Tag Archives: MRI


Today we continued our survey of Atlanta’s healthcare system by visiting the Children’s Healthcare Of Atlanta Egleston location. Egleston is actually 10 minutes away from our house on the Emory campus, so the drive was short and pleasant. I also think this may well be the 7th hospital we’ve visited in the last 2 months. Perhaps I should start a hospital ratings website when this is all done…

As I mentioned last week, the goal for today was for Fiona to receive an MRI to better diagnose the root cause of her hearing loss. When we entered the lobby it was quite clear to me this was hands-down the nicest hospital I’ve ever been inside. Nicer still then the Scottish Rite location I blogged about a few weeks ago. Beyond the immaculate cleanliness and “newness” feeling to everything, it had a very airy architecture sprinkled liberally with technology and relaxing “aquatic” artwork (aquariums, water sculptures, etc.). I shudder to think of the cost.

The lobby, if you can even call it that, was pure child nirvana showing not one, not two, but THREE different kids programs on different TVs. See if you can spot them all below.

Egleston Waiting Room

Egleston Waiting Room

As we sat waiting (not long mind you), I noticed a funny looking room off to the side: it had open glass, 7 or so microphones, and various pictures and posters on the wall. My curiosity got the best of me, it was clearly a studio of some sort, but what was it doing in a hospital?

Seacrest Studios

Mystery Room

Well it turned out it was a studio donated by Mr. American Idle himself, Ryan Seacrest (kindof obvious in retrospect, but it was so out of place for me in that context). Apparently they use it for various interviews with celebrities and fund raising events for the hospital. I of course asked what celebrities they’ve seen – most are sports stars I wouldn’t know (not because they aren’t famous, but because I’m lame and don’t watch sports), but they also had a recent interview with…

…wait for it…

the “Biebs” himself, hunky teenage heartthrob Justin Bieber. OMG LOL OMG TTYL! Life is just¬† TOO good!

So Justin Bieber you say? Well that was just too much to resist, so I had to get Fiona’s picture in front of his cardboard likeness. I’m sure she will grow up to have absolutely no clue who this is, and my what a shame that would be…

Fiona and Biebs

Fiona and Biebs

Celebrity gawking aside, we were soon escorted to our own private room by way of the “butterfly” elevator. Apparently the Wonka Glass Elevator was out of service today.

We soon got down to serious business. Since Fiona is so young, she had to be sedated for the procedure. We watched a short Simpsons-like “so you’re about to be sedated”¬† video, and then the nurses prepared Fiona for her IV. Mom and the nurses were fantastic, but clearly this was not Fiona’s favorite part of the day.

Wait a minute!

Wait a minute!

Humor aside, I won’t lie: it was pretty sad watching your baby get sedated. You feel so powerless to help your child, and worried silly something will go wrong. The staff, though, was fantastic at setting us at ease and assuring us she was in the best of hands.

Mom holding sedated Fiona

Mom holding sedated Fiona

They soon took away Fiona in a gurney to get the MRI done. We were not allowed to follow, which was probably for the best, so we had about an hour to kill. The nurses gave us two options: we could hang out in our private room (which had cable TV, of course), or we could walk around the hospital and they’d call us when it was time to come back.

We chose to walk around – first grabbing some lunch at the cafeteria. The food was decent by hospital standards, and far better then the Northside cafeteria I frequented during the delivery. Eliza was also in heaven as they had Chick-Fil-A sandwiches.

We had more time to kill, so then strolled around the hospital garden. Yep, the hospital garden. The flowers smelled quite nice.


Egleston Garden

By this time Eliza was rightfully abusing me for taking so many pictures, but I had to joke since we hardly get out of the house now, this was the closest thing we’ve had to a vacation in 12 months. Kindof a funny commentary on how much our lives have changed over the last year.

As we returned, Fiona was soon carted back in. The procedure went great, but we won’t get the results for 3-5 days. Sorry for those who’ve read this far looking for the results, but you’ll have to come back to hear more.

Fiona woke up about 10 minutes later, and we were able to go home probably 20 minutes after that. As I’m writing this now, she’s continuing to sleep in the corner. A traumatic 5 hour day at the hospital for little miss Fiona, but all is well and she’s sleeping it off now.

More to come on Wednesday when Fiona gets fitted for hearing aids. The busy week continues…

First ENT Visit

Early this morning we had our first appointment with the ENT (Ears, Nose, Throat) doctor. We braved rush hour traffic to drive up to Northside’s Scottish Rite Children’s Hospital and were pleasantly surprised. It’s a very nice facility – modern, well equipped, and with a friendly and knowledgeable staff (except they couldn’t tell me where the “Scottish Rite” name came from – ha, I bet they didn’t see THAT question coming!).


Scottish Rite Children’s Hospital, Atlanta

As we unloaded the car, I joked it felt like Disney World. A stream of cars were entering the parking deck, unloading strollers left and right while families were all marching down a well manicured path to a campus of modern buildings. All that was missing was the “all is well” cheerful music coming from speakers hidden in the bushes.

We had a great visit with the ENT doctor, and then an even better one with our new audiologist. As expected, this was more of a meet and greet and discussion of next steps:

  • On July 2nd, Fiona will have a retest of the Auditory Brainstem Response test I posted about earlier. Different doctors, different equipment – a true second opinion. While we are not expecting a different result, I can’t help shake the irrational hope that maybe, just maybe they made a mistake. We shall see.
  • In parallel, we will be scheduling time to get an MRI done. This will help determine the extent of the damage and what treatable options are available. This will also help discover if Fiona is a viable Cochlear Implant candidate.
  • We will also be conducting lab work (blood samples) to analyze the health of other parts of her system (Kidneys, etc.) that in small cases can also have problems with children with profound hearing loss. Unlikely, but being thorough. As part of this, genetic testing will also be done to help determine risk factors for future children. (Eliza and I do want to have another child at some point, so this is a very important result to us).
  • We will be meeting with an ophthalmologist to also get her vision checked out. So far Fiona’s eyes seem perfectly fine and she’s been tracking movement for a couple weeks now, so hopefully all is well there. The Isham family has pretty bad eye genes though, so there’s always a little worry there.
  • Assuming she fails the retest, Fiona will be fitted for hearing aids that will need to be evaluated for 3-6 months. While we don’t expect them to have any impact, its a part of the procedure that must first be ruled out before CI.

A lot of doctor’s visits to come! Next week we also start meeting with speech therapists to determine next steps there. We’re particularly excited to check out the Auditory Verbal Center for which we’ve heard fantastic things, and is a close connection to our good friend Zoe. I’ll definitely post more on that as we learn.

So no big news today, but the start of a roadmap.

Would love to hear more from our Atlanta friends on any experiences, positive or negative, with these programs and any others you’d recommend. We’re in total fact finding mode right now.