Thursday, April 30, 2009

Can You Hear Me Now?

Today Connor had his behavioral hearing exam. We drove there with a load of stuff for the apartment in the car-- hence the giant Elmo of Doom lurking in the trunk and warning off potential tailgaters with his huge crazed eyes.

Anyway, the hearing exam did not go exactly as planned. Here's what's supposed to happen at one of these things:

The audiologist puts little plugs in Connor's ears that are attached to a sound system. An assistant has a neutral, fairly unexciting toy (in this case a duck sock puppet) that she uses to keep Connor's attention relatively up front. The audiologist uses a tone or calls Connor's name and it sounds in one of his ears. Then the assistant with the duck puppet leads Connor's view point towards the direction the sound is coming from. He turns towards the side that the sound came from, and a really exciting toy (I think it was a Pluto surrounded by Christmas lights who bangs together cymbals) lights up in response, rewarding the behavior. After associating turning towards the sound with the interesting Pluto toy, they run the test, making the tone or voice a little softer each time, and that little Pluto goes crazy every time he turns towards the sound. When Connor stops turning towards the sound, they know they've reached the threshold that he can't hear below.

Here's what actually happens at one of Connor's exams:

The audiologist puts little plugs in Connor's ears, which Connor immediately pulls out. The audiologist puts the plugs back in his ears, and I corral Connor's arms. Connor focuses for the next five minutes on getting his hands close enough to his ears to yank the plugs out again, ignoring the assistant and her boring duck sock puppet. He finally gives up and, in protest, stares at the ceiling, the walls, and anywhere he can think to look except for the boring sock puppet. The assistant finally gets out a different, more colorful and exciting toy, which he deigns to look at. The sound goes off, she attempts to lead his view towards Pluto, and he goes back to staring at the ceiling. I physically turn his head towards Pluto, who does his little dance. Connor is fascinated. He then spends the next ten minutes staring at Pluto and signing more, completely ignoring the assistant, the audiologist's voice, and my repeated attempts to get him back to mid-line. Finally convinced that Pluto will not perform on command, he goes back to staring at the ceiling and attempting to remove the plugs from his ears. Then he announces that he has to go potty.

We throw in the towel and schedule him for a sedated ABR. At the end of June.

Sigh.


~Jess

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Happenings

Connor's doing fine today-- he's back to his usual happy self, and spent a lot of time giggling and asking me to play peek-a-boo, so I guess he's feeling pretty chipper. We've got a neuro appointment set up for next week, and hopefully they'll be able to help us out, as I'm not thrilled about the recent seizure excitement.

We had two other appointments today-- in urology and nutrition. We'd gone in to the urology department for something fairly minor, but the urologist looked up Connor's medical history, saw he had only one kidney and a recent UTI, and completely freaked out. There was much arm waving and gnashing of teeth and wondering why the other doctors didn't get us an appointment the second they found out Connor had a UTI instead of letting us make one through the slow hospital system. We now have a call in for an appointment to do a renal ultrasound, in which they will check and see if there's any scarring or swelling or weird looking stuff on Connor's remaining kidney, and depending on how that goes other tests may be scheduled. Apparently having a UTI as a three year old with one kidney is rather more serious than I thought.

We walked to our nutrition appointment directly from the urology department. Our nutritionist decided to keep Connor on his current diet, though he's not gaining weight as fast as she'd like. He was putting on the pounds at the snail's pace of 5 grams a day, and now with the g-tube he's been promoted to sloth status at 8 grams a day. This might have been affected by the fact that for the first two weeks or so after the g-tube placement he didn't want to eat anything by mouth, so while he was still taking in calories, it wasn't quite the number of calories he would have been getting had he been eating and also getting food through the tube. Oh well. We'll go in for another weight check in a couple of weeks, and maybe we'll be booking it at a more respectable turtle pace by then.

Connor has a behavioral hearing test (probably a BOA) scheduled for tomorrow. I do not have high hopes for this test, as the last time they tried to test his hearing without using the ABR method he responded as profoundly deaf, when in fact he has a mild-moderate loss. We'll see how it goes-- maybe he'll play along this time. After his test we'll be headed over to Connor's new school district to drop off some paperwork, and then it's back to shuttling loads of our stuff over to the new apartment.

We heard back from the hospital about Connor's g-tube, which has to last us another month and has begun splitting at the intake end. They told us to duct tape it. This will go nicely with the Frankenstein-stitched other end.

~Jess

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Highs and Lows

Today started off relatively well, if way, way too early. Since we only have one car, if I need it during the day I have to take Jeremy to work. Taking him to work this morning meant getting up at 5:20. Connor was not thrilled-- no one asked him if he needed the car today, and I'm pretty sure he'd rather have slept in.

I had approximately 8,000 things to do today, and the day started off pretty well on track. I picked up some paperwork for the school from the doctors' office, called and made two appointments and left Connor's doc a note with four or five more things I need from him, left a message with the nurse down in the GI clinic about Connor's g-tube, which has begun splitting at the end, stopped in at the housing office and gave our thirty days notice, and called back a couple of people who are interested in becoming Connor's respite care worker. (Katy can't do it any more, which is very, very sad. We miss you, Katy!) Connor and I did some therapy and sorted through more of his clothes. The box I was sorting into just happened to be the perfect height for him to stand against, and he did a great job! I had to take a picture, which proved to be difficult. That's my foot I'm using to steady him in the pic. I'm nothing if not a multitasker. I was pretty proud of myself for being so productive, and we stopped around 11:30 for a leisurely lunch break and what I thought would be a short nap.

In the afternoon we were supposed to take a load to the new apartment, do our inventory and walkthrough, drop some paperwork off for the Puyallup school district, and hit the grocery store. None of that happened, though, because just after lunch Connor had another seizure.

This one lasted for about a minute-- long enough for me to start freaking out and thinking about where the diaper bag with the Diastat in it was. I lay him down on the floor, did rescue breathing until he started breathing again on his own and then hooked him up to his oxygen for a little while until his color returned. He hasn't had any seizures since November, and then all of the sudden he's had two in a week and a half. I really, really don't like that he's had two so close to one another. I called the neurologist, but he didn't get back to me today. If we don't hear from him by tomorrow afternoon I'll call down to Children's in Seattle and see what they have to say. In the meantime, I'm back to that stage where I want him stuck to my hip, and every time he sets his apnea alarm off in his crib (he's figured out how to set it off to get my attention) I'm sprinting in there instead of sauntering like I have been doing for the last couple of months. I'm paranoid about him having a seizure and me being in the shower or the bathroom and not being there to get him breathing again until it's too late.

Needless to say, we did nothing the rest of the afternoon. Connor took a four hour nap-- his seizures make him really, really sleepy after he has one-- and then we just hung out for the rest of the day. Jer got home about 9:30, and as soon as I post this we're off to bed.

It was a crazy, crazy day.


~Jess

Monday, April 27, 2009

In Which My Cat Finds An Implausible Solution To A Stupid Problem

Loki has struck again.

