Saturday, June 26, 2010


Yesterday was a long day at our house. Well, we weren't at our house much of the day, but it was still a long day. Both Mr. Smiles and Precious Jewel had their tonsils and adenoids removed.

Three of my 4 kids have fairly annoying allergies. Little Naters has had enough problems that it landed him in the hospital a couple of times in the first year, but after seeing the allergist and starting allergy shots and breathing treatments he has improved significantly. We've even been able to back off of the breathing treatments at the end of this past Spring to an as-needed basis.

Both Mr. Smiles and Precious Jewel have been on allergy meds. since they were about 2 or 3 years old. Last year though, our insurance refused to continue paying the type they'd been on and made us try other brands. None of them have really worked and even after repeated phone calls from both of the kid's doctors and letters and faxes sent to the insurance company they still refuse to pay for the one that works.

Precious Jewel has never really been able to breath through her nose and she snores like a freight train at night. She also has periods where (for a short time) she seems to stop breathing and then snorts or inhales loudly. Her Dr. referred her to an ENT at her Spring Well-Child Check.

Mr. Smiles has had so many incidents of strep in the last 24 months that his doctor decided he also needed to see the ENT.

You can read about our ENT visit in my former "That's Not My Child" post.

Both kids did really well. I was sooooo impressed with the staff at the Surgical Center. They were so kind and respectful to the kids and Luke and I. Mr. Smiles went first at about 9:30. He didn't seem at all phased by the whole pre-op preparations. He kept telling the nurses and anesthesiologist that he already knew what they were going to do when they explained the process. They kept commenting to Luke and i how un-phased he was until we explained that he'd had a colonoscopy and endoscopy last fall and was somewhat familiar with the process.

Precious Jewel was another story. She was so nervous and kept asking to go home. We had brought our laptop and about a dozen movies that we'd borrowed from a friend. That kept her somewhat distracted and then they brought her some "goofy juice" about 30 minutes before her surgery. That took care of it all! = ) She hardly protested as they wheeled her bed back to the operating room around 10:15am.

Luke and I collected our stuff and headed back to the waiting room. We had just sat down when they called us saying that Mr. Smiles had just come out of surgery and was doing great in stage 1 recovery. We could follow them back to stage 2 recovery.

Poor baby. When we came into the little curtained-off area, he was crying so pitifully in his hospital bed. Two nurses were hovering over him talking gently and trying to comfort him and get him settled. They told us he'd been a champ and all the nurses thought he and his sister were the cutest patients of the day. We kept getting that comment all day (even when 2 hours after surgery Mr. Smiles vomited all over himself and the bed). Of course, they could say that to every parent, but I didn't mind. I think my kids are pretty cute myself. = )

Both kids came out of surgery really disoriented. Mr. Smiles seemed to have a more difficult time and kept trying to stick his fingers in his mouth and crying that "it stings! it stings!" They gave him another dose of pain medicine and Luke picked him up and then he slept for another hour.

Precious Jewel came out asking to see her cousins and crying because she couldn't just go home and play with them. They'd only arrived 2 nights before and 2 of them are newly adopted from Ethiopia. They are close to Precious Jewel's age and she and Mr. Smiles had really enjoyed playing with them the day before. She was also very disoriented.

They gave her some more medicine as well and she too slept for another hour. Both of them woke up in a much better frame of mind and immediately began asking to watch the movies we'd brought with us.

The Surgical Center had a small DVD player for each bed and a huge assortment of movies for the kids to chose from. The kids were in un-limited movie heaven.

After each watching their own movies, they both wanted to watch the same one and Mr. Smiles asked to crawl back into bed with Precious Jewel. They'd wanted to be in the same bed before surgery so they could watch a movie together and the nurses before looking at their charts had asked if they were twins.

Five hours post-surgery they let us all go home. Several of the nurses and the anesthesiologist came back to say goodbye to the kids. The anesthesilogist had told us that his 6 year old son had had the same surgery last year and whispered, "They act great today, but tomorrow may be another story. Just be prepared."

Twenty four hours later we are all at home and they are both doing well. Mr. Smiles has had a teary day and it's been hard getting him to drink or eat much. But, Precious Jewel has asked us twice if she could go swimming. That is until it gets close to the time to give them another dose of pain medicine and then she is on the couch with an ice pack on her throat and wanting to be rocked.

Luke's mom took the younger two for 2 nights and all day yesterday and today and that has been a HUGE help. They've had a great time with with Grandmama and Papa.

Well, that's the update on the surgery. Hope you are all doing well!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Captain Toad

Ahhhh, living in a house with mostly boys (sorry my dear daughter, it's your life) affords many different opportunities for adventure. I had always wanted 5-6 kids and kinda' imagined having my own baseball team. Then I had 4 children in 5 years and decided that was about all my mental facilities could handle for the time.

