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It's official


LJ is driving me crazy, so I've surrendered to the google-ization of the entire World Wide Web, and I'm moving over to blogger.  My blog can be found at:

http://ericamama.blogspot.com/

I'll probably take some of these posts with me, or at least archive them over there so that I have them, but this is the last active post you'll see here.


Alana Funny


Okay, sorta anyway.

Alana has this thing about writing on her walls, dresser, shelves, cupboards.....you get the idea. 

The other night, Bruce sent her to her room to clean it.  Now her room is the size of a large closet, so it doesn't take much for it to look like a tornado hit. 

Well, Alana got mad and wrote all over her walls with green marker.  She also drew a frowny-face on her carpet. 

Yeah, Bruce was seriously peeved!

So, he takes away her canopy (it was getting in the way of cleaning the carpets), and Alana is having herself a mighty fit about putting on her shoes and socks and getting ready to take the older kids to their activities at church.  Now, Alana's fits are something to behold.  She screams and fusses and carries on, hollering things like "I HATE shoes!" or "Socks are STUPID!" or "I HATE YOU!"  Since she's our third child, we've gotten rather nonchalant about such things.  My usual response is something along the lines of "That's nice.  Put them on anyway." or "You don't have to like me....but you still have to do (whatever chore she is trying to avoid)."  My favorite is probably when she says "I don't WANT to."  My response?  "Well, I don't want to listen to a whiney little girl, but we've all got to do things we don't want to do.  Put on your shoes."  She HATES that! 

But I digress........Bruce is threatening to take away her favorite stuffy (currently a seal named "Peachy").  I said she'd have to hand over all of her crayons, markers, pens, pencils, and colored pencils since she didn't seem to know how to use them properly.  Bruce said something to the effect of "Yeah, that.  That makes more sense."  ROFL!

Alana made it very clear that she did NOT want to go with us.  Period.  She was NOT putting on her coat.  She was NOT getting in the van.

Bruce is getting ready to drag her out the door.  I said "All right then.  Stay here.  By yourself.  Have a good time."  And walked out the door.   (one of these days she's going to call that bluff).  But, of course, she got very upset at the idea of being left alone and came running out to the van, wailing her head off. 

So, we took the kids to church and then went out to dinner.  Along the way, Bruce asked Alana why she wrote on the walls and her carpet.  Her response?  

"Because I was mad at you.  I don't WANT to clean my room!"  (Picture her darling face with a pouty, defiant look).

Ohhhh.....I see.

Later, at dinner, I'm telling her that, when we get home, I want all of her crayons, markers, colored pencils, etc. 

She says, *sigh* "Mom, I never color on the walls with crayon.  It's too hard to get off!"

Methinks Magic Erasers and washable markers have made her life a bit too easy!

Tristan Update


Lot's of people have how he's doing, so I thought I'd post an update. 

All in all, he's managing pretty well.  He seems to have accepted this new thing in his life with not too much fuss.  He occasionally has a moment here or there where he's frustrated, but we're working through it. 

Our big issue has been low blood sugars.  He can't go to bed if his sugar is below 100.  Blood sugar tends to drop during the night, so he needs to be high enough to account for that.  A couple times over the break, his sugar just would NOT come up.  One night, he was up until 1:30 am! 

So, we've adjusted when and how he takes his insulin, and so far, it seems to be working.  We're in what they call the "honeymoon period" where some cells in his pancreas are still making insulin, but not the way they're supposed to or in any predictable pattern.  Over the next 3-12 months, those cells will die off as the disease progresses, and then he'll lose his "free" 15 carb snacks......of course, for a 12 yo, 15 carbs is NOTHING.  The kid eats like 5 meals a day right now!  LOL! 

He's doing more things away from us, which has been a bit hard on me, but he's got to learn to do it eventually.  So far, he hasn't gone on any Scout campouts without Bruce, but I'm sure that's coming this spring.  We had scheduled a quick training session for Scouts last night, but the roads were horrid so Scouts was cancelled.  Everyone Tristan works with is more than willing to learn what they need to do to help him manage, and that feels really good.  Our church folks have been amazingly supportive through it all. 

And we've got one set of neighbors where it's a "knock and walk" relationship....she knows where my spices are, has a key to my house and so forth, and I'm that way at hers.  We've chatted with them about what to do for Tristan in an emergency and all of that as well because we do leave the kids home alone for an hour or two here and there. 

Quick Alana funny.......We've got an injection that would need to be given to Tristan if he passes out.  We told the girls about it when we first got home from the hospital, as in, If we're not home........Well, Alana heard only the first sentence or so and ran away screaming!  ROFL!  Tristan and I both decided that we'd like to do that too, if only we could. 