In addition to his love for ceramic animals and our cake stand, Loki has this thing for paper ribbon-- the kind that comes on balloons. Connor has a balloon left over from his birthday (those things last FOREVER) that is still bobbing on his ceiling above his crib. The string of the balloon is dangling about four feet above his crib, and all of the sudden I noticed that the bottom inch or so of the string looked chewed on. I knew the culprit had to be Loki, but his methods were a mystery. How the heck was the cat getting up there?

I was sitting sorting out Connor's old clothes when Loki sauntered in and jumped up into Connor's crib. From there he leaped onto the roof of Connor's firehouse bookcase. From the roof of the bookcase, he carefully walked along the curved railing of the crib until he reached the other side. Then he turned around on the inch-wide rail, wobbling dangerously, and reared up on his hind legs. From there, leaning slightly forward, he could just manage to reach the bottom inch of the string with his teeth. He chewed on it for about three seconds before he lost his balance and plummeted down into the crib, whereupon he immediately raced over to the bookcase and jumped up again. Based on the mangled condition of the ribbon, I'm not sure how many hours he's put into doing this, but it must be quite a few. Why, oh why does my cat come up with brilliant ways to do idiotic things?

Crazy cat.


~Jess

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Moving Fun!

I'm having entirely too much fun with this moving thing. Jer and I took over two loads of stuff today. We keep telling Connor that we're driving out to the "summer chateau." Connor just looks at us like we're nuts.

When we moved to Washington from Texas, we lugged everything with us. I mean everything. I'd moved three and a half hours from our little loft-style apartment to my parents' house when I was seven months pregnant to be near the hospital, and so our "moving" consisted of Jer and our landlord throwing everything we owned into a box and putting it directly into a storage unit, until we had the movers load it all on a truck and drive it out here. Rubber band ball? Check. Scrap paper with doodles on it? Got it. Used tissues? Lovingly packaged. I'd put a lot of our things into large plastic containers, which the movers took everything out of, repacked it in their own boxes, and then carefully filled the containers with wadded up paper so they wouldn't break in transport. There's our house just before the movers got there with all our stuff-- we were in the house for two days with no furniture. Like our table?

This will be the first move where I have the time to actually sort through things and figure out what needs to go and what we can live without. Jer watched me dance around in a giddy fashion in the new apartment today with my tape measure figuring out where all of the furniture can go. He's seen this before-- I do a similar thing every year with my garden. Now I'll make up a little floor plan with my 8,000 measurements and cut out minuscule replicas of all of our furniture, which I will arrange inside the tiny paper rooms for hours. I'll come up with grandiose plans of painting all our bookcases in matching colors, and I'll carefully sort through each drawer, putting things in piles for storage, donation, or the house. I'll wrap all of our breakable items in paper, and then when I get to the apartment I'll unwrap everything and put it away right that second.

This happy, leisurely style of moving will last for approximately three weeks, when I'll realize that we only have ten days left to move out of the house and half of our stuff is still there. Then the frantic dance of the Persistent Procrastinator will begin. I'll run around gibbering in a packing frenzy, and two months later I will find all of the screws for our still-disassembled bookcase, three missing earrings, and a penny inside a set of matryoshka nesting dolls stuffed into the toe of one of Jeremy's socks.

But for now, I'll continue to make grandiose plans, take over one car load at a time, and dream about having one of those places that looks like something on Apartment Therapy.


~Jess


Saturday, April 25, 2009

IEP Resolution: Big Announcement!

So as you all know, we've been "discussing" (i.e. fighting) with our local school district for over a month now concerning Connor's IEP. Basically, they want to put him in a special needs classroom with therapy and an FM system, but no interpreter and no aide. They will write down that they'll give him "access" to sign language and assistance during classroom hours, but won't specify what that entails on the IEP. Thus, it could be five minutes. It could be a video. It could be just about anything. They said they'd put an aide/signer in the classroom, but that wouldn't be on the official IEP, which means it could be taken away at any time with no consequences for the school.

We are totally, 100%, not okay with putting our sign dependent, non-verbal, visually impaired, HoH, severely gross and fine motor delayed child with non-functional opposable thumbs who is in an assistant-propelled wheelchair in a classroom with that kind of IEP. Now we know without a doubt that we could go to due process over this thing and win, but then we still have to deal with the school district for the next eighteen years, and since Connor's conditions are so complicated and constantly changing, we know that we'll be dealing with them more than once a year as we'll have to update his IEP pretty often. What it came down to was whether or not we believed that Connor was going to receive an adequate education in this school system without constant vigilance and fighting on our part, and the answer we came up with was no.

So we're moving.

We found an apartment in a little town nearby that bears the tongue-twisting name of Puyallup. That's "pew-WALL-up" for those non-Washingtonians. Puyallup has a stellar reputation for special needs education, and is especially known for its Deaf and HoH program. We're giving up our on-post housing, quick work commute, excellent security, and really really close hospital, but if Connor can be at a school where we have a good relationship with the district and he's getting the help he needs, it will be worth it. It's true that we don't have any guarantees that this school district will be any better, but it's very, very hard to see how it could possibly be any worse. And in the unlikely event that this school district doesn't work out, well, we've moved once, and we can do it again.

We took official possession of our apartment today (that's our new living room in the photo), but we're putting in our thirty-day notice for our house on Monday. That way we have a month to move in. Now that we have an official address in Puyallup, we can also start over in getting Connor registered for school next week. In the meantime, we have to figure out whether or not we're going to file a complaint with the Office of The Superintendent of Public Instruction anyway-- we're pretty mad about the way Connor was treated, and we hate to think they could do this to another family.

So here's to starting over again. On to brighter horizons!


~Jess

Friday, April 24, 2009

Shopping: Thrifty Style

Connor had a much better day today. Thanks to Kristin and J. for suggesting using Vaseline with the diaper cream-- it really seemed to help. He had more of an appetite and seemed much more comfortable. We haven't tried "airing him out" yet as delightful ladies Julia and Julia O'C suggested-- we have to be kind of careful about that because we don't want any repeats on the whole ripping-out-the-tube thing, but if he still looks like he has the rash in a few days we'll try that with close supervision.

I indulged in one of my favorite pastimes today: thrift store shopping. My friend Anna and I are really, really bad about this-- we've hit every thrift store in a twenty mile radius at least twice, and we react to finding a new one with excitement probably way out of proportion to what finding a place that sells other peoples' junk should elicit. I've found some of the coolest things in thrift stores, and it's the thrill of stumbling on something unexpected but perfect that keeps me coming back. Connor's firehouse/bookcase was one of those things; I bought it for seven dollars in a salvage yard, slapped some red and gold paint and a little tower on it, and voila! Instant firehouse bookcase. I'm very proud of it-- the little bell inside the tower even rings. Someday I'll get around to redoing the inside, too.

So right now I'm looking for some decent side tables for my living room. Currently I have the Ikea 10 dollar MDF variety, and while they are functional they don't exactly add to the the decor. The problem with thrift stores, of course, is that I end up looking at a whole bunch of things and thinking: Wow! Only twelve dollars! With new paint, hardware, legs, and top, that would make the perfect table!. It's kind of ridiculous. Oh well. I'll find something eventually-- and half the fun is looking. However, I do find myself kind of annoyed recently because due to the recession, competition for the really cool stuff has suddenly become much more fierce, causing the local thrift stores to jack up their prices due to demand outstripping supply. I want them to regain their formerly "trashy" reputation, so all of the people who've suddenly decided thrift store shopping is better than Neiman Marcus will quit getting there before me and taking all the good stuff. Rarr.

