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Paralegal Career Dressing: Half of this Outfit Went to the ER

Paralegal Career Dressing: Half of this Outfit Went to the ER

The Teen and I were heading out the door this morning, into a cool, dreary day, with routine school and work plans, and no more worries than a lack of preferred teen breakfast food in the house, when Sickle Cell Disease reared its very nasty head.

One minute The Teen is taking some ibuprofen for a mild back ache, and the next minute, she’s bawling and shaking in severe pain, unrelieved even by the prescription medications we have for it at home. The crying was an alarm sign in itself, because she’s pretty stoic about pain levels that would knock most people to their knees, and she is not a cryer.

I’d already taken a few meh outfit pics inside due to the bad weather, but quickly replaced tights and heels with the necessary old jeans and sneakers needed for a long day at the hospital, and then went straight to the ER with The Teen. Who’s had an awful, awful day, and was admitted.

From left to right: The Graduate Student in Costume Construction, me (heh in the same sweater), and The Teen

After 10 hours there, Dear Hubby told me “to go home and do something fun.” I think he meant take a nap, but no way, since I’m staying the night with The Teen, and no way I sleep in a hospital. Not unless I’m the one getting the good IV drugs ;P

Why do I talk about The Teen’s Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) on my professional blog? Because I want to raise awareness of it. Many of my virtual friends and colleagues have told me they don’t know anyone with SCD, a genetic blood disorder that causes red blood cells to become hard and banana-shaped.

The excruciating pain associated with the disease is caused by those sticky blood cells becoming stuck in small blood vessels. When this happens repeatedly, it often causes other severe life-threatening health issues. The Teen is especially prone to Acute Lung Syndrome, which makes pneumonia look like a house kitten beside a mother tiger.

One of my fave pics of The Teen and me.

The most uninformed questions about SCD we get asked the most: is it contagious? is it blood borne? can I catch it from drinking after someone that has it? Just no, no, and no. That’s where the genetic disorder part comes in. (Getting off my soapbox now.)

What’s the worst part about loving someone with SCD? Watching them suffer horribly, and not being able to do much of anything about it except get the medical staff, hold back hair, and change head cloths. All the time hoping it’s not something else insidious starting as a pain event, like Acute Lung Syndrome or a stroke.

At least the sweater, which I had dug out of my winter clothes, was a great choice for freezing emergency rooms. Maybe not so much the big ol’ pile o’ pearls with ratty looking sneakers. Late in the day I finally went to the rest room, saw myself in the mirror, and thought, “A bit over the top on top for the hospital, aren’t you, lady?”

George floral cardigan worn backwards (Walmart); Loft skirt (thrifted new w/ tags); Impo booties; Tights (Target I think, gift); Super long strand freshwater pearls (gift from bestie); Brooch clipped to pearls (antique from relative); Silver skinny belt (Ross or Steinmart, can’t recall)

Okay, so I just had a little fun playing with Picasa, trying to get the brooch to show up better, and came up with this pic, which is my fave of me ever. And the color red, which can represent a vitalizing life force, is for everyone fighting chronic illness and their families.

Serious non-style question here. What’s the best way you keep your head together when you’re in the hospital, caring for someone you love?

P.S. For those of you wondering the heck why anybody would put up a blog post when their child is in the hospital, it’s because it’s the only thing I have any control over today. And I’m going back after a hot shower, a meal not from a vending machine, and packing my pillow. I wish I could sneak The Corginator into the ward. She’d be great therapy for everyone.

P.P.S. Yes, I’m super grateful to have a Dear Hubby with a medical background to spell me during long hospital stays, too. I’m blessed.

P.P.P.S. I’m adding this on Friday afternoon, and thanking of you for your kind thoughts. It looks like The Teen is going to be hospitalized for at least a few more days. This is by a long shot the worst pain crises she can recall. Her wonderful treating physician, a specialist in sickle cell, as described the excruciating knee pain she’s experiencing as an infarction of a joint. She’s also keeping an eye out for the development of pneumonia or Acute Chest Syndrome, which can happen pretty quickly when you can’t walk much and your body is being pumped full of necessary fluids.

15 Responses to Paralegal Career Dressing: Half of this Outfit Went to the ER

  1. Oh honey! I am so sorry to hear that your daughter was admitted. I have no advice on hospital stays. I'm that awful person who stays home, takes a nap, and waits for the family member to get home. Hospitals cause panic attacks for me. Something about the combo of cold air and disinfectant. Let's not talk about the time I had to be admitted for a broken bone.

    I suggest having lots to do – movies, books, knitting, whatever you can keep your hands and head busy with.

