Monday, October 27, 2008

Ty's Church Sign

Many of you know how I feel about church signs. If you don't .. well... we'll have to talk about it later.

Anyway, Ty and I saw the classic church sign tonight.

"Ch ch"
"what's missing?"
drumroll please.........
"ur"

Hmmm... I love Jesus now.

I had to explain it first. Then Ty asked me why they put that up there. I said that it was supposed to make you want to go to church now.
Ty came back with "If they want more people to come to church there, their sign should say something like 'Free cheesecake on Wednesday and Sunday.'"

It still makes me laugh. I love that kid.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Riddle and A Nap

Guess where I am? I'll give you some hints:

It has real pillows on it. Not one is covered in plastic.
If I lay flat, my toes don't hang off the end.
It has covers that tuck in and don't ride up around my knees.
It has a really hot-looking man in it.

Give up? I'm in my own bed. Oh yeah! And my baby girl is sleeping between Chris and I right now, fever free and comfortable.

Chris came after church to pick us up. It was nice to be with him. Like I was whole again. We went back to his parents' house to pick up the boys and eat. Margaret had taken them to the store and bought them presents. Brody got a bow and arrow set. Ty got a Lego Star Wars General Grievious fighter ship. And they had bought Gracie a Barbie that came with a dog. I discovered how you can get boys to play Barbies: you make it come with a dog that poops. That's right... the dog poops. It is absolutely disgusting.

Anyways, the kids wanted to play and Bill wanted to show Chris stuff. Margaret took one look at me and told me to go take a nap. And man, that was a good nap. I slept for a couple of hours and would have slept longer if Chris hadn't waked me up. I'm glad he did. It was so lovely to wake up with him lying beside me.

So now we're home. And my house smells bad. The floors are gross. And it's the most lovely sight I've ever seen.

Gracie had a good day today. She's definitely not back to normal. She gets tired easily and her tummy still hurts sometimes. Her fever is slight and easily controlled. But she's so much better, all that is just fine. It will just take some time. She has some really strong antibiotics to take for the next 12 days. She had 3 days of IV antibiotics to get everything jump started. We follow up with the pediatrician tomorrow. (And yes, mother, I got the text... I'll get her some yogurt in the morning.)

So I guess I'll see you soon. Come for a visit if you want.
Well, I know all of you are at church right now. Chris should be calling me after Sunday School for any more news.

Not to sound overly excited but...


WE'RE GOING HOME!!!!!!

Her temp was still good this morning. They're about to give her the oral antibiotics, to make sure that she can stomach it. They want another urine sample too. But after all of that, we can go home. So maybe 1 or 2pm?

I'll let you know for sure.
I've already told you that the doctor was thinking about sending us home tomorrow... well, today now. I was feeling unsure of whether or not this was a good idea. The fear having something to do with knowing if Gracie was physically ready to go home. Is the medicine just masking her symptoms the way it did at home for so long? Or are the symptoms really going away because the antibiotics are working?

So tonight, I refused the Motrin when it was offered. I wanted to be sure. Gracie had taken it last around 2pm. Her temp was holding at around 96 again. Then over the course of the evening, it gradually started to creep up again. By midnight it was 98. By 1am it was 99.5. Then at around 2am it reached 100.8. We gave her the Motrin.

My thoughts on the results of the 'experiment'? That although she is still having fever, it is much more typical and normal. It was slowly creeping up, a degree per hour, instead of 5 degrees per half hour. It was doing it at a steady rate in the same direction: meaning that it wasn't flucuating up and down and up. That I'm okay with. That shows me that the infection is getting better.

After 40 minutes, her temp had already come down by one degree. She is sleeping peacefully.

I was laying on my torture device, trying to go to sleep, when God kept sending me flashes of memory, pointing out the moments of redemption and shalom this week. There were many moments of fear and exhaustion. But there were also moments of ... I know no other word than "Shalom" - the way things ought to be.

Like the gifts of coffee and ChickFilA. Like the picture of Gracie and my friend Roo, lying on the hsopital bed, laughing hysterically. Like reading the comments on my blog and alternately crying and laughing. Like carefully choosing the exact shade that the grass should be while coloring with Gracie. Like snuggling with her while we played Mah-Jong on the laptop. Like hearing her say at 7:30 on a Saturday night that she wished KimHill still lived here, cause she knew that she'd come to visit her if we called.

