Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Long Story Long

If I had read a post like that I'd be checking in, so I felt I better update. Although, it is Labor Day weekend, so maybe many of you won't read this until I've already caught you up. So for my memory bank as well, here is the story:

Yesterday when Gertie woke up from her nap John saw a big bright red drip of blood on her lip. We looked in her throat and could see some blood and a big bright red spot in the back of her throat. We knew we'd need to take her in, but the blood didn't continue to come out her mouth, and we were trying to determine if we could take her to the urgent care here in town, or head to Mason City where the ENT doctor has his practice. I tried to call the triage nurse, but I got voice mail, so we had decided to just head to Mason City. As we were walking out the door, the nurse from our local hospital called back and assured me that they could determine whether we needed to head down to the ENT or if they could handle it here. So we changed gears and decided to go to the local urgent care. A very long two and a half hours later they told me that I needed to go to Mason City, and would I like to ride in the ambulance or drive myself? I opted for our own ride, so I collected John and Grace (Ethan is visiting Cousins Hunter and Tate) and we drove down to Mason City.

Things moved much more quickly while we were there. The doctors made a decision that they'd like to remove the blood clot and stop the bleeding. Gertie didn't even cry when they put the IV in her wrist. She is so brave and I am so proud of her. The nurse gave her a bunch of stickers and she immediately stuck them all over her lower arm. They were lots of dime-shaped stickers of the Disney princesses and they were headed in for surgery. John and Grace left for some much needed dinner, as it was 8:30 or so by then. I was able to stay with her as we walked toward the operating room, and left her only as they walked her into the operating room doors.

When the doctor came out he told me that she is quite a trooper. She did great. They found a couple veins that were trickling, but nothing that was gushing blood. That was good. They cauterized the whole area, I think he said, and it would be extremely rare for this to occur again. He kept us in the hospital overnight. The nurse on staff was great. Gertie slept pretty well after I finally insisted on turning Snow White off the television at 11 p.m. I couldn't believe she was still awake. I figured she'd be so tired after that long day, but she was mesmerized by the movie. What she really wanted was something to eat, and the nurse gave her a popsicle. She kept insisting that she wanted another one that was purple, but the nurse said no. She needed to go easy after the anesthesia.

The doctors came in before 7 a.m. and woke Gertie up by basically sticking a big popsicle stick down her throat, and that didn't go over very well, but they said everything looks good and she can go home.

Since home she's been very clingy, a little spacy, and hungry. I am trying to be very careful about what I give her to eat, but she's going after the popsicles again. She has a bit of a fever, but I believe that's pretty normal. Nothing to worry about unless it's up to 102 degrees.

John seems to think she needs some Disney movies now. He is on that errand. It was making us remember Grace when she was about Gertie's age, shouting at me as John and I were having a serious discussion about something, "Don't say that about my father. He's not crazy. He's a genus!" We both looked at her and realized that that was a line straight out of Beauty and the Beast (except for the "genus" for genius part). That was the beginning of Grace's acting career, reciting everybody else's lines as well as her own.

I am hoping for a nap this afternoon, a long one. I think we're all exhausted.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Prayer Request

Please pray for Gertie. I realize many of you won't read this in a timely fashion, but I'm making my pleas. She is in surgery right now because of a blood clot that formed in her throat. The doctor feels that the best thing to do is to remove the clot and cauterize the source of the bleeding. I think we're looking at an overnight in the hospital again, but I'm not absolutely sure.

Please pray that they easily find the source, that they are able to stop the bleeding, that she tolerates the anesthesia well (she did great with the tonsillectomy), that her mom isn't overtaken with fear, that we can be a comfort to Gertie as she recovers again.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Just Call Me the Nurse

I kept thinking something blogworthy would pop up to post about, but I have nothing, so I'll post anyway.

We are in recovery mode around here. Gertie is doing well in the sense that she's had no complications. I think her throat hurts quite a bit. She isn't eating all that well, although, she is eating, so that's good. But she wants a lot of different things, and tries to eat them, and then decides she's done after a bite or two. As the enabling parent, my excuse is that I want her to eat something, so I keep it coming. She wants peaches. I get peaches. She eats two bites and then she's done. Five minutes later she wants pudding. I get pudding. That is a one-bite snack, and then she's done. First she makes a mess of her face and arms and chair, then she's done. Then she wants a cheese taco. That she mostly eats. Then she wants a gogurt. Two bites. Then she wants a bagel, but I say no. Then she wants a bowl of Kix. Again, I say no. I'm ready for bed. Time for bed.

