Saturday, October 31, 2009

Not the Halloween we envisioned.

Life had radically different plans for SS's second Halloween. I asked P to at least take her to the Mall, because now that she is a year older, SS would enjoy the experience. P was adamant that they would not go without me. Turns out she was a one child parade at the hospital.

P called me from the lobby and I anxiously waited for my little pirate to emerge from the elevator. I knew the nurses (in my wing) were going to be all over SS, and I wanted a few minutes admiring my daughter in private. I had not counted on the nurse's station by the elevator. As soon as SS stepped out, she gathered their attention.

Here is one of many instances where my bio mother and I are total opposites. As I'm greeting SS and looking at her cute costume, my mother kept urging "Look, turn around, look behind you." I asked why and she excitedly said, "Look at all the people looking at SS, acknowledge them." WTF? I could not care less who was behind us, and why the hell did I need to "acknowledge" them? It just ruined the moment for me. It is also something we saw again at the cafeteria. SS was singing and being her happy go lucky self. Then Abu points at the people looking and tells SS that they are looking and smiling at her. How twisted is that? Why make a child self conscious or worse, conceited. I just don't get it, but made it clear that is not the way we do things with SS.

We allowed SS to walk around the hall for a while and the nurses called other nurses to come and see the cutest littlest pirate. In SS's world pirates growl and she did plenty of that. We then walked downstairs to the deserted lobby and allowed SS to roam free and burn excess energy.

P was right about avoiding the Mall. The over stimulation would have upset SS, and my absence would have worsened her response. Like we are not backwards enough, now SS can reminisce about the Halloween she spent at the hospital. I hope she does not take after me, because P reminded me that I spent Halloween 2007 in Urgent Care, taking care of a sprained ankle. My timing really sucks.

A pirate in my room! One of the nurses quickly gave SS a full size candy bar. Just what she needs, a sugar rush.

Mini Captain Morgan.

Like I was saying...

Grandpa thank you for the beautiful flowers.

Modern way to schedule pillaging and plundering.

P and SS have slept more in this room than I.

My first Halloween flowers. P knows how to woo a girl (after calling her stubborn like the soap scum on our shower doors).

Friday, October 30, 2009

SS is inoculated against her kind.

Yesterday we received a message from our Family Practice stating that they had 100 doses of the swine flu vaccine, and would we be interested in securing one for SS. P called right away and made an appointment for this morning. We chose not to wait for me to be discharged, because protecting SS trumps having me there.

We were concerned because SS freaks out while being weighed and fights vital checks like a gladiator. Imagine adding my absence to the mix. I was relieved that P came through in good Baba fashion. He told SS to look at a picture, and the nurse swiftly sneaked in the shot. P said that once it registered, SS began to whimper, thought better of it, and stopped.

P and SS dropped by after the shot and had lunch with me. Man those ice chips are so tasty. They have a lot of errands to run before driving to the airport. They will be home close to midnight, so I won't be seeing them until tomorrow morning. I miss them already.

In case it is not obvious, SS was born in the year of the pig. Therefore, she was vaccinated against herself.

Completely unaware about what she's about to face.

It was a small lollipop, but SS ravaged it in record time.

I love their smiles.

Roast beef and curly fries. It's been one healthy meal after another for my family.

SS's first overnight hospital stay in the U.S.

At least SS's first overnight hospital stay was due to me, not because she was ill. The most pain I'm feeling now is for my baby girl. SS wants to be held by Mama, but can't get close to Mama. She won't even sit on the bed with me. She is absolutely terrified of the IV pole, and the tubes protruding from my body. When she woke up from her nap yesterday, she went ballistic. Talk about the ultimate how-my-mother-ruined-Halloween-forever story.

