Monday, October 14, 2013

Faculty Coach Follow Up

That was a lot of fun.  As Dave and I sat on the porch having a glass of wine/beer (as the case may be) on late Saturday afternoon, I told Dave that was one of the best days of my life.

He cut me some serious side eye, so I clarified.  It was not as good a day as marrying him or having Conor or bringing the twins home from the hospital.  But it was up there with going to the Mondrian Hotel, getting into the Skybar and drinking the Dom Perignon that Grant Hill had bought for my friend and me, or having our wedding announced in the NY Times.

We felt special and it was fun.  As we were doing laps around the field before the game, we saw some of my students who called out to me.  Definite highlight.  We saw and talked to Wilson from a huge variety of media around Charlotte.  We ate dinner Friday night with extremely polite players of the team and Conor watched most of Iron Man 3 with them beforehand.  (The twins were watching the Lorax on my iPad, but the scenes in the movie were too much for them and we left)

Yes, it would have been more fun if we had beaten UNC Pembroke.  I had no idea beforehand that Pembroke was doing really well this year, so. Booooo.

But it doesn't matter. I'm still in love with Football at UNC Charlotte.  As soon as I can figure out why my computer is blocking me out of the my pictures file because I don't have enough "permission" (?!), I'll post some of our fantastic pictures from the day.

We're still a bit pooped from this weekend.  I have no idea how the players and coaches do it.

Niner nation, y'all!  Go enjoy yourself some UNC Charlotte Football love.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Faculty Football Coach for the 49ers

So this is the personal account of being chosen as the guest Faculty Coach for the first homecoming football game for the UNC Charlotte 49ers.  You can read my professional thoughts about football at UNC Charlotte here.

The gist of my reaction?!  IT'S SO FLUFFY!!!

I am not cool and I'm not going to pretend I'm cool.  I am so excited about this!  The kids are practically vibrating and levitating they are so excited about it!  Even Dave is a bit keyed up, in his own Midwestern way.

So here's the scoop:  earlier in the semester, an email went out describing an honorary "faculty coach" position for each of the home football games for our inaugural football program.  I, along with several hundred other faculty, volunteered.

Imagine my surprise and IT'S SO FLUFFY delight when I found out Tuesday, I'd been chosen for the upcoming game. WOOHOO!!!

On Tuesday afternoon, I took a tour of the Judy Rose Football Center along with the other faculty coach.  Then I picked up Conor at the bus stop (in Myers Park), surprised him with the news, and ZOOMED back to the football practice fields at the University to watch the team practice.

It was way cool.  We talked to Coach Lambert (the head coach) for a bit.  We watched the players do the things the players do when they practice.  We learned about how we are modeling ourselves after UT San Antonio, another university in a big town that is successfully starting up a football program, and we generally felt pretty special.  Conor, taking after me, was completely uninhibited in showing his delight in being on the practice fields.  He was thrilled when the head coach high fived him.  When one of the players said "Hi!" to him, he swooned.

We are not cool people and it is not our aspiration to be such.

Tonight (Friday), the whole family is going to watch a movie with the football team at the Student Union. (Who knew the Student Union had a cinema?!) And then we will eat dinner with the team at the main student dining hall.  Tomorrow, we watch the team do their "traditional" 9:49 walk down the sidewalk to the stadium and then watch the game, cheer, and otherwise feel pretty darn special.  We also have some pre-game field passes that we are looking forward to using.

It's going to be a long, fun Friday night and Saturday.  And I have no doubt the twinnies are going to have a few meltdowns.  But IT'S SO FLUFFY!!

Faculty, compared to employees in larger for-profit corporations, get so few perks in our work lives.  No one tries to woo us with free tickets to the Panthers, Bobcats, Wells Fargo Golf Championship.  We don't get free cookies/popcorn/muffins from the insurance brokers or other sales people trying to win our business.  Free coffee from the student honor's club is rare enough (once ever that I can remember?!) that it gets faculty worked up and in a happy mood, even if it is stale and cooled off by the time we find out about it. Leftover bagels from a dissertation defense is still worth an email to all the faculty.

