Monday, January 31, 2011

I Hate January

And I'm not that big a fan of February, either.

I probably owe a Life Update since that last sad, pathetic post.
  • Friends helped out by bringing meals for 10 days leaving me room to breathe.
  • Joshua's bronchoscopy procedure went well. There is nothing structurally wrong with his respiratory system and the bacterial infection found in his lungs was on its way out and no treatment was necessary. Reflux was not affecting his respiratory function.
  • Brian's mom came and stayed for a week while he was gone to Ohio, "just in case". I wouldn't have asked her myself, but Brian felt it was necessary for her to come, and I was grateful that she did.
  • No children needed emergency room or physician services during that week. In fact, I would almost say that after getting rid of the cat, Reagan and Joshua were well. Of course, they're not well now, but hey, take what you can get.
  • We take possession of the new house on Thursday.
  • I did not start school.
After trying for a year and a half to buy this house, we have finally given up. The bank and their attorneys did not want to work with us until we had already found a new place. They chose, instead, to sue us. Thankfully, a dear friend helped to navigate the paperwork and file an answer that made them take notice of us. Today, we were supposed to have our jury trial, but came to an "Agreed Judgment" yesterday with the Plaintiffs. Maybe we can get this house for a song in 18 months. Of course, by then, it'll be a falling down shack and we won't even want it.

Now packing must commence. We are moving from 2200 square feet, 4 bedrooms into 1200 square feet, 3 bedrooms. Some things are gonna have to go. I mean, where am I going to put my scrapbooking supplies? My fabric?

And then to do it all in the freezing cold and sleet and snow? There is no justice.

I'm sure it will all work out. It usually does. Of course, I may have an ulcer before it's all said and done.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

What I Do

Especially now that my kids are in their sick "season", people will remark, "Four kids?! I could never do what you do!" Or whenever they see me asking, "Is everyone well?" with their head tilted to the side, in their concerned voice. Well-meaning, I know. I really do know that. And it seems we're, ahem, sick a lot. But there are 6 of us. Four of them are slobbering, mangy children who don't wash their hands well, put non-food items in their mouths and socialize with other slobbery, disease-riddled children. I get sick occasionally, probably from taking care of these germophiles every day and the other part of our sextet works in a cube farm with regurgitated air coming out of the vents all day. So, yes, we're sick a lot.

How sick have we been?

In the last 14 days, Joshua has been to the emergency room three times. He has had 2 chest x-rays, 3 courses of oral steroids and 2 courses of antibiotics. I have spoken with 3 different pulmonologists in the last 5 days. We have seen the pediatrician twice today. No one can figure out what is causing all these problems. He's had tests for RSV, pertussis. Negative. Chest x-rays look good. No fever. Oh, what a medical mystery my son is turning out to be. How much longer before all these steroids have an adverse affect on his growth? Ability to fight infection? How much longer of wheezing and coughing before he has permanent diminished lung capacity?

Reagan is going down the same path with her croup that has now invaded her lungs. Hopefully it can be turned around before she's in Joshua's boat, hanging out at the ER for fun on Thursday, Saturday and Wednesday nights.

Lily has strep.

Darcy fell down the stairs at church last night and is still complaining of pain.

A friend of mine recently wrote a post how she is not the favorite parent of her youngest son. I KNOW that feeling. I'm the one who takes him to every doctor visit, every ER visit. I am the one who can successfully suction his nose and give the medication he hates, but needs. I hold him still to give ineffective breathing treatment after ineffective breathing treatment. I pin his arms down while doctors stick pointy things in his ears looking for infection. Of course he hates my guts. Multiple that by four.

I know what you're thinking: Those poor people. Insert concerned look here. Whisper, "Can you imagine having all those kids? And it seems like they're sick all.the.time!"

But however well-meaning those people are, it doesn't help. Comments on the health of our family are not helpful. You wouldn't believe this, but I am well aware that we've had a lot of sickness at our house. (Last winter, too.) I wonder what I could possibly be doing different to keep these little babies well. You, wondering aloud if we have mold in the house, does not help. Offering up your unsolicited analysis of the current medical condition is not helpful. I'd rather not hear your opinion on our team of medical professionals.

I am barely hanging on. I cannot take the criticism or the advice. I am drowning.

Brian is out of town today, called unexpectedly to a meeting in Houston.

We are looking at the possibility of a move.

I am supposed to start school next Wednesday.

My son is having a bronchoscopy on Monday that will mean an overnight hospital stay.

In the case of people not being able to do what I do, I'll say this: You do what you have to do. It does make it easier when you have support and encouragement and love with action behind it.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

My Medical Team and Our Medical Records

Recently I wrote about my medical staff. Today was a visit I had been waiting to come around for a while.

Two of my children have infection-triggered asthma. Something as simple as a cold or the croup can turn into a huge issue for us, triggering a full-blown asthma exacerbation. Joshua has had wheezing and coughing for about 3 weeks now. Two trips to the pediatrician, three phone calls to the pediatrician, one trip to the ER for chest x-ray, a round of steroids, a round of antibiotics since December 20 and he is still coughing and wheezing.

But today! Today was the day that I was going to get some answers! Today...we saw the pulmonologist! He would know what to do! He would listen to my son's chest and tell me I'm not crazy! He would hear THAT KID IS WHEEZING! But first, I must talk to the nurse. I love Nurse Sharon. But she's gonna wanna know everything that has happened with these 2 kids since we were there last. Every doctor visit, every steroid, every antibiotic.

Can you believe I forgot to mention that my daughter had to visit the hospital in Beaumont when we were there for Thanksgiving? Twice? On the same day? Her birthday? After she threw up all over me in a restaurant? I forgot that...

