Yes, it is!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Jackie Fractured Her Clavicle. Again!

This is the third time.  Yesterday, Ben and Jackie were playing in my bedroom.  I don't know how it happened because I didn't see it, but I heard the impact of Jackie falling against my dresser.  I consoled Jackie and she calmed fairly quickly.  I checked Jackie's grip and blood flow.  The collar bones appeared to be symmetrical.  So, I thought Jackie was okay.  And within minutes Jackie was back to playing. 
Every now and then, Jackie would do her usual whine and say that it hurts.  Being quite the drama queen that Jackie is, I figured that was Jackie's way of getting additional attention.  I checked again for any apparent injury but everything looked okay.
Later in the evening, Jackie started complaining of pain again so I took another look at her shoulder.  This time there was a red spot but I still could not feel anything obvious fracture and Jackie's grip was still fairly strong considering that this was on the left side that is affected by the cerebral palsy.  I decided to call the doctor's office the next morning.
So this morning, I called the doctor's office first thing.  Thankfully, we were able to be seen by one of the doctors instead of being referred out to the urgent care or ER.  The doctor saw the red spot immediately and even though everything else appeared okay, the doctor was suspicious of a fracture.  So an x-ray was ordered which confirmed the doctor's suspicions. 
Being that this is the third time Jackie has fractured this clavicle, the doctor immediately put in a referral to see the orthopedic specialist at St. Louis Chilren's hospital.  It turns out that Jackie will be seeing her foot doctor's colleague.  The appointment is this Thursday.  I just hope this latest fracture has not compromised her strength on the left side any further than it already has been.
The first time Jackie fractured her clavicle occurred in March 2009.  Jackie fell out of her bed in the middle  of the night.  In most cases, kids fall out of bed in such a way that they don't end up with this type of injury.  At least, that's what the doctor explained.  But Jackie fell of bed at just the perfect angle to cause the fracture.  Those first couple of weeks following were harrowing.  Within a couple of days, while we were out on a family walk, Jackie suddenly tried to climb out of the wagon.  Because the wagon was in motion, Jackie tumbled out and landed on her head.  Thankfully, she ended up being okay.  But then a week later, Jackie was playing on my bed when, for whatever reason, she decided to do a forward roll, right over the foot of the bed.  She landed on the affected shoulder.  Jackie was wearing the immobilizer at the time but I still checked for further injury.  She seemed to be okay until the next day when she came down with a high fever.  So it was back to the ER where an x-ray confirmed re-fractured clavicle.  And the fever was apparently caused by a virus.  Poor girl was suffering that day.  When we went back to the orthopedic doctor, he reiterated to Jackie how important it was to not try to do gymnastics or anything else that might make her clavicle get hurt some more.  It was very difficult to keep her contained. 
So now here we are again with another re-fractured clavicle.  This has not been a good year for medical emergencies, especially so in just the last couple of months.  Between Jackie's trampoline accident, my gallbladder attack, Ben's bloody urine, and now this, I am very thankful that we have the insurance that we have.  Sure we're going to have a good number of medical bills but nothing that will break the bank for us.  And we already have higher medical expenses due to all of Jackie's therapies and devices.  Speaking of which, I really should consider starting a foundation for Jackie's expenses.  That would certainly help us out a lot. 

I also should start a foundation for vacation time for me. Is anybody willing to donate to my vacation fund? Just kidding.  Seriously though, I do think I need a mini-vacation from it all here. 
With all that has happened in just the past couple of months, I'm surprised the law hasn't been called on us, yet.  In fact, I'm even more surprised the law wasn't called on us in 2009 when Jackie was in the ER three different times in less than 2 weeks.  I was just waiting for CPS to show up on our doorstep at any time back then.   Here's hoping that 2011 will be emergency free.  Please lord, is that too much to ask? 

Friday, December 24, 2010

What's Wrong With This Picture?

I saw this as I was heading toward St. Louis to take Jackie to her occupational therapy.  Click on the picture to enlarge it for a better view.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Is It Time for the Talk...

about the birds and the bees?  Oh Lord, I hope not. 
So lately, Jackie has been coming up with some crazy questions.  Questions that I'm not even sure God, if he exists, can even answer.  I just have to shake my head in amazement at Jackie's imagination.
A conversation with Jackie this afternoon:
J: When I grow up, I don't want to have a baby.
Me: Why?
J: Because I don't want my belly cut open because it will hurt.
Me: (I had to ponder this for a moment). Hmm, well, you might not need to be cut open.
J: Why?
Me: (I'm thinking "okay Lord, help me through this one) Well, the baby might be able to come out another way.
J: How?
Me: (okay, I really need help now Lord) Well, the baby might be able to come out from below.
J: You mean I won't have a baby come out of my belly like you did?
Me: What do you mean?
J: Like when they cut Ben out of your belly.
Me: at this point I'm just thinking that she was just 3 years old at the time and I shook my head in
        amazement that she has any memory of my c-section with Ben.
J: Well, I wish you could put the mean brother back in your belly.

Never a dull moment with my kids.  Anyway, this latest round of questioning has got me thinking that even though my daughter is just 6 years old, it might be time to start explaining things to her.  She already thinks that she's going to be able to purchase breasts at the store when she gets older.  And I have no clue where she got that idea from.  Certainly not from me.  Hmm, I wonder if I could RETURN my breasts to the store?

I Want My Own Pillow For Christmas

I want my own pillow. Actually, I already have my own pillow but the mister in this house continues to use my pillow despite my pleas to leave my pillow alone. I do NOT like sharing my pillow and the mister knows it.  In fact, he thinks I'm mean because I am always getting on his case for using my pillow. He thinks I'm afraid of cooties.  That's right. Afraid of cooties.  And you know what?  Maybe he has a point.  I don't like other sweaty and/or drooly heads sharing my pillow.  I am very protective of my pillow. Sweat stains on pillows gross me out.  And the mister is notorious for sweat stains on pillows.  His head sweats like a hog.  Wait, hogs don't sweat.  Well, he sweats like a... hmm... a man?  Make that two men.  He just sweats.  His head sweats a lot.  So yes, he's got a point.  I don't want cooties on my pillow.  Nobody's cooties.  Not even my own children's cooties.
I have placed my pillow away from the bed, I have hidden it behind my armoire, I have hidden it under the bed.  I have used a different color pillow case to help the mister distinguish between his and my pillows.  All in an effort to protect my pillow from sweat cooties.  I have tried everything to get my point across that this is a very serious matter and not to be taken lightly. The mister says that he can't tell which one is my pillow.  Excuse me?  Hmph.  My pillow is temperpedic on one side.  My pillow always has a different pillow case than his.  He has more than one pillow.  One of them takes up 2/3 of head part of our bed.  It's huge and it's a down pillow.  One of his other pillows is really flat, the way he likes it.  I just cannot understand the mister's confusion about my pillow.
I do not even share my pillow with my own children.  They slobber. They drool, They lick.  Yes, lick.  Well,  not lately.  But my kids can be gross and as much as I love them, I don't want their cooties on my pillow, either.
I have asked the mister if he would like me to buy him a pillow like mine. No is his response.  Then why does he continue to use my pillow for his own personal use?
Sometimes I have to just laugh it off when I remember a church sermon that I heard years ago.   Mister and I were members of a very large church of which the pastor was the best pastor I have ever had.  (Unfortunately, that pastor along with one of his sons died a couple of years ago in a tragic accident).  I learned a lot from this particular pastor and I really admired him.  He was just awesome.  In one of his sermons one day, Rev. Pollock mentioned how he woke up in the middle of the night and his pillow was missing.  He felt around for it before waking up his wife to ask her if she knew where his pillow was. Her response?  "No honey, but you can have mine."  Now I thought that was so sweet of his wife.  I don't remember the point of his sermon that day but that particular part of his sermon is what I remember very clearly.  I think it may have had something to do with sacrifice. Anyway, the pastor's wife really is a sweetheart in person and I can see her offering her precious pillow to her husband.  I felt convicted.  I swallowed hard  and for a moment.  I thought, "goodness, I have to start sacrificing my pillow."  I could feel the anxiety building inside of me.  Of course, Tim, knowing how protective I am about my pillow, had to make a comment to me about it after church.  Yeah, haha.  I tried to be nicer about it after that sermon but I just could not bear the thought of my pillow being fouled up.
Even now, years later, I still often think of Rev. Pollock's comment about the pillow incident whenever I see my pillow on Tim's side of the bed.  I would like to be sacrificial and sweet about it like Rev. Pollock's wife, Dawn, was.  And I have tried to no avail.  I just cannot share my pillow.  With anybody.  No head cooties for me. And no slobber. Unless it's mine.  It just still makes me seethe every time I find my pillow where it DOESN'T belong on Tim's side. I'm just cantankerous when it comes to my pillow.
Somebody please tell me, will I have to share my pillow in heaven?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Ben's First Day of Preschool

