We don't just go places...we have ADVENTURES!!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Off They Go!!

Four out of Five Zoo-Crew Progeny headed off to school today.

Miss Abbey off to Pre-K. Silly as ever...

But at least we managed to get her shoes on the right feet first! She's already made a "hugging" friend named Tristan.
First grade was calling Ben's name...he decided to answer, but not before he made some really weird faces....

Last night, while packing lunches, I asked Ben if he wanted an apple or banana in his lunch. His response? "I don't eat LIVE fruit, Mom! Do we have any applesauce?" hee hee hee

Matthew, pretty grown up and philosophical about stuff, said that "third grade could just be a turning point for me." We're not sure WHAT he's turning from, but....

And, last, but really, the first out the door....Katie hit the road for 8th GRADE. *gulp*

And another summer is over....*sigh*

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Hospital Pics

My "home away from home"...looks comfy, eh?

Nurse Amy checking Patrick's vitals...by request, on demand...at 4 in the morning...

Patrick's favored mode of sleep....wouldn't you think it would be MUCH easier to just turn off the lights?

Little ham clowned it up for the camera, striking a variety of "woe is me" poses...this one is my favorite.

Happy to be snoozing at home again, Big Sis at his side.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Home SWEET Home

We are home.

Got home late yesterday, so didnt' have a chance to post. Thank you everyone who called. I apologize if my lack of posting caused any anxiety. It was questionable off & on all day if we'd be allowed to leave. But he managed to keep two rounds of meds and some smallish amounts of chow down and we were given the ALL CLEAR.

Evidently, I brought home more than just Patrick, though...after a visit to my own doctor, I'm on antibiotics for strep. Hospitals aren't good places for healthy people. *sigh*

The reality of the next few weeks is settling in...Patrick is VERY glad to be home, but he can't decide if he wants to be in the chair, in the bed, on the couch...you get the picture. It's a challenge to move him, despite the handy lift, hospital bed and reclining wheelchair, but we're getting the hang of it.

I will say that he's doing a much better job driving his wheelchair this time around..last summer it was kinda bumper cars type driving...he's really trying to navigate carefully around the house. I'm still sad for my newish paint in the hallway, though....*sigh*

Thanks again to everyone for their prayers and well wishes. Pictures will follow shortly.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

If it's Tuesday, we must be...

still at the hospital...

Patrick's feeling somewhat better, joking & signing up a storm. His color is better and he definitely seems much more comfortable.

BUT (you knew that was coming, right?)

No eatie, no goie homie. Or rather, he can't go home 'til he stops yakking everything up. *sigh* Please keep this in your prayers, as he is convinced today is going home day...but until he keeps something down (nothing has stayed in there since 5 pm yesterday)....he can't leave. I think another night here would really demoralize us both.

He didn't sleep much last night, so neither did this mommy....am hoping he'll nap this morning and wake up ready to be puke free. It's a dream, but he can make it happen, LOL.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Still no Wiggly Piggies...

Monday morning finds me rested, but tested. Last night, after 4 days of successfully managing to deal with his IVs, both sites started to bleed. Easiest and best course of action was to remove them. Only an issue for the IV pain medications, since Patrick's done with his rounds of antibiotics. At least this time, he didn't pull 'em out himself!

This morning, he is struggling to keep his medications down. He's been napping for about 2 hours now, surprisingly comfortably...so am praying it will continue.

Surgeon stopped by and well, no progress on the lack of sensory or motor control in his right leg. She is confident it is not permanent, so I am trying hard to focus on her experience and my lack thereof. She bent his knee up a bit to relax the stress on the nerve and to see if that helps. Guess we'll find out.

This part of the weekend's adventure will be keeping Patrick and I here 'til at least tomorrow...maybe Wednesday.

Highlights from yesterday, though...
using the lift to get Patrick into his cool reclining wheelchair for a trek around the ward
Patrick joking with the nursing staff...telling them to go to time-out for not taking his vitals, telling them they were stinky and telling the sitter to go home because her work was done
visits from the sibs
visits from the Morin ladies
trying out a Video Phone Relay System (very cool!)

More later....thanks again for all your prayers and calls & good thoughts!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A Day, er...a Night...or was that Day?

The last 24 hours have been, well...a day.

Saturday morning, the nurses noticed that Patrick wasn't wiggling his right toes anymore. We are all confident that he was on Friday, so the surgeon was paged.