There are many more. More than I can list here. Your love for us has no gone unnoticed. Your prayers have not been unanswered. As my sister reminded me tonight, God is good, all the time. And as a family, we share in his goodness. We revel in it and we extend it to one another. Thank you for being my family. See you soon.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

More good news.

Grace had no episodes last night. She is responding to the antibiotics even better than the doctor had hoped. Dr. Benton seemed genuinely surprised and pleased at the way she's responded.

There was some worry over her blood work from yesterday, her renal panels looked elevated. So they drew more blood at 5am today and those results were good. Her kidney function looks normal. There is still some concern about her kidneys. There is always the chance that such a prolonged infection could have left scarring but so far that doesn't seem to be the case.

Gracie's temperature has been low. I think that's a reaction to having had such a high fever for so long. Her temp today has not gotten above about 96.8. The doctor said that she's not worried about that. It's more than likely her body's response to the antibiotics. Sort of like taking a break from all the work it's had to do to keep her alive these past two weeks. Also they're keeping the ibuprofen in her regularly... I'm sure that has something to do with it too.

They want to do another urine culture just to make sure that the infection is doing what we think it's doing. She has no pain, swelling or bleeding to give us a measurement of what the infection's doing. None of the 'regular' signs of UTI. That still puzzles me. Her urethra never got infected. The doctor said that with the level of infection that she has, they would really have expected her to be bleeding and swollen. Nope. None of that. Strange.

Also strange that her urine test on the 13th showed no infection. Dr. Fugazzotto was pretty upset about that. Upset that she suffered for so long. Wishing that he could have helped her. But, really, we all did everything we could have done. I can't look back and think of anything that he or I should have done differently. Meticulous Providence.

So, if she continues to improve, has no set backs, can stay hydrated without the IV and gets some food in her, we might can come home tomorrow. I would really, really like that. My back hurts from the distinctly sub-par sleeping arrangements.

The doctors here will continue to monitor her blood cultures. They will send everything to Dr. F, who will then keep me posted. (turns out he was right all along... she was never contagious)

So that's what new. We took a walk with Uncle Teddy today. We watched a SpongeBob marathon. Then I read while she played with her new Barbie. (Thank you, Jeremy!) So we'll hang out and see. Thanks for your continued prayers. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, October 24, 2008

It is almost 1 am. We slept for a bit but then they had to start Gracie's IV, she has the port in her hand they just hook up the tube each time. Anyway, it always burns at first and it woke her up. As we were trying to go back to sleep, she noticed that her stomach was hurting. I got up to sit on her bed and wait for the inevitable. Then she said the most unexpected thing... "Momma, I think I'm hungry."

It's been two weeks since she's been hungry. Progress. She ate some Cheerios. We'll see.
Our team of doctors has reached a conclusion. Gracie has a UTI. They think now that that's all she has. But it is very bad. She will be getting IV antibiotics for a while. My sleep deprived brain is remembering the doctor say for 5 days. She said that we should not be concerned if her symptoms did not improve noticeably in 5 days. Any improvement before that is gravy. Her blood cultures are still developing, two more days on those. The whole thing is still crazy. But I'm glad that at least now we know.
rough night. we're gonna sleep now.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

It is midnight and exhaustion passed me hours ago. I need sleep.

Gracie is sleeping now. Her temperature cycle, that used to be "normal-spike-normal-spike" is now "normal-drop-spike-normal-drop-spike". She has no other symptoms of sepsis than that. Her drop in temp is accompanied by an enormously profuse sweat that smells kind of sulfery and very wet dogish. This is the second episode that has included these things.

The doctors know that she has a UTI (urinary tract infection) more than likely confined to her kidneys for some odd reason. They believe that this is a secondary infection. And still don't know what the primary infection is.

Pray.

Pray for wisdom for the doctors, compassion for the nurses, rest for me and strength for Gracie. Prayers are needed. Visits are troublesome because we never when an episode will hit. I am achingly thankful for your love and prayers and your carrying of this burden with us.