I couldn't remember what Reagan had antibiotics for in October. Nurse Sharon wanted to know. And I know I didn't accurately remember everything. Things probably work better when the trained medical professionals are given accurate information.

This has happened to me before. Medical staff asking me questions that I couldn't answer and feeling like a complete idiot. In November, when Bubba had his 2nd set of tubes put in, the anesthesiology resident literally wanted me to remember from the top of my head "when the last time he was on antibiotics for something other than his ears". Really? I have no freakin' idea. Mom looks like an idiot and the doctor scores. Must not have been too important. They did the surgery anyway, even though they didn't know when the last time he had antibiotics for something besides his infected ears.

I promised Nurse Sharon that starting this year I would start keeping better tabs on my children's health. I'm going to keep a notebook and write everything down so when someone asks me why antibiotics were prescribed, I'm gonna know.

And Dr. Hadeed did know what to do. My kid was wheezing and coughing, Dr. Hadeed heard him and Dr. Hadeed had a plan. Dr. Hadeed had a plan! Of course it means more steroids and more breathing treatments and more "wait and see", but there is a plan in place and I can live with that. He's not just gonna let my kids cough and wheeze and be sick. Apparently, I'm supposed to be calling the pulmonologist when my kid is coughing and wheezing, not going to the pediatrician 3x a week. Apparently, there are instructions that can be given over the phone, things that can be done at home and in the words of today's great physician, "You wouldn't even have to leave the house."

I'm for that.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Compassion, A Gift We Ought To Give Each Other

A blog I follow had an interesting post recently whether or not Christian women were "allowed" to share marital issues with each other. I thought Compassion, A Gift We Ought To Give Each Other offered some good points.

Tell me what you think.

Sound of Silence

I am beginning to realize about myself that I would be content to stay inside my house and never leave. I would probably never get anything done, but I really don't mind if I don't go anywhere or talk to anyone, as long as I'm alone.

Don't get me wrong: I don't want to stay permanently cooped up in the house with my 4 children.

I like being alone. And when I'm alone, I like it quiet.

I think I'm what is referred to as an introvert.

I get in these moods. Call it a funk. I get in a funk and I don't want to talk to anyone. I just want to be left alone. Brian says the funkier I feel, the more I probably need to be around people. Sometimes being around people is a real challenge for me. I look for ways to not be around them. I don't mind if people don't talk to me. Some days, I'd rather they didn't.

I can be very prickly. I am a person who knows her own mind. I work matters to completion.

And lately, I am feeling funky-cold-Medina. Don't be offended.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Out of Place

Yesterday evening, I drove to Fort Worth to see how long it would take, if I were going to class. I was hoping to do what I do, which is scope out where I'm supposed to go, ahead of time. Driving (or walking) around looking for where I'm supposed to be when I have time constraints causes me much anxiety.

It was cold, the wind was blowing and I was not dressed to be walking around outside with the sun down. I went into the bookstore to get out of the wind and because it was the only place that was open.

I felt every.second of my nearly 34 years. Walking around buildings that all look the same, identified only by initials and limited maps available to decipher made me realize I may be woefully out of my depth. And at a junior college! That was not a good feeling.

I remember my first foray into college. I was a Sam Houston State University Bearkat. Eat 'em up, 'Kats! I wasn't very successful while I was there. I was your standard issue Finally-Away-From-Home-Lose-Her-Mind college student. I knew a guy there everyone called "Grandpa". He was the oldest guy there. He was only 30...

Yesterday, I felt every bit the mother of 4 children.

Then I got home and thought I'd check my campus email, and realized in addition to submitting my transcripts, I also have to submit a Transcript Evaluation Request. And in January, evaluating my transcripts will take 6-8 weeks. Oh, and my grant may be cancelled if it's not done. And the email was sent December 7. Good grief.

A phone call this morning put my mind at ease, mostly. But then I was told I needed to submit my high school transcript and proof of graduation...they really care about that?

College is a young man's game, for sure.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Marriage Update

I am still married. Now you know.

Finished Projects

Amazingly enough, I have finished 2 quilting projects in the last 2 weeks, including binding them, the part I probably hate the most. Making a quilt is much more involved than I ever thought, and I don't even quilt them myself. Initially, I wasn't drawn to quilting because most quilters are, ahem, older, and their tastes run a different road. But then I discovered there are all kinds of fabric available and I could make quilts that reflected my tastes and personality.

A couple years ago, I was visiting one of my favorite stores, Houston Street Mercantile, my local quilting shop. (The store is owned and worked by, ahem, older, women, so the website is not impressive. The store must be experienced first hand.) Up on the wall, they had a beautiful quilt hanging that was made of brown and blue batik fabric, very masculine. Batiks are hand-dyed fabrics that have gorgeous variations of color and contrast. I have included some in nearly everything I have made. I loved the quilt and thought I'd like to make one like that for my dad, so I bought the kit.

I intended to make the quilt for my dad to use while he slept in his recliner, where he slept for 15 years.

Then my mother died.

And my dad started sleeping in the bed again. I came up with another idea for him, but what to do with the kit? I decided to make the quilt for my father-in-law, Champion Napper, for Christmas. But then, what to get my mother-in-law? So I decided to make one for her also. I finished binding the last one mere hours before they arrived on Friday. I was fairly pleased with my work.

These quilts have the same border, the same backing, the same binding. The only difference is the "interior".

To finish the quilt for my bed, I need to put the last border on and get it to the quilter. Oh, and I need to finish the binding on my Christmas tree skirt. Then all my "open" projects will be complete. I love making quilts. I get such a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction when they are complete.