And when it comes to drinks it's almost just as comical. Again, because I'm trying to get her to drink a quart of liquid a day (and she's not doing it) I keep the fluids coming. The last few days she carries around a chocolate milk and a juice and sometimes a water. When she snuggles with me--which is almost all the time--she needs both drinks, both in her lap. Of course, she rarely takes a drink from either of them, but she needs them close. In her lap.

What she does like is popsicles. She eats them in the morning, afternoon and evening, one after the other.

She is whining again an awful lot. I feel bad because I know she isn't feeling well. She tells me many times in the day that she isn't doing very well. She comes to me often and says, "Will you love me for a minute?" So I feel sorry for her and I've had many adults tell me they had their tonsils out and they remember it, either from being an older child or even an adult, and it really hurts and it takes a long time to heal up.

So I am creating many, many bad habits that I'm praying we are able to break when the time comes. I am neglecting so many things that need to be done because she must be in my arms most of the day, and if I do go off to do something, she becomes desperate for me. I am trying to remain patient.

And then I really rode Grace and Ethan hard today. They were very helpful and did lots of chores for me. When we were cleaning the bathroom, Grace kept complaining about being freezing. I said, we'd better take your temperature. We did. It was high. So I've been keeping her going all day and she doesn't feel well either. I don't know what her virus is. She seems okay other than this fever. She did say she's tired, though.

John is teaching two back-to-back three-hour classes on Tuesdays this year, and he's doing that about 45 minutes away from us. He just got home, exhausted, and I'm going to greet him.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Medical Chart

My prayers were answered, and Gertie's surgery went very well. She was scared when they carried her off. I had prepared her for them rolling her away on a little bed, and she many times was telling Dad and me the story of how the people in masks and hats are going to come in and roll her away on a bed.

But when the time came, they just took her from my arms. They were in scrubs, but most of them didn't wear masks, only hats. They said it would take about 45 minutes. I felt like that time flew by. I don't think it could have taken that long. The surgeon said that her tonsils were pretty big, and her adenoids not as big, but the surgery went well and she's waiting in recovery. She'll probably be in there for about an hour. They'll come get you. It must have been about 20 minutes later that they said she was asking for me. And it was a long walk through the halls until I reached her. When I saw her she was kind of sleeping and little bottom lip was sticking like she was sad (because she was). I climbed into bed with her and she cried for a minute, and then she'd fall back asleep and then wake up and grab me as she cried out. That went on for a bit and then they wheeled us up to the hospital room.

She had no vomiting or nausea that we could tell. She drank right away and ate popsicles. At lunch time they brought her a clear liquid diet of jello, broth and juice. She ravenously went at all of it. Just one bite after another. She said, "Something else."

Grace and Ethan were in the hospital room by the time Gertie and I arrived. Grace really wanted to be there, so John had dropped them off on his way to work. They both did really really well in the room. Gertie didn't seem to want their hugs or affections for the most part. She just wanted mom. That made both of them a bit sad, but I told them not to take it personally. Ethan was going a little stir crazy after a bit. He was tossing the stuffed elephant around and stuffing his arms and legs and trunk into his body. That made Gertie mad. Lots of things he was doing were making her mad. Not really mad, but just irritated. My friend Regina came with a Sponge Bob painting and coloring book. That was a big hit. She had lots of goodies for Gertie, including stickers. That kept Gertie busy for a good while, and I was thankful for all of it. (Thanks, Regina) Then she took the big kids off for lunch. That was great too. A big help to quiet the room down for a bit. And they brought back some books that were great for passing the time as well.

John came over after he was done with work, and she was very happy to see him.

One of the nurses brought her a stuffed kitty cat. She really clung to that. A friend from church brought a zoo book with flaps for her to turn up. That was a huge hit considering we just went to the zoo not too long ago.

Any time food was mentioned she cried out that she wanted whatever it was. We quickly learned not to discuss food. By dinner time I asked if she could eat something, anything. They said as long as it was soft, so she had mashed potatoes and gravy, chocolate milk, cottage cheese, peaches and pudding. She ate ravenously again. It tired her out pretty quickly, though.