But THIS.  THIS EVENT Freaking ROCKS.  And the kids think I am an extra-special, cool mom for getting this honor.  Indeed, Bridget stood up on her chair and shouted YOU ARE SO ROCKING ON!!! at dinner on Tuesday night.  I don't mind being the hero to the kids.

I am psyched about this.  I even dreamed about it last night.  The game is on local TV this weekend.  Look for me, the middle aged, overly excited professor in green cheering on the team and being thrilled about being a 49er.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Handling It

Apparently, we are handling it.  "It" being Bridget's atypical asthma with hypersecrtion (aka, wet asthma).  We finally visited the real expert in the pediatrics pulminology field today and come some more words for me to search on.  They are good words and I have already found a few things.  The good news, all signs continue to point to Bridget's problem as isolated from a variety uhderlying causes of autoimmune, structure, reflux, allergy problems and most importantly, cystic fibrosis.  We can pursue these avenues if we want and we may, for peace of mind, but nothing indicates a that her asthma is a bigger problem than "asthma."

It was kind of cool to discuss the other issues and get a reasoned response on allergies, reflux, CF, etc explaining to me why he didn't think it was these causes.  It was really logical, explained kindly, and nice to be respected.

And the good news is that although we are getting some pretty crap ass O2 sats---87 on a check this morning--I can get her back up to 94 with her shaky vest.  (87 sucks for O2 in case you were wondering)

So the marching orders are:  keep do what we're doing. Start the shaky vest earlier; we waited a few days this time.  If/when RSV goes around daycare, keep her home.  If her sats go down, but we can get them back up, yay!  If her sats go down and we can't (i.e., hanging in the 80s) go to the hospital.

Of course, I am also exhausted because some lost soul ended up outside our house at 2:45 screaming for help and that he wanted to go home.  I don't want to sound heartless, but he sounded pretty whacked out and violent.  In fact, Dave and I think that his friends  must have dumped him out in the neighborhood because if he'd walked from the main drag, he could have easily gotten help without scaring the bejeesus out of everyone.

Also, I think I woke up slightly before Dave when he first started ranting and thought I heard him say something like "I've got a gun!" and something else to do with his head. He may not have and Dave didn't hear it and I know enough about eyewitness testimony (and how much it sucks) to doubt what I heard was accurate.  That said, it is exactly what I believed I heard when I ran down to get the phone and OH MY GOD(DESS) I was shaking so hard I could barely dial.

When we got back upstairs, the twins asked what was going on.  We told them a man needed help and the police were going to help him.  I asked Bridget if she heard what he said and she replied, "Yeah! He was freaking out!!!"

Also: I hate boys.  Christopher and Dave fell back asleep almost immediately. Bridget and I lay awake for a while, kissing and snuggling and calming each other down.  Her O2 sats were 99.  What?  You don't think I'd check them!?

Sunday, October 06, 2013

The Ways of the Interwebs Announcement Gods

All it took was me writing on Facebook some version of "It looks like we're going to skip the hospital with this cold" to have to make the decision twice in one day, when the numbers were looking really bad, whether to go to the hospital or not.

We decided No and there are a couple of reasons for this.

1) We made the conscious decision to see if we can keep Bridge off prednisone AND out of the hospital.  So we decided in the morning that we wouldn't even go to the sick clinic at the peds with the first bought of low numbers. They wouldn't have put her in the hospital but they would have put her on prednisone and that would be 4 doses in 8 months.

Oh! Wait a sec.  Why did we even get worried in the morning? Bridget woke up at scale 11.  You live life on an energy basis of 1 to 10.  Bridget lives at 11.  All the time. Constantly.  As soon as she wakes up until she falls asleep.  Or actually, until her numbers start to tank a bit.  But sometimes not even then.