~Jess

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Because We Didn't Have Enough Problems As It Is

We hit a new milestone in our household. Connor has officially developed his first ever case of diaper rash.

I'm not sure exactly how we've managed to go without having any all this time-- probably we've managed to avoid it thus far due to our lotion regime in managing his eczema. But now, due to the solid month of GI issues Connor has been experiencing, we are apparently making up for lost time.

The poor kiddo has got it bad. Not only does he act like the super sensitive no-scent soft wipes I'm using are actually Brillo pads and his anti-diaper rash cream is composed of acid, but he doesn't want to sit down at all. This combined with an extremely sore tummy made for a very sad day-- and night last night, as every time he uses the restroom it makes everything flare up down there.

Due to little sleep last night and extreme screaminess today, he wore himself out pretty well. We set him down (gently) in his chair as both of us needed our hands free, and five minutes later he was out. Hopefully he'll sleep through the night and feel better in the morning.

We kept him on the ibuprofen today, which seemed to help a little bit, but I really wish the little guy could catch a break. It's been a rough month for him.


~Jess

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Stop That Now-- This Time I Mean It!

I had the fun and exciting job (no sarcasm here, noooo) today of holding Connor's arms down while the general surgeon restitched up his tummy. First they smeared a numbing cream on his skin. This cream is called Lidocaine, but my brain insisted on filing it away as Iocane, and I had a really hard time not asking them if it had a smell, if it came in a powdered form, and if they were aware that The Dread Pirate Connor had spent the last few years building up an immunity to it. It didn't help that the doctor bore a distinct resemblance to Vizzini. (Yes, I'm well aware how much of a nerd I am. Sorry. Also if you haven't either seen the Princess Bride or read the book, shame on you.)

After the numbing cream had been on there a while, they administered a few needle-free injections of another, deeper anesthetic. The needle-free injections work by forcing vapor molecules through the skin, and while the doctor and nurse claimed that they didn't hurt, Connor begged to differ-- he screamed like a stuck pig every time they used one. Then the doctor put in a couple of stitches and tied so many knots to the g-tube that it looks like a tangled fishing lure. Connor better not try and pull his tube out again, because substantial amounts of skin would be coming with it. After doing the whole thing, the surgeon discovered he'd tied the knots too tight on one side and it was pulling on Connor's skin, so he had to cut it, use another needle-free injection, and do that side again. Each needle-free injection site has a little cut where the medication went through, there are six little holes where the stitches were put in, and the manipulation of the g-tube while the doc was stitching ripped the scabs off where the old stitches were, so between all the holes and the crazy tangle of knots the g-tube site now looks less like a surgeon worked on it and more like one of my ill-fated teenage sewing projects.
Connor was not particularly appreciative of any of this. He made his opinion of the surgeon, the nurse, the g-tube, and his mother very, very clear. Also he pushed me away and asked for his father the rest of the day. Daddy would never have betrayed him in such a horrible manner-- unlike Mommy, who is a sinister presence at every one of the doctors appointments that involve needles.

We came home around six or so, and shortly thereafter the anesthetic wore off and Connor became the Saddest Boy The World Has Ever Known. This continued for the next three hours, until Jer and I skipped his aspirin dose and gave him some Ibuprofen on top of the Tylenol dose we'd already given him. He conked out twenty minutes later and has been asleep ever since. Poor little guy.


~Jess





Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Vacation Plans

I asked Jeremy today what he wanted for his birthday.

"Sleep," he replied.

He's been working crazy hours for the last few weeks trying to get everything ready for deployment, and I think it's finally catching up with him. I'm probably not quite as burnt out as he is, but I'm nearly there. This is why I'm so incredibly excited about the vacation we've got coming up in May. My wonderful, wonderful parents are flying up from Texas and watching the little guy for us so we can escape on one last romantic getaway before Jer has to leave.

We booked our reservations yesterday for a B&B in Astoria, Oregon. Astoria is a sleepy little town down on the coast that has a few claims to fame. Lewis and Clarke built a fort and overwintered there in 1805, and apparently thought the area terribly wet and overrun with fleas. Other attractions include the Astoria Column (modeled after the Trajan column but with scenes of various moments in Oregon history) the annual Fisher Poets Gathering (it's a gathering of, well, fishing poets), and the Victorian homes. There are over a hundred of these homes in a town of about ten thousand people, and almost all of them seem to be converted into B&Bs. The entire town has a population of 10,000 people, and a quick Internet search brought up sixteen bed and breakfasts and six hotels in the immediate area for us to choose from. Can you guess what the main industry in Astoria is?

We picked The Rose River Inn, for the combination of reasonable prices, good location, attractive rooms, and best of all, the giant claw-foot soaking tub, which I plan to spend at least three hours becoming intimately acquainted with.

In the past, going on vacation meant going somewhere exciting and doing something new and thrilling. We've hiked into the desert and into rain forest, gone snorkeling, rock climbing, swimming with sharks... the types of vacations where you are happy to return to civilization. Well, not this time.

So what exactly are we planning to do in Astoria? Nothing, that's what. Hiking? Maybe we'll drive around town. Swimming? Only in the claw-foot tub. The only definite plans we've made are booking a couples' massage. Otherwise, we plan to maybe take a leisurely stroll around the block, watch a movie or two in our room, and catch up on sleep. Lots and lots of sleep.

I'm sure we'll eventually get back to the point where we want vacations that involve hiring llamas and setting up tents in the rain, but it probably won't be until life has slowed down a lot. I mean, the whole point of a vacation is getting away from your typical life and enjoying a change, right? Right now life is insane, and my idea of an ideal vacation has morphed into letting someone else clean up after me while I lounge around in a bathrobe with no makeup on, eating chocolate truffles directly out of the box and reading a trashy book.

Bliss. I can't wait.


~Jess


Monday, April 20, 2009

Seizure And G-Tube Woes

So we started this morning off with a bang. Connor had his first seizure since November; it took me a few seconds to figure out what was going on, as it took me so off-guard. This one was fairly short: only about twenty seconds, but that was more than long enough, I assure you.

Connor's seizures are very scary because they affect his autonomic nervous system, so his symptoms are almost identical to sudden cardiac arrest. Basically he stops breathing, loses conciousness, and goes blue-grey from his head to his toes. They don't really look like seizures at all, which is why it took the doctors so long to diagnose them. I put him down on the office floor and administered rescue breathing until he started breathing again on his own, and then hooked him up to some oxygen until his color returned. Then after playing the "the party you are trying to reach is busy, please hang up and try again later" game with the neurology department down at Madigan for ten minutes or so, I stuck the little guy in the car and drove down there. I stopped by the pediatrician's office, got Connor's weight, and then went across the hall to neurology and left a note for the doctor, who got back to me a couple of hours later and made an adjustment to Connor's medication.

