Domestic Bliss Report

Motherhood is hard work. If we don't stick together, we'll all fall apart.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Louie's Penny Saga--Conclusion

Lou was cuddling his recovery nurse when I got up to his room. When he saw me, though, he leaned with arms outstretched.
"Can I feed him?" I asked her.
"If he wants to, sure," she said. Oh, he was ready to nurse then!

Since I knew hospitals aren't always timely with discharges, I ordered dinner for us. He fell asleep before it arrived but when I woke him up with strawberry yogurt to his lips he perked right up. We shared the yogurt, canned pears, pancakes, and orange juice; I let him have all of the milk and Cheerios. With food in his stomach, his sleepiness evaporated and he was back to his usual self--climbing, babbling, exploring. I was so relieved to have my Louie back!

Our nurse Carol was very concerned about his hand, though. The swelling, though considerably diminished, was still apparent. The color had come back to most of the area but some still looked blotchy and angry red.
She made sure I knew on the discharge papers to get seen by our usual pediatrician on Thursday. "I'm going to pray about that hand," she told me as I wheeled him out in the stroller.

Before bedtime, his hand had started to blister. I didn't know exactly what to do; it looked like a burn, but I knew it hadn't been heated. I did the common sense thing--clean and covered. The silvadine stuff came to mind but I went with Neosporin with pain relief instead.
By the next morning, the swelling was gone but the discoloration and damage remained. So, Thursday morning, that was the primary attention of the doc. He told me I had it wrapped better than he ever could (plenty of practice last month, Doc), and he asked if I'd used the silvadine. It should get treated as a burn, he told me.
Then he made contact with Dr. Cullen, who was the same one as had removed the penny. "He ran the burn unit at Children's," he told me. He was transferring us to that guy's care, since he was the expert.

Friday morning, we were in Dr. Cullen's office. He apparently had just transferred over since he told me (and the famous Dr. Rondon) of a two-page list of things he wanted available. "Silvadine and one-inch gauze need to go on the list too," he told us.
Most of the area is mild second-degree, but a spot about the size of a dime surrounding the first IV site looked third-degree. "I can't promise it won't have a mark," he said.

Eh. A spot the size of a dime on the back of his hand? As long as he has full function and no nerve damage, I don't care. I have my Louie back.

Now please, pardon me while I get him off the kitchen table. Again.

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Friday, January 30, 2009

Louie's Penny Saga--Chapter 3

Why recap when you can scroll down?

Someone explained to me that his IV had gone out of his vein (during his fussing in the night, perhaps?) and continued to drain into the fat tissue under his skin. When it came out, it was draining clear fluid with traces of blood. Not good. Anyway, I was sure he was going to lose his hand.
Dr. Rondon, while concerned, wasn't panicked. "His thumb will come back to normal. Look, it's already fading. I'll come back and check on it in a few minutes."
True to his word, he came back three times in about the next 20. His fingertips had started to turn a healthy pink first, a fact I asked my day nurse Carol to pass on to him. Lou relaxed and went into an exhausted sleep which made me realize the discomfort in his hand was why he couldn't sleep the night before.
The resident who had explained what "IV went sub-Q" meant told me that Dr. Rondon, being the pediatric surgical resident, was the best person to catch it. He was the one who would be opening it up to release the tension and help the drainage, should it come to that (it didn't).
I was told to keep that hand elevated, which I did. At least until transport showed up to take us to X-ray--not long given Dr. Rondon's stat order. I cuddled him all the way down, he got strapped into the chair for the two pictures (front and side), and we went back. He returned to sleeping. So did I.

They came around on rounds, looked briefly at his hand, and noted as a group it looked grotesque. Ms. Resident assured the group that it had been "completely cyanotic" before and it was actually much improved. I was told we'd be going for surgery sometime that day to remove the coin.
Dr. Ibrahim, who had been one of the first faces I'd seen Monday, lingered after the group left. "Yes, you're on the list for surgery, but nobody can tell you when. It could be an hour, it could be five hours. It will be sometime today, though."

Lots of waiting, and it was all downhill from here until the surgery. He got another IV which caused no problems. Around 3 they came to get him while I walked down next to his crib. It's terrifying to watch your baby get wheeled away, for those who haven't done it yet. The whole procedure took maybe half an hour and a white-bearded Dr. Cullin brought out a penny in a specimen jar.
"It wasn't a quarter. It's never a quarter, they're too big," he said. A little while later, I got called that he was out of recovery and I could go back up to his room.

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Louie's Penny Saga--Chapter 2

We arrived at the hospital. Louie had fallen asleep on the trip and he stayed that way while I rolled him in the stroller. I had no trouble from either security or the desk people in getting up to where we belonged; they did know we were coming.