It was time for her treatment, she was at running around at ll, and I convinced her to stop for a sec on the sofa to "read her finger" as we put it.  (And sometimes, she gives me the right finger to read. Nod. Nod. Wink. Wink)  It started at 93 and then went down.

93 is not an O2 number that makes me happy.  But going down makes me less so.

2)  Thank goodness for my Mom mentor who is/was a respiratory therapist, Liz, to help us through this.  Liz and I "met" through's blogs 11 years ago.  We've kept in touch through blogs, Facebook, and twitter and no, we haven't even met "in person."  I don't know though. I feel like after knowing someone for 11 years and following their lives and ups and downs and day-to-day experiences more closely than I do some of my neighbors, I consider her Someone I Really Know, and clearly someone close enough to start IMing and texting about what was going on.  She gave us more info to look for, clear "go to hospital" criteria, and Bridget's numbers came back up after treatment.

They came up and stayed up at really fine numbers, until night time--after most of her treatments and while we were watching the family movies.  And then they tanked hard for *us*.  She was between 91 and 88 for 5 minutes. I packed a bag for the hospital and Dave realized we hadn't done the shaky vest.  We did the shaky vest. She figuratively showed us which finger we could measure from now on.  And her numbers came up to a fine 97.  Monitoring overnight, she was often at 99.

3) So here's what we think is going on.  I think we are handling this cold at home.  She's got stuff moving around her lungs and occasionally it clogs up some portion or another of her lungs before she gets it ALL the way out.  (Happened like that at the hospital)  That's when we get the bad numbers. But then she moves it up and out and she's doing better.

I don't know if we'll always be doing this "well."  I can foresee a really bad cold that gets ahead of us on moving the junk out of her lungs, but I think we can do this for the most part.

I will tell you of two new stress signs I've developed. One is a need for more sleep.  And I mean massively more amounts of sleep.  The second is that it's harder to focus on recreational activities.  I cannot run for crap lately and it's because I can't keep myself focused enough to use my good tricks when it gets tough.  It'll be fine though.

Once Bridget's cold regimen becomes the new normal, it won't be so hard to just do it and take all her numbers in stride, until we shouldn't.

But I should stop tempting the gods by making proclamations that everything is ok and we've got a handle on this!!

Friday, October 04, 2013

Chronic Squirrel

We're starting to figure out what life in the near term is going to be with an energetic, rambunctious, lives life-at-11 girl whose lungs fill up with gunk when she gets even a mild cold.

The first cold in August occurred during her "well-visit" and the doctor was concerned enough about the wheezing she heard to give Bridget prednisone.  It cleared her up in 12 hours. Yay!!  Third round of prednisone since April....BOOOO.

Sunday morning, Bridget woke up with that croupy cough every parent knows so well.  For most folks, it would just signal a cold coming up.  And for the  most part, that's what we've had.  Except for a couple of hours in  the late afternoon and early evening in which her O2 stays around 93 with a few dips down to the upper 80s.  It hasn't stayed there long enough for us to go to the hospital, but it stays in the low 90s long enough for me to sleep with Bridget with her monitor on until it stabilizes at 95 or above.

ALSO, I have turned into an automatic night monitoring machine, waking up every hour or so to fish around the bed for the pulse ox, find it, read it, be reassured and go back to sleep.

HOWEVER, 98 and 89 look awfully similar when they are upset down and you are half asleep.


Dave and I are both trying to figure out how to negotiate our career ambitions with a child with a chronic illness.  So far, we're not back in the hospital.  Yay!  But I find it hard to make long or short term plans when I'm pretty sure I'm going to spend part of the day putting together little piles of food and medicine and tea (I really like tea in the hospital) in case I need to throw them together to run out of the house.  Or to direct Dave to gather together if B and I are already there.

I know it's all going to be fine.  And next year at this time, we'll know SO MUCH MORE about how to handle all of this and when to worry and when to let it ride.

It all gets better. Sometimes it gets worse.  But it gets better.  Eventually.

I'm tired.  I can wake up 5 times a night to monitor B, but I can't really write as witty a blog afterwards.