It's hard to know exactly why he had the seizure, as his weight really hasn't changed all that much. Part of it might be the illness and surgery-- we know that stress can lower the seizure threshold, and those things certainly have been stressful. At any rate, hopefully the new medication dose will keep him seizure-free, which would be really, really good for all parties involved.

Because of the seizure, Connor was sleepy and irritable for a good portion of the day. Towards the evening he started feeling better, and when we put him down for bed he didn't fuss at all. About ten minutes after we put him down he started crying very suddenly and I went in and discovered to my horror that he had his hand wrapped around his g-tube. He'd yanked some of the tape off and the stitches had come free, but thankfully that was as far as he'd gotten. If his g-tube comes out before six weeks have gone by, he has to have surgery all over again, so thank goodness we caught him in time. We retaped it up, and I'll be calling Children's in Seattle tomorrow morning to see whether or not we need to bring him in to have the stitches redone.

All in all, it was not a day I would like to repeat any time soon.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

In Which We Play Hard

This morning the sun came out again, and the whole day today was just beautiful. Jer had to work again the first half of the day, so Connor and I spent a leisurely morning together and then tootled down to the playground, where we idled away an hour or two. Connor is head-over-heels in love with the swings, but he can't really go on the toddler swings right now because they press against his g-tube, so he and I used the "big boy" swings together. There's nothing quite so wonderful as kicking your heels up in the air on a swing with your little boy perched on your lap, screaming and clapping his hands with glee. Connor would happily have stayed on them all morning, but after about twenty minutes I decided we needed a little variety, so we moved on to the bouncy fire truck, and from there to the slide, the bridge, and the final much dreaded activity: putting our bare feet in wood chips. Connor braved this horror with only a slight (okay, a huge) pout, but it was quickly over and then we finished up on the swings again as a reward for good behavior.

Jer made it home early in the afternoon, and we went out and ran errands until evening. Connor, who had after all not only braved the wood chips but also spent the entire afternoon being hauled in and out of the car, held it together beautifully until we made it home, where he dissolved in a teary, overtired puddle in the middle of our couch. I added to the sadness by taking pictures of it-- something he was not particularly appreciative of, as I was supposed to be getting him his dinner, stat! (Jer was in the kitchen doing it. Apparently this was unacceptable.) The little guy went to sleep shortly thereafter.

Despite the evening fireworks, overall it was a pretty good day!


~Jess

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Sunny Day

I spent a good portion of the day today outdoors at a very fun military spouses' function. Due to the mild temperatures and cloudless sky, I have my first ever Pacific Northwest sunburn. I actually didn't realize for a while that I even had a sunburn-- I just thought that I'd scrubbed my face too hard getting the camo face paint off. I'm lucky after spending five hours out in the sun that my skin is only slightly pink. I swear that it doesn't burn as brightly here or something-- if I'd tried that in Texas I'd be the color of a boiled lobster. I'll count myself lucky and put on sunscreen next time.

Jer had to go into work after lunch, so Connor and I hung out around the house. Sleep has been in short supply around here; Connor's been waking up at night. We can't figure out exactly why, but he is very sensitive to how Jer and I are feeling and tends to get nightmares if we're particularly stressed, so that's our best guess as to what's going on. At any rate I've spent a lot of time out of bed, and that combined with the physical activity of this morning hit me with a double whammy this afternoon. Connor was down for a nap and I decided to take a nice, hot bath. The water felt really, really good, and I closed my eyes for just a second, and the next thing I knew the water was cold and my neck was cramping from being in such an unnatural position so long. I'd wedged it against the corner of the tub, which is why I hadn't woken up with a nose full of water. Whoops. Shortly thereafter Jer came home, and he let me go back to sleep for another blissful four hours while he hung out with the little guy. I'm happy to say that I feel much, much better now.

I'm sad to say that Jer has to go back in to work tomorrow as well, so we won't see a lot of him this weekend, but hopefully the next week won't be quite so crazy. Who knows?

~Jess

Friday, April 17, 2009

In Which We Recieve A Call From Connor's GI Doctor, And I Have Mixed Feelings About It

So we got a call back from Connor's GI doc today. He thinks that Connor is experiencing a problem called Toddler's Diarrhea. The way he described it, some toddlers react to a change in their diet or a shock to their systems by having horrible, explosive diarrhea for weeks on end. It usually clears up on it's own-- he said that as long as it hasn't gone on for more than two months, we shouldn't worry about it. We'll be feeding him some yogurt to restock the bacteria in his gut that the regime of antibiotics has probably killed off, and we'll watch him for signs of dehydration, but other than that there's nothing we can do.

On the one hand, I'm relieved that it's probably not something serious. On the other hand, two months worth of explosive diarrhea? Guess I'd better start stocking up on the laundry detergent. Also carpet cleaner. And shampoo.

Sigh.


~Jess

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Rockin' Out!

We had a relatively quiet day today, which was nice. Connor hung out in the kitchen with me and played with one of his new birthday toys while I did the dishes. He really likes the blue key on the keyboard with this toy-- probably because it's the closest one to his right hand-- so "playing" consisted of banging that one key over and over and over again as hard as he could. Then he'd stop and yell at the top of his lungs for a few seconds before banging on it again. It was a very spirited performance. Cricket thought there was something horribly wrong with him every time he yelled, so she'd run up to me and start frantically trying to get my attention. I think she was either convinced he was in severe pain and very concerned about it, or else she's a music critic and didn't like his rendition of "Brahms' Lullaby," which is what the blue key plays when you push it. Exciting.



~Jess

Snake, Snake, It's a Snake!

For the last two years of life, Connor has been completely in love with a fuzzy Cookie Monster doll. "Cookie," who is in his second incarnation as Cookie senior met his demise in a parking lot shortly after we moved here, is a much chewed on, raggedy-but-faithful friend. Sadly, Connor has proved fickle and has now dropped Cookie completely in favor of another, better toy. Poor Cookie.

The usurper is Connor's plaid snake, which we have named "Snake" in our usual creative fashion. One of my really good friends made this for him before he was born, and Snake has hung out in Connor's crib ever since. Suddenly he's discovered it. He likes to hug it, nuzzle it, and on occasion taste it-- the satin tongue is apparently especially yummy. Of course, he did pick the one toy in his crib that's completely impractical to take anywhere, as it's too big for him to carry and we can't exactly stick it in his wheelchair; either it would be hitting me in the chest as it bounced over the top or we'd need a four-foot clearance on either side when we went walking. Oh well: for the foreseeable future, Snake will have to visit with Connor only while he's napping or hanging out on the floor, but that's okay. Maybe he'll stay cleaner longer.

Yesterday was a very full, very exhausting day. We had the IEP meeting that morning, and honestly I'm not really sure yet what to think about it. Jer and I have some very important decisions to make, and there are some big things in the works. I'll let you know more as soon as we decide what we're going to do-- right now everything's up in the air. Jer didn't get home until almost 8:30 at night, so we haven't really had a chance to talk about it.

I made an appointment this morning for Connor in GI. The earliest appointment they had was for May 5th, and I am absolutely not okay with doing another three weeks of Spontaneous Poop Explosions (he blew up twice yesterday: all over our local Panera Bread and a friend's couch), so I called their office directly and will hopefully hear back from one of the GI docs in the next couple of days.