After a delay of 2 days due to weather, Ben finally started his first day of school today.  He is enrolled in an Early Childhood preschool where he will receive additional speech therapy.  Ben's teacher, Mrs. W,  is Jackie's former teacher and she is awesome as is the assistant, Ms L.
I thought I was well prepared for Ben's first day of school.  In fact, I was a little disappointed when he couldn't start on Monday as planned.  After I got to Ben's classroom, I took Ben to the potty before the class started.  Funny that it happened as we were leaving the restroom but it suddenly hit me that my baby is really no longer a baby.  He is actually in preschool now.  My heart sank for a moment and the tears welled in my eyes as I watched my baby boy go sit down with the other students.  I just can't believe how quickly these past 3 years have passed by.  Ms. L gave me a hug and it took everything in me to hold back the tears. 
After I left, I went grocery shopping at the commissary.  As much as I missed my little companion, it was so nice to be able to shop in peace and to be able to actually remember everything that I needed to buy.  I was able to take my time and in fact, I actually spent more money than usual due to the enjoyment of being able to take my time and look at other items that I never get a chance to even glance at when I have the kids with me.  It was awesome!  I love grocery shopping.  I know, weird.  But it's awesome when I don't have to battle with the kids. 
Before I knew it, it was time to pick up Ben from school.  I got there and saw that Ben was having a blast.  Ben LOVED it as evidenced by the fact that he did not want to put his coat on to leave.  Mrs. W and I were finally able to get his coat on to leave. 
As much as Ben enjoyed school, it certainly wore him out.  He fell asleep fairly quickly after we left the school to go run a couple of errands. 

Ben is so cute.  He squealed with delight when we went back in the afternoon to pick up Jackie from school. He saw the building where his class is and kept pointing and smiled huge.   I assured him that he would be going back again tomorrow and he squealed again with delight.  Ben will be one disappointed little boy if the weather causes school to be canceled tomorrow. 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Gingerbread Houses

I discovered a great way to get rid of some Halloween candy.  I let Ben build a gingerbread shack.  Well, it wasn't planned that way.  The cookie base part wouldn't stay together and Ben kept trying to do his own thing so I just gave up and let Ben have at it.  His way.  And I think he did a great job building his gingerbread house. 
While I supervised Ben with his shack, Jackie was building her gingerbread house with help from Mimi.  Jackie had it easy, though, because that one came as a kit.  This is the first time that I was brave enough to do a project with the kids and it will probably be the last time for another 10 years.  Ooohhhh, what a mess it is to do gingerbread houses.  I like to do fun things with my kids as long as it isn't too messy. I know, I bad.  I just don't enjoy messes.  My house is messy enough having to clean up after the kids (including daddy).    I don't need a bigger mess.   So, here is Jackie with her cute little gingerbread house.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Ben, Through the Years in Pictures

Ben's Birthday

After not sleeping very well last night and then getting up too early this morning, Ben still enjoyed a good day.  His daddy had the day off so they went to Denny's for breakfast while I got Jackie ready for school and onto the school bus.
After Ben returned home from breakfast, we just hung around the house until later afternoon.  I picked up Jackie from school a little early for our portrait appointment.  Tim was going to bring Ben separately and meet up with us at the studio.  After I picked up Jackie, we dropped off Mimi at Borders while the rest of us had our pictures taken.  Thankfully, both kids have birthdays in consecutive months so I was able to schedule Jackie's and  Ben's birthday pictures in addition to our family portrait.  As tired as Ben was, he was a good sport during the session and even during the proof viewing.
After selecting the pictures we wanted, Tim decided that we would go to Golden Corral because he thought the kids would enjoy all the treats there.  Yeah, right.  Of course, Ben would.  If he had his way, Ben would eat nothing but sugary crap.  So, off we went to the pigfest.  I was not looking forward to as I am not a huge fan of buffets.  Neither is Tim which is why I was surprised that he decided on it.  I just had to pray that I would not end up with food poisoning.  The kids did enjoy it, though, because they were allowed to pick whatever treats they wanted.  I had picked up an ice-cream cake this morning for Ben's celebration but since the kids already had their fill of cake and ice-cream at the buffet, I thought about just waiting on the ice-cream until tomorrow.
After dinner, we went home so Ben could open his presents.  Ben seemed to enjoy opening up his gifts and getting all Thomas the Train stuff.  Ben really enjoys trains and he gets so excited when he sees a real train.
We capped the evening off with a drive through the light display at the local shrine, Our Lady of the Snows.  It is an absolutely beautiful display and something that we enjoy doing every Christmas season.  I believe it is one of the largest display of lights in this part of the country.
On the way home, Ben fell asleep.  As tired as he was all day with the lack of sleep he experienced last night, I was surprised Ben didn't fall asleep earlier.  So as soon as we got home, I got my sweet baby boy ready for bed.  However, immediately after I tucked Ben into bed, he got a second wind and joined us in the living room.  He is still awake after 10pm and playing with his new Thomas toys.  Normally, he would be in bed but since it is his birthday today and he's been relatively quiet, I am enjoying his company.  I am so in awe of my sweet, handsome little boy.

I love you Ben.  Happy Birthday my sweet boy!