Good News...there are 3 reasonable explanations, none of which are permanent or overly scary
  • swelling from soft tissue has impeded the nerve
  • epidural is working TOO well on the right side
  • the papa-something nerve was stretched too far during the surgery
Bad News...all the above explanations require some action to narrow it down...
  • partial removal of the beautiful cast
  • removal and/or stoppage of the epidural flow
  • removal of the right leg cast & reset with a bent knee
*sigh* Even the surgeon was commenting that if anything weird were going to happen to a surgical patient, it would happen to Patrick, LOL.

I have had the very unfortunate experience of watching my boy writhe in pain today while the epidural flow was stopped...I think everyone had underestimated how much that was helping him cope. His blood pressure spiked and he didn't nap more than 5 minutes at a time most of the day. Still no toe wiggling... So, after several attempts with a slightly malfunctioning cast cutter (imagine the surgeon wielding said instrument suggesting that a roomful of nurses and the mom prepare to take cover in case the blade goes flying), portions of the cast have been removed. It is determined he's got no feeling below the hip. aaarrrggghhh

So now we wait...feeling seems to be returning to his leg, slllooooooowwwwwllllyyyy. Still no toe wiggling, but I'm optimistic. For now.

He finally fell asleep, but woke up a bit ago...around 3:30 am. Thanks to my erstwhile sitter of the evening, Bea, I've had a bit of rest. They woke me when beastie insisted on a Mommy-hug. (There are worse things to wake up to!) I'm ready to hit the hay for a snooze again...Patrick, however, is having fun pushing all the nurse call buttons & playing with the bed. And now I hear the vague sounds of snoring from Bea's general area. (Oh, did I mention that Patrick has finally turned off the lights?)

Nurse Amy has been kind enough to take his vital signs on demand in the wee hours this morning...booger keeps pushing the call button, then insisting on having his respirations counted, heart rate listened to, blood pressure & temp taken. I have pictures, but apparently brought the wrong cable to connect my camera to 'puter. Oh well....will add 'em later!

I think he's drifted off...so maybe I can, too...

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Battle for the Remote

Beastie had a pretty good night...thanks in part to a new hospital service--a sitter. More officially, a Patient Comfort Assistant. A team of lovely folks traded shifts to sit in the room with us, promising to stay awake so that I could catch some zzzzzzzzz while ensuring that he didn't pull his IVs out or do anything else risky. While it certainly wasn't as restful as being home, it sure was nice to catch a full 3 hours nap. YAY!

Now if I could only get him to relinquish the remote...booger doesn't want ANYone watching TV unless he's watching HIS chosen channel. Poor sitter this morning got quite an eyeful when Patrick went off the deep end over it. He was ZONKED and I had gone downstairs to grab a cup of coffee. She *dared* to turn on the TV and he was fully awake and totally unglued in an INSTANT. LOL. He settled the minute she turned it off, but MAN.

Doctor has already been in this morning to check his progress and is pleased. YAY!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Stage Three--CHECK!

YAY! We are out of surgery and in his nice cozy (?) hospital room.

Surgery completed around 5:30 pm, but then it took him 'til 7:30 pm to make the folks in recovery happy. *sigh* He's in a cast from the hips down, with a bar between the two legs, slightly below his knees.

The good news? His legs are within 1 cm of the same length.

The bad news? His right knee will never really straighten out. (not terribly bad news, just slightly bad...oh well).

Now that Patrick's done playing with the buttons on the bed and calling the nursing staff rather needlessly, he seems to be settling down. Only one ugly near-breech of the IV thus far, so please keep your fingers crossed...

Oh...and his day nurse tomorrow will be Lynn who nursed both he and Ben last year. YAY!

Good night, friends...and thanks for your prayers and good wishes!

Stage Two--CHECK!

Okay, so a few of the things you NEVER want to hear in the background when you receive a phone call from your kid:
  • beer glasses clinking & blenders
  • sirens
  • "feet back & spread 'em"
  • hand grenades & explosions
  • "Rave" music
Nurse Naomi gave me a shout out a few minutes ago. They just closed the third incision on his right leg and have moved over to his left. Evidently to the bone sawing part. Um...I'm thinking that I would have been willing to wait just a few minutes more for that update....

The anesthesiologist called a bit ago, asking for permission to set up an epidural for him. Seems he's concerned about post-op pain medication, so we're going to try that route. Not a bad idea, considering the not-so-willingness of my Patrick to cooperate with an IV once he's awake. I like this guy! He had a wonderful way with Patrick this morning AND of working with the the interpreter...not ordering her around or directing her what to tell him or what NOT to tell him.

That's about it for now...looks like another 2 hours or so...maybe more, depending on how long it takes to put the cast on. Any bets on how long it takes to wrap a 5 foot boy in a half body cast???