The nurses have been amazing. It does help that SS is a people magnet, but they caught on pretty quickly that she is a Mama's girl and that she is really hurting right now. Tuesday, the ER nurse immediately took to SS and got her stickers and asked P if she could have crackers and juice (she gave them to P, P fed SS). As I was about to be moved upstairs she reached out to SS, wanting to pick her up. SS took a step back, smiled and said "HIGH FIVE!" Talk about an unexpected gift. But I digress... P and SS walk in and out at will. My roommate was released early this evening, and P brought SS ready for bed. She and P fell asleep on my bed, since I could only find comfort sitting on a chair with my feet up on the bed.

Nurse B, the charge nurse, was assigned to me. She came in to tell me that P and SS could spend the night, and she felt it would benefit all of us. It is the most sleep I have had since Monday. Fitful sleep, but the best part is that I did not have to take a sleeping pill, that I knew would not work. Nurse B was right, we all benefited from spending that time together. Just another ordinary family moment in extraordinary circumstances.

Oh, and that 6" incision? The Dr. underestimated big time, it is only 13" in length. No wonder I was feeling uncomfortable.

P and SS made themselves at home on the bed next to mine.

Up and down Baba, come on, this bed is like an amusement park ride.

Beautiful flowers from Nana and Grand Min. SS was totally convinced that they were hers because as she said, "flowers, Halloween." It so hurts me that SS will miss out on going Trick or Treat.


Friday morning.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Journey to the ER (Updated with pictures).

You never realize how quickly your life can be thrown into upheaval until it is. One day K was feeling just fine and then all of a sudden not. As you can read from the previous posts we had a lot of fun this weekend at the pumpkin patch and SS was just eating up all the Halloween fun. We had no indication about what witch's concoction was brewing in my wife's bowels. Mind you, K has had her fair share of pain over the years, but this was a new experience and not one we will soon forget. She's given birth, had her leg shredded by an ATV wheel, fallen 10 feet onto her back while rock climbing, and knee injuries that have required two laparoscopic surgeries. For all of you who've given birth, present company not included (although I have heard it's painful), the pain from this recent experience was the same if not worse than childbirth.

It started Monday during the day. When I came home for lunch K was experiencing some abdominal discomfort. This is not an unusual occurrence because my wife tends to have boa constrictor cramps during that very special time of thee month. Unfortunately (or should I say fortunately ;) ), it wasn't that time of the month. Needless to say the pain got worse but wasn't unbearable.

One thing you need to know about K is that she tolerates pain well. What would have me bowled over crying like a baby is akin to a hang nail to her. Monday night she had a fitful night of sleep and woke up around three in the morning with a fever and unable to sleep because of the pain. I gave her one of my Vicodin but that didn't really help so she just sucked it up.

By the time I was ready to go to work Tuesday K seemed to be doing a little better, she wasn't complaining of a fever with the pain subsiding a bit. I returned home for lunch at noon. I did suggest that she go to the Dr,, but my wife is more stubborn than the soap scum on our shower doors and thought she should wait a little longer. She didn't have to wait long. I got a call from K shortly after returning to work. She said she was struck with a excruciating pain in her abdomen and had been vomiting for the last 30 minutes. I felt awful for her and decided to make the decision for her to go to the Dr. She seemed scared and K does not do scared.

I rushed home from work and off to urgent care we went. SS was a trooper through it all. K was really concerned how she was going to handle seeing her Mama in so much pain. The pain was so bad K couldn't get from the bathroom to the living room to get the phone to call me. She felt so guilty that she asked SS to fetch her cell phone. I pointed out that SS really wants to help us and that's what's important. Later, K told me that SS handed her the phone, then kissed her forehead.

At urgent care K was seen promptly, which is a first. The nurse gave his own presumptive diagnosis that it was probably the flu, since that's what's been going around. If only it were that simple. Fortunately, the Dr. did a thorough examination and decided to look past the common flu and what was causing the pain. At this point K did not have a fever, but something bothered the Dr. when it came to the intense pain and he felt she could have one of two possible diagnoses, either a left side appendicitis or diverticulitis. Without the equipment to make a proper diagnosis and because of the seriousness of the situation he referred us to the ER and called ahead for them to await our arrival.