Ben Is Three Today! Here is His Birth Story

Wow, the time has passed by so quickly.
I remember when we first discovered that I was pregnant with Ben.  I did not realize that I was pregnant until I was apparently around 7 weeks along.  Pregnancy was the furthest thing from my mind.  We thought that Jackie would be our only child unless we adopted.  Looking back, I should have know something was going on because I suddenly developed an aversion to a couple of my favorite foods.  I used to enjoy French Toast bagels from the Bread Company and I would often stop and pick up one on my way to a couple of graduate classes that I was taking at the time.  The last couple of bagels that I bought, I took one bite and just lost interest in finishing.  For some reason, I just did not care for them anymore.  (This happened with broccoli, too, and to this day, I really don't care for either of those foods anymore.)  I really did not even think about the possibility of pregnancy.
One morning at the end of a church service that we were visiting one Sunday, we stood for dismissal prayer and I immediately felt like I was going to pass out.  I grabbed the chair in front of me and slowly sat back down.  It was then that the thought of pregnancy hit me.  The only reason I even thought of that was because Jackie's occupational therapist at that time had mentioned how she had passed out at the beginning of her first pregnancy.  Well, I kept my thoughts to myself throughout the day and every time I thought that I could be pregnant, I shuddered and tried to shake those thoughts off and distract myself with something else.
The next day was a Monday.  It was a good day but again, every time the thought of possibly being pregnant occurred, I just shuddered and distracted myself with something else.  I just could not bring myself to believe that it was possible.  That evening, Tim had a meeting that he had to attend after which he planned to make a stop at the store.  He asked if I needed anything.  At first I said no but then hesitated and said yes.  When he asked what I needed,  I told him to buy a pregnancy test.  Tim looked at me sort of funny but I just reassured him that I probably was NOT pregnant but I just wanted to rule it out.  When Tim came home later with the test, I immediately went upstairs and within seconds of doing the test, the test showed a positive sign.  I didn't have to wait the suggested 5 minutes.  There was No way! I thought.  It just couldn't be. I started to shake.  I really didn't know whether I should laugh or cry.  Yes, laugh.  Then I became scared.  I ran downstairs and showed the test to Tim.  He asked "are you?"  I reassured Tim that it was probably a false positive and that I would have it ruled out when I called the doctor's office the next day for an appointment.
It turns out that the clinic offered walk-ins at certain times throughout the day for pregnancy testing.  I submitted a urine test and after what seemed like hours of waiting, the nurse called for me.  She took me to a private room and took her time closing the door and sitting down.  I was literally sitting on the edge of my seat.  Literally.  hen she looked at me and confirmed the positive result. Again, I was tossed between laughter and crying.  The nurse asked me if I was okay.  I told her I was but I guess my face told otherwise.  I was just in so much shock.  She then asked me in a roundabout way if I was planning to carry to term.  Of course, I was.  There was no way that I could willingly end this pregnancy.  So, the nurse gave me a prescription for prenatal vitamins and some information about pregnancy (as if I didn't already know).  Then she gave me an appointment for the geneticist in St. Louis since I was considered somewhat high risk.  The appointment was made for when it was thought I would be around 12 weeks.  Then the nurse wanted me to see the doctor briefly. The doctor confirmed what the nurse told me and then he said that I also had a urinary tract infection and gave me a prescription for an antibiotic. 
After Tim returned home from work that day, he asked what the doctor said.  I told him that yes, I  was pregnant and that I also had a urinary tract infection.  Apparently, Tim did not hear the first part (maybe selective hearing), and asked "so, you're not pregnant?"  He almost sounded relieved.  Then I reiterated what I had just sad.  I could see the blood drain from Tim's face and then he asked "how did this happen?"  Well, I didn't feel the need to answer that question for obvious reasons.  Then I felt a little guilty for allowing this to happen.  But we were in this together and there was no turning back.  This was something that neither of us ever expected to happen and we were very unprepared.  In fact, we were in such shock that we didn't break the news to family until I was past 12 weeks gestation.  That was easy to do being separated by a thousand miles.
Fast forward to the 12-week appointment at the geneticist office in St. Louis.  An ultrasound was performed and a series of medical questions were asked.  The technician asked about my LMP.  She kept scanning and measuring.  It was a little unnerving at first because I was thinking that perhaps she was finding something wrong with the baby.  By this time, I was excited about adding another baby to our little family but the technician was making me nervous.  Then the technician left to get a staff doctor.  After what seemed like hours, the technician finally returned with the doctor.  The doctor asked me about my LMP, too.  I was beginning to wonder what was going on and why they were so concerned about the LMP.  After I provided the information to the doctor, he then explained that the ultrasound was showing that the baby was measuring larger than it should with the information I provided.  So my due date was moved up from Christmas day to December 15, ten days earlier than I calculated.   This should have been no surprise because at my first prenatal appointment just a few days prior at my own clinic, that doctor there said that she thought my fundal height was larger than anticipated.
We were scheduled for one more appointment with the geneticist for 8 weeks later.  If we wished to, we would be able to find out the baby's gender at that appointment.  Plus, my blood would be analyzed to help determine my odds for 4 different fetal anomalies.  Thankfully, my odds for 3 of those anomalies were very low.  The Down Syndrome test showed that my chances were 1 in 33.  That was a little nerve-wracking.  We did, however, opt out of the amniocentesis.  No matter if there was truly something wrong with the baby, we planned to carry to term.  The ultrasound was performed for measurements again which still showed that I was measuring consistent with the first ultrasound.  The due date was still December 15th. The next big news?  It's a boy!  I have to admit that I was a little disappointed at first.  I had always wanted a sister and perhaps I wanted to live vicariously through Jackie because I was hoping for a little sister for her.  But Jackie was going to be a big sister to a little brother.  I called a couple of my friends who were moms of boys.  They were so happy for me and reassured me that my relationship with my son was going to be so different and very special.  Thank you Pam and Lisa.  You are so right.
