dear Hazel and family,

    I am focusing my thoughts and energy to keep Hazel's path clear of anything which will get in the way of a full recovery. Many are greatly inspired by your journey and want nothing more than to have your experience become a story of strength and perseverance through an incredibly difficult time. This story will be an inspiration for the world to appreciate a strong family’s ability to overcome unimaginable challenges.

    Stay strong and know Hazel and her entire family are being watched over and loved by many, many souls you may never meet.

    -Redditor :)

  16. Thank you for keeping us updated Lauren. Praying for strength for the whole family.

  17. Have a happy day, Sweet Hazel. Know that lots of good wishes are heading the direction of you and your loved ones. (Though, my kitty whose name is Lucy just put a card in the mail to you this week =^..^= as she has problems typing on a computer)