I think it was because we were just there for observation, the nurses weren't in and out too terribly much. They would check her vital signs every couple of hours and give us pain meds when we asked for them, but when we went to sleep, they really left us alone. That was nice. Gertie slept fitfully. She woke up several times crying out, but it was in a sleepy state, and she'd roll over and fall right back to sleep.

By morning she said she had no pain, although she was still a little irritable and clingy, so I think she had some, but not too bad. At one point the doctor told her that she wanted to look in her throat, but she needed to go get the light first. She left the room and Gertie said, "Mom, I don't want to do it, but I have to, right?" She is getting an early understanding of how doctors get their cooperation reluctantly. They said she was doing great and we went home around 9:30 a.m., I think.

Well, I hope this wasn't too dull. I wanted to remember this as it went down. Thanks for all your prayers. Thanks to my Lord, my faithful Lord.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Excuse my French

Last night Gertie and I were reading before bedtime. She had chosen this book that a college student of John's had given to Grace. It shows pictures of so many different things and gives the French word as well as the English.

Anyway, we came upon a picture of a hamburger and I asked Gertie what that was. She immediately said, "That's a crabby pattie!"

Some of you may not be surprised. Some of you may know that that is a common term from Sponge Bob Square Pants. But I just couldn't believe that my daughter identifies a burger by relating it to a Sponge Bob prop. I did wonder if she'd know what a burger was. We do eat them--a lot--in the summer, but we just cut up a few burger bites for her with no bun, so I wasn't sure we'd ever called them hamburgers to her.

It struck me that my older kids, when they were younger, would have had no clue about crabby patties. I turned my nose up at Sponge Bob and we didn't watch it. But now Gertie knows the Simpsons and Sponge Bob and many other things that aren't appropriate for her.

And the worst offender is John. I think he prefers Sponge Bob to Dora, and he definitely prefers the Simpsons to Little Einsteins. There is no hope for me!

And in other happenings, both John and Grace are sick now. The bug has made it's way to everyone except me. Please don't find me. I have a call into the doctor to make sure we should still be going forth with surgery in the morning with the bug floating around our home. Gertie is feeling fine, and this bug started with her. She's long over it.

And the nurse just called. We're good to go. Bright and early...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Catching Up

Once again, I find myself putting this off. I'm not sure why. I think maybe it's just too much to say.

We had a very fun family vacation:

Chapter 1: Work Before Play

We decided to head over to John's Mom's house for the first leg of our trip instead of the end. She was having a garage sale and it was one week to moving day. I was very concerned about arriving with three kids and being "helpful," but it all worked out. John was able to accomplish a few tasks that she wanted done around the house. I helped pack up the rest of the kitchen and haul some things over to the apartment.

The apartment is really nice. It is big and clean and new and nicely laid out. I think she'll fit nicely in there, and the laundry and mail are close to her apartment. She is excited about settling in.

Her sale went very well, and she got rid of most of the bigger things. Some of the smaller nick-knacks and dishes and things didn't sell, but those were and easy trip to the good will, I believe. What didn't sell, we stuck out on the curb and prayed somebody would come along and take it. They did. All of it. Marge's sister Susie and her husband Larry ran the sale, they did a good job and stuck it out until the end.

I talked to Marge a few days before her move and she told me that her house sold. Apparently a woman of about 70 years old and her son have been looking for a home. They showed up at an open house that Marge's realtor was giving for another home. They started talking and telling her what they were looking for, and she thought Marge's house was perfect. They looked at it and made an offer. Things are falling into place beautifully and Marge feels the hand of her Savior over the whole situation.

Chapter 2: All Work and No Play Makes John a Dull Boy

When we left South Dakota we headed down to Omaha to the Henry Dorley Zoo. This has been a favorite place for us for several years, and I have to say, this year was definitely no letdown. Gertie has reached the perfect age to be so excited about all the animals, and the big kids (and the biggest kids) really enjoyed the animals as well. We spent the whole day, the weather was perfect, just a bit overcast to keep the hottest sun away, but no rain.

We also stayed in a hotel the night before and swam and swam and then all snuggled into bed together and watched the Olympics until the wee hours of the night. Just a good family day.