Now I should reassure that I love both of my children with all of my heart.  But having a son is just so much different than I had ever imagined it would be.
I had a relatively healthy pregnancy with the exception of off and on bleeding during the entire first trimester.  I had experienced that during my pregnancy with Jackie and was diagnosed with a chorionic hemorrhage which eventually resolved after my first trimester.  It did make me nervous because I knew the risk of losing a pregnancy with a chorionic bleed was at 50%.
Toward the end of the pregnancy, I became so uncomfortable as Ben's head was engaged and he was ready to be born at any moment.  I was so uncomfortable, more than with his sister.  Jackie never engaged and was in a breech position so I never felt that extreme pain down below like I did with Ben.  Oh, it was so uncomfortable and I could not wait for Ben to make his debut.  Since I opted for a repeat c-section (I chickened out on the VBAC), we had a date scheduled for December 10th.  I was so excited to finally be free from pain and to meet my little boy.
The morning of December 10th, 2007 arrived.  Tim and I got up early, checked on Jackie, and left instructions for Mother on what to feed Jackie for breakfast.  We told her to keep the phone close so we can call after Ben was born. 
Upon arrival at the hospital, we checked in and were sent up to L&D.  After arriving on the L&D floor, we were escorted to a room where I was prepped for the surgery.  The nurse blew out my vein when she tried to insert the needle for the IV.  That really hurt and I had to endure another size 18 needle poke in the other arm.  Painful!  I remember soon after the IV was started, I started to shake violently.  I experienced that with Jackie after my water broke.  My teeth were literally chattering.  I couldn't control it no matter how hard I tried.  I was a little scared, too.  The medical staff did their best to reassure me that I was going to be fine.  The delivering doctors, Drs. Vitrikas and Pickett arrived to check on me.  Dr. Pickett even asked to pray with me.  That was reassuring.
Finally it was time to go to the operating room.  I was escorted to the OR and helped onto the bed.  The spinal anesthetic was inserted.  Believe it or not, that was not too terribly painful.  Then after laying me down,  I remember one of the doctors came over to take a look to see where the incision would be made.  Before I knew it, I had an audience of nurses, doctors, and anesthetists gawking at my previous c-section scar.  They kept commenting on how beautiful it was, how perfect it was, that it was hardly visible, etc.  They also asked who performed my previous c-section because he did such an awesome job.  I don't really remember how I responded because I was starting to feel the effects of the spinal and my mind was on that.  However, I do remember wondering how many people had come in there just to look at my scar.  I mean, it seemed like the whole town of Belleville was going to get a glimpse at what I looked like before my surgery even started.  I look back at it now with humor.
Once the surgery started, I remember laying there and trying to stay calm.  I was so nervous and scared.  I did not like having no feeling from the chest down.  I felt like I couldn't breath.  I just wanted the doctors to hurry up and get my baby out.  It seemed like they were taking way too long.  Finally, just when I was ready to doze off, the anesthetist gently shook me and told me to try to stay awake because my baby was going to be out at any moment.
The next thing I remember was hearing a cry, a lusty cry before Ben was completely out of me.  Aww, that was the sweetest sound.  As soon as Ben was out, he was transferred to the nurse who assessed Ben, gave him a clean bill, wrapped him up, and had Daddy bring Ben over to me to hold for a moment.  I was immediately in love.  Tears are coming to my eyes now just remembering that moment.  Ben was so beautiful.  His head was perfectly round and he had the sweetest little lips.  And blue eyes.  I was in LOVE.  I felt an immediate bond.  Finally, the nurse took Ben and Daddy away to get Ben cleaned up and measured.
The doctors continued to stitch up my incision.  Apparently, I must have asked too many times during the surgery if they were almost done with the surgery and it must have continued during the incision repair.  Because I remember very vividly, the two doctors commenting "Samantha, it's like being on a trip with you.  Are we there, yet?".  Then everyone in the OR burst out in laughter.  I can look back on that now with laughter, too.  I guess I have a way of unintentionally bringing laughter to others. 
When I finally got to my room after the recovery process, I asked for my baby right away.  It sure seemed like the nurses were taking their sweet time with everything that day.  I just wanted to see my baby.  Finally, a nurse wheeled Ben into the room and she immediately put him on my chest to see if he would nurse.  Ben started nursing immediately like a little champ.
Later in the day, Tim went home and brought back Jackie and Mother (Mimi).  Jackie, being the little drama queen that she is, refused to get too close to Ben.  Then she went into meltdown mode.  Needless to say, they did not stay very long.  Jackie was just having a difficult time.  I felt guilty about it but what could I do. I felt helpless because I was not in a position that I could just get up and go comfort her.
Ben was such a sweet, easy baby from day one.  And I kept him in my hospital room with me for most of our stay.  Whenever Ben did go to the nursery, it was mostly for testing, measuring, or when I took a shower.  The nurses in the nursery remarked how beautiful Ben was.  Everybody kept commenting on his beauty and on his easy disposition.
Tim did not bring Jackie or Mother for another visit until our third day.  By then, I think Jackie must have gotten used to the idea that I was going to be bringing home a new baby.  For good.  And she didn't have a meltdown.  Whew!  She actually seemed to enjoy visiting me in the hospital although she still was not too sure about her new brother.  The nurses also paid special attention to Jackie.  It also helped that I had a present for her.
We were finally discharged on the fourth day.  I remember it was a very cold, snowy day.  I was so nervous to have my precious newborn son in a vehicle in that weather.  Remember, I'm a Florida girl and I was still not used to the idea of driving in snow or ice.
Ben continued to be an easy baby to please and sooth.  He was so affectionate.  And he was quite the momma's boy.  I loved it.  Well, most of the time. It did make it difficult sometimes to be able to go somewhere for a short time without him. 
Ben is still my sweet, affectionate boy.  He has also acquired a bit of a strong-willed, perhaps following his sister's example.  Now that Ben is three years old, he is getting more into big boy toys and wanting to spend more time with his daddy.
I sure do love having a son more than I ever imagined I would.  As frustrating as Ben can be at times, he still brings so much joy and laughter into our lives.  I love Ben so much and I love that he is wanting to be with his daddy more. But I hope he will always be my momma's boy.
Happy Birthday my sweet Benjamin! You (and your sister) are one of the best surprise gifts in my life.

