Saturday, November 30, 2013

Saturday, Day 5 in the hospital - More Progress!

David is currently off his oxygen, out of bed and sitting in his rocking chair.  We plan to get up and walk a little today and see how he does with a little activity.  The doctor said if he does okay off the oxygen tonight, we can discharge tomorrow so let's be hopeful for that!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Friday night progress!

Hallelujah, good news at last!  I just got a call from Chris that David was able to maintain his oxygen levels on the nasal cannula at a lower oxygen flow rate (level 2), which means his passageways are opening up.  He also mentioned that David has been able to blow out a lot of junk from his nose which is further indication that all of the mucous must be finally loosening up.  I'm not sure if it is the antibiotics kicking in, or the menthol treatment, or the steroids or a combination of it all but we'll take it!  Hopefully tomorrow, we will be able to begin the process to wean him from oxygen and hopefully his recovery will pick up speed from this point so we can get our boy home.  Great news to end the day.  :-)

Friday, David's 4th day in the hospital...

Today was definetly a happier day for David, in terms of his spirits, but we are facing a 24 hr challenge to get his nasal passages clear.  When we saw the doctor this afternoon, she was not pleased with the fact that David has to wear his nose and mouth mask to receive oxygen as she would have expected him to be on the nasal cannula by now at a level of 3 (the highest).  The nose and mouth mask is really only to be used in emergency situations and is very drying to the nasal cavities.  Up till this point, David would only wear the nasal cannula to eat and would have to put the nose/mouth mask on to prevent his oxygen levels from falling below 90 and setting off alarms.  You see, his nasal passages are just so clogged that he cannot even get any air up one side of his nose.  If he's not receiving the full benefit from his breathing treatments, his progress will be hindered.  The doctor told me to get David menthol cough drops and have him take them every 4 hours in hopes of clearing up his passages that way.  If they are still clogged tomorrow, she is going to order an Ear Nose Throat  (ENT) specialist to clear the passages by whatever method they choose... (Vacume suction, irrigation?). That doesn't sound pleasant so I am hoping they clear with the menthol!

On a happy note, my Mom and Dad were able to visit him at the hospital and he perked up considerably telling his Nana and Grandpa all about his hospital experience in great detail.  He ate well at all 3 meals, and was able to blow out some pretty nasty black boogers from his nose after his first menthol cough drop and some saline spray.  In the late afternoon and evening he was able to breathe with the nasal cannula at level 3 and maintain oxygen levels at 93-94 which is awesome.  I was  also able to pick up some travel sized games (at a great Black Friday price, no less) when I went to Walgreens for the cough drops for David.  We spent the early part of the evening playing Connect 4, Battleship and Checkers and I enjoyed that time with my son very much.

So right now, Chris is pulling his all night shift and I'll get another update when I take over in the morning.  Let's hope those nasal passageways clear up so we can make some real progress tomorrow!

I'll update again tomorrow.  Thank you again to all who are thinking and praying for him.  We really just want to get him well and back home.  A funny aside though, David said he could stay at the hospital for another week because he is enjoying the food so much.  I will say it is very nice to order whatever you like and have it just appear in 45 min... But no we are not staying one minute longer than we have to!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Day 3 at the hospital, and Happy Thanksgiving!

Today is Thanksgiving and it also marks our 3rd full day at St. Luke's as David tries to heal from his "asthma attack and bad sinus infection.  Chris continues to take the night shift and I stay at the hospital during the day so that David always has one of his parents with him at all times.  I am very thankful for the doctors and nurses who work around the clock here to care for him, and even more grateful knowing they are here for us on this holiday when most everyone else is celebrating with their own families.