After the zoo we spent the night with our friends Brett and Dawn. They are a groovy couple sans kids, but they always make us feel so welcome. We played a yard game where you toss two golf balls on a string and hope they wrap around one of three bars. I can't seem to remember the name of it, but it was fun. Gertie fell asleep on the way home from the zoo, I transferred her into a bedroom, and she didn't wake up until 6:15 the next morning. That was very early, but I was just glad she slept through the night.

We were sort of planning on hitting Adventureland on the way home, but we were a bit exhausted after the zoo day, and we kept imagining Gertie watching the big kids ride rides and getting mad that she couldn't, and we kept imagining standing in line for twenty minutes to ride for three over and over again. We decided to table that and wait for an opportunity to take in a place like that without Gertie. Or wait for another year. I know there would be rides for her, but there is such a disparity between her and her sibs that I think it'd be better to wait.

We did stay in a hotel again, though, and had a great time. We checked out several hotels and I wasn't happy with any of them. I complained that the pool was too small. I wanted a suite. It wasn't clean enough. I got grumpy and pouty so John drove down the road and we found a new patch of hotels that were the same, but cost $40 more. That will teach me. I took a nap and felt much better, and my gracious husband didn't hold it against me. We swam and swam again, and Gertie is really starting to enjoy the water. She was putting her face under, floating around on her floatie by herself, and jumping into the water by the time we left. Ethan still likes me to watch everything he does. I am supposed to rate it. How big was the splash? What would you give me for that dive? How long does it take me to get from here to there? But I loved it all. It was all good.

Chapter 3: An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

I took Gertie into the emergency room on Friday night. She woke up from her very long nap crying and clinging and super hot. When I'd ask her if her ears hurt or her throat hurt, she said no, my chest. Then there were a couple times she was crying inconsolably. She didn't have a cold or stuffy nose or anything like that, so the chest pain was worrying me, and the fact that I couldn't calm her down. I arrived at Urgent Care at 8:20 p.m. The sign on the door said they're open until 8:30. I thought, phew, I just squeezed in. But apparently not. They put us in the emergency room. Her fever was over 103 and the chest pains might have been what did it, or they just wanted to go home in the Urgent Care department. I'm not sure. It just costs me a lot more money because of that decision. And the doctor said virus. He doesn't think that will interfere with her tonsillectomy on Thursday. I hope not. She has her pre-op appointment tomorrow morning.

And now Ethan has the bug. Ugh.

Chapter 4: Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart

This morning the girls and I went to church. I was so blessed to be there. I just love my church family and praising God and worshiping God. The sermon was good to think on about how we as Christians reach out to the people in our world. In so many ways we aren't that good at it. We need to really love on the unlovable. I have a long way to go in this area, but I want to grow.

Pictures later. I just don't have it in me right now.

Monday, August 4, 2008

My Brand New Bed

John came home from his mother's house yesterday. It is so good to have him home again. We really missed him. Gertie bumped into a drawer last night and started crying, I walked over to comfort her and she just shoved me aside and ran to Dad. She missed those strong arms too!

He brought a van full of stuff from Marge's, which we've been tackling today. The one I want to talk about is a new bed for Gertie. We took the crib down this morning and set up the new bed, rearranged the room a few times, and finally settled on a placement. Gertie was excited as we made the bed up, but then we went down to eat lunch.

I've been trying to restore order to the house (which sometimes seems to create chaos first) by settling so many things John brought back into their homes. Pretty soon I noticed that Gertie was nowhere to be found. That can't be good. That just doesn't happen with her. She doesn't get into too much trouble that way because she seems to really like the company of others more than she likes exploring. But still, I was a bit concerned.

Then I found her asleep in her new bed. I had been sorting some clothes and reorganizing, and I had left a small pile on her bed of things that needed to be hung up. She found them, and dressed herself up before she fell asleep.

I am so excited that she likes that new bed so much! I am hoping that it will go okay, this transition between crib and bed. I remember Ethan just didn't understand he could leave his bed for the longest time. When he'd wake up, he'd yell out, "Mom, I'm awake." I never really clued him in because I was afraid he'd start getting up whenever he wanted to. Hopefully Gertie will be so cooperative.

In other news, Ethan had lost his retainer on Thursday night. We looked everywhere and couldn't find it. He's been incredibly faithful with that thing, and I figured it must be here somewhere. I kept trying to get him to retrace his steps, to think back to the last place he had it and he had nothing to offer:

Mom: Where did you put it when you took it off?
Ethan: (absolutely no thoughtful pause) I don't know.
Mom: Did you take it off before breakfast?
Ethan: Yes.
Mom: What did you do after breakfast?
Ethan: (absolutely no thoughtful pause) I don't know.