We went to the ER and like urgent care, were seen promptly. They didn't even ask for the insurance card straight away. A CT scan of K's abdomen was ordered and soon after we got the results. It was diverticulitis with a perforation of her colon. The nurses were surprised that she wasn't expressing more pain considering the diagnosis and were also surprised that she had no clue that she had diverticulitis. By this time K was running a fever of 102 and as you can imagine not feeling so great. Then we got our surprise, she would require emergency surgery to repair the perforation. Okay, K is used to having surgery so no big deal, right? Wrong! The surgeon arrived to tell us what the surgery would entail. Not as simple as we thought it would be. The part of her colon that was perforated and inflamed would have to be removed, but because it was infected could not simply be reattached to her intestines. Instead she would require a colostomy. The first thing we though was, oh God, is this permanent? The good news is no, but it would require a stay of 3-5 days in the hospital, a wound that would remain open to heal over the course of six weeks, followed with a second surgery to reattach the ends in 3 months.

So with that we waited for K to be taken in for surgery. It was backed up in the OR Tuesday night and K was taken in around 9:30. SS and I stayed in the waiting room, alone for what should have been a 1 1/2 hour surgery that turned into almost three hours. The first hour and a half went by fine. Then SS fell asleep and my worrying got the best of me. I kept asking recovery how she was doing and they kept saying she's not out of surgery yet. That was the worst, not knowing if it was going okay or not. Then I started thinking, how can I make it without her? She's the better parent of the two of us and I could never do all that she does. Makes you realize how much you love, care, and need someone when you might lose them. It took me back to when JJ suffered his PE and was in the ICU, but at that time I had K to hold on to. This was different, SS was sleeping and I was all alone. So scary.

At 12:20 the Dr. came out to tell me the surgery went fine. She would be in recovery for the next two hours and that now would be a good time to take the baby home. I made phone calls to let the family know she was out of surgery and I took SS home. I was so relieved that K was okay. I thanked God and tucked SS into dreamland.


Cutest little devil.

Don't worry, everyone is taken by my skull tutu and baby horns. No one will notice that I'm up to no good.

BTW, that is the remote.

Walking with Mama and her accesories.

First walk at 5:00 a.m., second at 6:30 a.m. and now with SS. Whatever it takes to shed all the tubes and head home. Pain still there, three extra orifices also still there.

K's smile courtesy of Mr. Morphine drip. :)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

K's feeling MUCH better.

K's pain level is 2 (10 being the worst)! When we arrived this afternoon, SS was asleep. I placed her next to K, I sat next to the bed and we napped for around 40 minutes. K's temperature is back to normal and she says this is the best she's felt since this began. Above, SS is enjoying a jello cup. The nurses have been providing snacks and juice to SS since we walked in the ER. Cuteness has its benefits.


On the mend...

K's surgery took longer than expected. She was out by 2:00 a. m. I talked to the surgeon, then took SS home.

Both my mother & K's bio mother have offered to come to help. K will be going home with a six inch open wound, and the C bag. K's bio Mother will be flying in tomorrow or Friday. We are going to ask Nana to be here for the follow up surgery in January.

K is in a lot of pain and they have increased her meds x3. She can't sleep.
Thanks for the positive thougts and prayers.

Today SS has been longer with us than without us


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

SS escorts Mama to the OR.

Diverticulitis, but as you can see, I have a guardian Angel. See you on the flip side.

Monday, October 26, 2009

"I help."

SS is at the same stage JJ was at her age. She loves planes, trains and cars. A few weeks ago, she spotted the table and train set below.

It was love at first sight. The kind of goo goo eyed love that romance novels and chick movies depict. It was so cute to watch her drool over this toy. SS will point at almost any toy, but rarely does she go all out. This definitely caught her fancy. I'm a sucker, but the $140 price tag brought me back to reality. The cool part is that it also has an airplane, a helicopter and cars. The whole package as far as SS is concerned. Another thing that I like about this toy is that is wooden and completely devoid of electronics. SS would have to make noises, move the toys around the track herself, you know, use her imagination.