Boys are just stinkin' fun. They are messy, straight-forward, imaginative, loud, (girls are imaginative too), self-destructive and adorably cute (except when they aren't). = )

One day about a month ago, my little emerging nature boy discovered a toad (well, it could be a frog, but I don't honestly know the difference). It was the last week of school for the elder two kids and it was delightfully warm outside. I'd already filled the baby pool in anticipation for the hours of fun to come. He immediately took his new-found-friend and plopped him in his baby pool...much to the delight of his younger brother. Nater Mater had been dropping small discarded scraps of lumber into the pool and Good Lookin then and there had a ship and a captain to go with it.

The warty-looking little captain fought storms, pirates, and other marauding ships (aka: big baby!). He was such a brave little fellow. He was honestly more cooperative than I thought was possible for a toad. (Maybe he was just pleading for his life). He even survived a giant waterfall (see top picture for details).

At the end of the day, Captain Toad did survive. At least, he didn't die WHILE we were playing with him. I'm not sure about after we left to go pick up the two older siblings.

And his willingness to play, allowed me to weed the full front flower bed (that still has yet to be planted).

Friday, June 18, 2010

Summer Vacation

This past week just the 4 kids and I drove south to visit my brother and his family in Texas. Our little GPS unit said our trip would take 6.5 hours and it was about right on the dot. I learned (from last year's trip) that there is a McDonalds' Playland about half-way and I stopped so the kids could get out and play before driving another 3 hours. That and the built-in DVD player saved me from the brink of insanity.
We didn't do a lot while there in the way of any big activities or places to see, but we had a great time. My brother and his wife have 2 little boys the same age as Mr. Smiles and Good Lookin'. We don't get to see them more than once or twice a year, but the kids are all close and kept asking this whole past year when we could go see them again.
Their family had just moved the week before out of a small apartment and into a new house and they now have a yard and lots of space in the house for the kids to play.

I think the highlight of the week was when my brother took the 6 kids and I to a park near their house that has a big pond and a walking track that runs all the way around it. Mr. Smiles had just learned to ride his bike the week before (without training wheels) and rode the half to 3/4 mile walking trail 5 times. Good Lookin' rode his trike around it twice and Abigail ran it once. I was amazed at their energy levels! I so wish I had brought the camera that time because there were ducks and cranes everywhere and the kids were following and catching and feeding this adorable little family of 11 baby ducks. They must be used to a lot of people because the mother duck didn't ever try to attack us.

Much of our time there was spent in the backyard pool playing, splashing, and spraying each other with the garden hose. Hours can happily pass when water and a garden hose is involved.

The other chunk of the time was busy spent at parks or playing Lego's.

No, I didn't sleep much and yes, at times, I thought I was crazy for going by myself. (Luke couldn't come due to work). I thought I was crazy last year and yet we all had such a good time just being together that I took the trip again this year and hopefully will get to again next year. I'm really hope that next year Luke will get enough time off to come with us, but he couldn't this summer due to all the time off with the various hospitalizations of both Mr. Smiles and Naters. (I'm praying for a somewhat calmer year in this coming one.)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

That's not my child.