David continues on a slow path to recovery and can now wear the nose cannula and keep up his oxygen levels for short periods of time.  The doctors have said that his upper lungs sound good and appear to be clear but his lower lungs are still inflamed and clogged with "junk" and/or possibly infected.  The antibiotics he is taking to clear up his sinus infection are the same meds needed for an infection in his lungs so he should be covered for both issues.  Today, he still needs to be receiving oxygen at all times.  The doctor told me today that we can experiment with weaning him off the oxygen tomorrow and see how he does.  Once the weaning process begins, our goal will be to make it through the night off the oxygen, and without incident.  Once that occurs, we can go home,  I asked her, very tentatively, when she thought this might happen.  She thinks he can accomplish these goals in 2-3 days and would absolutely expect he would be home by Monday at the latest.  These expectations help me to put it all into perspective and it feels less like we are are just going to be here indefinitely.

David's spirits are good though it does get a bit boring being in bed all day.  I got the kids a Looney Toons DVD collection to surprise them with and watch on the way to Dallas.  Since that trip didn't happen, we are enjoying it in the hospital.  It is nice to hear David chuckling over the same cartoons I used to watch as a kid.  I am envious that he gets to experience them without all the commercials I was subjected to watching on live TV... How times have changed.  We took a walk around the pediatric floor again and while Chris is here, David gets to watch a lot of football with Dad.  He cracks me up calling all the plays now... "That's a scoop score... That's a pick six.... This game has everything,"  It's really funny how much he acts and talks like his Daddy but I guess that's what boys do.

So the good news, is that David continues to improve and that we have a discharge date in sight.  He continues to receive excellent care and we are all hanging in there.  Thanks for checking in on us and Happy Thanksgiving.

God bless,
Michelle

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Steps forward...

So at 7pm on Wednesday night, David's spirits are most definitely higher.  He is able to eat his dinner peacefully with the nasal cannula on and his oxygen levels at 93-94 and holding steady.  This is huge as he ordered pasta again and is quite hungry!  We were able to take a little walk around the pediatric floor and get out of his room... Granted we had to drag the O2 tank and IV with us but it was still nice to just take a little walk.  Tomorrow, once the antibiotics provide some relief for his sinus infection, he will likely be able to put the face mask away and maybe we will have some hope to ween off the oxygen.  Time will tell but we are hopeful.  Chris should be here to take over for the night soon and I'll head home to my house where currently, we have no power!  Can you believe it.  The transformer blew earlier this afternoon and we are part of a pretty large outage.  Entergy said they would get the power back on at 6pm... Then 7pm...  I hope they get their act together because it is currently in the 30's and may drop into the 20's tonight.  The girls and I may have to all sleep together  in the same bed for warmth!

Set backs...

Chris and I switched out at the hospital today about 1:00.  Unfortunately, David has a nasty sinus infection which is hindering his ability to breath through his nose.  In consequence, he can't use the nasal cannula (the little nose tubes) to receive his oxygen since he can only get deep breaths through his mouth.  When he tried to eat lunch using the cannula the oxygen alarm kept going off as he dropped under 90.  The nurse is okay with the alarms going off when he eats as long as he hangs out around 88.  But David, unfortunately is very frustrated and upset that he can't even eat without alarms going off.  The nurse agreed to mute the alarm while he eats as long as he promises to put his mask on if he feels short of breath.  He was okay with that and is currently eating.  Chris said last night when they woke him up out of a pretty deep sleep he was kind of shaking and muttering on about how he's just not getting better.  I feel so bad for him because he's just a kid and being in the hospital is certainly no fun for him and the not knowing when he'll go home is especially hard to take.

So... On the positive, he received his antibiotic just now for his sinus infection and hopefully it will help him feel remarkably better in 24 hrs.  In the meantime, I am going to do my best to cheer him up.  They have movies and video games here by the plenty so we may have to check some of that out today.

Thank you for checking in and keep up the prayers.

David in the hospital...