The first time SS saw the number one item on her Christmas list (she's going to have to talk to her grandparents about her expensive tastes), there was a doll house displayed above it. As I'm enjoying my daughter's reaction to this toy, a woman (around 60) came up to SS and said, "You should be looking at the doll house," and pointed to it. My girl made me proud and did not even acknowledge the nosy woman. She was too busy falling in love. People really need to mind their own business, and I do not take it well when people try to force feed gender stereotypes to my children. I told the woman, "We have chosen to refrain from gender stereotyping, and she is welcome to look, and want any toy she wishes." The nosy woman huffed and left.

Yesterday, SS saw her toy again, and proceeded to gush over it. Our girl is picking up skills, she pointed at it, pointed at the shopping cart and said, "Toy, train, SS." In case I did not get the point, she pointed at her chest and said, "I SS." When I moved away, she held her little hands together and upped the ante, "Pweease, Mama, pweease!" Dude, where does she get that stuff? As adorable as she was, she lives in the A-A household not the J-P villa.

The next item in her agenda is more doable. She immediately asked to get down to try the Radi0 Flyer scooter. One thing I liked about it is that is pedaled (kid) powered. I have never been a fan of motorized mini vehicles. The whole idea of play, well, is being active, whether it is with their bodies or their minds. SS does need a ride on toy, and P liked it.

Sorry about the blurry phone pictures. This is where my husband turned on me. I sent him the video below, and he e-mailed me, stating that "Pink is fine, it goes with her." Traitor. As you can see, SS wears plenty of pink. But I think a Radi0 Flyer toy should be red and white (they have it in red). It's the way they have always been until this recent let's make toys pink to get even more money became so widespread.

We were quite busy yesterday, and SS had a meltdown due to miscommunication and P came home really early for lunch. Poor guy was so hungry. He ate half a sandwich and returned to work, because we needed to meet at C0$tco to get together a small package that needed to be FedExed. He left and we were to meet an hour later. SS went ballistic, one because Baba left quickly and second, because he did not wear his usual work shoes. Little people are such creatures of habit. She picked up his shoes and wailed. She wanted "Baba, car, shoes." I had to take her outside and show her that Baba's car was gone, but reassured her that he was not barefoot. SS threw herself on the driveway before I could catch her, and did a nice face plant. I'm sure there will be bruising.

When it was time to shop, SS was at her breaking point and wanted me to hold her, then wanted to walk. We still had a few more errands to run and I really had to get them done today. I had a huge lapse in judgement and placed her on the floor, to avoid the mother of all meltdowns. We never, ever allow SS to walk around. Because the store is very busy and adults do not seem to care if they run over a little child, I insisted that SS hang on to the side of the cart. She still almost got whacked a few times. I then had her hang on to the cart right in front of me. SS got such a kick out of helping and pushing. She sang, "I help, I push, push, push," and she laughed. Oh my gosh did she laugh. That look at me, I'm all that and a bag of chips laugh.

The down side was that I was pressed for time, and maneuvering a shopping cart when your two year old is in front of you, pushing with all she has is rather difficult. SS surprised me with her strength and when she pushed, I had to pull back and steer, to keep her from bumping into objects and people. It took for freaking ever to get out of the store. When we were by the bread, our final item and close to the registers, I realized I neglected to get toilet paper. Of course the TP is located at the end of the store. Cr@p! SS helped me place that big TP package under the cart, making a seconds only task into a freaking odyssey.

Because I am the luckiest gal in the world, we had to stop at the market. SS insisted on helping with everything. She placed vegetables and fruit in bags, then I picked her up and she placed them in the cart. She also took the time to proudly cheer herself on. And she pushed the darn cart. She helped, helped and then helped some more. I must have looked weary at that point, because a woman smiled at me and said, "She is SO proud that she is helping. Hang in there, it's going to pay off." I do realize that children need to develop a sense of industry, and this is vital for their development. I just wish it was not at a senior citizen pace. :)

On the drive home I thought about Mami and Papi and how they always allowed me to help. They were old, and there I was, taking whatever bit of energy they had left. But they never complained, just praised me for all my "help." If they were able to do that at 70 and 80, I think I'll survive the helping stage. I must admit, shopping has never taken so long and has never tired me so much.

