Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Surgery Center Vs Children's Hospital

In this post, I'm sharing my thoughts about pediatric trigger thumb surgery.  Two of my children have had it; one at Denver Children's Hospital and the other at the Surgery Center in Manhattan, KS.  We had great experiences both places.  But, if you have a choice between a hospital or a surgery center, there are differences to weigh.  Here are so of the things that I noticed.
At the surgery center before surgery with her bear, compliments of the surgery center.

1.  Size:  Hosptials are big and busy.  Surgery Centers are smaller and often located right near a hospital.  Hospitals have sick people, so if you are concerned about germs, it's just something to consider.
2.  Check-in: Check in time varies between a surgery center and a hospital.  We didn't have insanely long waits at the hospital, but the surgery center, just because of its smaller footprint, was faster for us to get from the car, to check-in, to the waiting area, and then to the operating room.
3.  Level of  care:  If you can go to a children's hospital, you will get very specialized care, targeted to children, which is very nice.  The children's hospital gave my daughter a Barbie doll after her surgery.  That was very nice.  At Denver Children's, one parent is allowed to accompany the child going in for surgery until he/she is a asleep under anesthesia.  We didn't get to do that at the surgery center.  However, the surgery center did a wonderful job with our three year old.  There was a little stuffed animal waiting for her which she got to take with her to surgery.  They even allowed her to take her nasty, filthy blankie too!  The doctors and nurses at the surgery center were very sweet to our daughter.  It helped me feel good about my decision to have her surgery there.
4.  Cost: Surgery Centers generally cost a bit less.  I tried to get a quote from the hospital and the surgery center here so that I could compare the two, but the hospital never got back to me.
(For those of you wondering what the insurance gets billed for a job like this, it's roughly $12,000.)
5.  Accessibility: In my experience, the Surgery Center really wins here.  When I call, I get a person on the line right away.  I ask questions and I get connected with a knowledgeable person.  When call-backs are necessary, they are fast.  Calling a hospital is a bit more daunting, starting with an automated message and then a menu to choose from.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Pediatric Trigger Thumb Surgery, Again

Let me explain.  About 2 years ago my 4 year-old daughter underwent bi-lateral trigger thumb surgery at Denver Children's Hospital.  Just today, my 3rd daughter (3 year-old) just had her bi-lateral trigger thumb surgery at an outpatient surgery center.  Having the somewhat rare, opportunity to take two children through trigger thumb release surgery, I'd like to do a bit of comparing and contrasting on the differences in the two experiences (which have both been positive) for those of you out there who have children whose cute little thumbs are stuck bent. (According to the stats on my blog, there are more of us out there with kiddos dealing with pediatric trigger thumb than I'd imagined.)  Here's a quick run down of each daughter and the circumstances surrounding her trigger thumb experience.

Daughter 1:
  • We first noticed her bent thumbs when she was about 2 years old.  My husband and I thought they were cute and didn't think much of it until she was 3 and a half and starting to use scissors.  She could not open scissors.  I figured her stuck thumbs might be hindering her.
  • We went though at least 2 health care professionals before I self-diagnosed my daughter and then asked for a referral to a specialist.
  • Surgery on both thumbs performed at Denver Children's Hospital.
  • Surgeon put casts on her hands and forearms to protect the incision and stitches.
  • Daughter went to a few sessions of physical therapy after the surgery.  
  • Now, two years later, daughter is doing well.  She's using scissors just fine!  
  • For more detail about her surgery, follow this link:  http://humdrumhero.blogspot.com/2009/11/congenital-trigger-thumb-or-my-child.html
Daughter 2:
  • Daughter 2 is a fraternal twin.  My husband and I jokingly checked her thumbs and her twins sister's at birth when they were born to make sure they didn't have trigger thumb.  Both girls thumbs extended fully with no problems, then.  Little did we know. 
  • By 18 months old, Daughter 2's thumbs were locked.  Interestingly, her twin sister has nodules on each tendon at the base of her thumb (tell-tale sign of pediatric trigger thumb when accompanied by thumbs that are stuck bent), but does not have locked trigger thumbs.
  • When daughter 2 turned 3 years old, I scheduled an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon. Surgery before the age of 3 is usually not recommended.
  • Surgery on both thumbs at a surgery center near a general hospital.
  • Surgeon put soft bandages on her hands and instructed us to keep them on for a couple of days.  After that, we should cover the stitches with band-aids until the stitches dissolve.
Next post I'll talk about the differences that I observed between a hospital and a surgery center. I'll also keep you posted on the healing of Daughter 2's surgery and the healing process.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Made in USA for Christmas

