Tuesday, July 31, 2007

It must run in the family

,On Sunday afternoon my little sister calls me, crying. Now to let you know how significant her crying is, you'll want to know 2 things. First off? She's an officer in the "hole" of a supermax prison. The "hole" houses the worst of the worst, prisoners that are far too dangerous to be in the general population of even one of the countries toughest prisons, a prison that houses the worst offenders from all over the country, people no one else will even take.

The second thing you'll want to know is that before Sunday, the only time I had ever seen or heard my sister cry since she was wearing clothing who's size ended with a T was last March, the day my son died. My sister does not cry. My sister does not ask for help, show fear, or even accept help.

So you can see why her crying made me panic. Our conversation went like this:

Me: Hello?
Her: Hey Kats, I need to ask you something....
ME: Ok
HER: Well, I've had the stomach flu since Tuesday, haven't kept anything down..... and well today I went to get into the shower and blacked out, I woke up on the bathroom floor and I don't know how long I was there. And I have really bad stomach cramps.
ME: OMG, are you ok right now?
HER: (crying) yeah...
ME: I'm coming to get you and take you to the hospital. Call 911 if you need to go before I get there.
HER: OK.....

Now, I live hours from my sisters house. It's another half hour from there to the hospital where she needs to go. I have 5 of my kids plus S has a friend over, C is at work. Thankfully I was able to get ahold of him and he was able to find a replacement. I called my mom and she came and picked me up and we drove to my sisters house.

When we got to her house she could barely walk. We got her in the car and to the hospital and they of course wanted a urine sample. She took it to the bathroom and when she came out she was very pale and turned to me and said "can you take this into them? I can't walk that far". I grab the biohazard bag with the cup in it and glance down to see that her urine is the color of red wine...

I take it back and the nurses do a double take. I went back out to sit with her and she just got more and more pale. Now my sister is about as white as a white person this side of albino can be and she got WHITER, I thought in a minute we'd be able to see through her.

They called her back again and my mom and I sat in the waiting room for a bit. After a while I couldn't handle it anymore so I went back in the ED and found her to sit with her. She had an IV in and they said that her urine showed she was very jaundiced (apparently red wine urine is bad...... ya think?) and they were waiting on her blood work and ordered an xray, she was quite content with the big ole dose of Dilaudid they gave her though. She went for her xray and when she returned the doctor came in and said that her blood work showed that her liver enzymes were elevated, not surprisingly with the bili level of the urine. He asked her what she did for a living and when she told him you could see the "oh shit" look in his face. You seee, a good 1/3 of the prison population has Hepatitis C and the department of corrections can't be bothered to buy nice quality gloves for thier officers.......

When he left I asked my sister if she had been knowingly exposed at work. She said "not lately". I did not offer my worries that she may have hep C but I think she knew what I was getting at.

They sent her down for a sonogram of her belly and thankfully her liver was not enlarged. Her gallbladder however was full of stones and one was completely blocking the common bile duct, which was causing her liver to respond in such angry ways. They admitted her and had her gallbladder and common bile duct (which was severely inflamed and infected) out less than 12 hours later.

I ended up driving home Sunday night and driving back monday morning, all with about 2 hours of sleep. My sister was discharged today and is bored but healthy at my moms house right now. Oddly enough, my mom and I lost our gallbladders within a year of each other (I was 24 at the time) and now my sister had hers out at 26, word of warning little brother....... lol

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Every parents nightmare

Every mother pushes the thought from her mind. The thought that something could happen to her child. It wakes us from our sleep, we think we would fail to survive it.

Some of us have for whatever reason have to live it. Somehow we do survive it but how much of our soul is still intact isn't always certain.

It started with the vasectomy, kind of strange isn't it? Then the reversal. Then by the grace of God the positive pregnancy test. An uneventful pregnancy, perfect in every aspect until at 36 weeks my water broke.

He was born in January 2006 at 2:32am. A petite 4 lbs 14 oz. The next 16 hours were pure exhausted bliss. Until he stopped breathing...

That night we heard the dreaded words that would change our lives. Heart defect. We traveled to one hospital to stabalize him, then another to fix him.