Our first room already had a patient, a little boy on a trach tube in a crib. His parents had that Steve Martin--Queen Latifah movie going and loudly. I just tuned it out as I answered the questions: Lou's medical history, medications, what happened this time. When the first movie ended, they put on Apollo 13. I was wondering if they'd just let it go as it was close to midnight, but I guess they were listening to it (they sure weren't sitting where they could see the TV). I didn't even ask--Tricia our nurse brought up a room change, and we did that.
A while later Tricia started talking IV. Since Lou was NPO (meaning no food, no nothing), the docs wanted him on something. He'd need it for his surgery later--it wasn't a sure thing he'd need it but it was the prognosis at that point.
I acquiesced to the IV. I could have put it off, but they had the nurse from the pediatric ICU there who could do it. So I said yes.
They brought him back hooked up to his machine and I held him. He did NOT like the board his hand was taped to and tried to pull it off more than once. I resorted to what I had before when it was wrapped up after his burn--the socks I had in the diaper bag (thanks, Heather!). However, the machine kept beeping that it was "occluded," so Tricia came in around 2:30 and tinkered with it and retaped everything. We put his sock back on and my son and I tried to sleep.
Lou was restless, waking at least every 45 minutes just to cry and wrestle for five or ten, then give up and go back to sleep. I thought it was due to not being nursed, or too warm, or in a strange place, or something.
Various people came by through the night to ask about him, tell me they'd do another X-ray to see if the coin had moved and if not go in and get it. I was told they'd take him for the X-ray between 6:30 and 7.

It didn't happen. What did? Well, along about 8:45, Dr. Rondon came in to check him out, asked about the X-ray, and when he found it hadn't been done he put a "stat" on the order. I finally realized something wasn't right with Louie's arm. The skin seemed very taut, it wasn't bending well, the tape for his IV seemed very tight. I took off his sock.
His hand, swollen to twice or thrice its normal size, looked like it was made of wax.
"Um... Someone!" I called, too far from the phone to call my nurse. The door was open and, God bless him, my hero Dr. Rondon was out there.
"The tape for his IV seems really tight. Can I take this piece of it off?"
He looked over at me. "Yeah, you can do that. Let me check that out." He came right in and looked at Louie's hand. "Oh, this all needs to come off." He pulled a pair of scissors out of his pocket and started cutting tape.
"That isn't supposed to happen," he said, indicating Lou's hand. "His IV went sub-Q."

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Louie's Penny Saga--Chapter 1

I'm posting this because it's been occupying me and mine for a few days now, as well as to let other parents know What To Look For. Lots of fun!

Our story begins way back on Friday with Dale's surgery. Lou spent nine hours away from me and since has forbidden me to use the toilet without his permission and supervision. He wails outside the closed door, beating on it, until I come out. We're not through weaning yet; does it show?
But on Monday, he managed to spend time with Daddy while he got dressed and I loaded the washer. Daddy suddenly called me with that tone--get here now! I found Louie coughing and spluttering, Daddy saying, "I don't know what he put in his mouth, whether he spit it out our swallowed it."
I took him on my hip and went back to loading the washer one-handed. Another minute or two of Louie coughing and he was fine. I thought whatever it was went to his stomach, and he just was clearing his throat.
Lunch came and went, he nursed just fine, all was well. However, that evening at dance class he coughed up some of the apple we'd been sharing. It was odd, too--not vomit, too wet to just have been in his mouth. Take note--keep watching.
After dinner he coughed up some spaghetti noodles as well, which was my last straw. "I'm taking him in, hon. Something is blocking the way."

To the pediatric urgent care we went, where he was his normal self--exploring everything, trying to walk outside, investigating the bathroom, grinning and climbing. He even begged Cheez-its from a complete stranger. He was charming.
They took an X-ray and determined that he had a coin in his esophagus. It was sideways, letting liquids and other very soft stuff (like chewed crackers) through but lumpy stuff wasn't making it.
The doc looked apologetic when he told me and started talking about staying the night in the hospital. "I'll call ahead so they have a bed ready when you get there."


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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Where does obligation lie?

Let's play Imagine That. It won't hurt.

Let's imagine a Mike and Jenny Smith. They're committed vegetarians. They walk the walk, talk the talk, but aren't out to convert anyone. They just want to help others by encouraging them to lead a healthy lifestyle, providing them with both an opportunity and an example. What they do is open a vegetarian restaurant. What would they call it? Let's say Meet Without Meat. Play along with me, what would their logo be? A cow, pig and chicken all sitting around a table?

Now, it's a good restaurant. The food is flavorful and generous, the kitchen clean, the service courteous. It becomes a popular restaurant even among non-vegetarians. Catholics like it to observe their Friday abstention, Jews like it because it's effortlessly kosher, Muslims like it because they don't have to worry about the pork, Hindus like it because of the no-beef thing. Some folks even visit occasionally just for variety. Everyone is happy, Mike and Jenny are doing well. They do so well that they open other locations, thus becoming a chain.
Now, nobody is forced to patronize their restaurant. Everyone who walks through the door knows it's a vegetarian restaurant; it's not a secret. It's obvious by the name and the logo. As we imagined, some choose Meet Without Meat because they know it's vegetarian. Can you picture it?