We had a follow-up visit with the endocrinologist yesterday.  Tristan's A1C was 8.7%.  That's a measure of how well blood sugar has stayed within the "normal" range over the last three months.  Good control is 7% or lower.  Considering that Tristan was only diagnosed 5 weeks ago, this is a GREAT number.  My hunch is that the disease really came on quickly.  He'd also gained over 17 lbs since his hospitalization...we think he'd lost about 10 lbs before diagnosis, so that's good news too.

So, yeah, we're adjusting and moving on.  Estimating carb content is getting easier, though I need to organize the mountains of paperwork we've got related to this and get rid of a bunch of stuff that really isn't relevant, etc.  Maybe next week?  LOL!

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Happy 2009!


Some of you know that I don't do resolutions, at least not anymore.  In years past, I would make LENGTHY lists of a zillion goals in all areas of my life.  But really, those lists only served to point out just how lacking my life currently was, and well, that's not me either.  My life is generally pretty great, and I'm filled with gratitude for that.  Listing all the ways I need to improve myself seemed to fly in the face of that.  Not that I don't need improvement.....don't we all?  But, well, big lists just brought me down, especially when it's cold and dreary outside.  Made me want to go back to bed until spring! 

So, now I do a motto for the year.  It's easier to remember and attempt to live by a simple phrase than it is to deal with checklists about organizing my house, catching up on my scrapbooks, losing 20 lbs, and solving world hunger, kwim? 

This year's motto is....

(drum roll please).....
Assume The Best

It sounds so simple, doesn't it?  And yet, I know that I tend to assume the worst.  I assume that the clerk will be a pain about the return I'm making, or the insurance company will cause me trouble, or that statement was intended as an insult, or that generic phrase someone said in blog, email, or chat was about ME.  Obviously, those things do happen.  But, more often than not, they don't.  So, I'm going into this year assuming the best from the people around me, from circumstances, and from myself. 

Happy 2009

(PS.  My blog is not updating on Bloglines....no idea why, but it seems my new posts don't show up.  And, I'm probably going to switch over to blogger sometime in the near future.  No worries....I'll leave a link here to the new one when I get it going.)

Christmas


We had a very fun, mostly relaxing Christmas.

Alana wandered in at 5:45 and asked, in a stage whisper, "Mom?  What time is it?"  I mumbled something incoherent about 'not time to get up yet' and sent her back to bed.  They all got up not long after that, and began arguing shortly thereafter.  My dad asked me why they were arguing......the short answer is because there are 3 of them and it's what they do! 

The "crept in" to our room, which means that there was a lot of stage-whispers and giggles as they stumbled around our room to the sides of the bed, where they then shouted "MERRY CHRISTMAS" at the tops of their lungs.  And then they made us get up! 

We opened our stocking stuff and started in on the presents. 

We got the family a Wii.  The kids didn't have even the slightest inkling that we were doing this because we've sworn up and down that we would not ever have any kind of video game system.  The Wii is different, as everyone now knows, so we relented and got it. 

In the meantime, my mom (Nana) got the kids 2 Wii games each, plus an ornament and a suitcase.  (Yes, we asked for the suitcases, but there's more to that story, of course).  Tristan opened his box from Nana and pulled out his games, completely baffled.  "Uh, mom?  Why did I get these?" 

Bruce:  Oh, dear.  Nana must've been confused!  She must've thought those were movies or computer games or something.  Don't worry, we'll exchange them. 

Shannon, of course, starts to see what's happening pretty quick (she's a perceptive thing, even when stuff isn't this obvious).

Then, Alana opened her package from Nana and found her 2 games.

Bruce:  Wow!  Nana's having a tough time, isn't she?  She must be *really* confused! 

Now Shannon is rocking back and forth, heel to toe, saying "We got a Wii.  I know it!  It's in that bag right there (a back I wouldn't let them open right away)" 

No, it there is no Wii in that bag.  And that was the truth.  That bag contained a second Wii controller and a charging station, but there was, in fact, no Wii! 

Tristan tells me I'm lying because I'm smiling.  It's Christmas!  I'm allowed to smile. 

Shannon opens her gift from Nana, and we continued to play the "poor confused Nana" game, becuase, by now, it's kinda fun!  Then I get to my gift from my parents......the Wii Fit.  Now, there's no way I can pass that one off, so, as soon as I realized what it was, I covered the corner back up and let it sit.

The excitement is building....the kids have the one final gift with the giant bow on it and they can't STAND it!  They were pretty sure they knew what was in there, but you could see the little "what if it's really NOT a Wii?" thoughts on their faces.....so much fun! 