    I think it's great that you speak about your daughter's issue. I don't know much about SCD other than the basics. Your daughter is the first person I've been made aware of that has it. I've heard about SCD through school/biology, but never met someone who has it.

    Sending you guys lots of good thoughts and wishing for the best. Do blog if you can. Let us know how she and you are. Take care of yourself!

  2. Gosh… I *wish* I had some good advice as to what to do when you're with your child in the hospital. Mostly I just read books or do soduko puzzles. Sometimes if I am really prepared I have my laptop. I think hospital time goes by at a much slower rate than regular time. (My oldest has epilepsy; he had his first seizure when he was five months old so I have spent MORE than my fair share of time in a hospital room!)

    I agree with Megan – if you want to or need to talk about Sickle Cell, please do! It's so therapeutic to speak about these things, as I am sure you know by now!

  3. Oh Lynne! I am so sorry to hear of your horrific day! I do hope that the Teen will be feeling better soon. I am very glad that you are posting this information on SCD. I am sadly very uneducated on the disease as well! It is so inspirational that you shared this with us–thank you and I wish you both good fortune and health in the future.

  4. Lynne – My heart and prayers go out to you and your family. Especially the Teen (who has the best smile EVER!!). Like the other posters, I am completely unaware of the causes/signs/issues associated with SCD and I thank you for educating us. Maybe as more people get educated, more can be done to combat this horrible disease.

  5. So sorry to hear about the Teen's bad day and sure hope you're all doing better very soon. I don't know anything about SCD either, so educate away if talking about it helps.

  6. Oooh, I'm so sorry to hear that!! I can't even imagine going through something like that. The worst I've had to deal with is ear infections and rsv. That's so minor compared to what you're dealing with… I really have no advice for you whatsover. I hope she gets better quickly! *hugs*

  7. I think doing anything that can distract you on some level is good for a hospital. Nice to have smartphones and iPads and Kindles! Be sure to take care of yourself so you can take care of your teen.

    I know very little about SCD but it's important to educate us all about that. Sennding healing thoughts and prayers to your gorgeous teen.

  8. This is the first time I've met your daughters! Your teen has such a beautiful smile. I knew a bit about sickle cell… I think you look fabulous for a day in the hospital. On days I've been confined there, prayer is my consolation. Hope the situation improves.

  9. thank you for sharing about what The Teen is going through…i never knew about this sickness until now. It must be so hard as a parent to see the child suffer.


  10. thanks for sharing about The Teen. I didn't know anything about this sickness until now. It must be so hard to see a child suffer like that. God bless the Teen and help her through this journey


  11. So sorry to hear about the pain your Teen (and you, Mom) are going through. Since it has been a couple of days and you haven't posted, I hope that means that the two of you are home getting some much needed rest. Please keep us updated, and I too know very little about SCD, so appreciate you sharing. Hugs and prayers for you and your Teen.

  12. Thanks everyone for your kind words and thoughtful suggestions. We are still in the hospital. The Teen is improving slowly, especially after getting two units of blood, but having trouble walking due to her severe knee pain and her lungs are being watched closely for pneumonia, which can happen pretty quickly when your're not mobile and getting round the clock fluids.

    When I'm not taking care of her, I turn to my beloved iPad to help the hours pass.

  13. Glad you took a moment to post – and for the info on SCD. As for time in the hospital, I'm a scrapbooker so we always look for happy moments to focus on (which is possible, even in the most dire circumstances). For instance, the last time my daughter was hospitalized, her doc teased her about her ending up like him – bald. It was a light moment in a very difficult situation – something I noted in my journal later that night, and something I added to a scrapbook page about her hospital stay (along with several notes from her friends, cards from family, etc.). Sending you warm thoughts and prayers.

  14. Lynne, first I send thoughts and prayers to you and your family.

    Having spent too much time in hospital waiting rooms…I can imagine how your ipad can be such a solace.

    Thank you for sharing your story…I had no idea SCD came with such intense pain…it must be excruciating for the both of you!

    Sending you both love!

Contact Info:

Lynne J. DeVenny, N.C. State Bar Certified Paralegal

Owner & Virtual Paralegal, DeVenny Paralegal Services

Email: lynne.devenny[at]

Telephone: 336-582-0003

Inquiries are welcome, with free quotes available.

Meet Lynne:

Lynne DeVenny is a North Carolina State Bar Certified Paralegal with over 27 years of experience working on complex litigation cases, including medical malpractice, personal injury, workers’ compensation, and Social Security disability.

Disclosure: I am not a lawyer and cannot provide legal representation or legal advice.

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