I haven't had time to properly reflect and document the events of the last 48 hours but did so this morning in journal like form.  The outpouring of prayers and concern for David's condition has been overwhelming and such a blessing and comfort to us.  I have not been able to respond personally to everyone, though I would if I could.  Here is my recap and lengthy commentary:

Quite simply, David had been suffering from a cold over the weekend and had a nasty cough for a few days but seemed to be doing fine with no fever and healthy appetite.  We hypothesize (so scientific sounding, but a guess none-the-less)  that he experienced a severe asthma attack on Monday afternoon though he has never had asthma like symptoms before. We don't really know what triggered it or if it will happen again though we have some theories based on his allergies and the fact he has been a little under the weather the past few days.  

Monday afternoon, after resting in bed all morning I found David breathing fast with an accelerated heartbeat.   I took him to an urgent care center where they tested him for various things and immediately started him on oxygen and steroid breathing treatments.  He didn't have the flu but his white blood cell count was high and a chest scan indicated a lot of inflammation of him lungs looking suspiciously like a severe asthma attack.  In fact the doctor was almost dumb-founded when I told him David did not suffer from asthma at that point.  Given how serious his episode was, they knew he needed to be transferred to the hospital for around-the-clock care.  His heart rate was very high, and about 130-140 at the time. He was transferred by ambulance (no sirens though) to the hospital on Monday around 5:00pm.  At St. Luke's in the emergency center, he was assessed and given higher dosage breathing treatments and watched very carefully.  After being seen my the doctor and treated, Chris was told if he didn't show signs of improvement in 3-4 hours, he would go to Texas Children's downtown.  By this time, Chris had taken over at the hospital and I was at home with the girls.  The breathing treatments increased his heart rate over 150 (which is normal we were told) but scary to see.  David was putting all his energy into breathing and was breathing down from his gut at a very fast and furious pace.  He showed slight improvements over the next few hours and they allowed him to stay at St. Luke's, admitting him to Pediatrics around 2am on Tuesday morning.  This was a rough night for Chris as he watched his Dad suffer only a few months ago from his heart attack.  And it was very rough for me, knowing how serious the situation was and not being at his side.  My last update from Chris that night was around 2am to let me know they had received a room and that David was doing better. Though I only slept fitfully, I knew no news was good news and that likely they were both resting. I was correct. One of my sweet neighbors, who happens to be an early riser, answered my plea for help on Tuesday morning to come to the house and watch my sleeping kiddos so I could go to the hospital and relieve Chris around 7:30am. I was very happy to see David looking much more peaceful and not struggling so hard to breathe. His heart rate had dropped to the 120s and he was receiving breathing treatments every 4 hours along with all the other things he would need through IV like potassium and magnesium.

Yesterday, Tuesday, he was on oxygen all day through the nose prongs but had to switch to a nose/face mask because the poor kid was all stuffed up due to allergies or his minor cold... The nurses gave him saline treatments, helped him blow his nose and ultimately gave him Flonase which helped a little but finally just wanting to sleep without hearing all the alarms go off every time his oxygen fell below 90, they just gave him the nose/face mask. My sweet boy was just simply worn out and got some good rest... Or as good as you can get in a hospital where you are checked on constantly. So Tuesday was good in the sense that David (with no scary drama) received a full day of treatments and we were told his lungs were definitely on the mend and improving.  It is sobering though that he cannot be off his oxygen for long periods of time and that his heart rate still fluctuates between 120-135 due to the steroid treatments.   I simply don't know how long the healing will take or when they will be able to wean him off the oxygen or ultimately when he will be able to come home. One positive note was that David finally ate a meal on Tuesday night after refusing breakfast and lunch. I knew he would eat when he felt better... So I ordered him pasta with marinara sauce. When it came at 6:00 he said he didn't want it... But by 7:00 he asked if there was any left.. Yes, he suspected I ate it... Don't laugh!  He didn't eat his turkey, mashed potato and gravy lunch but I sure did! And it was delicious and I'm not apologizing.  A pregnant woman does not leave a beautiful meal like that untouched.   Hospital life is not all bad!  Anyway, David attacked his pasta and ate more than half of a very big serving along with his fruit and apple juice. A very good sign in my book!

