On 30 Dec 2014, Cass went for an MRI scan of her urinary tract and kidneys. The scan is to see if there are any hidden abnormalities in her kidneys. We know that her right kidney is duplex. And she had a Grade 3 Kidney Reflux on the right side, which has since been fixed with a surgery when she was 13 months old. But all the doctors and surgeons that we have been seeing are baffled as to why she is still leaking pee as all the scans that she had done over the past 5 years showed that all is well now. The urologist whom we are seeing now is suspecting that her left kidney (which is the good one) may have a hidden duplex kidney that cannot be picked up through all the scans. Cass had gone through two MAG 3 scans, two MCUG scans and countless numbers of ultrasound scans over the past 6 years.
If this MRI scan report fails to show hidden abnormalities in her kidneys and urinary tract, she would have to go for a CT scan with contrast. This is the scan which I am most reluctant to let Cass go through as it has radiation. Cass had to go through a CT Scan when she was 13 months old, when she was in the hospital after her Ureteral Reimplantation surgery. She had a complication from the surgery, where her small intestine was kinked and all the X-rays, Fluoroscopy scan and CT Scan failed to show the kinked intestine. I am very uncomfortable to have to let Cass go through another CT Scan, as I am very worried that this will increase her risk of cancer due to radiation.
On the day of the MRI, we were given a ward at the pediatric unit. It was planned earlier by the Urology Surgeon that Cass would be sedated but at the eleventh hour, I had this strong guts feeling that Cass did not need the sedation (via IV). I had confidence that Cass would breeze through the MRI without a fuss. I was so right! So I talked to her doctor on duty that day (a young Chinese doctor in training). She was very understanding and amiable. She too felt that Cass did not sedation by looking at Cass’ composure and nonchalance over the whole procedure. She told me that she would still follow me to the MRI unit with a stretcher, oxygen tank and sedation meds just in case Cass needs to be sedated during the MRI. From the pediatric ward, we had to take an ambulance to the MRI unit. It was my first time on an ambulance and so was Cass!
My sleeping beauty tried hard not to fall asleep while waiting for the 2pm MRI scan but hard as she tried, she succumbed to her weariness and took a 1-hour nap! Cass woke up at 6am that morning to eat as her fasting would begin at 10am. I was hoping that she would stay awake and only fall asleep during the MRI but…. sigh….
Waiting for the ambulance to arrive to bring us to the MRI unit. See the stretcher and oxygen tank behind Cass? That was on stand-by for Cass IF she needed a sedation during the MRI later…
I did not manage to snap a pic of Cass during the MRI. But it looks similar to the picture below. Her body was strapped and had layers of plastic and sponge on top of her body. Her hands had to be placed above, next to her head. A set of headphone was placed on her ears. I was given a set of headphone too but I did not wear them as the sounds of the machine were bearable to me.
The loud and annoying noise emitted by the MRI machine did not bother Cass much but the position of her hands did! Half way through the MRI…
Cass – mummy, can you bring me a tissue? (she said this very calmly)
Me – for what?
Cass – to wipe away my tears
Me – why are you crying? Are your hands painful? (She had been complaining that her hands were painful from the position. She had to lie as still as a log for over an hour).
Cass – yes my hands hurt a lot. Can I put my hands down?
I then wiped her tears away with my hands.
The radiologist and doctor heard our conversation from the PA system outside the MRI room and asked Cass if she was OK. When they found out that her hands hurt, they stopped the MRI and repositioned her hands by placing them next to her body.
Finally after an hour in the clamorous tunnel (that’s what Cass called the MRI machine), a vial of contrast (dye) was injected via the IV line on Cass’ hand. The contrast is to ‘light up’ the kidneys and urinary tract.
I think Cass behaved really well during the MRI procedure. She was very cooperative by not flinching and fidgeting throughout the MRI procedure. I don’t think any 6YO can be that cooperative for over an hour in a confined space, in an icy cold room with loud disturbing noises. I held her hands, stroke her face and hair and talked to her throughout the procedure. The presence of a child’s mother / father in such a situation helps to calm a child and I think that it is important that a parent is allowed to be in. I was with Cass in all the scans and surgeries (when the GA was administered) that she went through over the past 6 years.
Cass fasted for exactly 7 hours that day as we had thought that she would be sedated via IV. The fasting was in vain as she did not need it after all. My brave little soldier!
This is Cass after the MRI, taking a hungry bite while waiting for the ambulance to bring us back to the pediatric ward.
Back at the pediatric ward, Cass ate again while waiting for the nurse to remove the IV line from her hand.
My motherly instinct was again spot on. Cass did not need any sedation after all and because she was not sedated, we could go home immediately and she did not have to be in the ward to recuperate!
I am so very proud of you my darling Cass. She is truly endowed with Herculean mental and physical strength. I pray that all will be OK with you. I pray that you do not need any more surgery or CT scan. I pray for God’s blessing and a miracle on you again.