I have a feeling this is going to be a pretty long post - so, unless you have five or ten minutes to read my ramblings, you may want to come back later :)
This week, we were thinking about driving to Iowa. Special thanks to my sister Kris who was willing to drive out with me. Luckily, on Thursday, Ben found some tickets for a very low rate as long as we flew out on Saturday instead of our typical Sunday.
So, our flight was around 4pm which gave us time to spend with the family before leaving. This week, X-Man and I went to Iowa, and Little Lou and Ben stayed home. The flights went well - as usual, X-Man was very well behaved. From the Cedar Rapids airport, we took a shuttle, the driver was VERY nice. He took us to the RMH - it was strange to be there on a Saturday, almost everyone of the 30+ rooms were booked.
Our home away from home
Since we would be in Iowa all day on Sunday with nothing to do, we decided to head into Coralville and visit the Iowa Children's Museum (it's free for RMH residents). A couple volunteers from the house drove us over to the museum. The museum is located in Coralville mall - we were quite impressed as there is a HUGE ice rink when you walk in. The museum was very nice too - there were lots of pretend stations (a grocery store, doctor's office, ambulance, dentist office, pizza parlor, post office, bank, house, farm and barn), a motion exhibit (you can build cars and tracks and send golf balls down the tracks, there was also a rock climbing wall), a puppet kingdom, and a new flight exhibit (with an actual cesna, hot air balloon, HUGE 2+ story slide, air rockets, air guns, pretend planes, flight simulators, control tower, etc). We had a lot of fun there, and spent 2-3 hours there. We took a break and got some lunch at Panera (their new macaroni and cheese is quite impressive) and walked the mall.
After lunch, we came back to the museum and met Dr. Dobbs' sister-in-law (he's an excellent Ponseti doctor in St. Louis). One thing that I love about being in Iowa City, is that I don't get the dirty looks that I do here; people don't stare at X-Man. People recognize X-Man's casts as clubfoot-treatment. Almost everyone I've run into in Iowa has been very non-judgemental and kind. People seem genuinely interested in him and how treatment is going. It's a great place to be.
Here are a few photos from the museum:
Dr. X-Man, DDS
X-Man the pizza-maker
He LOVED this walker, in fact, he tried to steal one from a child at the RMH
X-Man the medic
Huge Slide - yes, I did get to carry him up the steps too many times to count!
When we were done at the museum, we called the RMH and asked if someone would be able to pick us up. Unfortunately, there weren't enough volunteers to give us a ride, so they suggested that we call a taxi company (the free bus doesn't run on Sundays). When I called the taxi company, they said they couldn't pick us up because I didn't have a carseat for X-Man. So, I went to the information desk at the mall and explained our situation. The girl I talked to gave us a number to another taxi company. I called them and asked if they could give us a ride. Since we didn't have a carseat, the dispatcher said that it would be up to the driver. Luckily, the driver was willing to give us a ride. It was my first time ever riding in a taxi, so I didn't know what to expect. The driver was super nice - he told me that he spent a lot of time in the RMH as a child for a genetic disorder that he has. I told him all about X-Man. He took us to the RMH and said, I'm not going to charge you. I said "Please, let me at least give you a tip" - he said that he wouldn't accept any money from us. How amazing is that? He could have made at least $15 off of us, but instead did a good deed. There are still good people in this world. Please, if you ever go to Iowa City, use the Yellow Cab Company.
We got back to the house and played in the playroom and had some dinner. A local sorority made us some very yummy cheese tortellini, salad and garlic bread. The girls were so nice, we walked into the kitchen and they immediately started talking to my little guy. We also met a few other children with clubfoot (I counted four other children there!) - there was someone from Russia (this was the 4th country that she's taken her son to for treatment) and someone from Colorado. It was really neat, I met one of the ladies that belongs to the Yahoo nosurgery4clubfoot group and her daughter WW!
Playing at the RMH
The rest of the evening, we played and read books. I gave X-Man a bath and we prayed for a good appointment on Monday morning (I stayed up late reading The Shack - so far, it's really good!).
On Monday morning we ate breakfast (donated by Panera - YUM!) and walked to the hospital. Oh - did I mention, last week, they had the worst blizzard in 20+ years? There was snow all over the place, but the sidewalks were clean. The weather wasn't too bad.
X-Man did much better than normal. He still cried, but not nearly as much as usual. We sang songs and looked at books. Dr. Morcuende said his left foot is 100% corrected (take that ATTT surgery!) but his right foot is still a little stiff. He's hoping that the right foot will be corrected after this cast. They took impressions of his feet for new braces - which should be in by our next appointment on Monday. His braces will need some special inserts because of the stiffness of his feet (likely because of his second surgery).
After his new casts were applied, Maria told me that they will give us his braces free of cost (they are over $500). How amazing is that? They are so good to us. I gave her a big hug and cried a little. I really feel like God has favor on us and takes care of us. I feel so silly when I worry about these things and they're solved in ways that I never would have thought of.
We walked back to the house and ran into Susann and her daughter WW. They were on their way to get casts with Dr. M.
We cleaned our room and did our chores and had some lunch before checking out. Then our shuttle came to pick us up (BTW - if you're ever in Cedar Rapids or Iowa City, please contact the Airport Shuttle Service - they give free rides to residents of the RMH). Susann and WW rode with us to the airport - it was so nice for X to have a friend with casts, and I loved talking to Susann about her experiences.
Our driver from Saturday night is also a TSA agent, we saw him and he recognized us right away. A lot of the other agents recognized us as well (one said - "I see you came with Mommy this week!") It's such a small airport, that they remember you after being there a couple times.
Our flight to Chicago went well. We had a two hour layover, so we did some Christmas shopping and ate dinner (we of course had to buy some more of their delicious popcorn!). The flight home went well, X-Man actually fell asleep.
Flight to Chicago
After our plane "taxied in", X-Man woke up and started coughing. Right as I asked him to please cover his mouth, he got sick. All over the place. He continued to get sick for the next five minutes. I think everything that was in his stomach came out. Everyone was so nice, people were grabbing bags, and giving us paper towels, someone even gave us all her baby wipes. After all the passengers left, I changed his clothes. The attendants (United Airlines) were so nice, they asked if we needed anything and patiently waited for us to get off the plane. The pilot walked us off and asked if we needed a ride. He also wished us luck in X-Man's treatment.
All in all, it was a great trip, minus the puke.
BTW - side note, if you need to get odors out of casts, make a paste of water and baking soda and apply it to the stinky parts. The baking soda will harden, but it won't smell bad!