Chris and I did our "shift change" at the hospital last night about 7pm when the nursed did theirs... When our day nurse introduced the night nurse, I introduced my husband.  (Kind of funny.)   I took the girls to Chili's for dinner and simply enjoyed the fact they are healthy... It is hard to remember to do that simple thing when all is normal and routine in your life. We hit the grocery store to replenish and it dawned on me that I should get a ham for Thanksgiving since we cancelled our trip to visit family in Dallas. I don't know if David will be with us at home, but tradition calls for a special meal and I didn't feel like we shouldn't acknowledge that.  Besides, David loves ham and will love the leftovers!  As for today, Wednesday, I have not checked I with Chris yet, but I pray David will continue to do well and improve and ultimately come home.  I'll update later today.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Lia's Baby Book

Emily and David both have beautiful baby books.  I made Emily's book after her first birthday and got inspired to make David's baby book when I was pregnant with Lia.  They *love* their baby books and love to get them out occasionally to see them.  I reference their baptism pictures when we discuss the sacraments and they are cherished very  much.  Lia is now almost six years old and has been asking why I haven't made hers yet.  Her requests that I make her baby book have gotten quite a bit more insistent over the past two years and especially now that we are awaiting baby Isaac's birth.  And guess what?  Those pregnancy hormones are amazing and I have been working on Lia's baby book all week with much dedication and the added inspiration of a 40% off everything coupon expiring tomorrow.  ;-)  And voila, here it is!  I can't wait to give it to her.  Try this link if the baby book doesn't appear below:
 
http://share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=8AcsW7Jk4ctXPw&cid=SFLYOCWIDGET


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Police Station Tour

While I'm updating our blog, I'll post this picture of David visiting our local police station with his and another cub scout den.  And yes, all the kids passed their blood/alcohol test.  ;-)
 

 David's trying out the riot gear in this photo!

 
Another group picture from Chris's phone: 
 

Lia's First UT game

David and Emily have taken turns in the past going to the Texas football games with Dad.  This year, for the OSU game, he asked the kids who wanted to go with him.  David and Emily had a diving skills meet and didn't want to miss it and Lia surprised all of us when she said she would like to go with Daddy to the game.  Always before, she would say she didn't want to go or say she would rather stay with Mommy so last weekend she got to go to her first big UT football game.
 

Chris said she did great and really enjoyed watching the game and especially when the video screen displayed the message 'Get Loud!' to encourage the fans to cheer.


And a beautiful sunset to end Lia's special day with Dad!

Green Belt Testing

Here are the videos I took during David's green belt test as he performed his patterns.  He was in a group of 3 other boys testing for their green belts.  They are all performing the same pattern but you will see they are doing it at their own pace rather than together.  Anyway... it will give you an idea of what it is all about.  Tae Kwon Do was a mystery to me until David started his classes so it is always fun to learn about new arts!
 

David gets his green belt!

Last Wednesday night, David tested and was awarded his green belt in Tae Kwon Do.  As he progresses through the different belt levels, I have noticed how difficult his patterns have become and how serious he has been as he worked to master them.  Chris and I couldn't be prouder of him!  He started as a white belt, earned his yellow belt and now his green.  Because the patterns are so difficult to master, the kids can earn a stripe between each belt to discern they are at the half way point.  So when David tested, he was wearing a yellow belt with a green stripe.  He says he wants to go all the way to his junior black belt so he will have to achieve blue, red and then several stages as a black belt candidate to get there.  Stay tuned!
 

David is receiving his green belt here as he holds his old yellow belt in his left hand.


Shaking hands with Master Scott.

And all the new green belts accepting applause from the class!


To earn his green belt, he had to memorize 2 patterns and spar (fight) in front of his instructors.  Here is David in the white helmet sparring with a junior black belt.  (no pressure)


And here is a fuzzy picture of David kicking said junior black belt.  I have to admit I don't like watching him spar especially when he gets paired up with a girl.  He has to wear a helmet to protect his head, a tooth guard for his teeth and in tournaments, the boys even wear a protective cup.