We lived in a Ronald Mcdonald house for over 6 weeks.
Our lives turned on it's nose. Normal became a thing of the past. Our lives were dictated by every breath of a ventilator, every blood test, every ultrasound, CT scan. They say it's a roller coaster. It is. Imagine that feeling as you are going up the track.... the anticipation. Then imagine going over the hill to the first big drop. The track could well derail and hit the ground.... or it could be fine and climb another hill only to drop again. There is no certainty. So many days and nights I would sit in his room, 3 or 4 chairs aligned in a row with doctors and me just sitting there with baited breath waiting for Alex to show us all what to do next.

Alex showed us strength far beyond anyone's comprehention. So many times he pulled through from deaths door. He taught us to live in the moment, because you never know what the next may bring.

Alex showed us patience. He endured so much to stay with us until the moment we were strong enough to live without him.

The day he died changed my already changed world. My children now knew that children die. My husband and I now completely understood the uncertainty and precariousness of life. We learned to take each day as the gift that it is and never let one day go by where you are not happy with the way you lived it. It might be your last.

The day we put his tiny body in the ground made me realize that in an instant, life is over. It's that quick. You live, you die, you are put in the ground, and people walk away. All that really matters is what you do between the day you are born and the day you die. How many lives you touch, how many lives you make better in some tiny way.

So, from that day forward, I have tried and will continue to try to make each day count. I will try to live without regret. I will try to teach others the lessons that my son taught me. I learned more in 6 weeks than I will teach in a lifetime.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Out of the mouth of doctors

So, if this even posts at all (lately my posts haven't been)

Today our doctor actually said the words "I wish I could just NOT find something with one of your kids"....

How's that for confidence? It's wierd, my kids have always been terribly healthy. They almost never even get colds or the flu, or gosh I don't even think all of them have vomited once in thier lifetime. But lately? One thing after another.

Today was N and Ss "well child" check ups. I'll start with N since, thankfully, he checked out wonderfully. He's 14 lbs 4 oz and 25 inches long. He's on the whopping THIRD percentile lol. But, if you've ever seen my husband or my boys...... you are just nodding your head right now.
Aside from being a peanut, he's developmentally right on track. She said she does suspect he may be allergic to dairy because of his extreme (hours of forceful vomiting) reactions to formula but right now as long as he's still nursing we aren't going to worry too much.

Now onto S.
A year ago, she was diagnosed with mild thoracic juevenile scoliosis. What this means is that she has a curve in her spine in the thoracic region of her spine which is the upper part of her back. It was very mild at the time and the doc just wanted to watch it. Unfortunately, getting diagnosed with scoliosis before your teen years isn't a good thing.....

It's not a good thing because it progresses quickly. 90% of kids diagnosed before age 10 have progression, and 65% end up requiring surgery. Scoliosis surgery is the most difficult and most risky orthopedic surgery there is with the longest recovery time........ and it's not a sure thing.

Ok, back to S. Today, the doctor noticed her curve was worse. Her shoulders are also now uneven. We were sent for x-rays (S got to be the first patient to use the new digital x-ray machine) and we now wait for the radiologist to painstakingly measure the misalignment and degree of rotation in her spine. Once he gets that information to the pediatrician we will know if we are to take a wait and watch approach, brace her, do surgery, or what.

So yeah, one thing after another. And I have a ton of things to write about and updatge you all on but blogger has been such an ass lately I haven't been able to. Maybe it's fixed now.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


Oh how I have neglected my poor blog. I just haven't felt very inspired lately. Combine that with my obsession with dyeing things ,oy. I tell you what though, my baby has the cutest behind in the county hehe I'll post some pictures later if it will let me, the last couple of times I've tried to post photos in my blog the entry can't be seen.

We have started a new method in the house of getting the kids to get thier chores done. They haven't been taking care of anything and thier laundry has been nuts. So now they each have a day of the week they do thier own laundry and they each have a set chore for the day. They earn points for doing thier chore (double points if done before 1pm). Also, in an effort to keep thier toys out of the common areas of the house, if one is found it's confiscated. On mondays we hold family meetings and they get to use the points they earned the previous week to purchase thier confiscated stuff back and if they have any left over, privledges like video games and computer time.

So far, the middle 4 are loving it. N, well his "chores" that daddy writes on the board usually consist of no pulling hair and no pinching, he has yet to successfully complete one. A, well he's resisting. But if he wants to play games, he'll have no choice but to concede sooner or later.

