The main focus of our trip to St. Louis was obviously to meet with Dr. Park to discuss Caleb and the SDR surgery, but we also managed to see some of the city and have a little fun.
If I hadn’t been 34 weeks pregnant, the flight to and from St. Louis would’ve been downright heavenly! There were three of us (Wyatt stayed home with friends) but the plane only had two seats on each side of the aisle so I was odd man out. Caleb is a seasoned flier at this point in his young life, so he had absolutely no problems during the 2 hour flight. As a matter of fact, he slept a majority of the time. Ironically, the airplane magazine had an article about medical tourism and how people will travel all over to see a particular doctor or get a specific procedure done that they can’t get done in their hometown. What a coincidence!
Once we landed and got all our gear, we took public transportation from the airport to our hotel. Everything went smoothly and we checked into the Parkway Hotel, which is actually attached to several hospitals via a skybridge. Access to the hospital couldn’t have been easier and we will most likely be staying there again when we return in August. We dropped off our bags, had a quick lunch at a nearby mexican restaurant and then took the hotel’s shuttlebus to the St. Louis Zoo! I must say, we were very impressed with this zoo. Admission is free, but some of the exhibits are a small fee, as is a train ride around the zoo. Because of my lack of mobility, we opted to take the train to different parts of the zoo in order to minimize walking. We saw lions, tigers, zebras, flamingoes, a giraffe and so much more! Between my limited walking and our being there near closing time, we definitely missed lots of other exhibits but I’m not worried because we’ll be back in a couple months!
Having spent the day flying to St. Louis and walking around a zoo all afternoon, we were really tired and had dinner in our hotel lobby in order to get to bed nice and early for our big appointment on Monday. One thing I forgot to mention in my last post was that Caleb became fast friends with a little boy in the waiting room at the doctor’s office. His name is Aiden and he is about 2 years post-op if I remember correctly. Shane and I spent the better part of 30 minutes asking them a zillion questions about their experience with the surgery, the hospital, the recovery, the post-op therapy regimen and other logistics. They, along with everyone other family we’ve spoken with, have said that they have absolutely zero regrets and this surgery has helped their child in numerous ways. To see Aiden and Caleb together was so heartwarming, they were instant best friends. They sat next to each other and were hugging and laughing until it was our turn to go.
After the long and emotional doctor’s appointment we made our way to the other side of the city to check out the Gateway Arch and take a riverboat tour on the Mississippi River. You can’t really go to St. Louis without checking out the Arch and we were definitely impressed by its stature and commanding presence in the St. Louis skyline. I spent the cruise with a napping Caleb in my lap while Shane snapped pics took in the sights.
After the cruise, we walked around a little and made our way to the 26th floor of a downtown hotel to have a drink and check out the view of the city. Our little tourist family stuck out like a sore thumb in this swanky, rooftop lounge, but we didn’t care.
Our final stop of the day was an Italian restaurant on the hill, which is like the Little Italy of St. Louis. Our food was delicious, Caleb was well-behaved and we got to daydream about the next time we’ll be in St. Louis and how Caleb’s life will never be the same afterward!
Oh, I forgot to mention. Caleb’s absolute most favorite part of the entire trip?? The cabinet in the hotel room of course. He would kneel there all day if we let him, opening and closing this cabinet. He just loved it… so we had to get a pic of course.
Until next time, St. Louis…