 
 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Reading!

Lia has been very busy this school year learning the monumental skill called reading.  I have mentioned before that we struggled so much through our first book that I was left looking for something that would be a better fit for my little girl and I am still so happy and grateful we found 'All About Reading'.  (Thank you Blair!)
 
We spend a lot of time at our huge magnetic board manipulating letters and sounds to make words but I love that this program also includes phonetic readers, fun games and worksheets too.  Yesterday's lessons had Lia cooking sunny-side up eggs in the frying pan and reading the words on the bottom of each egg as she flipped them.  If she could read the egg, she got to put it on her plate.  Yes, the stove is off!
 

Generally, Lia doesn't like to do things in the ordinary way... so her eggs were colored with blue and purple yolks and rainbow whites... but that is part of her charm.  ;-)


And you phonetic readers out there can celebrate that we made it through all the basic one letter phonograms last week and have moved on to 'qu' and the two sounds of 'th'.  This is huge for us as we practice for a short time every day and slowly this idea of blending sounds is starting to gel in her brain.  I know we will get there.  Patience is key... but it is also a blessing to find activities that make the practice fun.

Lia's Little Mermaid Dance


And here's her Little Mermaid dance!
(She's right in the middle with the long ponytail.)

Lia's Ready for the Show!

Lia continued with ballet this fall at the YMCA.  She's still in the 3-6 year old class and continues to enjoy it.  I love that the instructors are all high school teens who just really seem to enjoy the little girls and love to teach.  We attended class on Wednesdays and Fridays so Lia got lots of dancing in this year.  Last year, her end of class recital was an informal affair for the parents in her ballet studio.  This year, however, she got to perform her dance on stage in a real youth theatre production of The Little Mermaid.  It was a really fun experience and we enjoyed getting to see the show as well!  Here she is the night of her performance.  Does she look just a little bit excited?  She's got a little bit of make-up on too... adding to the big smiles.
 
 
This is a picture from the dress rehearsal on Thursday.
 
 
With her classmates... (who also proudly announced they were wearing make-up)
 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

A few family pictures...

Family get-togethers are always good opportunities to take some pictures... especially since my kiddos were dressed so nicely.  ;-)  Look... David is in a button-down shirt and nice pants.  And he's not sticking out his tounge!
 

Pretty Lia
 

Me and my Mom
 

 Emily with Nana and Grandpa
 
 
And this one taken by Lia... my personal photographer.  She's pretty good, isn't she?  I think her trade secret is the fact she is under 48".  It's all in the camera angle you know.
 

Happy 1st Birthday Hudson!

We spent the morning and afternoon celebrating Hudson's 1st birthday.  Hudson is my cousin's son, so Chris says it makes him my cousin once-removed... regardless, he is super-cute and we enjoyed being part of the celebration.
 
 
Presents!!!
 
 
And more presents!!!
 

I didn't get too many pictures because Hudson was in constant motion.  I did get to see him take some steps, which was really cool... but right now he still crawls most of the time and cruises around all the furniture.


He was infatuated with Emily and gave out lots of hugs... though here he is trying to break out of the hug.

 . 
And here is the coolest baby toy ever.  We were calling it a modern hungry hippo... though I was informed it is an alligator.


See... everyone loved it!


 
Happy Birthday Hudson!!!

Cub Scout Bird Feeder

Friday night, David made a bird feeder with his cub scout den.  The boys had a lot of fun and were very proud of their handywork... and the fact they got to use all sorts of power tools!
 


Saturday, November 2, 2013

Chris's World Travels

Chris has been in China for the last 10 days!  I know he is generally super-busy but he got to do some sight seeing this time.  Here are some pictures of The Great Wall of China!
 


 
And Tiananmen Gate in front of the Forbidden City...