I've also started a little pastry hobby which my kids definitely enjoy. I hate cooking, but baking is fun! I am making a fondant covered princess cake for S's birthday on the 28th, can't WAIT to work with that although I hear it's a bit of a pain. I told C I think I want to be a pastry chef when I "grow up" hehe.

Thursday, July 5, 2007


Update: July 12th. For some reason blogger isn't showing my new post. UGH!

We had a bit of a scare yesterday. We went to the 4th of July parade here in town and I found a shady spot to stand in with N and C took the kids up by the curb so they could see better and get some candy.

About 10 minutes into it C2 (9) comes over to me looking extremely pale and telling me he needed something to eat. He had just eaten about an hour before we left but the look on his face told me something was wrong. I yelled to C so I could get some money and get C2 a hot dog from the stand and when I did C2 collapsed into me. I caught him and screamed for C again and yelled "someone HELP please!". I looked down and C2's eyes were wide open but he was out cold. Ccame over and grabbed him and an EMT took him and left toward the tent. I followed her while C got the other kids.

By the time she had gotten him over there he was awake and talking but very weak. We got him some water and a hot dog and over the course of about 20 minutes he perked up enough to walk.

I took him to the ER and he passed the nerological exam fine, didn't appear to have anything going on with his heart. The doctor said that he was probably standing there with his knees locked and had a vaso-vagal episode (momentary loss of oxygen to the brain) and it would likely never happen again.

Parenting is so scary!

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Superman scars

I posted this the other day on my son's site and wanted to cross post it here. Those of you who have known me for a while probably notice a difference in me and this might help explain it.

It's been such a long time since I've been here. I stopped by to check the guestbook entries and saw T's entry and cried. Some days I yearn for that moment of healing........ that moment that the hole in my own heart closes just a little and then I realize that it closes a little every day. I don't have a "superman" scar that people can see, but some days the scars are covering my entire being.
I always knew that our experience was for a reason, I think that I thought that one day someone would just knock on my door and tell me what I was suppose to do with it. God and I have many conversations about that. I have trouble reading between the lines and seeing the rainbow for the clouds sometimes.
Every day that I have lived since the day A2 was born has been a new day to do something with my life. In the past year and a half I have had to rebuild myself and I still sometimes wonder if I ever will be a complete person again. I have gained confidence, I have gained tremendous knowledge and compassion, yet I have lost such a part of me that I can't get back. I am just now realizing that maybe I don't need it back. Maybe A2's illness and death was my rebirth. Maybe I got the opportunity to start new in life, that's a very liberating idea.
I'm different now. At first I resented the stares, the saddened looks as people glanced my way. Now in a way I cherish that. When A2 died all expectations that I put on myself of what I thought I needed to be melted away and I was given a chance to become anything I wanted to be.
I think I have come a long way in that venture. I think I'm a good person now. I didn't always feel that way. I can look at myself in the mirror and although I've aged physically this past year, I like what I see. I see a woman who has finally become something. I have finally gotten my career where I want it to be, I have finally become the mother I wanted to be.
I don't think I've dealt with it all in ways that were expected. I think you have a choice, you can lay down and die or you can realize that quite honestly the death of your child is the worst that life can do to you..... I've survived it and that means I have the strength to do anything. I refuse to lay down and let my spirit die.......

Breastfeeding and obesity

Did you see the news story that was out on CNN, MSNBC, Yahoo and the like a few days ago?

Breastfeeding may not cut childhood obesity. You can read the article here.


I'm not entirely sure what to make of this. It seems they go back and forth and are pretty wishy washy as to what the study actually proved. To me it sounds like they are saying that good lifestyle choices are imperative whether you breastfeed or not, pretty much a no-brainer there. I wonder if it appears that breastfed babies are thinner because parents who choose to breastfeed (and you know, it IS a sacrifice sometimes) also make better choices in other areas? I know the formula feeding moms are going to flame me for that one........ so here's my disclaimer. I'm NOT saying that formula feeding moms don't make any good choices for thier children, i'm just wondering if the study being referenced is implying as much. Please don't fill my email box with hate mail

It does say that "The association did remain strong, however, for children who had been breastfed for six months or longer. They were 55 percent less likely than their non-breastfed peers to fall into the top tenth of the group based on body fat percentage."

Interesting. What's your take?

July 3- Blogger isn't showing my new post, BLAH!