Just a side note that the date on the picture below is incorrect.  This was actually taken on 12/11 at a day old.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Here's Proof That Dogs Do Experience Emotion

This video is so precious.  I realize so many people think that animals are just disposable creatures and that they don't experience emotions. Well, here's proof otherwise.  It might just bring a tear or two to eyes.  It did mine.
Enjoy, courtesy of

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Dora Is Letting Me Down

Okay, Dora!  I really do need your help.  You were supposed to come to my rescue but you're letting me down.
So, Jackie's new Dora eyeglasses arrived the day after I traveled to Florida with the kids.  Jackie seemed excited to get them.  So, when Tim flew into Tampa on Thanksgiving Day, he brought the new glasses with him.  Oh, good, Dora to the rescue.  Jackie put on her new glasses as soon as her Daddy unpacked them.  Well, the rescue was short-lived.  Five minutes to be exact.  Then the glasses were found on the floor.  Where somebody could step on them.  Familiar story?  You bet.

Jackie is notorious for leaving her glasses on the floor.  Intentionally.  So they could be stepped on.  So she would not have to wear them. I kept a close eye on Jackie and those glasses.  She complained they hurt.   She complained they were falling off.  She complained she couldn't see.  No matter how much everyone gushed over those new Dora glasses, Jackie was bent on having her way.  Again.  I reminded Jackie of her promise to wear the glasses if I allowed her to get the Dora ones.  Well, she did have a point about the glasses falling off.  But it happened only when she bent her head down.  I figured we would get the glasses adjusted when we returned to Illinois in just a few days. In the meantime, I made her wear them for a least a couple of hours at a time.
On Friday, Jackie refused to wear the glasses because she knew her cousin was coming to town and she did not want Olivia to see her wearing glasses.  You have got to be kidding me.  At six years old?  She's worried about others seeing her wearing glasses?  Where does this come from?  So poor vision takes precedence over being able to see clearly.  We arrived back home to Illinois on Monday.  When Jackie returned to school on Tuesday, I forgot to send her glasses along in Jackie's backpack.  When Jackie came home, she told me that her teacher asked about the glasses.  She seemed interested in showing them off to her teacher.  Oh good.  Maybe that was a good sign after all that Jackie will be cooperative this time.  No such luck.
After arriving home from school that day, I made Jackie put her glasses on.  Moments later, where are the glasses? They were on the floor.  Of course.  I again reminded Jackie of her promise to wear the Dora glasses.  I threatened to make Jackie wear an eye patch as the doctor had previously.  Jackie put the glasses on.  I finished mealtime with the family and then I took off for my Zumba class.  By the time I got home, Jackie was in bed.  I made sure to put the glasses in her backpack.
When I picked up Jackie from school on Wednesday, Jackie was wearing the glasses.  Hallelujah!  She got into the car where she promptly took off the glasses. We headed to the store to get the glasses adjusted. While we waited for the glasses to be adjusted, Jackie went over to one of the racks of frames.  I asked Jackie to sit down but Jackie insisted that she wanted to look at some new frames.  What?!  "You just got some new frames.  And lenses.  And it was your pick, little girl!"  Arghhh!!!!  The glasses were finally adjusted and we headed home where Jackie promptly took them off.  Why does this have to be such a struggle?  Dora, where are you?  You were supposed to rescue me.  
When I picked up Jackie early from school on Thursday for her occupational therapy appointment, I was pleased once again to see Jackie wearing her glasses.  Once in the car, I asked Jackie how everybody liked her glasses.  And how did Mrs. Gain like them?  Jackie's response?  "Mrs. Gains says they're lovely."  Oh really?  Now that was sweet.  And I do agree, the glasses are lovely.  They really are cute.  And one would think that the more people gush over these cute glasses, Jackie would want to wear them.  It doesn't really work for Jackie.
Jackie did wear them throughout her OT appointment and back home.  Once we arrived home, however, the mood changed again.  I started to prepare dinner while the kids played.  A few moments later, I noticed Jackie did not have the glasses on.  I asked Jackie where they were.  She immediately went over to where the glasses were.  laying on the floor.  Once again.  Oh, what am I going to do with this child and her glasses?  I made Jackie put the glasses back on.  A few moments later?  Uh-huh, you got it.  They were missing again.  I again asked Jackie where they were.  She immediately went over to the recliner where she had hidden the glasses under the recliner.  Once again, I made Jackie put them back on.  Right before I put dinner on the table, I noticed Jackie did not have the glasses on again.  Grrrr!  "Jackie, where are the glasses?"  I watched as Jackie walked over to the dining table and crawled underneath.  She had hidden them in a crevice underneath the tabletop!  I would never have known to look there.  After dinner, I took Jackie to her Daisy meeting but we left the glasses at home where I knew they would not be hidden for good.
I just don't know what to do anymore to win this battle other than to continue to nag Jackie.  I'm so afraid of her losing the vision in her left eye. It is that bad.  She must wear these corrective lenses or we will be looking at surgery.  I hope to avoid the surgical route as we are already looking at doing the second phase of Jackie's foot surgery very soon.  But then, surgery may just be the more economical way with the rate that we're having to replace or repair glasses just for Jackie. 
If anybody has any ideas, I would certainly welcome them.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Butt-Slapped, By a Stranger!

I have been visiting the local YMCA here in Brandon where my mother-in-law lives.  It's a really nice place but I miss my Y back in Illinois.  Yesterday morning, I went to the Zumba class.  It was fun, although there were just 8 of us.  The instructor was really good and very upbeat.  But it just was not the same as Misti and Susan. 
I went back this evening and the class was full.  And it was a different instructor.  That instructor was very energetic.  And very fast.  There were no slow down, catch your breath routines in that class.  It was good but the style was very different.  I have to admit, though,  that I did pretty good at keeping up with her and I got a very good workout.
One thing I noticed is that this class seemed to be a tight-knit group.  I think that's neat.  But, some of the people are just too downright friendly.  Actually, a little too comfortable for my own comfort.  Since I got to the class a few minutes late, I stayed in the back row.  The lady to my left seemed friendly enough.  Until she slapped me on my butt.  Yes, she slapped me!  Hard! Apparently, I did not give her the right response.
As I said before, the instructor was very energetic and very fast.  There was no break.  I'm used to high energy instructors and I enjoy that.  But tonight was very different.  Now, this lady on my left was apparently not very satisfied with the timing of the routines.  The routines were already on double-time. Actually more like double, double time.  It was fast enough.  So, this lady looks at me at one point and says "the music is too slow, don't you think?"  I paused for just a second thinking that this lady was kidding me.  Then I responded that I thought it was fast enough.  Before I could even get the final consonant sound out, the lady slapped me.  Hard! On my butt!  Ouch!!!  If I wasn't awake before, I most certainly was then.  I was stunned for a moment.  A stranger.  Touching my butt.  Now that is uncouth. 
With the lingering sting to my butt, I resumed Zumba-ing while trying to keep my distance from this very uncouth person.  She, who complained that the music was not fast enough, was not even keeping in rhythm.  Gah.  I just kept my attention focused on the instructor.  At the end of the class, the uncouth lady came up to me with both of her arms out as if she wanted to double-high-five me.  I obliged, reluctantly.  I'm her friend after all.  NOT!  It just creeps me out that some stranger lady would slap me on my butt like that. 
Here it is, four hours later, and I'm still bewildered and bothered by it.  Is it just me or was that just plain weird?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Dora to the Rescue, I Hope