So, of course, it was a Wii.  We got it installed, and then Bruce wanted to get it hooked up to the Internet since we've already got the wireless router.  In that process, he broke the internet!  That took 2 days to fix, and another day of getting my laptop connected to the LAN so I could print and have access to the other two computers.  I could get online, just not to the machine 10 feet away.  Go figure!  *rolling eyes*

We had some friends come over for Christmas dinner, and that was fun and mostly relaxing.  I made turkey and all the trimmings, though I don't know that I'll do another one anytime soon.  It's not hard, it's just a huge PITA to get everything on the table at the same time!  Ham in a crock pot and potato casserole in another crock pot is SO much easier! 

The Wii Fit is really fun.  Bruce played the balance game where you're trying to 'head' soccer balls.  But then the Miis start throwing SHOES and panda bears (why is there a panda bear on a soccer field?!), so you're dodging those, but hitting the other ones.  Hysterically funny!  I did some of the aerobics yesterday.  The hula hoop game is lots of fun, and probably very good for my core.  I also like the step aerobics, but I'd like it to go faster....maybe that's a game I'll "unlock" as I log more time on it.  There are balance games, like a tight-rope walker, and yoga, though they do most of the yoga poses wrong and that bugs me.  But, all in all, it's fun!

Bruce got me an MP3 player.  I like it, just haven't really figured out how to use it.  I have a hard time with all this electronic media stuff.  If I can't touch it, is it real?  I do that with photos too.  I need to play with it some more, but I've been busy finishing neighbor gifts and mailing out the Christmas New Year's cards. 

I got Bruce a GPS, one of the "never lost" types, with street maps and so forth.  He's mentioned over and over how much he likes those in rental cars.  I know he'd like one of the outdoorsy types too, for galavanting all over this great state of ours, but they don't seem to make one that does both.  So, he'll get the other one for his birthday.  I got a SCREAMING deal on this one.  It's a Garmin 750 (I think that's the right number) that I got at Costco.com for $200.  MSRP is $400.  I did the research and knew that I wanted one that says "Turn left on Pine Street in 500 ft" rather than "turn left in 500 feet."  And, it has all kinds of great features....he can load MP3 stuff on there, so he can listen to books with it and whatnot too.  Of course, he opens it and says "This doesn't have a monthly fee, does it?"  ARGH!  You're welcome for your wonderful present!  Men!

Now we're cleaning up from Christmas and catching up on the laundry.  You know how much I *love* that!  LOL!

I am weary


That's really the only word to describe it.  I'm physically, mentally, and emotionally weary. 

But, if you ask me, I'll tell you I'm "fine."  Because, right now, I simply have to be fine.  I'm clinging to "fine" like a lifeboat in a storm.  The storm that threatens to wash over me at the most inconvenient moments.  I lost a week just before Christmas.  That's a freak-out nightmare for me!  At least, that's the nightmare I'm focused on. 

I can't focus on the true nightmare of my sweet baby lying in that bed, so very very sick.  His sunken cheeks and pale skin.  The way his eyes would open, but couldn't seem to focus on anything.  The way he told the paramedics he was 12, but couldn't tell them what holiday we'd just had, or how the ER doc couldn't get him to respond much at all.  Or the way we discounted his illness, thinking it was just a stomach flu and some added drama. 

And the tears come......tears that I can't afford to shed because there's 6 days to Christmas and gifts that still haven't been mailed.  There are Christmas parties at school and church commitments.  There's more clean, unfolded laundry than I have baskets to hold it, and the toilets are getting really scary.

So, I wipe away the tears and press on, wearier than before.  Because there are 3 little people depending on me to keep their world on an even keel and a husband who needs clean underwear and socks that he can actually find. 

I know that I can't suppress this forever.  Believe me, I know that.  I know that I need to feel these emotions, let them run rampant for a bit, so I can work through them rather than stuffing them into an over-flowing box that they leak out of at the worst moments.  For now, though, that's where they stay. 

Part of me is grateful for the distractions.  Part of me hates it.  But, it keeps me from wallowing.  Though, in all honesty, stuffing the emotions *will* lead to wallowing if I'm not careful. 

Bruce reminded me that I haven't been taking very good care of myself.  I'm cold and tired all the time.  Of course, it's 30 degrees and snowing (again), so the cold makes some sense.  I drag a space heater with me wherever I go.  The tired, though, could be from several things......sleepless nights while Tristan was in the hospital, not drinking enough water, and not taking my iron pills.  So, for today, I took my vitamins, and I'm drinking my water.  I've got a massage scheduled with a dear friend who will totally understand when I fall apart under her loving touch. 

One step, one day, one moment at a time.

