Wada Test

After hours of weather delays, Lynn and I finally arrived at our hotel in Rochester on campus at Mayo Clinic at 2 a.m. We asked the desk for 4:50 a.m. wake up calls. That was just enough time to blindly paw around for my toothbrush, kick off my snow boots, make sure my camera bag was ready to go, and nap.

Just before 6 a.m. we walked into the lobby of Saint Mary's Hospital and there was Ali, standing in line with her father, waving to us with her bright, nervous smile. Our PR contact sat us down for another briefing about rules for this and that while we are on campus for the next four days. A huge challenge about shooting in hospitals is all of the don'ts and can'ts. It's frustrating and also completely understandable. Mayo has been great with getting us access. But there are still things that cannot be photographed or even recorded with an audio device.

Logistics aside, it's been a quiet procedure. Craig and Ali are still here by themselves. Family will most likely start to trickle in on Friday or even sometime tomorrow afternoon. Lynn and I have been conscious of making sure we give Craig and Ali their space. Ali was visibly nervous this morning. I have yet to see Craig lean in and give her a hug, hold her hand, or comfort her in any sort of way that I was expecting a father to do. Craig is coping in his own way. Watching his daughter go through this, after having lost his wife to a rare cancer when Ali was only four years old, is for obvious reasons very difficult. But at the same time you can see that Ali is searching for some comfort.

Here are a few images from today's hospital visit. Ali was prepped for a Wada test, which Lynn and I were able to observe, but not record in any way. Some of that has to do with doctors needing to keep the testing objects a mystery. Doctors numbed the right side of Ali's brain while they tested the left side of her brain (her tumor is in her left temporal lobe). The test helps doctors locate the areas of Ali's brain where memory and language are stored.

The later images are a few floating around from the past few weeks. Ali has cut and dyed her hair at least four times since I met her, in preparation for having to shave part of her head for the upcoming surgery.

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