Friday, January 16, 2015

All Better

I know the only people reading a blog on a Friday night are goobers who don't have plans  beyond a few glasses of wine and a family movie on Netflix.


This is your tribe, people.

So, yes, I am feeling very relieved.  We talked to the pulminologist today and saw  the pediatrician.  And it appears that, indeed, last night's hellish bad numbers were the trough.  And Bridget  is getting better.  After she and I both took a long nap this afternoon, her  numbers are *stellar*.  Either the prednisone kicked in or she coughed up that big loogie of a lung bugger that was blocking her airways.


And now that the crisis is over, my family is annoying the freaking hell out of me.  I have been so freakingly freaking effed the freak stressed this week.  I've had little sleep and accomplished less work in a time of the school year when I need productivity and smart thoughts to be shooting out of every orifice.

Of course, I had to focus on the Squirrel.  I wanted to be there for her.  But we're out of the woods. And I want them all to STOP YELLING and BE QUIET and CLEAN UP and Let me have a moment to myself. DO THEY HAVE TO EAT EVERY DAY!?!?!

5 minutes.  Just let me have some peace and quiet and healing for FIVE FREAKING MINUTES.

And now you see why, after being Super Mom for the last 5 days, I will never, ever, ever, ever win Mother Of The Year.

Bargaining with Pulse Oximeter Numbers

I've noticed a trend among mother' named Anita with crazy curly hair.  Ok Me. This is all me.  This all crazy me.  This is all crazy me and why people with mild anxiety should not have data producting instruments that can freak them out.

So when Bridget first gets sick, I worry because  her O2 numbers start to hang around 96. I generally consider this a "B grade" amount of oxygen. I'm a professor. I think in terms of grades.  I prefer As.  I'm a professor!  As I tell my undergrads, Bs are not a problem, but I also know it's not typical for her and something is going on in her lungs.

Then as she starts getting sicker and her  numbers get lower, I get so excited when I see  a 96.  When 96 makes me relieved instead of worried, then we have  problems. That's when I turn into some kind of reverse auctioneer trying to will her numbers higher.

Can I get a 95? 95? 95? Sold at 95!  At least it's not a 94.

Oh, I see a 94.  94? 94? 94? 95!!! Oh, back to 94.  And holding.  Well, we're still above 93.

Oh, I got a 93. 93.  93. 94. 93.  93. 93.  96!!! 95!! 94...93.  93.  93.  At least it's not 92.

And so on.

Sometimes I try to sneak up on the numbers.  Usually this game is  going on during the night and I'll close my eyes for a few minutes and then sneak a peak.  This is good when I spot a 94 or a 95 and pretty adrenaline shooting shitty when it's a 91.

We are doing all the right things we can do at home.  We started prednisone at the right time, definitely not too soon and definitely not for shits and giggles.  Yesterday was great.  Bridge had lots of energy and great numbers.  And she wasn't coughing much. ((Cue the foreboding music.))  I had to teach last night and just before I left she had a coughing fit that caused some 80s to show up on her pulse ox.***  ((again, haven't seen that since the last hospital visit))  Dave texted me in class that her numbers  were all high 90s!!!  ((He is  not a crazy, curly headed, slightly anxious woman))

She was in bed by the time I got home and when I checked her numbers they were an extremely steady 93.  When asked how he could explain the discrepancy from the texts and the numbers, Dave shrugged and said "You?!"


She spent more time in the low 90s, even with all my reverse bargaining.  This morning when I woke up she was hanging in the upper 80s and low 90s.  We did a full treatment at 4:30 am an now she's back asleep, ironically at 96.

I'm not excited about that number (Still!!  So difficult to please) mainly because it's  the max now, not the min.

I don't know what's going to happen.  We've never been here before. We've either started the prednisone in the hospital or used it when there was no need.  We are definitely doing the right things here at home.  I just don't know what's happening inside her lungs and whether her funky hypsersecreious asthma doesn't give two flying fig newtons about that extra prednisone  as it fills her lungs with gunk.  ((That is what I think happens when she stops coughing for a period of time.  The gunk is  filling up her the bottom of her lungs and causing atelectasis))

And now you know.

Still hanging at  96.  Sold!  To the whackadoodle mama in her Hello Kitty pjs.

UPDATED: And as is what always happens when I'm bargaining/bidding, the numbers are still going down and I should have locked it in at that better price.  I'm sure there will be more updates in the future.