As promised, I am now writing about Jackie's (or should I say my ordeal) with her glasses.  Jackie, being the strong-willed little girl that she is, puts up a fight when it comes to wearing her glasses.  Just like she puts up a fight when it comes to wearing her AFO or her wrist splint.
Jackie's vision is very poor in the left eye.  The doctor prescribed a prescription lens for that eye and a plain lens for the right eye.  We are also supposed to patch the good right eye with eye drops.  This is supposed to force Jackie to use her left eye more and to stop crossing her eyes.  Putting the eye drops in is also a battle.  So, I finally decided that I had to pick my battles with Jackie.  And putting those eye drops in was not going to be one of those battles.  Jackie's preschool teacher from last year was pretty good about encouraging Jackie to wear her glasses in school. 
This school year, I wrote a detailed note about Jackie's vision problems and asked the teacher to make sure Jackie wears her eyeglasses in class and during lunch with a break from them during recess.  I was reassured that the teacher would work with me on that issue.  Unfortunately, I don't believe the teacher was helping out by making sure Jackie wore her glasses in school.  So when Jackie had her 3-month follow-up with the eye doctor a couple of weeks ago, Jackie's vision had actually decreased. We had seen some improvement during the last year when Jackie was going to preschool.  Now we have a marked decrease.  I explained to the doctor the battles that I am having with Jackie and how difficult it is to get Jackie to keep the glasses on.  So, the doctor had a good little chat with Jackie, emphasizing how important it is to wear the glasses lest her vision continue to decrease.  The doctor also gave Jackie the choice of patching.  There is the sticky eye patch that adheres directly around the eye, there is the cloth patch that goes over the good lens, and then there are the eye drops.  The doctor also explained that if Jackie does not follow through with wearing the glasses, then she may have to have an operation.  Jackie chose the eye drops and promised to wear her glasses.
After that visit, we got into the SUV and headed back home.  I had to keep reminding Jackie to put her glasses back on.  After we arrived back home, Jackie and Ben started to play in the living room.  Jackie took her glasses off a couple of times but I gently reminded her of what the doctor said.  Jackie would then put her glasses back on.  Later on, I noticed that Jackie's glasses were not on her face.  Again. I asked Jackie where the glasses were.  She said she didn't know.  I kept asking Jackie and she kept saying she didn't know.  I was not going to give up.  After I kept asking Jackie where the glasses were, she finally came back into the living room holding the mangled glasses in her hand saying that they were laying on the floor and somebody stepped on them.  Ha!  That is Jackie's standard answer whenever I have found the glasses mangled.  But this time, the glasses were not only mangled, but the stem had snapped off.  Arghhhhhh! I cannot tell you how many pairs of glasses we have repaired or replaced.  Jackie was NOT going to win this battle.  She is not going to take control of this situation.  No way.  I do NOT want her to lose vision in that eye.
So, I made it very clear to Jackie that I do not appreciate her lying about the glasses and that she is not going to win.  We were going to go back and pick out new glasses.  Since I had not made it to the base pharmacy to get a refill of the eye drops, the next option was the sticky eye patch. So off to Walmart I went in search of the eye patches.  I did find them at Walmart.  After I got home, I put one on Jackie's good eye.  Of course, she balked and immediately went into drama-queen mode.  Well, within a few minutes, Jackie complained that the patch kept coming off.  Well, of course, it is.  Keep pulling at it and the adhesive will break down.  Of course, Jackie's going to win.  But not for long.  I told her we were going to go shopping for glasses the next day.  I'm pretty sure I heard her groan. 
The next day, as promised, I took Jackie shopping for new glasses.  Of course, she complained all the way to the store.  And of course, I let her know that she was not winning this battle.  She will wear her glasses.  Our first stop was Walmart.  I immediately went to the youth section to look at the frames.  I started looking at the supposedly indestructible flex-steel frames.  Jackie noticed there were some frames with Dora, Diego, and SpongeBob on them.  Hmm, a thought occurred to me that possibly this might be the answer to our current problem with glasses.  So, I took the Dora frames off of the display.  Jackie and I looked at them and tried them on her face. They do look cute and they fit Jackie's face pretty good.  Jackie started to beg for those frames and PROMISED to wear her glasses if she could get the Dora ones.  Okay, good.  I made it very clear to Jackie that I was going to hold her to her promise.  If she doesn't wear these, then I'm taking everything Dora away!.  Jackie LOVES Dora and the loss of her beloved Dora stuff would devastate her. 
The store employee measured Jackie and put in the order for the glasses. 
I am keeping my fingers crossed that this is the answer. Dora to the rescue. 
Da-Da-Da, D-Dora! Please don't let me down. I'm counting on you to help me win the battle. 
Da-Da-Da-D-Dora!  Dang, I can't get it out of my head now.  Well, I owe some of my sanity to Dora.  Maybe.  Hopefully, I'll be able to give a positive report after the glasses arrive.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Veteran's Day

I'm finally getting around to posting this one.  Veteran's Day turned out to be a beautiful day.  My friend, Katrina (a veteran herself), and I took our kids to St. Louis to spend a few hours.  We took the kids to the Science Museum then we went over to Forest Park to let the kids run and play.  I love Forest Park.  It is so beautiful there. 
Here are some pictures:

Saturday, November 13, 2010

May She Rest in Peace Now

I'm a huge fan of Nancy Grace.  I realize many people find her annoying.  I LOVE her passion, especially in regard to crimes against children and our senior population. 
I've been following the story of Zahra Baker these last several weeks.  I couldn't help but get emotionally involved in this story.  There was just something that made me feel a connection to this little girl. This little girl overcame so much adversity in her life.  Unfortunately, she could not win that battle against her stepmother and father.  What a tragic story with a very sad ending.  What a beautiful, precious little girl she was. 
It just does not make sense.  How can god allow this to happen?  To have fought cancer TWICE and experience hearing loss only to lose her life of 10 years to cruelty.  It pains me to know that she died alone, in fear, feeling so unloved. 
Zahra Baker, may you finally rest in peace.  And may justice be served in a huge way. 

Friday, November 12, 2010

Amazon Did the Right Thing

Yes, they removed the e-book guide for pedophiles.  Public outrage works! Unfortunately though,  Amazon still carries at least a couple of titles of that sort.
I read in the news this morning that the law enforcement in Pueblo, CO, where the author lives, is investigating and also providing protection for this author because he has received death threats.  But where is the protection for the victims? 
Here are the links:

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


It's time to boycott Amazon.  This is just despicable:

It looks like it is being offered only as a Kindle edition and not hard print. But still, who in their right mind would even write something like this?  This is especially disrespectful to those of us who have been violated.  I just cannot believe this.  Or maybe I should with the corruption in this world.  So, I am asking my friends and blog readers to take action and boycott Amazon until they take this garbage off of their website.  I believe in free speech, really I do.  But this is just taking it a bit too far.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Calgon! Can You Really Take Me Away?!

I would jump at the chance.  At least for today.  The day started out not being the best and it's only continued.  I picked up Jackie from school early for her doctor appointment.  Before she left the school, I asked her if she needed to potty.  "No" she replied.  In the 10 minutes that it took for us to get to the doctor's appointment, Jackie managed to wet her pants.  Six years old! And she wet her pants.  Ugh!  We got checked in for the appointment and tried to patiently wait for our name to be called.  For once, Ben was pre-occupied with a toy and was being good.  Jackie, on the other hand, was whiny because I wouldn't let her sit on the furniture with her wet pants. 
Finally, our name is called and we were escorted to the exam room.  While we waited, Ben started to try to climb on the exam table, he kept opening cabinets and doors, pulled towels out of the dispenser, hit his sister, threw a book, yelled.  I did my best to keep the boy in control but I finally collapsed in exasperation.  Then Jackie had to go to the potty.  I wonder why she has to go now after wetting her pants.  But to the potty we go.  Once I opened the door to the restroom, Ben noticed a cord and immediately went over to it and pulled it down before I could stop him.  An alarm sounded just as I yelled for Ben to leave the cord alone.  Then suddenly I heard a lot of loud laughter.  Were they laughing at us?  Hmm, I peeked around the open door and sure enough, some of the staff was standing there laughing.  At us.  Ben seized upon that opportunity of me being distracted to go over and pull that dang cord again.  Again, more laughter while I firmly told Ben that he is not to pull that cord.  Agh!
We got back to the exam room where we continued to wait for the doctor.  The kids resumed their fighting, and it was getting physical.  Finally, Dr. D came in and she was immediately greeted to chaos in the room.  I started to talk to Dr. D about a behavioral issue that has been occurring since soon after Jackie had her leg surgery a year ago.  I have consulted with Dr. D about this a few times this year and Dr. D has finally decided a couple of referrals to a couple of different professionals were in order. While Dr. D and I were discussing Jackie's issues, Dr. D was witness to a sample of Ben's behavior throughout today.  Ben threw a book across the room, he pulled more towels out of the dispenser and just was plain rude and disrespectful.  He would not stay seated in the chair even when I held him down.  Even Dr. D got firm with Ben and Ben just tried to stare her down.  He wouldn't even comply with Dr. D.  Ben usually is an angel for others.  Not this time.  It just proved to me that my children were just determined to be animals no matter who was in charge or what was threatened and carried out.  Dr. D was so kind to me and was able to see firsthand the frustration that I have been dealing with during these last few months with both of my kids. 
After we were done consulting, Dr. D entered the referrals into the computer and suggested that I go upstairs to activate them since I was already in the building.  Uh huh, sure.  When my kids are acting this horrendous, I usually don't even bother going out with them.  But, since the kids were already so bad, it couldn't get worse, right?  So, why not go ahead and just get it over with?  We got upstairs, I signed the sign-in sheet, and rang the bell.  Of course, Ben saw that and had to follow suit.  And not just once.  Then he proceeded to go and climb and jump on the waiting room furniture while Jackie looked at me mischievously while threatening to ring the bell.  Again.   Of course, after my threat, she backed off.  Score for me!
We were finally called back to the referral area.  After I got the kids situated in the other chair, Ben immediately got up and took off down the corridor to another cubicle.  I chased him down and brought him back.  The lady working on our referral was so sweet about it, thankfully.  Then the kids started fighting over the little kids' book that was in there.  I got that fight broken up and when I returned my attention to the referral person, Ben got up from the chair and immediately climbed under the lady's desk where he saw an opening where all the wires were coming out of.  He tried to climb through there.  The lady and I grabbed Ben by his legs to pull him back.  Finally, another lady came and quietly asked me if it was okay to take the kids to pick out a lollipop.  Now, usually with the boorish behavior that my children were displaying today, the answer would be a flat out no.  But I was desperate for a quiet moment to take care of what I needed to.  So, the lady took the kids. They came back with 2 lollipops each.  At least, all was quiet.  For the moment.  Finally, we got all three referrals taken care of and we were able to head home.
The kids fought in the car on the way home.  We got home and I had to start getting dinner ready for Tim who has a class tonight. 
Then I need to go pick up all of the Girl Scout cookies for our troop.  And the kids have to go with me because Daddy isn't available to take them from me for awhile. 
Okay, now as I am typing this, my kids are finally quietly sitting in Ben's rocker, with Ben sitting on Jackie's lap, watching Sprout channel. And this is after Ben spent a few minutes in time out locked in his room.  Ahh! I just adore moments like these.  I need more of them before they're all grown up. 
So, today has been exceptionally difficult with the kids.  Here's hoping for a better rest of the week.  And I'm hoping that the professionals that we are getting referrals for will help us with some particular behavior issues with Jackie.  I will write about that at a later date.  It's just something that I'm not ready to share, yet.  Jackie is a strong-willed little girl who has had to face some challenges in her little life.  And that has caused her to act out in ways that are difficult to understand.

