Saturday, September 26, 2009

Asthma/RSV/Pneumonia Update

Stopping home for a few minutes to grab some clean clothes, shampoo, hair brush, you know, things you don't think of grabbing when you take your sick child into the doctor...

**our local hospital was not comfortable keeping Grace, as she was requiring 100% oxygen at 10 liters and continuous nebs, they were talking possible intubation, etc... so she transferred to St. paul Children's (Minneapolis had no room!) My dear friend, Traci, who came to babysit ended up taking Hope in to the local ER the next morning, and riding in the ambulance with her when they transferred down as well... (leaving the other 4 with her teenager, as my teenager was away at a soccer mini-tournament).

They both have asthma, and they both now have pneumonia, and they both tested positive for an active RSV infection. Not fun.

Both girls are still at St. Paul Children's Hospital. Hope (4 yr old) only spent one day and night in the PICU (pediatric intensive care unit) and was doing well enough to move out onto 'the floor' today. She is still on quite a bit of oxygen, but only requiring breathing treatments every 2 hrs at this point. Grace (6 yr old) is still in the PICU, still on continuous albuterol nebs and atrovent every 6 hrs (down from 4 hrs) and quite a bit of oxygen. Her respiration rate has come down a bit, which is a sign of improvement- when we got there she was in the 50-60 (breaths per minute) range and is now in the 30-45 range (it fluctuates a lot as she moves around in bed). They had tried to turn down her O2 a tiny bit this morning, but had to bump it back up as her stats started dropping after only minutes. They have both had IV steroids and antibiotics since they got there (Grace transferred Thursday late afternoon/evening and Hope transferred down Friday late morning/noonish...) and Hope is responding quite well (she's our little trooper!) Grace is responding, just not as fast as we'd like to see...

The hospital has wireless internet access, but the filter blocks anything having to do with blogger, and twitter, but not facebook- don't ask me why, but that's where I've been updating... friend me if you'd like to stay informed, or if you'd just like to be my friend...

Gotta run,

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Girl's Gotta Breathe

The sniffling started on Monday, if I remember right, and it wasn't much, just enough to alert my asthma mom sensors, and start dosing with benedryl every 4 hrs. Little Miss H started to cough a wee little cough by Tuesday evening, and with both she and Miss G still sporting runny noses, they both got a preventative couple 'puffs' on the inhaler before bed. At least, I was hoping they would be preventative. Little Miss H coughed herself to sleep, finally settling in pretty good, only to wake up on Wednesday with a much deeper and more concerning wheezy cough. Out came the albuterol nebs (breathing treatments) and she got a good dose before we headed out for Teenager's violin lesson.

While he has his lessons, I usually take the rest of the children to a nearby park, which we have had mostly to ourselves since the rest of the kids went back to school. The running around was too much, and Miss G needed to come sit still and use the inhaler again. When Miss G starts wheezing, alarms start going off in my head. Little Miss H can cough and wheeze for days, even go through a bout of pneumonia, and keep her stats up like the hearty little trooper that she has always been. Miss G, on the other hand, can start a slight wheeze, that most people wouldn't even notice, drop her O2 level and progress to a wheeze that most people couldn't miss, in the blink of an eye. Ok, not quite that fast, but in a matter of a few hours.

After we got home, both girls started getting nebs every 2 hrs, rather than waiting the prescribed 4. The benedryl dosing continued, the garlic consuming started, and I went ahead and started Miss G on another steroid burst- my least favorite thing about life with asthma, but a girl's gotta breathe, and so a mom's gotta do what a mom's gotta do.

After falling asleep, both girls dropped their O2 stats into the 80s, so I headed to the ER, this time with 2 girls, around 10 pm. After 2 more nebs, only a few minutes apart, they were deemed to have opened up and were moving air well, so we were sent home, with orders to start Little Miss H on a steroid burst as well, as her lungs were making much more 'noise'.

After getting home around 12:30 am, I collapsed into bed with a sudden severe headache and started vomiting, seriously, that's how behind in sleep I have been this week. My body canNOT handle that much sleep deprivation, so Darling Husband had to take over. He got up to watch the girls get settled into sleep, to give another neb in the middle of the night, and to take Miss G back in after her O2 level dipped to a way-too-low 70%, along with some retracting. Those of you that have experienced respiratory crud, know about retracting, and that it's not good. She's using auxillary muscles to help expand and contract her lungs, which mean she's working extra hard to breathe. That's taxing on a little body.

This time they x-rayed and confirmed she had already progressed to pneumonia, barely more than 12 hours from the time I noticed she had started wheezing. They gave her a shot of antibiotics and sent her home with oral antibiotics to add to the steroid burst and frequent nebs, with directions to bring her back (again) is she worsens. Well, by 7 am, her O2 was back down to 81% and she was still wheezy and retracting some more, so Darling Husband took her back, again, for the 3 time in 9 hrs...