First Stage--CHECK

Little booger woke up this morning signing "go to hospital, fix legs". The biggest challenge this morning? Keeping him out of the fridge 'til it was time to go! 10 am surgery meant 8 am arrival...nice to avoid the whole butt crack of dawn thing, but that meant an extra hour or so without chow for my little chowhound!

We arrived and he could barely contain his enthusiasm...the nurse was STUNNED that he was so happy to be here. Now that I'm in the waiting area, I can hear her telling everyone about the happy little boy who couldn't wait to get in the back.

What a difference a year makes! No struggle to keep the gown on him, no arguing with the nurses. At first, he told me to stay and go play on my computer. Changed his mind and wanted me to go with him to the OR. Definately one of the hardest things I've EVER done....but I admit it was easier than when he and Ben were 2 and seeing them so tiny in those super bright OR lights. Not a shock, but he did NOT like the mask--UNTIL they put the cotton candy scent in there, LOL. He drifted off and everything got underway.

Naomi, his OR nurse, just called to say that they finished part 1 of 3...the hamstring lengthening has been completed. YAY! That was the easy part, though...and I can't help but wonder how Patrick's ultra-petite surgeon is going to be able to pull the old plate & screws out of that bone....

More later!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Prayer Requests for Patrick

Just a quick posting to ask for your prayers, happy thoughts and speedy recovery vibes for Patrick-man. He’ll be heading off for another go at orthopedic surgery this Thursday morning. This time, we’ll be tackling BOTH the right & left legs, in hopes of evening him out length-wise AND straightening him out. We expect to be kicking it in the hospital for 4 – 5 days, then home in a half-body cast for a few weeks. He is VERY excited, and looking forward to being able to walk, sans walker.
Please pray for his strength, for the surgeon’s wisdom and for this mommy’s calm. Pray, too, if you would, for the nursing staff to be compassionate, understanding and patient with him, as he’s NOT the world’s best patient.
Thanks so much, my friends!

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Birthday Bash to End all Bashes

And, NO, we will NOT be doing this anytime again soon...

Katie & Allison's big 13th birthday smash-bash was a success...much joy was had by all. And cake. And dancing. And snacks.

Check out the slideshow: Katie & Allison's Big Night (kudos to guest photog Tina!)

Sunday Obsession was in rare form and WOWed the crowd with both their music and their on-stage antics. The impromptu post-party photo shoot made for some interesting memories!

But, boy am I GLAD that's over!!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Trekkin' Down Rodeo Drive

No, not Row-DAY-o Drive! Row-DEE-o Drive! A smallish contingent of The Zoo Crew hit the road for an evening at a local ranch for an adventure.

The adventures began before we even got there, with Patrick and our helper-friend Ashley hanging back at the Zoo Crew ranch...after looking at the event's website and peeking at rodeo information, the goofball put himself to bed! At 4 in the afternoon. Seriously. Apparently, he's much happier teasing Ashley about cows than going to see them in real life! Little booger missed some fun! Bummer was, he's the reason we had the tickets, a gift from the Arc.

The evening was a fundraiser for a local charity, so we started with pulled pork BBQ and a few photo opps. Note the decorations Matthew has already added to his outfit. The skies were ominous and we thought for sure we were in for a drenching...but the sun came out and "made ebbeyting all shiny!" (to quote Miss Abbey)

Even though the boys declined the offer, Abbey readily hopped up on the pony for a little ring ride. She was soooooooooooo dratted cute!

The boys LOVED watching the cowboys try to ride the bulls...and it took 12 of 'em falling off before we had a scorable rider! (Those bulls were in *fine* form that night, let me tell you!) Me, I was highly entertained by the bull's names: 911, Test Me, ER. Between the entertainment provided by the rodeo clowns (and Bubba the dummy!), it was difficult to tell which the boys enjoyed more--the successful or unsuccessful bull-riders!

Abbey, on the other hand, was much more fascinated by the young lady sitting behind us...the reigning Miss Frederick, Leah Worrell. What a lovely and gracious girl! Truly a real, live princess! She autographed a picture for Abbey, letting Abbey hold *the* crown while she signed. And then, much to Miss Abbey's delight, posed for this picture:
...my baby girly girl's little heart was so blessed!

Who knew wild cow milking could be so entertaining? or maybe it was the trippy chicks in heels and babydoll dresses that wanted to sign up for the competition?? You can see the professional pics of the evening here: Battle of the Beast.
I think this is something we will do again...what a fun way to spend a family evening! YEEEE HAAAWWW!!!