Apparently there are no referrals in for urology and ENT, which are the other appointments I'm supposed to be making, so I'll have to make some more phone calls. I also left a message for the developmental peds clinic-- they were supposed to call before Connor's third birthday to set up his annual appointment with the team, and that hasn't happened either. Rawr.

While I'm waiting for my phone calls to be returned, I'm going to be doing some heavy Spring cleaning. Might as well take my mind off all of the crazy stuff we've got going on. Also the house looks like a tornado went through-- not a likely excuse in the Pacific Northwest.


~Jess





Tuesday, April 14, 2009

IEP Tomorrow

It was bath day today!

Tomorrow we'll have our third IEP meeting. Jer can't make it, so it'll be little old me, my friend (and Connor's Deaf mentor/respite care worker) and however many people the school has decided to bring this time. I'm sort of nervous about it. Wish us luck.

As an aside note (since apparently I can't make even one post this week without mentioning poop) guess what Connor managed to get all over his hearing aids today?

How? Don't even ask.


~Jess

Monday, April 13, 2009

We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Medical Monday To Bring You An Important Message About Poop

So this, being Monday, should be a post about something medically related. However, I haven't done my homework today. This is because Jer recently purchased himself a copy of Fallout 3 and had most of the day off. That's my excuse, anyway.

So I'm not going to have a Medical Monday. I'm going to take a break and talk about another theme that for some reason pops up periodically in this blog: poop.

That's right. This is yet another post about poop.

So Connor has been having some GI troubles lately. Prior to his g-tube placement, constipation was the issue. Well, no longer. Now on any given day I'm changing between 6-10 diapers. This is not particularly my idea of fun. I'm going to tell you about an event so horrific I believe I am now traumatized for life. The squeamish may wish to go find something else to read. It's not going to be pretty.

The day that shall forever go down in infamy as the day of the Poop That Would Not Die started out pretty much like any other day. Of course, Connor did have that as-yet-undiagnosed UTI and so was rather crabby, and also I'd already changed four diapers, but other than that we were just going about our usual business. Jer was away at work, and Connor and I had just eaten lunch. I was happily sitting with one hand tucked under the little guy on my lap at the computer desk, checking my e-mail, when Connor's rear end emitted the kind of noise that makes scientists monitoring volcanoes push the big red alarm button and run for the hills.

Connor, who felt that the noise might not have tipped me off, immediately stuck his hand down his diaper and emerged with unquestionable and very disgusting evidence that he needed changing. He's into experimenting with exotic flavors right now, so the hand immediately headed towards his mouth. With a grimace of horror I grabbed his wrist and held it away from his body. I then gingerly picked the little guy up with the other hand and trotted down the hallway to his bedroom to change him.

Unfortunately for me, I neglected to do two things: oversights which I would have ample cause to regret later. The first that was while maneuvering Connor out of my lap one-handed, I failed to keep him perfectly level. The second was that I didn't pin his other hand.

I got about two thirds of the way down the hallway when I realized that the hand underneath Connor's rear end now seemed to be damp. I glanced down and saw to my horror that my entire hand was now covered in what looked like chocolate syrup, and not only that, but we had left a trail all the way down our beige carpeted hallway. I sprinted the rest of the way into Connor's room, leaving poop puddles in our wake, and plopped the kid down on one of his washable rugs.

I now had a dilemma. I had one free hand, currently covered in poop. The other relatively clean hand was clamped down on Connor's wrist. After ineffectual attempts to get Cricket to dial Jer on the phone (if little Timmy fell down the well, Cricket would shove the well cover the rest of the way on and take a nap on top of it) I finally managed through a creative use of diaper wipes to at least rid my hand of the worst of the damage so I could concentrate on getting Connor cleaned up.

I wiped off his hand, cleaned up his rear, took off his soiled clothes as well as mine, bundled all of them up in the now soiled rug, and threw the whole mess into the washer. Then I scrubbed my hands, started a bath running, found the carpet cleaner and took care of the poop trail that led all the way back into the office. I grabbed Connor and plopped him in the bathtub, which is where I realized that his OTHER hand was also somehow completely covered in poop. Connor got a thorough scrubbing. I gave myself a quick bath, dressed Connor, and then set him down clean and wonderful into his crib so I could put away the cleaning supplies and get dressed.

I was in the bathroom, reaching up into the cabinet above the toilet, when I happened to look into the mirror. I froze.

There was poop in my hair.

Not just a little bit. There were large streaks of poop all down one side of my head, lovingly applied by Connor, who apparently wanted to spruce me up a bit and thought dramatically stinky lowlights would be just the thing. Being a reasonable, intelligent adult, I did the only thing possible in this situation.

I freaked out. I believe my exact words were something along the lines of:

"YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!"

Some people just can't stand roaches. For other people, snakes cause them to leap in terror atop the nearest available chair. Not me. I have no problem with any creeping, crawling arachnid, insect, reptile, or rodent. I'm the type of person who not only carefully catches jumping spiders and deposits them gently outside my house, but then I go look them up in my identification book so I can call my Dad and tell him about them later. Well, I have now discovered my phobia. Poop in my hair reduces me to a gibbering, frantic crazy woman. Thank God my razor was in the other bathroom, or I probably would have grabbed it and shaved myself bald.

As an aside: I think they should make you sign a contract before having children. It would contain a clause saying: "WARNING: HAVING CHILDREN MAY CAUSE APPLICATION OF POOP TO YOUR HAIR." Give it to the girls on prom night and watch the teen pregnancy rate plummet.

Anyway, back to the story. I hurtled into the shower, my screaming now interspersed by language that I will not be recording for posterity, and turned the water on as hot as it would go. If it was possible using only hands and a washcloth to scrub one's hair and scalp completely off, I would have done it.

After having shampooed and rinsed my hair for the eighteenth time and inspected it minutely to make sure not a single particle of offending poop remained, I toweled off, got dressed, and dragged myself back into Connor's room. Connor, no doubt resenting not only my leaving him in his crib for so long but also my rejection of his hairdressing attempts, was pitching a royal fit. I leaned over, picked him up, and singing him a little soothing song, bounced him on my hip.

He pooped all down my leg.

~Jess

Sunday, April 12, 2009

A Diagnosis for Easter!

Happy Easter, everyone!

Connor received a happy gift for Easter-- a diagnosis and no further shots! Apparently Connor has been suffering from a urinary tract infection (UTI). There's a good chance that he picked it up when they were attempting to take urine samples at the hospital during that high fever spike a couple of weeks ago. I have no personal experience with UTIs, but I understand they are excruciatingly painful and would definitely explain the extreme crabbiness we have been dealing with for quite some time now, as well as the fever. To get rid of the UTI, Connor can take an oral medication, so he doesn't have to have any more shots: something he is no doubt ecstatic about.

Of course, a UTI doesn't explain the diarrhea, and so we've got a referral in to go talk with our local GI doc about that. It's likely it's related somehow to the g-tube, as it was just after surgery that the problem started. Fun.