I Need to Run Away For a Few Days

Ugh, what a day so far.  And it isn't even halfway over.  The weekend was so chaotic with my gallbladder attack and Jackie's eyeglass problems.  I was so looking forward to the new week, a good new week.  I am definitely not off to a good start. 
I got Jackie up and ready for school and got her off on the bus at 8:00.  After getting back to the house, I got breakfast ready for Ben.  Then I logged onto the computer to read the online newspaper.  Ben slept a little later this morning which I thought was great because he was so very wound up last night.  He was literally bouncing off the walls even past his normal bedtime.  In fact, Ben was so wound up that I was surprised that he didn't come sauntering out of his bedroom after I tucked him into bed.  So, I enjoyed those extra quiet minutes this morning before Ben woke up.  Because as soon as Ben woke up, he just picked up right where he left off last night.  It's going to be a long day with Ben, I just knew it.  While I was reading the online paper, Ben got my exercise ball out of my bedroom and before I realized it, he came running and rolling the ball very quickly into the family room.  Everything happened so quickly that I didn't even get a good look at what really happened. But from what I saw, Ben rolled the ball so quickly into the family room then jumped up on the ball which rolled him sideways where Ben landed hard against the coffee table.  He cried, more than he usually does when he's hurt.  Of course, I was worried right away about a head injury.  Ben kept pointing to the side of his head where he hurt.  I was able to get Ben up and walking right away which is hopefully a good sign.  I just kept observing him and checking his eyes.  I did notice that his behavior turned into near rage.  He started to throw some of his toys around violently.  Then he wanted me to put his pajamas back on him so he could go to bed.  That was very atypical behavior for Ben.  He refuses naps now and he wanted to go back to bed?  No way.  He needed to be observed. 
Soon after that episode, I received a text from Jackie's physical therapist asking if everything was okay.  Oops, I forgot about Jackie's rescheduled appointment at 8:00 am.  Jackie's OT is every other Thursday and the  PT is on the alternatings Thursday at 3:00 but since this Thursday is a holiday, the therapist rescheduled for this morning.  Oh boy.  With all of my kids' needs, it gets a little hectic trying to keep up with any changes. Gah!
So, while continuing to keep a close watch on Ben, I did a little house cleaning, went to the post office, then came back and fed Ben some lunch.  Then I received another text.  From the personal trainer this time. Asking if I was okay and that we were scheduled at 1:00 pm.   I did it again.  I missed another appointment today.  Double gah!   I hate when I do that, which is not too often thankfully. And today it happened twice. 
So now I can't help but wonder what is next.  I have to pick Jackie up early from school again today for an appointment with her pediatrician.  Hopefully, I'm right this time and there really is an appointment to show up for this afternoon.  With my luck today, it's very possible to show up for this appointment only to discover that Jackie is not on the schedule. 
After reading about one of my friend's posts about her week of "mis"adventures, I just hope that I don't end up trying to get into the wrong car today (thanks again for the good laugh Brooke). 
Tonight is the night that I have to pick up the Girl Scout cookies for distribution to Jackie's troop.  At least, I'm pretty sure it's tonight. I've triple and quadruple checked the time and location for pick-up. At the rate today is going, I'm just a little paranoid that I'll show up at the wrong place and at the wrong time.  And end up with the wrong cookies. 
I really do feel like running away for a few days.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Gallbladder Issues?