This time her O2 had only come back up to 85% with all the waking activity and 'excitement' that comes with running to the ER (which will often result in a higher O2 stat long enough to be sent home, only to drop again when she falls asleep). This time she's staying, she's on oxygen, and she's needing a good sleep just as much as her Dad and I.

Most activity around here has come to a screeching halt, with videos being watched by the youngers, chores and extra helping out being done by the olders, so hopefully Mom can get another nap. I'll update as I hear more from Darling Husband.

Enjoying them,
because of Him,


Monday, September 21, 2009

Guess Who's 11 Months?!

I know it always sounds so cliche to say that "time flies", but it really does! I suppose that's why it's so cliche in the first place, because it's so true. So especially true when you're talking about a baby's first year, and this baby's first year is almost complete. Wow!
At 11 months, our Sweet Baby J-
  • has 10 teeth
  • has weaned and has learned to appreciate a bottle
  • speed crawls like a race car (seriously, he's given himself some hard-core rug burn on his wee little knees, I mean, his big boy knees)
  • pulls himself up using anything stable enough to hold him
  • likes to feed himself big people food, enough of the mushy stuff already! or so he says...
  • let's go of whatever he was hanging onto and stands unassisted quite well, until he realizes what he's doing, at which point he promptly, and with much coordination and skill, lowers himself to the ground and crawls quickly away
  • smiles HUGE full-face full-of-joy smiles
  • screeches like a screaming bird of some sort, we haven't quite identified what type, but it's a loud and screeching one...
  • prefers to have nothing on his feet, a preference he's going to have to overcome soon, with cold weather approaching in the soon to be frozen tundra we affectionately call Minnesnowta, I suppose I should be knitting some wool or alpaca baby socks right about now...

I know the next month will fly by just as fast, if not faster, than the last 11. I'm reminded daily- my oldest just recently turned 16!! Wow, that's all I can say about that one. Seriously, wow.

I'm cherishing the moments, taking lots of pictures, and even catching a few videos when I manage to remember that my point-and-shoot camera has video- I should remember that more often!

I thank the Lord for Baby J, and the 11 months of joy he has brought to us- looking forward to many more months, and years, with him, and the 6 other children we call our own. He has been good to us, so good indeed.

Enjoying them,
because of Him,

Friday, September 18, 2009

Making Me Smile 9.18.09

  • Making new friends at a new (to us) homeschool coop, and finding out one of them is someone I graduated high school with...!!
  • Looking through pictures of our recent historic fort field trip- I need to order prints and start working on our family homeschool yearbook right away this year! No more procrastinating on those!
  • Hearing about my son scoring his 1st 2 goals of the season, in the 1st game I couldn't make it to... (that one makes me a little bit bummed as well, but I'm choosing to focus on the good- he scored! Twice! Woohoo!)
  • Watching my little girls play cowboys, or rather, cowgirls, running around in fake leather vests with fringe and wearing my cowboy hat... There are a lot of people, with a lot of horses, around here, and my girls like to count horses as we drive around, and imagine they all belong on our ranch, except, we don't live on a ranch...
  • Watching Baby J feel, and try to eat, the tiny pebbles at the playground, after being released from the stroller to go exploring for the 1st time. It was the perfect opportunity for a little "no mouth" training!

  • The chickadees, nuthatches, and woodpeckers that crowd the feeder right outside out dining room window each day- even if they won't sit still enough for me to snap the perfect photo, or even a decent photo...
  • Stuffed animal monkeys, with velcro on their hands and feet, and Little M (2 yr old) wearing it every time Little Miss H (4 yr old) puts it down- they're so cute! Except maybe, when they fight over it, but that's just another opportunity for character training!
  • Hearing Big J work on his multiplication facts, knowing that his recall is getting better with every practice, and having the confidence that it will come naturally with enough repetition- enough is different for each child.
  • Hearing 2, 4, 6, 8, & 10 yr olds using Spanish words they've picked up (watching Dora!) Too bad I took 4 1/2 yrs of French, haha!
  • Cool evenings- I can finally get cozy in all of my favorite sweaters! (And start knitting some more!!)

Enjoying them,
because of Him-


Monday, September 14, 2009

Soon Angry or Slow to Wrath?

"He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly: and
a man of wicked devices is hated." Proverbs 14:17

"He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is hasty
of spirit exalteth folly." Proverbs 14:29

How often am I soon angry? Too often, I'm sure. So, how often do I deal foolishly? Well, too often on that one as well, but by the grace of God I am getting better and doing better all the time. Every day is a fresh chance, and with a house full of children, who by their very nature are in constant need of training and guidance, every day will have a chance (or many chances) to practice being 'slow to wrath', for I sure don't want to be one to exalt folly.

There are certainly times to be angry in this life, but being 'soon angry', especially when it comes to our children, can do a lot of damage to the atmosphere of our homes, and to the relationships which mean the most to us in this life.