Connor is feeling so much better, however. He's almost back to his usual happy self, which we are very grateful for. We're so glad they figured out what was going on and could do something about it!
~Jess


Saturday, April 11, 2009

In Which I Jump About From Topic To Topic With No Transition Whatsoever

We got an e-mail back from the school district about whether or not we're allowed to tape the IEP meetings. They said that they'd agree to have the next one recorded, and they'd bring a tape recorder too. That's totally fine with us. Hopefully the meeting next Wednesday will allow us to resolve our differences over what Connor needs to get an adequate education. I'm really tired of going to meetings.

Connor was much improved this morning; his fever is completely gone, he ate more than he has in weeks, and he seemed pretty chipper. We took him into the doctor's office about eleven, and the poor little guy recieved two more big shots of Rocephin, which he didn't appreciate at all. I'm told that those shots hurt like a son-of-a-gun. The blood cultures were still pending, but we've got another appointment tomorrow and we'll find out what, if anything, showed up then. For Easter Sunday Connor will recieve yet two more shots in his much abused little thighs. Poor guy.

The highlight of the week for me thus far happened when I refilled the hummingbird feeder on Connor's window. I took the feeder off and filled it in the kitchen, and then walked back through the yard to hang it up again. As I rounded the corner of the house, two male Rufous hummingbirds zoomed up to where the feeder normally is, saw me with the feeder in my hand, and actually flew up and perched on the feeder about four inches from my face. They stayed there for about five minutes, periodically launching themselves up off the feeder and zooming in circles around my head while I tried very hard to look like a small pink-barked tree. I discovered that hummingbirds breathe really, really fast. Also they shoot their tiny tongues in and out when they sit up to take a break from eating-- they look like they're licking the last bit of necter off the edges of their beaks. I'd never seen two male Rufous hummingbirds eat from the same feeder before; usually they're the one's trying to drive all the other hummingbirds away. These two just fluffed their feathers at one another and pipped a couple of times, but I guess they were hungry enough that they were willing to temporarily share. After they finally flew off I hung the feeder and then walked into the house in a daze, sporting a giant goofy grin. Now I've taken to walking back to Connor's window with a refilled feeder very, very slowly, in the hopes that it will happen again. My neighbors probably think I'm nuts.

Anyway, an early Happy Easter to everyone!




~Jess




Friday, April 10, 2009

The Hospital Stay is Averted!

So Connor had his doctor's appointment this morning. They took blood, urine, and stool samples, and we're waiting on those cultures right now. They said since he didn't look dehydrated, we could take him home instead of waiting in the hospital, which was nice.

Of course, since we took him to the doctor today, he had a better day than he's had in weeks. He was smiling, cooing, and just in a generally good mood right up to the point where we started prepping him for a blood draw. Then he was the Saddest Boy In The Universe. He perked up after we left the doctor's office, though.

We got a phone call this afternoon from the doctor with the preliminary results from the blood labs. Apparently Connor's white blood cell count (WBC) was really high. The doc said that Connor's WBC should be somewhere between 5,000-15,000 cells per ┬ÁL (microlitre). Connor's is currently at 27,000. We're not sure what this means right now. The doc said it could potentially have been caused by the stress of drawing the blood, but she didn't think that was likely. It could be an indicator of an infection, though it doesn't tell us what kind of infection or where it is.

To play it safe while we wait for the cultures to come in, they gave him two shots-- one in each thigh-- of an antibiotic called Rocephin. Connor was not thrilled with this, but he calmed down pretty quickly afterwards.

We got back in the car around five thirty, drove back to the gas station, and while sitting there in the car Connor proceeded to have a full melt-down. He's been Mr. Crabby Pants ever since.

We'll go back into the doctor's office tomorrow to find out the results of the cultures. Hopefully with this massive dose of antibiotics, he'll be back to his old self in no time.

~Jess

Thursday, April 9, 2009

To The Hospital We May Go...AGAIN.

So Connor is still feeling under the weather. He's still running a fever, still having GI issues, still has no appetite, still is irritable and tired. While Tylenol brings his fever down to a really low grade one or to normal, as soon as it wears off it starts slowly climbing again. I went ahead and paged our doc today since we hadn't heard back from the hospital, and he consulted with a few other doctors there and called us back. Here's what we've been told so far:
  • Typically with a virus, a fever should only last 3-5 days. Since Connor has been running a low-grade fever since April 2nd, this is too long to be just one virus, though it is possible that he had a couple of viruses back to back. He'd also spiked that really high fever on March 27th that we ended up in the hospital for, but there were a couple of days in between where Connor didn't seem to be running a fever, so that may not be related. Of course, he was also on some pretty massive doses of Tylenol, too, so who knows.

  • Connor has had GI issues since his surgery on the 23rd. That's way too long to be having those issues without a cause other than a virus. They've slowly gotten worse over the last week or so too, not in frequency, but in, um...consistency. (Ew. Sorry.) If it was an issue with his new diet, we probably wouldn't be seeing that change, nor should he be running a fever.

  • Since he actually had an incision made to put the g-tube in and it wasn't a "blind" insertion, then it's not likely the issue is something like the surgeon accidentally causing a perforated intestine-- an extremely dangerous situation where there is a cut in the intestine wall that causes leakage into the body cavity. Connor's incision site on the outside looks good, too-- no signs of infection that Jer and I can see, though the doc will take a look at it. However, since he's been running a fever for this long, it very well could be due to an infection somewhere in the g-tube site, even if it's not showing up on the surface of the skin.

Since Connor's condition seems to be pretty stable right now, they thought it would probably be okay to wait until the morning to bring him in, as long as we were comfortable with that. If at some point during the night he starts getting dehydrated due to the GI issues, his fever spikes really high, we can't wake him up, or his "state of awareness" changes (he doesn't know who we are, isn't aware of surroundings, et cetera) then we'll bring him into the ER. We'll bring him in first thing tomorrow and the doctors will take a good look at him and figure out whether or not they want to admit him, run a bunch of cultures if they can determine the cause of his issues, and monitor him to make sure his electrolytes aren't becoming unbalanced and he's not ending up dehydrated. We're less than five minutes from the hospital, so we're okay with waiting until tomorrow morning to go in.

Long story short, there's a good chance we'll end up admitted back into the hospital tomorrow, and we may be there for a while. I'll keep you all posted as to what's going on with us.


~Jess

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

IEP Meeting Take....Never Mind

So we didn't have an IEP meeting.

This is due to the fact that we brought a tape recorder. The school district claimed that the tape recorder violated their privacy and refused to have the meeting if we were taping. We refused to turn the tape off. So we didn't have a meeting.

I just spent over an hour typing up an e-mail message that specifies under which laws and court cases in Washington state we are given the right to tape despite the school officials' non-consent. That was a whole lot of fun, let me tell you. We're supposed to meet with them AGAIN next week. Jer and I have yet to discuss whether we'll be bringing a tape recorder to that meeting, a stenographer, or just saying the heck with it and going straight to mediation.

I'd like to know what the heck they were planning on saying that they didn't want an audio record of.