If you want to know how we're doing, check back on the blog. Call the church. Don't call our room. And if you call my cell and I don't answer, I may not be able to talk. Don't be frustrated, it's not you- it's me. :o)

Her temp with the ear thermometer right now is 95.3. Under the arm 96.6. A while ago they had to take it rectally and it was 97.4. Very low. And very weird. And kinda scary.

I'm going to try to sleep now.

PS I have no idea why my blog won't allow comments. No idea.
Doctor wants blood drawn at the height of the rigors. Problem= getting the nurse or tech here before they subside. SO... we missed one whole episode. Now we have to wait for the next one. Which means that they can't try to prevent the next one, we have to let it get full blown again. I cried.

Her fever got up to 103.4 before they finally gave her Motrin. After an hour and fifteen minutes, it is now 104.2. Where is her nurse?
We've had a busy day. She had an episode that started at 2am and lasted until about 11. Chills started the ball rolling. Sorry, rigors. She threw up three times. She had fever for almost 7 hours.

She's had an echo and an ultrasound. Her urine is very dirty, but the chances that she has a simple UTI are slim to none. Her ultrasound looked good. Haven't heard anything from the echo. They're looking for infection in her heart valves. That could mean that bacteria is breaking loose into her bloodstream periodically, causing the episodes.

But I'm sure that tomorrow it will be different. Maybe. We're staying one or two more nights. I will need help with my other kids. Or you could give us money so Chris doesn't have to go... only kidding. Call Kim to volunteer.

I'm exhausted. I got three hours of sleep last night. I really can't think of anything else right now.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Do Not Be Afraid

Well. Here's the story.

Our pediatrician decided that Gracie needed to see an immunologist. He had his reasons. He said to wait to hear from him. So this morning at 10am, we get the call that our appointment is at 1pm with a Dr. Atkinson.

As we're getting ready to go, her fever spikes, the chills start. I give her medicine because I can't let her suffer. Off we go to our appointment. By the time we get there, she feels much better. Her fever is almost gone. We see the doctor. He is very confidence-inspiring. He seems to consider everything. I know this because he thinks out loud. I like that. He decides to get blood work and send her on home. I'm supposed to call on Friday for results. He makes the comment that she looks great. I agree with him... she does look great... at the moment.

As we're checking out, waiting for the piece of paper that I have to give to the lab people, Gracie makes the comment that she's cold. Ahhh, now it starts again. We walk around the corner and she starting to shake. I ask Chris if I should take her back so that the doctor can see what I'm talking about. He says maybe we should.

I ask the lab tech if I can give Grace her medicine, and she says yes. I do. We wait for about two minutes to be called back. By the time the tech is ready to actually stick her, her chills are so hard they almost look like a seizure... this is normal, it's what she's been doing. The tech has trouble getting her to bleed. She finds a vein, but Gracie is a little dehydrated and not bleeding very fast. I had asked her when we first got back there if I should take Grace back so the doctor can see. She thinks I should. But by the time she's done drawing blood, she goes herself to get the doctor.

About three minutes later, in Dr. Atkinson walks. He is visibly taken aback at the shape Gracie is in. The change is dramatic. Her chills are bad. He watches her for a full minute before he does any kind of exam. Then he says that he wants me to bring her back into the office so that he can examine her again. As we're walking with him back to his offices,with me carrying Gracie, I overhear him tell his nurse that he wants to admit her. He says he wants a CT scan of her abdomen, he wants to make sure that she has no 'abscesses'. My hands start to shake.

When we get back to his office, her temp is now close to 104. He gets on the phone. By this time, the office is closed. His nurse and med student are still there. The nurse brings Gracie a package containing 8 new chapter books. She gives her a coloring book. She brings Brody peanut butter and graham crackers.

The Doc comes back in and tells us where to go to be admitted. Apparently, it's right beside Mrs. Bonnie's desk. I smile. I call Mona, she goes and gets Maggie and Ty for church. I call Kim and tell her. I try not to tense up, I don't want a migraine.

Chris and Brody drop us off at the door. We check in, room 422. The nurses are great. By this time, Gracie looks normal again. She looks fine. The herd of doctors come in. They are very thorough. I feel frustrated because Gracie looks fine. The head doc tells me that Dr. Atkinson had called her cell and told her that he had a little girl that he wanted her to admit because of her 'rigors'. Thanks, that word doesn't freak me out. Rigors are her horrible chills. Not good apparently. Der.