Every time we have another toddler rising up in the ranks of our family, and we start to see 'terrible twos' temper tantrums and fits of anger over petty things like "I wanted that color crayon!!" and we start to work on a.) training for self-control and b.) disciplining for lack of self-control, I am reminded of the importance of this issue.

I have never been good at self-control. I wasn't trained to have good character, though I may have picked up a few 'good' things by watching Little House on the Prairie, The Cosby Show, and Family Ties... I have been striving to improve that (one of many) character flaw(s) in my life, and I want my children to have an easier go of it than me. I know my children are human, that makes them sinners like the rest of us. They will have struggles, and they will even have failures, but if I can help them overcome some of these common-to-man faults, to develop a strong inner character, then I truly believe they will be stronger, and better, adults than I have been, and that makes all of the hard work of parenting not only worth it, but utterly essential!

Striving for that great understanding,
practicing being slow to wrath,
enjoying them,
because of Him,


Thursday, September 3, 2009

Loving the Clean Room Challenge

Our 2 oldest recently went to camp. They came back with tales of sweeping and dusting and cabin cleaning face-off competitions. A couple weekends back, Dear Husband got the kids pitching in a little extra, as things have gone a wee bit downhill in the nice, neat, and orderly department in our home in recent months, and as Big J (10 yrs) was sweeping the entry, he got to reminiscing-

Looking at dust pile, "Whoa- this would certainly need to get swept up at camp"

Hanging up a stray light jacket, "Our cabin lost one day when I hung my jacket on a pole" (see, now that's just excessive, I mean, it wasn't on the floor...)

So we got to chatting about the cabin cleaning, and I asked him how often they had to sweep, you know, just making conversation with a 10 yr old, surely I knew that sweeping should be done daily, surely, "Every day!" Of course, I knew that, surely.

Me- "Really? Imagine how nice it would look around here if we had a cleaning competition every day..."

Him- "Yah! That'd be awesome!" (or some similar expression of eagerness & excitement)

And so it began- the Daily Clean Room Challenge. Our 2 oldest (boys) share a room, the next 3 oldest (girls) also share a room, those are the current teams, the 2 youngest (girl & boy) are too young to truly make a mess and really never play in there room...

I don't know how long this will last, at least in it's current form- hopefully the cleaning itself will last, you know, forever (a mom can dream), but for now, this is a DAILY thing! It's getting hard to judge, they're getting down to tiny missed things like dust, a stray cobweb (ew!), loose air soft pellets, and random unstuck stickers that managed to evade the vacuum cleaner. I'm going to need a pair of white gloves soon. Then I'm going to need to have them start cleaning my room... or not. I told them next week I'd be joining in the competition, and if I can beat them on any given day, then they'll be assigned extra chores! I know, I am sooo mean.

Not really, but I am so tired of messy. Lived-in will always be the case in a home with many children, but perpetually messy has got to go. Now that the rooms have been so tidy for so many days, next week's challenge will be to add another area- so instead of 15 minutes in their rooms, they'll have a minute or two to touch up and then the rest of the 15 minutes will be spent competing in cleaning another room, like the kitchen, or the family room, dining room, living room, you get the idea...

Consistency is sooo important, in every area really, but right now I'm stressing the need to consistently pick up after ourselves- a habit that I managed to make it through childhood without being forced to learn, a habit that I've struggled through adulthood to try to pick up, probably due to the fact that I never learned this as a child. Some people naturally just want a clean & tidy environment and their brains make the logical leap to doing what is necessary to achieve that- picking up after yourself, and the rest of us want that environment too, we just tend to not make that leap until the stress of the mess gets to be so much that we snap one day with an 'I can't take this anymore! I can't even get across the room without stepping on toys, dirty clothes, and cheerios!', or something like that...

Personal responsibility is really what it's all about. I know now that I was not made to do enough chores, not made to help enough as a child. I had to do the dishes, and I had to sweep and vacuum, and I did it most of the time, grudgingly, under penalty of fines and some yelling, but I never did it with the understanding that it was the right thing to do, the responsible thing to do. It was always something that hopefully somebody else would do, but if not, if I had to do (insert any chore), then ok fine, I'd do it as fast as I could, probably quite carelessly. Or as slow as I could, probably equally as carelessly. Or there were the times when the OCD would overtake me and much of the job may not have gotten done, but that one spot got really, really clean.

Hmmm, and now I see my children tending to act the same way, so we're trying to nip that in the proverbial bud. We're working on making sure our children know that it's not somebody else's job to follow them around and pick up their toys, their books, their plates, their wrappers, their apple cores (yuck!)... It's their responsibility to do these things, and it's my responsibility to teach them (the tough part). Some days it seems like a very big job, but I need to keep at it because I know how hard bad habits are to overcome as an adult, and I want to give my children the best start in life that I can manage. Teaching them this aspect of personal responsibility will have an impact on so many areas of their lives, I'm confident of that. And so, the clean-up-after-yourself on-a-daily-basis Clean Room(s) Challenge will go on!

Enjoying them (and their clean rooms!),
because of Him,


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