~Jess

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Looming IEP Meeting

I just got back from my sign class, and our son, Saddy the Sadkin, is asleep. He slept about ten hours today, mostly on my chest while I looked up and printed out various portions of state and federal law concerning IEPs and arranged my notes for tomorrow's meeting with the school district. Nothing's really changed; he's still running a low grade fever, still having some seriously nasty diapers, and in a generally crabby mood, but otherwise okay. We didn't hear from the doctor today-- one of the drawbacks of the military hospital. On the one hand, it's probably not important enough for me to page Dr. Adams myself for an immediate call back. On the other hand, this "the doctor will call you some time in the next two business days" stuff really stinks. Oh well. We'll keep dosing him with Tylenol and keep him hydrated in the meantime.

I dropped by the store on the way home from class and picked up a tape recorder and some blank tapes. Well, okay, four stores. Those things are hard to find nowadays. Anyway, we'll be bringing all of this stuff, along with a grumpy and still-sick-but-probably-not-contagious Connor, to our IEP meeting tomorrow. I'm really, really hoping we'll be able to get the school to change their tune, as we have enough things to deal with without throwing mediation and due process onto the list, but if that's what it takes, so be it.

Wish us luck tomorrow-- I'm off to bed.


~Jess

Running a Fever...Again.

Connor didn't sleep well last night at all. He woke up this morning with a temperature of 102.4 (while on Tylenol), and he's already had two dirty diapers in as many hours. I just put in a call to the doctor, as Connor's been running a temp now off and on for over a week, which seems a little long for a cold. We'll see what he has to say.

~Jess

Monday, April 6, 2009

Medical Monday: Eczema

It's that time again: Medical Monday! I blog each Monday about a different condition Connor has and then post a link to it on the side bar as I go. This way people can get a better idea of what Connor deals with on a daily basis and his family and friends can understand what I'm saying when I call and spout ridiculously long medical terms.

DISCLAIMER: I would like to emphasize for those people who stumble upon this blog that I'm not a doctor, and I have no medical experience other than the approximately 900 doctor's appointments I've been to in the past two years. I just know about these things in relation to how they apply to Connor and not anyone else's child, so if you want accurate info on this sort of thing, please please please ask your doctor or go to the medical library instead of looking it up on the Internet. The library is your friend.

Today we're going to talk about eczema.

Eczema is one of the few rather common things that Connor has. He doesn't even have the really rare variety or anything, which is sort of a relief. So what is eczema, anyway?

In a three word explanation: It's a rash. A red, bumpy, itchy rash that can cause cracked, weepy, bleeding skin and is not a whole lot of fun. There are a number of types of eczema and related skin conditions, but the one Connor has is the most common. It's called atopic dermatitis.

Atopic dermatitis is a skin condition that has some hereditary factors. In Connor's case, he has members on both sides of the family that have issues with a variety of skin conditions, and though neither Jer nor I have any issues with our skin, Connor is another story. For the first six months after he was born, I had to use unscented shampoo, creme rinse, lotion, and deodorant on myself or he would break out in a rash just from skin-to-skin contact. I had to wash my house with vinegar-- just being in the room with bleach would make him breakout. I still use unscented laundry detergent on all of his clothing, though he has improved to the point where I can use scented bath products again, thank goodness, and can even use them on Connor if they're gentle.

Connor's rash can be triggered by more than just contact with scents and chemicals. It can also appear when it gets cold or really hot outside, when the seasons change, when he's under stress, or when we travel. He tends to break out in it on the back of his knees, inside his elbows, under his armpits, and on his face-- especially behind his ears. He'll go for long periods with his skin being completely clear, and then all of the sudden will break out again.

So how does having eczema affect Connor? Well, there's a 50-80% correlation between having eczema and developing asthma. Since there is a history of asthma on both sides of the family (though it skipped Jer and I once again) we have to make sure to keep a close eye on Connor. He doesn't show any signs of it thus far, but he could still develop it as he grows up. Connor's eczema is also obviously uncomfortable when it flares up-- it's red and itchy and irritating. Other than infection if he scratches himself too much (which, due to his motor skills, is rather unlikely) it isn't otherwise a threat to his health.

How do the doctor's treat Connor's eczema? Well, we slather the kid in lotion on a fairly regular basis-- especially when it looks like he's going to have a flair up. Holding him then becomes rather like trying to corral a greased pig, so you have to be careful, but it all soaks in pretty quickly. If his flair ups get really bad, we have steroids we can put on his skin, but thankfully we haven't had to pull those out in over a year.

What's the prognosis for Connor's eczema? It has improved immensely since he was born; he seems to have built up an immunity to many of the things that triggered it before. He still has mild break outs when he's stressed, when someone who holds him has on particularly strong perfume or lotion or is a smoker, or when we travel, but we usually have a long break of smooth, happy skin in between those flair ups. Since he's improved so much already, it's likely that he'll continue to improve, though he may never be entirely rid of the issue and it may flair up again at adolescence.

Here's some resources about Connor's type of eczema:



~Jess

They're Baaaack....

I know, I know, it's Medical Monday, and I'll post a new one tonight. Connor is down for a nap right now, though, and I had to share this.

As part of my limited housekeeping two days ago, I filled up our hummingbird feeders. We have two feeders out front and one in the back attached to Connor's window. In doing so, I somehow unknowingly touched off hummingbird Armageddon. Our house is now completely surrounded by tiny aggressive missiles of death and destruction, each hell-bent on preventing any of the other hummingbirds from coming near the other feeders. You can actually hear them zooming around outside through the windows-- they sound like tiny chainsaws. At any given moment there's three or four out there pipping at each other and putting on violent aerial games of King of The Hill. Whenever I leave the house, they whirr up and hover in the air two or three feet from my face to determine whether or not I might be trying to eat from their feeders, and if so which eye it would be best to go for first.

Interestingly enough, while they wouldn't hesitate to go for me, they give the bees who also drink from the feeder a wide berth, which I guess shouldn't surprise me too much. I mean, sure they're super aggressive and territorial-- kind of the punt dogs of the avian kingdom-- but they aren't stupid.

The chaos outside has caused pandemonium inside our formally peaceful domain too, as our cats sprint from window to window in a frantic effort to keep tabs on all the delectable little bite-size morsels that keep whizzing around the house. They growl at each other and jocky for prime viewing position. I've had to ban the cats from Connor's room yet again. See that very dirty window? It was clean four days ago. Those are the marks the cats have made by, in Cricket's case, pressing her nose to the window pane and drooling, and in Loki's case, ramming his skull forcefully into the glass repeatedly in the hopes that this time it won't be there and he can actually catch the hummingbirds that are sitting three inches from his face, sticking their tongues out and emitting little squeaky calls of derision. I'd be a little worried that he was giving himself a concussion if I didn't already have evidence that he doesn't really have much in there to rattle around.

At any rate, Connor finds the hummingbirds pretty fascinating, when they'll stay still enough for him to see. They really like the feeder on his window, as it has the attraction of less foot traffic, a handy little perch, and also entertainment in the form of Loki bashing his head against the glass. They've already emptied it out completely once. I highly suggest getting one of these feeders-- it may not work for other birds, but hummingbirds are cheeky little things, and they are so fearless you can sit on a stool (or in Loki's case, crouch three inches away) and they'll ignore you. Lord knows what it's going to be like when the barn swallows get back in town. They nest in our carport and are incredibly territorial. Between them and the hummingbirds, we might have to dig a tunnel to our car. I'll add it to my to-do list.