***Please!   Someone draw me a pulse ox!!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Enterovirus D68.....*Maybe*

I do not want to hysterically claim that  Bridget has EV D68!! Bridget has EV D68!! We have no idea.  It's *possible* she does. And she will not be tested for it because she is not going to PICU.  In fact, she is not going to the hospital (thank you, starting prednisone early enough!!!)

But we do know she has one of the bad respiratory viruses.  And we know that EV D68 is  in Charlotte, along with RSV, the Flu, and "A Flu Like Virus." (Actual CDC tests paid for by the hospitals say so)  And through the process  of elimination, it seems more likely to be an enterovirus than the other ones.

How come?

Croupy cough at  the beginning signalling "something."  Low grade fever at 100.  Most docs don't even count that as a fever.  Puking at school. (LOVELY!) and complaining of a stomach ache the entire time.  Gas that could bring chili-bingeing sumo wrestlers to their knees.  (LORD!) And that cough.  That mucus-y, body shaking cough.

I think Bridget is going to stay out of the hospital for a couple of reasons.  First, that child can cough.  Even when it burns and stings, she continues  to cough.  I'm very proud of her.  It hurts.  It tires her. But she keeps coughing.

Second, I credit the emergency prednisone our pulminologist gave us.  EVD68 is infamous for turning bad quickly.  For most of the week, Bridget's O2 has stayed around the upper 90s with a low  around 95 to 96.  That's  fine. Then last night, her max was a 95 and she was hanging at 92 to 93.  That's not a number with which to rush to the hospital.  But we've seen that trend before.  The she started dipping into the 80s and flirting with  some steady 90 readings.  Them there are  hospital numbers.

So I broke open the emergency prednisone (or unscrewed the childproof  top) and dosed her up.  6 hours later (I think that's how long it takes to work???), she has back up to 96 asleep and 98 awake.

We'll see what happens this afternoon and tonight.

So far, with the previous trips to the hospital, we didn't start prednisone until we ARRIVED and her lungs were full of crap.  I'm really hoping that  we're ahead of the curve here and will keep ahead of, on top of, and/or out of the way of the phlegm in her lungs.

I really think we're going to be ok.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Of Winter Celebrations, Christmas Pageants and Playing Possum

Yesterday was busy. It started, work-wise, with a very exciting validation of a model I've been working on for 3 years. Honestly, I tried to explain to Dave why this was so exciting and apart from telling him when to smile and act enthusiastic, it’s hard for civilians to get excited about academia/research. (((sigh)))

IN MORE ACCESSIBLE NEWS, the twinnies had their winter celebration yesterday. This generally involves getting to meet the other parents and listening to the children sing in French. (As they are in French School). In the first clip, there is an amazing surprise at the end that I am honestly shocked that the twins ((cough, cough, Bridget)) could keep secret. Bridget is on the right and Christopher is just behind her on the left.

Last night was our church Christmas pageant. This year we moved from the sanctuary (no pictures or applause) to Heaton Hall (pictures, applause, laughter). The kids also did a new play, indeed, the World Premiere of Erica McGee’s No Room At The Holiday Inn. It was a sweet, fun play connecting the birth of Jesus to modern day lives. Erica’s a goddess of children’s theater and singing. It was truly fun and meaningful.

And here are a few pictures:

Conor playing The First Noel before the play started. The tone of his playing was impressive. I was so proud of him!!

Some sheep you might know looking very adorable.

Joseph, aka, my son.

And the final song, A Thousand Points of Light. I think this song is an original song written for our church a couple of years ago. It is a huge favorite among the kids and the families. And this year, the actors were allowed to “free dance” the song because it is really that joyful. One might note that one particular sheep was dancing and prancing all over her pasture, while Joseph got down in the middle of the stage and even broke out some Jazz hands.

Then, after the show, the LBGT group at our church sponsored the dessert reception. It was dang tasty. And about halfway through it, Queen Elsa and Princess Anna showed up. The gays throw the best parties, even at church.

It was an amazing day. Then Dave and I walked out of the church, looked at each other, and said, “Somebody is going to be crying on the way home.” Dave took the least likely one to cry in his car, and I got the twins. I swear to dog, the minivan doors were still sliding shut when Christopher began WAILING about how he didn’t get enough candy (school party, stocking of candy, dessert party) and BRIDGET AT MORE!!! It wasn’t FAIIIIIRRRRR!!

