Book Review

Sunday, December 23, 2007

You may have heard of the author/historian David McCullough, the author of Truman, John Adams, and 1776. I recently read one of his earlier books, Mornings on Horseback. Winner of the 1982 National Book Award, Mornings on Horseback is a biography of Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. ("Teedie" - yes, that's how it was spelled) that focuses on his childhood and early political career.
I've always liked Presdent Roosevelt for what he did for the National Park System but did not know much about how he became President or what he did before that. "Wealthy, challenged, and unique" are words I would use to describe President Roosevelt after reading this book.

Wealthy: At a time when the majority of Americans had trouble putting food on the table, the Roosevelts were enjoying lavish parties at their home on 5th Avenue, vacationing overseas for months at a time, and spending their summers at their vacation home on Oyster Bay.

Challenged: Teedie struggled with a debilitating case of asthma throughout his childhood and teenage years as well as the premature deaths of his father (48), mother (46), and first wife, Alice Lee, at the young age of 22.

Unique: Teedie enjoyed hunting, taxedermy, reading, writing non-fiction novels, cattle ranching, sleigh riding, rowing, hiking, helping the poor, and politics. He also had nice side burns.

(Teedie at Harvard)

I hope you will check out this book.

Illness Update

Saturday, December 22, 2007

E and I went to a doctor on Thursday as we had had fevers for a few days and our throats were hurting a lot. (E's throat was so bad that she could not eat or drink). We were both diagnosed with strep throat and put on antibiotics. E also got a shot to speed up her recovery, as she had an "advanced" case. Thankfully, Caro has not shown symptoms of strep other than brief fevers on Tues and Wed night. This is truly a Christmas miracle given the high-level of contagiousness (sp?) of strep with children and Caro's weak immune system. As any reader of this blog knows, if Caro had come down with strep at this time, we certainly would have spent Christmas in the hospital this year. Now, with the antibiotics, E and I should be completely well by Christmas.

A Rhyme

Thursday, December 20, 2007

We have the flu,
And feel like poo,
Happy Holidays and,
Merry Christmas to you.

The Flu...

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

is what we all have:(. We are miserable and have been so since Tuesday. We are very grateful that Caroline's fever has been able to be controlled with Tylenol. Please pray for her - that she may get better and not have to go to the hospital. We really don't want her to spend her first Christmas there. Thanks.

The Wiggle Worm

Monday, December 17, 2007

On Sunday, I was getting ready for church, looked over at Little, and she was doing leg lifts. Here's the video (yes, the first video of ours on Love from LV - it's short but sweet) -

Still picture of the random leg lifts

"Give me all your presents...".

Little Miss Santa's Little Helper 2007, seen here wearing the honorary jacket

Little Miss Santa's Little Helper 2007 resting in the arms of her pagaent coach.

Thank you!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

My cousin Liz and her kids, Hannah, Zach, Claire, and Rhett, made Caroline wonderful cards and sent them to her after her last hospital visit. As you can see, Caroline loved them.

We are so grateful for all of our family and friends. Your love and concern help us each day.

Caro's back!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Caro was discharged this evening from the hospital. So nice to all be home together again! Thanks to everyone for their love and support.

Famous Last Words

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

In yesterday's post, I said we'd be out of here in a day or two. Then, almost immediately after I posted, blood started coming out of her g-tube and, a few hours later, her hemoglobin levels dropped significantly! Hello?!?!?

Anyway, the blood thing is being blamed on the daily aspirin she takes (prescribed by her cardiologist after the ASD closure), so they're giving her additional meds to keep her stomach lining in tact.

While the doctor is considering a blood transfusion, I think they'll try a multi-vitamin drop with iron first to get those hemoglobin levels back up.

I talked with the doctor about bringing her home, and she said that if I think she's at her baseline now (her "normal" activity level) then, assuming no more blood comes out or anything, we can set tomorrow as a her discharge day. So that's the plan for now...

I'm so bored with writing all of this hospital stuff!!!! I want to post about books I've been reading and our Christmas decorations and Caroline's first haircut (that was on deck this last weekend because she desperately needs something done :) and apple cider recipes and all sorts of triviality!!

That's all I want (well, not all I want - Christmas wish list available upon request:).


Tuesday, December 4, 2007

This picture was taken a week or so ago - I just like it.

On Saturday around 6:00am, Bryce woke up to change C's diaper and to suction her (get mucous out of her trach tube). She started to get fussy, which is not unusual when we're messing with her. This time however her pulse oxymeter (a machine with a probe taped to her toe that reads how much oxygen her blood has in it) started beeping, telling us that her O2 levels were dropping.

We turned up her oxygen, suctioned her again (in case anything was blocking her airway) - still nothing - she just got madder and madder... and then went limp. We changed the trach (s.o.p. when she' s not breathing properly) - still nothing, now turning blue/purple and not moving, eyes glazed open. I ran downstairs and got the breathing bag (you connect that to the trach and push air in to breath for her) while Bryce held the oxygen flow directly over her trach. Bryce bagged her while I called 911. Our first time doing that.

We bagged her and held up the oxygen. Her heart was still beating though, so we didn't start official chest compressions. After about a minute or so, she started breathing again and her 02 levels began to creep back up.

The EMTs/Fire Dept. arrived (4 big dudes carrying massive bags of equipment), marched upstairs to our bedroom and listened while we explained the situation. They didn't do much (said we did everything that was immediately needed) and set her on a small gurney to get her into the ambulance. The main guy told us that what we did probably saved her life. I'm sure he says that to everyone, but it was nice to hear all the same.

Bryce rode with Caro to the hospital while I gathered our stuff together. Once in the ER, she had two more episodes like the one described above. Luckily, the doctors and nurses were there to evaluate them and watch over her. The attending peds ER doctor said that the episodes were either due to seizures or hydrocephallis (swelling of the brain), and they gave her phenobarbital (an anti-seizure med). This medicine made her very sleepy. A CT scan was done and, from that, the neurosurgeon ruled out hydrocephallis, something we were very grateful for because the treatment for that is a surgery that places a shunt in her brain which drains extra fluid.

So, after 13 hours in the Peds ER, Caro was admitted and taken up to the PICU to be monitored. She got transferred to the regular Peds floor the next day and has been there ever since. Her neurologist told us that, based on what we described and on her EEG, MRI , and CT scan, what she had on Saturday was not epileptic seizures but breath holding spells. If children are prone to these spells, they'll start having them around her age.

They're not permanent (they can stop happening anywhere from 18months-4 years), and, as long as they don't last over 2 minutes or so (I know, 2 minutes of blue/purple baby that I'm bagging - what?!?) then we don't need to call 911 next time. The neurologist gave us some techniques to help her when they're happening as well as ways to prevent them. They don't exactly know what triggers this in some children's brains, but we're happy to hear they're not epileptic seizures, as those are permanent and much more serious.

We thought she might go home Monday, but she started breathing very heavily on Monday afternoon. She may have some sort of viral infection, but one that just causes the fast, heavy breathing - her sats are good, no fever and, she isn't acting like she's sick or in pain. Today (Tuesday), her breathing has slowed down, so it looks like she'll be out of here in a day or two (famous last words:).

Sidenote: she had a follow up hearing test done here. It looks like there is hearing loss, so she may need hearing aids. The ENT will give her one more test to know exactly what to do.

Life with Caroline is not easy. I wish we had more positive news to share, and I'm hopeful that we will someday soon.

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