Ellisa’s Doctor Visits: 18 Months

I thought I would  go ahead and simply make one post that goes over all the doctors that Ellisa saw for her 1.5 year check-ups vs doing a post on each visit. Thankfully, there’s nothing too complicated to report or too many doctor’s that she had to see. Here’s a summary of each visit.

Charles and Ellisa at Doctor George's Office

Charles and Ellisa at Doctor George's Office

Dr. George: Neurosurgeon
It’s crazy to think my daughter has her own neurosurgeon. Believe me, it’s not nearly as glamorous as it sounds.

I’m somewhat relieved after our appointment with Dr. George. Overall, the take away is her shunt appears to be functioning properly. Her ventricles are for the most part keeping their size, they may be even slightly larger, and her hydrocephalus is under control. Since her development seems to be progressing, there is nothing at this point to be concerned with. Until we see a halt in development, or symptoms of a shunt malfunction, all is well.

I have to admit, I have love/hate feelings for Dr. George. All professional of course. I love him because he is an amazing doctor, that in my mind has saved my daughter’s life AND quality of life. He is honest, articulate, and super smart, yet down to earth. I hate him because I have to poke and prod him for information on issues I can see that may be in our future. He on the other hand, doesn’t want to discuss issues that may be. He only talks about what we know to be true in the present. That’s why he’s good.

He’ll let you know there is a chance for problems to arise, but doesn’t talk about the details until there is a real need to. I wouldn’t want to waste my time talking about what might be either, but as a mother, I don’t like feeling I’m in the dark. I think he’s trying to protect me from worrying about problems that might be. And there is no point in worrying about something that isn’t. Love it and hate it.

Here are the big question I had for him and his answer. Pretty straight forward as I can only expect of Dr. George.

Ellisa's Ventricles as of 18 Months vs Pre-Shunt

18 Months (L) vs 2 months/Pre-Shunt (R)

Why is her head so small?
I was hoping to hear a definite answer but unfortunately, I didn’t get it. His answer in my words was, “I don’t know and it doesn’t matter. She’s developing well–progressing– and doesn’t show any signs of a shunt malfunction, so regardless of her head size, we’re not going to do anything. Yes, I’m looking out for a couple things. One being her sutures fusing early and/or Slit Ventricle Syndrome (SVS). At this time I’m not concerned with either. If her sutures fuse early, that doesn’t mean we’ll do anything about it. Her skull can still grow to accommodate for brain growth. Until there is a problem, we won’t treat it or test for it. As for SVS, this doesn’t seem to occur until a child is older, and at this time I’m simply not concerned. Again, she’s not showing any bad signs.”

No news is good news.

On a side note: Prior to Dr. George’s visit, we had to get a fast acquisition MRI done of Ellisa’s ventricles. I was super nervous about this visit since our last doctor’s appointment consisted of Ellisa getting so upset she got sick on the doctor. I assumed this visit wouldn’t be much different. But to my pleasant surprise, Ellisa did great! Yes, there were tears but they were minimal. Once we got her strapped down in the machine, she seemed to calm out of either fear or interest. Plus, mommy’s singing can always calm her baby down. I wish! I actually don’t think she’s ever been that still for an MRI. Way to go Ellisa! A warm swaddle still works.

– – – – – – – – – – – –

Dr. Rainey: Ophthalmologist
This visit was a bit wasteful just because she was primarily looking at Ellisa’s optic nerve to see if there was pressure on it. If there was pressure, that means her shunt most likely has malfunctioned. Being I saw Dr. George the day before, I really didn’t need to see her, however I have heard of kids that show no signs of a malfunction and then their Ophthalmologist sees it days later. We’re going to see her once a year to look at Ellisa’s optic nerve. This time we’ll just go 6 months in between our annual visit with Dr. George. A good checks and balances system.

I did ask if her vision was 20/20 and she said that she can’t test that for any child Ellisa’s age. I guess they can’t test for it until the child can communicate. She did say that Ellisa’s eyes are within a normal range. I’m super happy with that!

– – – – – – – – – – – –

Dr. Louis: Pediatrician
I was proud of myself at this visit. For the first time I didn’t come with a tablet full of questions. It was a standard 18 month check-up with shots and all. Yes, Ellisa freaked out again. She really hates him looking in her ears, mouth, etc… At least she didn’t get sick on him again. I tell you, this girl is strong and strong-willed.

She didn’t pass the 18 month developmental questionnaire, but I knew she wouldn’t. That wasn’t a surprise. Plus, that questionnaire is really stupid if you ask me. I know too much about a child’s developmental milestones. I felt like I was taking a quiz out of Cosmo or something. Their assessment didn’t really matter because quiz or not, I already knew the answer.

One thing that he did say that was nice to hear was he felt we dodged a huge bullet. He said that Listeria is such an unknown rare bacteria that he simply didn’t know what he was going to see with Ellisa from day one. And to his surprise, she is doing amazingly well. I think when it comes down to it, all the professionals thought she would have CP for sure and some other serious delays. Chalk it up to genetics. Chalk it up to early intervention. I like to think it’s both.

– – – – – – – – – – – –

We still need to see First Steps for her 18 month developmental assessment but we don’t go there until she’s 18 months adjusted age. I’ll be sure to post an entry on that visit. It should be an interesting one. Wish Ellisa luck!

3 Responses to “Ellisa’s Doctor Visits: 18 Months”
  1. Mary Jo Andrew says:

    It sounds like the both of you have raising twins figured out. You are doing an excellent job.
    Just enjoy them as they grow up too fast.

    I was wondering if Ellisa gave those Dr.’s the evil eye???

    Love, Great Aunt Mary Jo

  2. Lucy says:

    Yea Ellisa! I’m so happy for you all. Kenzie, don’t forget, she can have lots of hair on her sweet head. I think you and Charles need to give yourselves a pat on the back. Simply said, she would not be doing so well without parents who are on the JOB! Your positive attitudes do the twins very well too. Go peanuts! Luv, Lucy

  3. Joe says:

    All great to hear! Sounds like some very good professionals are looking out for her.

Let the peanuts know your thoughts.

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