"Cuz when push comes to shove,
I taste what I'm made of.
I might bend till I break
Cuz it's all I can take.
On my knees I look up,
Decide I've had enough.
I get mad
I get strong
Wipe my hands
Shake it off
THEN I STAND."

(lyrics borrowed from Rascal Flatts)

And the bills are rolling in.....


Ambulance:  $1500

Hospital:  $12,000

And we haven't received anything from the doctors or the radiologist yet. 

Thank God for insurance!

Tristan's HOME!


Tristan was discharged from the hospital last night.  He's doing much better.  We're now adjusting to this new thing in our lives, counting carbs, monitoring blood sugar, and giving insulin injections.  We'll be followed very closely over the next few weeks by a team from the Utah Diabetes Center.  We'll meet with school personnel tomorrow (Friday) afternoon and he'll return to school on Monday.  We're taking the next few days to get back to "normal" here at home.  
 
Tristan will be on insulin for the rest of his life.  His body no longer manufactures it.  The good news is that he can eat whatever he wants as long as he gives himself insulin to cover the carbohydrates he eats.  The bad news is that he'll have to give himself shots a minimum of 4 times a day. 
 
I can't say enough good things about the staff at the hospital, and truly all the people we worked with, starting with the doctor at KidsCare, the paramedics, the emergency room personnel, even the cafeteria folks, cleaning crew, and security.  Everyone was very kind and considerate.  They were concerned with Tristan's physical health, but also with his mental and emotional well-being, and they were also asking about the rest of us.  I was touched over and over again with their concern for all of us. 
 
Our neighbors and church family have also been a tremendous source of support and encouragement.  I think, if I took everyone up on their offers, I wouldn't have to cook, clean, or take care of my children for a month!  Words fail me when I try to express my gratitude.  We're overwhelmed by the willingness to take care of us. 
 
And those of you who are not local have called, emailed, sent cards, and prayed for us through all of this.  We're truly blessed to have such an amazing support system.  Thank you.
 
We'll keep you posted as things go on, but for now, we're adjusting to this new normal.

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Tristan's spending tonight in the Pediatric ICU at Primary Chilren's Medical center here in Salt Lake.  At the moment, he's very very sick, but he's stable. 

He started throwing up yesterday and we thought he had a stomach virus, so we kept an eye on him, let him sleep, etc.  Today, he was worse, and looking dehydrated, so we took him into KidsCare.  By the time I got him there, he was disoriented and very lathargic.  I think the dr took one look and knew what was wrong, but they started an IV and drew some blood to check on him.

His blood sugar was over 700.  He was (and still is) in ketoacidosis.  They called an ambulance and we were transported across town to the hospital.  When we got there, about 5 people met us at the door and started working on him.  It was pretty scary, but they were all so very kind. 

I don't really understand it all, but he's got juvenile diabetes and will need to take insulin for the rest of his life.

Right now, he's dehydrated, so they've got him on fluids, plus insulin and electrolytes.  He's in and out mentally, but he's doing better in that department.  There was a time today when he was completely non-responsive, even when they were poking him over and over trying to get blood.  His CT scan came back normal, indicating that there's no swelling in his brain (I guess that can happen in cases like this?), so that's a good sign.  His blood chemistry was all over the map, high when "normal" is low, and vice versa.  We're starting to see those numbers moving in the right direction, though, thankfully. 

I can't tell you how grateful I am for our wonderful neighbors.  My neighbors just wrapped the girls into their family for most of the afternoon/evening, feeding them dinner, etc.  When I came to get the girls, they gave me chamomile tea and cookies, and then dinner!  They even offered to have the girls stay the night, but with Tristan in the PICU, there's no place for me to sleep, and the girls need a bit of normalcy. 

Bruce volunteered to doze in the rocker next to Tristan for tonight.  Tristan will probably be moved to a regular room by tomorrow evening, and then the education really begins. 

The hospital staff has been wonderfully patient and kind.  Several nurses offered us food and drink, and one just pulled me right in and started handing me soda, cheese sticks and crackers!  The receptionist at KidsCare overheard the diagnosis and me erupting into tears.....she gave me her home phone number because her son is diabetic and she offered to help me wade through all of this.  Several friends and family members have offered to drop everything to help out, too, and the outpouring leaves me overwhelmed with gratitude. 

Honestly, to say I'm a wreck would be generous.  My baby is so very sick right now, and I need the world to stop spinning for just a moment so I can catch my breath!  I'm overwhelmed, to say the least.  Your prayers are appreciated. 

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Aunty Bragging!


My 16 yo nephew is in a band, and this is a video of his first performance at a school dance.  Nephew is the tall blonde in the middle, playing bass.

http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&VideoID=46861702

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