Mama's little helper.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Pumpkin Patch

Our Pumpkin. The outfit she is wearing is 6-9 months and I have no idea how I missed it last year. I have pledged to go through her closet soon. SS is wearing candy corn socks that light up on the side. I got her a few pairs at Wally Mart last year, for all of 50 cents. Her sippy cup leaked her cherry limeade all over her right sleeve. So none of this pictures are contenders for next year's calendar. That is, if I get around to selecting just 13 pictures (need one for the cover). SS is no longer afraid of pumpkins (they freaked her out last year). But she still does not like sitting on them alone. P got lucky with this shot. Check out her new classic Vans. The Chucks can be a pain in the rear end to get on her when she is not cooperating.

P ad I are not flower people, do not mind them, but do not go out of our way to see them. Funny how SS finds her way in front of flowers often. The girl does make them look better.

Kiddie hay maze.

Top of the hay pyramid.

SS loved the cow train.

She liked it so much that she rode twice. SS enjoyed the bumps intentionally placed around the path. She raised her little arms and and yelled "BUMP!" Can't wait for our little scary cat to follow our footsteps, and enjoy being upside down at some ridiculously high speed and G forces, with the ever present danger of plunging to our deaths. Totally different from my apprehension about flying, I mean crashing.

Now trains are part of SS's obsession.

SS enjoyed meeting the ponies but would not sit on one. Snowball was her favorite and although she can pronounce his name perfectly, she renamed him Meatball.

OK, now for the "big girl" train.

I'm glad that I pulled SS's hair back, and that she does not have my fro hair. It was windy as heck last year, but I did not take that into account. I had to use my sunglasses to keep my Jiffy Pop hair out of my face.

Despite her face, SS really enjoyed the ride, especially the "choo choo" which she cutely imitated.

First grown up corn maze. We lost count of how many times SS squealed "HALLOWEEN!" We have it coming when she realizes that it is not a permanent thing. We are going to hit the clearance sales and get her enough H paraphernalia to last her until next year. Heck, we are considering making the downstairs half-bathroom into the "Halloween bathroom."

After getting royally lost, SS came to our rescue and pointed the way out. Last year we brought our GPS along. In our defense, it was at night. :)

What would we ever do without SS?

On a whim I decided to try out a very quick (cheap) face paint for SS. I have never had my face painted, nor wear makeup. The first time I painted JJ's face was for a costume and at his request. I never looked forward to doing that specifically with SS. But I have been thinking about it since we came home. SS is squirmy, and it was out of the question. This is where my embarrassing moment happened, and in front of a freaking stranger. As I holding a very still SS, I cried happy tears. No, I'm not posting those, it's one thing to admit being a wuss, but posting evidence? Nope. Also notice how I'm sneaking it in way down here, so no one will notice. Heh.

It's just little moments like that one that just mess with my very cold heart. I was so embarrassed and apologized to the artist. She was teary eyed and said, "It's a beautiful thing to wait for a daughter and have the opportunity to hold your daughter on your lap, having her face painted and sharing that moment." Gosh, I really hope I never encounter that woman again.

We chose a butterfly, instead of something Halloweenish (and more complicated), because we had no idea how long SS would sit still.

Corn, and Tonkas, and no one else in the Corn Box.

Tonkas are on SS's Christmas list. She was in tomboy heaven.

Wow, ducks and water! Let the one toddler race begin.

This is why P is a better parent that me. He will squeeze his frame into any cramped space SS asks him to venture, just to see her smile. I see in our future a news item about the jaws of death being used to pry an adult out of a space clearly intended for a toddler.

What do you mean it's over? I'm not done here! She quickly calmed down after she saw the night time decorations.