I have been somewhat inspired by ABC News Made in America series.  The premise of the series is that if we all made even a minimal effort to buy products made in the USA, we could help create jobs right here.  So, while the lawmakers are fighting on Capitol Hill, we can get to work and start making a difference.  I like that idea.

With Christmas fast approaching I've been looking at toys a lot.  The internet has really simplified my shopping because I can read reviews of products before I buy them.  It's also really helped me hunt down USA/American Made toys.  Typically when I think of American made toys, I think of wooden ones.  Now, wooden toys are quite nice for babies, but for older kids... blocks and puzzles aren't going to cut it. I'm going to highlight a few affordable favorites that I have found.

This Christmas I plan on buying some American made toys on purpose for my kids.  I hope you will too!

10 Made in the USA Toys
for kids ages 5-10 (in no particular order)

1. Wikki Stix are a fun, reusable craft toy, great for quite play without a mess. Checkout the reviews at Amazon.   Price: $8-30  www.wikkistix.com

2. Arrow Copters are flying toys that can be launched high, I mean HIGH, into the air.  Read reviews at Amazon.  Price: $10  http://www.arrowcopter.com

3. Shrinky Dinks are a fun craft toy for boys and girls.  (These have been around for years, and their simplicity is what I think keeps them around!)  Design and color and then place in oven to shrink.  Price: starting at $5  http://www.shrinkydinks.com/

4. K'nex building set - My 8 year old son LOVES these (girls love them too).  I love the expandability of these toys.  With the option to put on motor on his contraptions, it will be a long time before he outgrows these.  Plus, they are compatible with Legos bricks. (Some special pieces may be made in China.) Price: $20.00 and up  www.knex.com

5. ZingWing- Model airplane toys. Kids and adults alike dig flying toys!  These look like quite a bit of fun, though I haven't actually found a lot of reviews on them.  I contacted the company and learned that some of their models are made in the USA while others are in China. Price: $1.99 and up  http://zingwing.com/models.html

These four models are made in the USA:



  *A reprsentative from the company says they plan on moving production back to the USA in a few months.  I hope that happens and goes well for them.

6. Lauri Toys Tangrams Plus - (Lauri Toys makes lots of toy puzzles for younger kids as well, all made in the USA).  This is a nice puzzle toy with lots of puzzle cards to stimulate a young mind.  Read Reviews at Amazon.comPrice: $10 

7. Silly Putty:  Don't forget this time-tested favorite!  I recently saw silly putty on sale at Target for $1.  Makes a great stocking stuffer or party favor.  http://www.sillyputty.com/

8.  Slinky:  Okay, here's another kid pleaser.  When I think of a slinky, I think of a crumpled up one that I can't get undone... that's what happens when you give them to kids under 4.  But, older kids really like these.  Don't be fooled by the dollar store, Chinese-Made imitations, though.  The original slinky is much better quality.  Price: $2.50 and up http://www.poof-slinky.com/

9. Books:  Thank goodness we still print books in the USA!  And, you can find these with little effort.  I recently bought a Disney Princess Paperdoll set for my daughter and a novel for my son that were both printed in the USA. Price: varies

10. Yo Baby Kick Flipper:  This is a great toy that gets kids moving.  It's like a skateboard without wheels.  You have to see it to understand it.  Includes a DVD for instruction.  Price: $15  www.fatbraintoys.com/specials/made_in_america.cfm

For Even more great Made in America toy gift ideas, visit: http://www.fatbraintoys.com/specials/made_in_america.cfm