My children are well-known at our local health clinic and now apparently at the ENT's office. All we have to do is walk in there and they begin filling out the computer info and paper work and then ask which Dr. for which child.
Both Naters and Mr Smiles get weekly allergy shots. I have to call it in every 2 weeks and give a report and then the Allergist sends out the new 2 week batch. If I don't time it right with Ben's shots I end up in the doctors' office twice in a week instead of once.
Our local office is not my favorite place to visit. There is nothing but a tiny TV in what is supposed to be the Children's area. The TV is a good 2 feet above my head and not tilted in the direction that the children below can see (down). They have to climb into the wide window sill and sit like four little ducks in a row craning their necks up at the TV. Naters is really just too short, so he uses the window sill and chairs as a slide and I stand next to him helping him not fall flat on his face from off of the chair. The ladies behind the glass stare or glare at us depending on the level of noise we make.
I've taken coloring books and crayons, books, toys, lap books, you name it to keep them occupied. It does for the first 10 minutes, but after that they are back to the window sill or crawling under chairs or attempting to suck on the door jam on the other side of the fist tank. Yes, that is Naters specialty. He has this thing for floor door stops. I don't know if he thinks they look like lolly pops or what, but if I'm not careful (close my eyes to yawn) he'll be on his tummy sucking on the door jam.
If someone who is actually sick is in the waiting area, I try to avoid them. Then the kids are relegated to the corner with the wheelchairs. This poses another form of entertainment. Wheelchairs move. And the ones for obese people can fit 3 skinny kids on them while the other ones valiantly tries to maneuver them around the room. The problem is that even though they've designed chairs for obese people, they never widened the aisles to get the chairs through. I'm stuck on the floor with my feet acting as brakes telling them to keep the "fat chair" (that's Mr. Smiles politically-incorrect term) in the corner and PRETEND to drive. I would like to pretend at times that they aren't mine, but I have to keep them in at least one corner of the Dr.'s office.
After 45 minutes of waiting to get a 60 second shot, we are escorted back to the shot room. Good Lookin runs to the calls of the nurses "WALK!" Nater Mater waves cutely and blows kisses at the nurses. Precious Jewel, who is 7 going on 16, rolls her eyes and acts all embarrassed, and Mr. Smiles begins asking which toy they have today if he does good with his shots.
We all enter the room to Good Lookin' already raising and lowering the "procedure chair" and hollering "look mom! The legs go really high when you push this button!"
Nater Mater immediately begins exploring every door and drawer. Last week he pulled out some obstetrical model to which Mr. Smiles asked, "what's that for mom?" Mr. Smiles heads straight for the doctors wheeled stool and begins driving it around the room and over every one's toes. Precious Jewel crosses her arms and rolls her eyes.
The nurses have gotten used to us. I bring little goodies bags as thank yous on holidays for putting up with us.
Yesterday at the gastrointerologist the boys and I were shut in a small room for 2.5 hours with nothing but some towels and gowns and such that I promptly asked them to remove if they didn't' want to re-sterilize them. The boys quickly got bored with the toys I had brought along and begin climbing over and under the examining table, into more wide window sills, lining up the 3 chairs to hop and skip over and finally they unrolled the entire roll of paper on the examining table to mummify each other. Thankfully, there wasn't much left on the roll and it only mummified 2 of the 3 boys.
I tried to apologize, but the 2 doctors and nutritionist all smiled (genuinely) and said that if they were shut in a room with 3 small boys that they would probably go clinically insane.
Today was Precious Jewe's ENT apointment and I'm sad to say the nurse immediately recognized us since last time she was called in to help corral the troops who at that time were being just plain naughty. The same doctor who saw Mr. Smiles last time them came in and asked "aren't you missing a couple? How many DO you have?" I quickly told him a friend had offered to watch the 2 older boys so I could converse intelligently with the doctor. Thank you Mary!!!!! He looked rather relieved.
Anyway, we are home again and after 3 appointments in 2 days I am glad to not have to go back until next week.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Ben's gastrointerologist results

Well, we finally have a full answer on our sweet little Benja-boo. Our sweet and Highly Sensitive growing boy apparently also has a highly sensitive system.
He has had "tummy troubles" since he was born. Colic. Gas. Long periods of screaming as a baby, but also my most contented baby when he was feeling good.
After years of should we say, "challenges, " we finally asked our Dr. to do some further testing. The testing led to more testing (no answers) to more testing (inconclusive answers) to more testing (allergist--and he is allergic to everything in the air around him), to allergy shots, to more testing and finally a referral onto the Little Rock Children's Hospital for more testing.
Last September, I think, (it was about the same time as Nathaniel's second hospitalization), Luke and he took an overnight trip to Little Rock to have an endoscopy and colonoscopy done. (did I even spell those right?)
He was a little trooper--sleeping a lot for the next couple of days.
We were thinking it would be Celiac Disease since that runs in the family, but it wasn't.
Once again, the Gastrointerologist said that something was definitely going on with his system, but they didn't have a name for it yet. All the tests from that appointment came back as "relatively" normal except for his stomach lining.
Let me see if I can explain this in plain English. Apparently, the cellular-lining of Benjamin's stomach is inflamed. This causes bloating (they commented on his Buddah-like appearance), excessive gas, bouts of diarrhea or constipation, stomach cramps and occasional vomiting. None of which are any fun to deal with.
The Dr. said that he was not coming up intolerant or allergic to anything per-say, but that dairy products definitely seemed to aggravate his system. We were instructed to take him off all dairy and soy products until his next appointment (which was today).
Today after seeing the nurse, the Dr. who did the surgery's and the dietitian they finally have a reason for his non-dairy allergy but yes-dairy allergy. Confused? So was I.
Benjamin does not have the normal dairy allergy. It's not to the lactose or the protein or anything that would show up on any tests. It's a Cellular Allergy.
Never heard of that? Neither had I.
At the cellular level, Benjamin's body can't handle the components of dairy. It is classified as a true allergy, but will not show up on normal tests. That is why they had to go in with a camera as well as scrape samples of his stomach, esophagus, and intestines.
He is not to have ANY--even trace amounts.
What does this mean for goats. We don't know yet. The Dr. wasn't even sure. This type is rare enough that the Dr. said we would just have to see how Benjamin reacts, but he advised us against giving him any. GROAN!!!!!!!!
At least we have answers eh?