It started in the middle of the night Thursday/Friday.  I kept waking up and every time I woke up, I had a feeling of nausea.  Then I started to ache.  I initially could not tell if the aching was from working out or if it was from something else.  And I was scheduled to work with the personal trainer later in the day. Finally, the alarm went off letting me know it was time to get Jackie out of bed and ready for school.  It took everything in me to do this.  I was really starting to feel bad and I knew it the pain was not just from sore muscles from working out.  I was starting to feel pain below my sternum combined with more nausea.  The thought of eating even turned me off.  I had no appetite. 
I got Jackie ready for school, fed, and out the door to the bus stop.  As soon as Jackie got on the bus, I waved to her, blew her a kiss, then headed back to the house.  I collapsed back into bed.  I was not doing good.  Then Ben woke up.  So I got him changed and gave him some breakfast.  I texted the personal trainer to let her know that I may not make it to our session.  Then I laid back down where I could hear Ben while he played.  I also took a tyelenol which helped the headache but not the other aches.  The nausea was not letting up, either.  For a fleeting moment, panic struck me at the thought that I could be pregnant.  But, I know I am NOT pregnant.  It just is not happening.  Well, unless a higher power decides to override our preventive measures.  (Abstinence, anyone?) Just kidding. 
Anyway, the pain and discomfort finally let up and I started to feel a little better. However, I still had no appetite.  Jackie had an ophthalmology appointment later in the afternoon.  I called about canceling it but the next available appointment was in another 2 months.  Jackie's vision is being followed every 3 months and since this was already a reschedule on the doctor's part, we were already a couple of months overdue for her appointment.  I started to feel better so I kept the appointment.  I had to pick up Jackie from school early for the appointment.  I was actually feeling good and thought that perhaps I just had a 12-hour virus.  All was well until early evening.
A little while after I got home from Jackie's appointment, I was feeling very tired, probably from the continuous waking up from the previous night.  Tim came home from work a little earlier than normal so I took that opportunity to lay down on the couch where I dozed off for about an hour.  During this time, my sweet Ben also had dozed off on my bed where is daddy was watching TV. 
I woke up to Tim asking me what I wanted to do for dinner.  Dinner?  I had not even given it much thought being that I had no appetite all day.  So he offered to go to Lee's Chicken and bring home dinner.  Good, because I just did not have any energy again.  By the time Tim got home with the dinner, I was starting to feel a little hungry.  I was able to eat 1 piece of the roasted chicken and a biscuit.  Within an hour, I was doubled over in pain.  And it was not letting up. 
By 9:30pm, I decided that I had to get some help for this.  The pain was unbearable and I was feeling even more nauseous.  The kids were already in bed and Tim was working on a paper.  I ended up driving myself to the ER.  I thought I was going to have to pull over a couple of times to call for help but I finally made it to the ER. 
At the ER, as soon as I got checked in and described my symptoms, I was immediately taken back for triage where they drew blood and hooked me up to an EKG.  Then I was immediately put into a room.  I must have been prioritized.  After arriving at the ER and seeing how packed the room was, I thought for certain that I was in for a several hour wait.  A bit after I got into a room, a nurse came in and asked me to provide a urine sample.  Then I was hooked up to an IV and the heart monitor and other equipment.  A doctor came in and talked to me and asked about my symptoms.  Then the nurse came back in with 2 cups of nasty for me to drink.  I was going to have a CT scan.  I started to sip the first cup.  I got about a quarter of it finished before I threw that up.  Ugh, this was going to be a long process.  I was told to drink those 2 cups with in 30 minutes.  I can tell you it didn't happen.  Even with the pain medication and TWO doses of Zofran for nausea, an hour later, I still had barely finished that first cup of nasty with all the heaving I was doing.  It was finally time for the CT scan and when the technician asked if I would be able to drink another cup of nasty before the scan downstairs, I told her what had happened.  Nope, it wasn't happening.  Once downstairs, the CT tech injected a contrast through my IV.  I got done with the CT and was wheeled back to my ER room to wait for the diagnosis.
I was able to doze off a bit before the doctor came back with the CT results.  The doctor informed me that I have a kidney stone but it was a non-issue as it was non-obstructive.  As long as it does not move and stay haydrated, I should be fine.  But, he was fairly certain that my primary problem was a gallbladder issue.  The doctor said that the CT scan is not good for detecting gallbladder problems and to follow up with my doctor on Monday to get an ultrasound scheduled.  I asked why an ultrasound was not done there at the ER and he explained that the hospital does not have on-call ultrasound technicians.  Ugh, I went through that CT for naught.  The same thing happened 4 years ago when a suspected rupture appendix ended up being a ruptured ovarian cyst.  Again, an ultrasound in lieu of the CT scan would have saved time, money, and best of all, saved me from more radiation.  I'm a little peeved about that.  But, since a kidney stone was detected, I guess the CT this time was not in vain.  It's something to be aware of in case problems arise there.
Before I left the ER, the nurse told me what I should avoid and should be safe for me to consume in case I do have gallbladder issues.  
I got home at 3:30am and Tim was kind enough to keep the kids away from me to allow me to sleep in a little bit.  When I finally did get up, I felt a little better, although still with some mild discomfort.  Even though I was starting to feel hungry, I was afraid to eat.  I did have a banana and no pain followed.  So that was a good sign. 
In the afternoon, one of my friends called to see if I felt okay enough for me and Jackie to join her and her kids to play at Chuck E Cheese's.  Sure, since Ben was with his daddy, I took this opportunity to have the special time with Jackie without the bother of her brother.  I ordered Jackie a personal size pizza.  Since I was told to avoid dairy, I didn't even have any of Jackie's pizza.  However, since Jackie does not like the pizza crust, I ate that.  That was probably a mistake as I was feeling a little uncomfortable after a little while.  After we left Chuck E Cheese's, Jackie and I headed over to Walmart to get Jackie fitted for another pair of glasses (that's another story for another post later. Promise!).  After we were done with that, we bought a few groceries and headed back home.  By that time, it was time to feed dinner to my family.  Tim had the rest of the Lee's chicken from the night before.  I wanted some but I knew the consequences if I enjoyed some of it. So I stuck to the green beans and the rice.  I still started to feel uncomfortable an hour later but not nearly as bad as the night before. 
If I do indeed have gallbladder issues, I am determined to avoid surgery.  I know it will mean even more changes to my diet but I do. not. want. surgery.  Learning to avoid offending foods and drinks will be a learning process, for sure, but I'm determined to do what it takes to avoid invasive procedures. 
Looking back, this is something that has been going on for some time.  I just did not realize it.  For the past several years, every few months, I would have this dull ache right above my stomach sort of below my sternum. I would even get this full feeling in my chest.  And it seemed that I would have to burp more than normal.It would last anywhere from a few hours to a day and then disappear.  I just brushed it off as heartburn although it did not feel like typical heartburn.  It's probably a good thing that I was not too terribly bad eater in the way of fatty, greasy, fried foods.  Because I understand that those type of foods are really bad for gallbladder issues. 
So, if I do end up being diagnosed with gallbladder problems, then this will just be another adventure to learn about in the way of diet and health.  I will post with more information after I have consulted with my doctor. 
I feel good today, good enough that I might even go to my Zumba class today.  I missed 2 days of working out and I have to do something to make up for it.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


 I love this story:

Monday, November 1, 2010

Birthday Wishes

 Jackie had a fun day at school on her birthday.  During morning snack time, I brought cupcakes to Jackie's class. That was fun and I think Ben even enjoyed the brief visit to Jackie's classroom.  I had to keep telling him to get out of the students' stuff.
I picked Jackie up from school and after we got home, I went through Jackie's school folder.  Inside the folder was a "birthday book" that the kids in Jackie's class made for Jackie.  Each student drew a picture of what they wished for Jackie and signed their name at the bottom.  The teacher put a paper curtain on top of each drawing.  As I went through and read the book to Jackie, I couldn't help but laugh at some of the wishes from Jackie's fellow students.  They ranged from the very simple to very elaborate and even a little strange.  One wished for a swingset and music.  One wished for a playset.  One wished for a TV to watch.  Hmm, we have a TV.  Actually, we have 3 and none of them are in the kids' rooms.

One kid wished for a beautiful trampoline.  A beautiful trampoline?!  OoohNooo.  Beautiful or not, I would rather not have any trampoline.  Especially after Jackie's accident nearly 3 weeks ago.  But Tim isn't into the idea of getting rid of the trampoline that we do have.

Another kid wished for a ring in a boy.  Now that one had me stumped.  A ring in a boy?  I can't help but wonder if the teacher misunderstood that student.  Perhaps it should be "a ring AND a boy."  Either way, it isn't happening.  The ring isn't happening and the boy isn't happening.  At least, not anytime soon.  Not until Jackie is 30.

I'm just mean like that!

Through the Years in Pictures