~Jess

Sunday, April 5, 2009

In Which My Plans For The Day Are Thrown Out The Window

All in all, the day wasn't a total wash.

So I didn't get to clean the house, or get my hair cut. I spent a good portion of the day alternating between being a human couch for a fevered, sad little boy and changing yet another dirty diaper. I did, however, at least run the dishwasher, ran a few loads of sheets and towels through the laundry, and, on a run out to the grocery store for more infant Tylenol, I grabbed a box of hair dye, which I used this evening. I also threw open all of the doors and windows and aired out the house, as it was a glorious day outside and our rooms have recently taken on that stuffy, sick-people smell.

Loki thought he'd like to take in the air as well. He escaped out the door just after we put Connor to bed, and managed to sprint five houses down before I cornered him in a neighbor's backyard. I'm sure our neighbors wondered what I was doing wandering around near their barbecue making idiotic cooing noises and periodically lunging at the ground. When I finally caught him, Loki started purring like it was actually his idea to be picked up and hauled back into the house. He was, of course, indulging me, as we humans will have our little whims. Crazy cat.

With any luck Connor will be on the mend tomorrow and I can get some more done. I do feel much better just for the little bit I accomplished today. If I keep plugging away at it, things will be back to normal in no time.


~Jess

Sick. Again.

Right on cue, Connor is sick AGAIN.

He's running a fever, irritable, sleepy, and has terrible GI issues. Let's just say the Miralax isn't exactly necessary at the moment. He's been sleeping in a snotty, miserable ball on my chest for the last forty-five minutes.
Bleagh.


~Jess

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Coming Out of Hibernation

Tonight Jer and I, accompanied by a slightly grumpy Connor, went out to a restaurant for dinner. It's honestly the first time since Connor's surgery I've gotten dressed up, actually blow-dried my hair and put makeup on. I took a look around the house when we got back. It's a disaster-- I've let everything slide because we've been so stressed. The garden is full of weeds and our sink is full of dishes.

I kind of feel like I've been wrapped in cotton wool for a few weeks. With the surgery, everybody being sick, our emergency room visit, the insurance company fiasco, and the business with Connor's school, our lives have been put on hold. All of my energy that usually goes into taking care of myself and the house has been channeled into taking care of these other things. Now that everyone is on the mend, it's time to start picking up some of the balls I've been dropping.

Tomorrow I'm going to spend some time putting the house to rights. Then I'm going to clean myself up-- go get a haircut, maybe treat myself to a manicure. I know from past experience that taking care of those two simple things will not only make me feel much better, but they'll actually give me more energy. Just being in a less cluttered space will help, and knowing that I look good will give me that burst of confidence I need to tackle all of the issues we're dealing with.

The weather man says the sun is supposed to be shining tomorrow. Spring is finally here. It's time for me to wake up.


~Jess

Friday, April 3, 2009

Fruitless Errands

I just got home-- I've been running fruitless errands all day. Some days are just like that, I guess. I made a stop by a friend's house to drop something off, but we'd gotten our wires crossed and she wasn't home. I went from there to the hospital, where I discovered that the hospital didn't have the paperwork I needed to pull. From there, I drove to the framing shop, where I learned that the picture I needed to pick up wasn't ready yet. I got some dinner and drove out to my CPR class.

While I was at class, the framing shop called to say that my picture was ready. Class ran twenty minutes late, and I pulled into the framing shop parking lot just as they locked the doors. Let's just say that this was not the most productive day in the world. I now sympathize with those hamsters on their little wheels-- I can relate.

Because of all my errands, Connor had a Daddy day. Jeremy has fun wearing out the little guy, who always has a blast and as a result sleeps like a rock, which makes me happy too. Kind of a good deal all around. Hopefully he'll sleep in late, so Jer and I can too. Otherwise we'll play rock, paper, scissors tomorrow morning to see who has to get up and who can continue to make sure the pillows are functioning properly.

At least I'm officially certified in CPR now. Though I have to say, since I've performed it six or seven times on Connor, I kind of feel like they should give you a free pass or something for that. Apparently the government doesn't agree with me on that one. Oh well.


~Jess

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Not Your Mother's CPR Class

The cats were being particularly cute today. I suspect they are plotting something.

On a completely different topic, I had a CPR, First Aid, and Bloodborne Pathogen class this evening. We covered CPR and choking today-- first aid and bloodborne pathogens are tomorrow. Our teacher was really enthusiastic, told many anecdotal stories, and during the course of the class we learned some techniques that I'm relatively sure are not recommended by the American Heart Association (and I am, for the love of God, not suggesting you actually try):

~ If you find a stranger you looks like they need CPR and you are in a bad area of town, don't go up and kneel down near them to see if they'll respond to your call. Instead, kick them really hard in the shins. If they flinch, they're faking and you're fixing to get robbed. Run away. Otherwise, commence with your resuscitation.

~If someone is really, really fat and you can't fit your hands around their middle, lean them up against a wall and punch them in the gut. Try not to miss.

~If you are choking and no one's around, run as hard as you can into your counter top in the kitchen or some other fixed object around waist high. This will really, really hurt.

~If you have arthritic hands or knees or something, you can do chest compressions by stomping on the distressed person. Try to remember to take your shoes off.

It was certainly a lively class. Rather violent, but lively. One last tip: it is good to remember that when requesting one of those portable defibrillators they have in malls and airports all over the place, one should ask for an AED, and not, as several people called out during practice, an IED. You probably shouldn't ask for an IED in an airport under any circumstances, by the way, unless it is one of your personal dreams to spend an evening handcuffed to a chair in one of those little detaining rooms.

I'm looking forward to my class tomorrow. What crazy first aid tips will we learn?


~Jess

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Happy Birthday Connor!

Big boy Connor is three!

He had a very quiet birthday today-- he's still feeling under the weather, so we didn't want to push him. We'll do something fun when the whole house is feeling better-- I'm not feeling particularly wonderful myself.

We did go to Toys-R-Us and he helped us pick out a few toys. Hopefully he'll enjoy them. He also received a birthday crown, which he promptly took off and threw on the floor, and a birthday balloon, which is gracing his ceiling right now, the string at a prudent distance away from Loki, The Devourer of All Things Inedible.

Speaking of Loki: we searched everywhere for Connor's hearing aid this morning and couldn't find it anywhere. I finally found it stuffed in the printer. Yesterday we had the same issue with the plug for Connor's g-tube. We found it under his bed. I'm guessing it was Loki in both cases-- he's developed quite a taste for stashing things. A couple of weeks ago I was changing Connor's diaper, looked up, and saw Loki trotting by the open doorway with my cell phone in his mouth. I had to have Jer call it so I could find it. It was under the refrigerator. Crazy cat.

Sorry. Got kind of off topic there. Anyway, thanks for all of the birthday wishes! I read them to Connor and he seemed to enjoy them. Hooray for the big boy!


~Jess
 
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