I wish I could say I handled it better than I did. I actually did well for the first half of the trip. And then I screeched at volume I did not know was possible. The crying stopped, but it wasn’t the right parenting behavior.

So we got home, STARTED homework, and did a few chores. And looked out the door. Our back door is mostly glass and gives us a good view of the goings on in the backyard. There is a doggie door beside it and, Sweet Baby Lemur, Dave had already shut it to keep the cats in for the night.

Because standing there, at the back door, in all his white fur glory was Patches, with a dead possum in his mouth. He was bringing us a gift!! Just like the cats do!!!

Screaming ensued.

Dave got Patches to drop the possum on the porch and brought the dog inside. Please pause for a minute, and JUST IMAGINE if Patches had brought that in the doggie door. When you have stopped jumping up and down and flapping your hands, you may continue reading.

So Dave and I stared through the door at the slobber covered possum on our back porch wondering whether it was alive or not. (You know, “playing possum.”) Patches in the meantime was SO PROUD of himself. He was poking Fred with his snout. Jumping around Fred with his paws. And basically saying “TOP THAT RAT, SUCKA!” Fred had no reaction because, you know, cats’ brains are not as developed and gloating is not one of the four emotions they experience.

We concluded that the possum wasn't playing and was actually dead, so Dave went to get a shovel and a contractor bag to put the dead possum in. I stayed inside the house and supervised through the door.

Dave had to open the contractor bag because those things are big and thick. So he gave it a hard flap that was, in fact, quite loud. The possum lifted his head. To make sure this was not some sort of death twitch, Dave flapped the bag again and the possum lifted his head even higher and looked right at him.

New possum fact! They will play dead until some extremely loud and odd noise is made near them.

Dave slowly backed away and put the shove and bag back in the garage.

It took about 45 more minutes before the opossum finally figured out it was safe enough to leave. We could tell because Patches was barking persistently and loudly and I can honestly tell you that he was saying “MY BIG WHITE RAT IS GETTING AWAY!!!”

By this point, of course, both twins were crying and Conor was sulking that the only reason I told him he played well was because I am his mother. The good news, of course, is that once we got all three kids in bed, they fell asleep in less than 10 seconds. HOORAY! It’s just that hellish time when they are overly tired and ALONE WITH US that sucks.

The rest of the day, possum included, pretty much rocked.

Monday, December 15, 2014

The First Family Nutcracker

I  took the twinnies  to the Nutcracker yesterday.  It's actually  the first  time I've  ever seen it in person and it  was wonderful.  The twinnies wanted  to see  if because  Bridget had checked The Nutcracker book out of the library and became enchanted  with the story.

So we  went.

Highlights of  the production:

During the overture, when the music is  playing, the curtain is  down, and no one is  dancing:
"What *IS* this?"

When the Nutcracker stabs the Rat King, both twins were very upset:
"Is he dead? Did  he just kill him? I mean, like is he  a person and now he's DEAD!?"
((Bridget  was about to  sob by this point))

Speaking of Bridget, she  was  not aware that  the seats rise when you stand up  and twice  tumbled  down the row  of   seats onto the  floor.   She was very  embarrassed, but it was  so  freaking cute?

I  sneaked in cookies.  As  soon as the curtain rose:
"When can we  have  our snack?!?!"

When the snow  and the snow  queen were  dancing and it  was snowing pretty hard on the stage:
"They are crazy! Why  are  they dancing in the fweezing  cold!?!"

And the general  gloating:
"We are  up SO LATE!! We are up  later than Conor!!"

Christopher  asked  for  us  to  do  this every year.  It was a lot  of  fun and I  have  to  agree, it's  going to  become a  family  tradition.   Who could  resist  this cuteness?

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Death and Life

Conor didn't know about Stampy's death until he came home last night. In the morning, he had told  me he was worried that Stampy was sleeping so much and I brushed him off. It was only when I  deposited the Roomba for a quick clean of the boys' room did I understand what this "sleeping" was.

Thank goodness. That would have been a horrible day for Conor at school.

He was very upset. And obviously, he felt very guilty.  We all agreed to wait a bit before re-gerbiling.  I hope Santa's stocking gift of a clear water bottle helps excite him again.

In other rodent death news......

this dead mouse is what I found while cleaning some clothes off a chair in our bedroom.  J'accuse, Fred.  J'accuse. Especially when Fred had taken a very new interest in lying on top of the clothes and sleeping throughout the night.  