Now let's imagine some human toothache coming through the door, being seated, and ordering.... a hamburger.
How politely would the server have to inform this customer that item isn't served there? If the customer proceeded to insist, would the proprietor of the restaurant be out of bounds to step in and invite said customer to choose another establishment for his dining experience? Should Mike Smith have to volunteer the names of his meat-serving competitors, provide a local restaurant guide or phone book, or just have the bum escorted to the door? Would it not be madness to suggest that Mike is obligated to provide transportation to Toothache's new destination? And who in their right mind would say the customer has the right to sue Meet Without Meat for not providing him with his meal of choice--a choice they find morally reprehensible?

I wonder.

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And a prayer request, folks.

While he's said "This ain't Oprah," I've spilled my guts here, and this is another one of those times.
Tomorrow my beloved husband goes under the knife for Lap-Band surgery. To those who noticed his comment somewhere about the "pre-surgical liquid diet," that's why.

I know it's laparoscopic, I know it's only one day, I know it's been done without complication thousands of times, I know it will make a huge difference in his quality of life and, by association my own, I know.
That doesn't change the fact that my best friend is going under general anesthesia and getting cut open, my kids will be with someone else for the day (regardless of how much I trust her, there's still that worry), and all the rest.

So, if you Gentle Readers could on this day of the March for Life just tack a prayer on for us, I'd really appreciate it.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Where have I been?

In a word: Facebooking. I just started sometime the week before Christmas. When I have the chance to sit at the computer, that is.

Otherwise, I've resumed teaching my kids. And preparing their meals. I squeeze in laundry when they complain they're low on socks.

Another big drain on my time is twenty-one pounds of kamikaze toddler. Lou is determined to kill (or at least maim) himself in some creative way like one of the following.
1. Putting a blanket on his head and walking into walls until brain damage sets in
2. Trying to eat one of his older siblings' toys and choking on it (Lego and Littlest Pet Shops seem to be his favorite flavors)
3. Carrying around Gladys our Christmas Kitten, who still has all of her claws and thus might just disembowel him in an escape attempt
4. Climbing on the kitchen table, with that inherent risk of falling off, and trying to injure himself with something he finds there--like a knife or pencil, or choking on an eraser or some leftover bit of food
5. Contracting some bizarre species-jumping disease from the pets' water dish (yes, he has drunk from it), or the cats' litter box, or the human toilet (no drinking, just splashing and dropping)

I've actually gotten out the Pack-N-Play so I can wash dishes.

I hope to recommence regular posting when this phase is over, which may be just in time for potty training. Wish me luck.

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Thursday, January 08, 2009

There's a reason they're called Your Town's Finest.

Here's an example: Officer Susan Porcello. I get the feeling her partner has it on the ball, too.

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Monday, January 05, 2009

Bits of good news

Things like this make me proud of the French.

And this has long been needed. Where do I sign up? Am I already a member?

We've found a solution to keeping Louie out of the dog food--put it in the dog's cage. He's flexible, though, and has discovered a new target: the cat's food.
But he's giving grouper kisses sometimes, so that makes up for it.

That kitten we were "given" just before Christmas seems to be part Labrador retriever. She licks a lot. Fingers, noses, foreheads. I think her favorite flavor is Rachel.

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Saturday, January 03, 2009

Winter blues

I'm having a hard time realizing that Christmas, the day and the season, are over. It rushed by so quickly it seemed a dream. I'm still feeling the urge to shop for and wrap gifts, to plan the menu, to bake and decorate cookies.
Where was I when this all happened the first time? You mean it's done already? It's almost Epiphany. Where did it go?
I can say that during the sugar cookie baking, I was taking a nap with Louie. During the decorating, I washed dishes. I was in the same room, but we can only accomodate one guest before we run out of chairs and we had two. One was foretold, the other... If you think I'm I'm going to turn down a surprise visit from my mother on Christmas Eve, you must think I'm beyond heartless.
Daddy even baked a second batch of monster cookies this past Monday, and they were gone yesterday.

I think it's exacerbated by Louie's growth. A year ago he was a tiny nursling, a "baby puddle." Now he's a walking, wrestling, opinionated, exploring toddler. He's getting too big for me to nurse when I have no arms in my seat, and my arms are exhausted from holding him. It's getting on time to wean. And it's breaking my heart.

I just want to hold on to his babyness, this Christmas season, a little longer but it's like trying to catch a handful of falling snow. We don't know when we'll have another; we say when we're in a bigger house, but with the real estate market, only God knows when that will be. If it's too long, we'll miss our chance--I'm turning 38 this year and Beloved Husband will be 40.

I'm just feeling the winter blues and time going by so quickly. Christmas is gone, Louie's babyhood is slipping away, and all I can do is watch it all go.

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