After a bit, Grace recalls that while she was taking her contacts out before we went to the pool, Ethan came in and made some sort of joke while flashing his retainer. So we know he had it then.

Mom: Do you remember telling Grace that joke?
Ethan: Yes.
Mom: What did you do next?
Ethan: (absolutely no thoughtful pause) I don't know.

After this goes on for a while, I really do start to get irritated. I tell him that if he is uncooperative, maybe he'll buy the next retainer with his savings.

He mopes about the house for a while, and as I'm tucking him in, he asks me if a person can create their own nightmares. I say I'm not sure, but why? Because I want to die in my sleep. I'm such a failure. Blah. Blah. Blah.

That just made me even more mad. Now he wants to end his life because of a lost retainer?!? An hour ago he didn't seem quite so distraught. I told him that he's going to have failures in life a lot bigger than a missing retainer, so he needs to prepare for that, and that God has numbered his days already and he better not mess with God's plans. I did say some nice, encouraging things too...

This happened Thursday night, and we had an orthodontist appointment already scheduled for today. When we told the orthodontist what happened, he said that he didn't think we should replace it. His mouth needs to have a little give to let his incisors grow in, so we'd better just skip it. I said I'm worried about those teeth getting real crooked again, and he said they will probably give a little, but if he'd continue to wear the retainer, then the incisors would probably come in real high and forward, so it's just a matter of balance. He's probably going to need braces again in a few years anyway, to correct all his teeth.

Then we were off to the eye doctor. Ethan's eyes are a bit weak, but he still doesn't need glasses. Grace's eyes just continue to get worse. Ugh.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Prarie River...and some other Catch-up

Hey! It's been a while. I thought i'd talk mostly. I haven't taken pictures in forever.

To start my week... i babysat the Moreland kids on Monday. we had good fun, except the 0.7 mile walk to Ellis and back (Ellis is the middle school I attend which serves free lunches to kids under 18). did i mention me and Ethan had to switch between a wagon with a 22 lb. Toddler and a 5 year old, and a stroller with a 30 lb toddler uphill? On the upside... we saw two baby racoons on a driveway and stood to watch them for about 3 min. that was cool.

Tuesday i had a cello lesson at 9:00 am, but other than that i relaxed.

Wednesday I watched the kids again, and a little later i went to the doctor. 3 shots. OUCH!! Only one hurt later though. It got swollen and sore with a slight redness on friday, but it's normal again now.

Thursday i was planning to go to work with mom... but as you know she finished early so i couldn't. I watched Gertie while she went and cleaned her office. Then we relaxed.

Friday the kids came again. in the afternoon we went to the pool in a nearby town (much more little kid friendly than our pools) And then immeadiatly when we got home i head off to a one night work and fun camp. Basically, we had some fun friday night and roasted marshmellows. However I was up till midnight and got up at 7:00. Then i helped haul some tables and cleaned some garbage cans and a fridge. Then I weeded untill lunch then after lunch for a total of 4 and a half hours of weeding. Then we walked down a river and found a mailbox, and a TV. Adriel (going into her Senior year of college) decided to try some raw clam meat somebody found. I don't even want to talk about it. finally we went on a climbing wall and a zipline. Lots of fun but the harness was very uncomfortable. When I got home I was SO TIRED!!! but now, i'm just kinda chillin.

Sorry no pictures. I was very busy as you can see.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Prize-Winning Cabbage

At the end of school last year Ethan brought home a little cabbage plant in a styrofoam cup. He had a sheet of paper that explained that if he grows this cabbage and takes a picture of it when it's all grown up, he'll be put in a drawing for a $1000 prize.

I don't think it necessarily has to be the best cabbage or the biggest cabbage. It is just a completed and good-looking cabbage.

We cut it this morning. It is huge. It is 11 pounds! Really, I'm not the master gardener. I don't quite know how many of the leaves to peel off before we get to the real head. His may be smaller if I knew that. It's very oval shaped.

Now what do I do with this cabbage? If anyone has any recipe ideas, please let me know. The gal that cuts my hair said she stir fries it. That doesn't sound too bad, but I already can't remember what she stir fried it with.

And this is my little cabbage. She didn't want to be left out.