Unfortunately, I've come to expect these sorts of adventures with Fred in the house. Indeed, the second shriek of the day occurred when I found the the giant  (plastic) ant the kids had hidden on the top of the dresser.  The physical and emotional reaction has become so natural, I couldn't even touch it and made Dave move the giant plastic ant so I could keep cleaning. 

In a more delight-in-death news, our Thanksgiving Turkey was a hit this year! BACON FOR THE WIN!!

Start with some apples and sage.....

cover in bacon.....

die and go to heaven.

This one is a definite repeat. In fact, we might repeat it at Christmas!! The bacon alone is pure heaven.

I'm sure it's distasteful to link gerbil/mouse death with eating turkey. But we're on an urban farm around here and I was a strict vegetarian for 7 years. No need to sugar coat what we're doing when we eat meat. Coat it in bacon. It is very tasteful, indeed.  

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Gerbil Deaths




Stampy Longnose, the final  gerbil from  Conor's  birthday died  this morning.  And unfortunately, we  can't  blame the cat.  Conor forgot  to give that  poor, sweet  gerbil  water.   And Dave and I forgot  to  supervise our dear son in the care of  his new  pets. And now  we've  lost  Stampy.

Pet deaths  suck.  Even if they are  rodents.

Anne Lamott  has a great article in Salon today  about the natural co-existence  of anger and guilt.  I  was initially  extremely angry  at Conor for forgetting to  water his one remaining gerbil.  Then I  realized I was feeling incredibly guilty for  not supervising Conor better and not  giving Stampy  water myself.  And then I realized that  I  was  able  to  keep  my gerbils in water, when I was a girl, because of  the huge clear watering bottle that was so prominent in their cage.  The watering bottle  in this cage is  small, blue, and in the back.  There are real human factors errors with it, in addition to  the human errors we  obviously had.

In any case, Conor  is going to have  a new  responsibility, which Dave and I can clearly supervise, of maintaining the water  for  the cats and the dog  for the next 3 weeks.   And then we'll see  if  Santa  will bring a bigger, better,  CLEAR water  bottle  for  the front  of  the gerbils cage.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Our Roomba

Wow!  Two blog  posts in two  days!   And it's  the second of December.  Maybe I'll  make NoMoRoPo (or  whatever it  is for  writing in November)  DoReMeSo  and post every day  in December.


The Roomba.   Or as we are calling it:  Shaun the Sweep  (Dave gets credit  for that!)


So if  you  are  people  who vacuum and/or sweep frequently  or even occasionally, you  probably don't  need this.  But if you are  like  us  and the kids  and  the  animals are  all amazed every  time  they  see  a broom or a vacuum,  this  appliance  might  be  for you.

So  questions folks have  asked: Does  it get  corners?     Does  it  get  the whole  room?  Does it  work on wood floors  and area  carpets?   Does  it actually  work?

*Yes  (and  gets  all the way  under  sofas  and beds and dressers)
*Yes (it takes a long time, like an hour  when you'd  take 15 minutes.  But  that's  an  hour you're  doing something else)
*Yes! It adjusts to carpets and wooden floors  and tiles and even gets  this funky, dirty welcome mat  we  have
*Yes, it  actually  works.  In  fact  it  works  a lot  like  this:

Shaun  flashes and light circles around when he  finds a really dirty  spot, which was constantly  the first time  around our house.

The thing is, instead of  having Dave get  out the  vacuum, more all the furniture  around, pick  all the crap  up  off  the floor (that  is  now a constant--no crap  on the floor any more), and then put all the furniture back and put away the  vacuum, now, after breakfast,   I just pick  up  Shaun from his docking station, put  him  in our high traffic area,  turn him loose, pour myself a  cup  of  coffee  and come up here to tell you  about it while he  cleans  up  downstairs.

That was a long sentence.  That was longer  than the  effort it has  taken  us  to  do  this.

If you regularly vacuum, you probably don't need this.  If you are  slobs like  us  and can't  afford  a regular  housekeeper  and  your kids have  asthma  and the  house ought  to  be cleaner, this thing  is fan-freaking-tastic.

So yeah!  We're  not  getting any endorsement (HA!)  for  writing this review.  I  love  it. And  I'm using it  twice a day  in different parts  of the house.   Yes.  I  have gone from never  vacuuming to  a mean, hard driving taskmaster for  our robot!!  :-)   I  love it!