Now we are here. She's already had chest x-rays. We're waiting to go to CT. Her fever spiked again after we got here. Just as they were drawing more blood. I sobbed as Gracie cried. I wanted to grab her and run away. But instead we clung to each other and stuck it out.

They think maybe it's the abscess thing, or maybe an immunological thing, or maybe an infection in her blood. None of these things sound good to me.

I want to go home. I want to be at church. I want to hide out in Jackson. I want Jesus to come back and get us out of here. I want perfection. I want my baby to be okay. I want to not be afraid. I want to cry.

Brody wanted to listen to AOC this morning on the way. I cried as I heard the voice of God through that music. "Do not be afraid. Your fragile and trembling hand is no burden to hold." I am afraid, but I reach my hand anyway.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I only have a second. I'm watching a Ken Burns documentary. On my computer! I'm sooooo excited. My Ken Burns addiction has been reawakened. We signed up for Netflix today. I can watch almost all of his documentaries instantly online. Woohoo! I needed a pick-me-up. Thank you Lord for your blessings.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Update

Up and down and up and down... that's been my day. Gracie slept all night with no vomiting - an improvement. But then she threw up at 10. Then she had no fever even without medicine for a few hours - a first. But then her fever shot up again. She had terrible cramps in the evening - not usual. But I gave her Mylanta - haven't tried that yet - and she burped several times but NO VOMITING... woohoo!

I wish I knew when this was going to be over. I don't want her to be sick anymore. It tears me up inside to see her misery.

On the bright side, I feel much improved. The stitches are almost completely dissolved. The swelling is almost gone and my teeth are much less tender. And it didn't hurt a bit to brush my teeth today. That was really nice

Gracie and I have cemented our buddyship this week. We've played with the pretty balloons that Mrs. Bonnie gave her. We've watched movies together. We've drawn and colored. We've snuggled and whispered. We've sat on the porch swing and just talked. She is such a lovely little girl. So much like my mother and I in temperament. She's very observant. Very funny.

Our regular schedule has been not disrupted but demolished. But I hope that tomorrow we can start heading back in the right direction. The bathrooms are in sad shape and the floors are too. But nothing that a little elbow grease from my minions won't fix. And we haven't touched a couple of subjects in over a week. But that counts as Fall Break, right?

The bright spot of every day has been the meals that we've received. Yum. I haven't had to cook in almost a week. I just a tad spoiled now. And the food was really good, too. Better than my family normally gets. They may be more disappointed than me that it's over.

I am very, very grateful for the love of my friends and family. And the prayers that have been offered up on our behalf have been felt and appreciated. Thank you all for loving us and taking care of us. We are so blessed.

Friday, October 17, 2008

I miss my friend JenniMac right now. Maybe it's the Pink Floyd. For after all... we're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl. ;o)

Rough Week

Well, we went to the ER today. Gracie has been sick for 8 days with fever, pain and some vomiting. I've taken her to the pediatrician twice and finally today when she started having weird neurological symptoms, I called the doctor back and was told to go to the ER. So off we go...
Oh, did I mention that she's been exposed to viral meningitis?

Viral meningitis is a viral infection, duh, that will run its coarse in 7-10 days. This being day 8, to do a spinal tap would be, in the words of the doctor, "torture". All we can do is treat the symptoms, make her comfortable. One doctor "felt comfortable" with the diagnosis of viral meningitis. The other two didn't want to go that far... So, we have to follow up with the pediatrician on Monday - again. Grrr.

In the meantime, her fever is spiking to 104, her neck is stiff and her stomach is cramping. Her skin will get as red as a sunburn and she'll just lay here and whimper. It breaks my heart.

Her daddy is cheering her up right now by playing Pink Floyd's Comfortably Numb. He said it reminds him of her when her fever's high. She's smiling.

My mouth hurts. Not too bad though. The swelling is much better. It hurts to smile too big. A friend called today and put it very well... "Rough week." That pretty much sums it up.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

surgery went well. have stitches in my mouth. have some swelling. have to use an ice pack. but have good pain meds. i think i'll go to sleep again.

ps. thank you jennifer and maja for the food.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Fred Goes Swimming

I needed a laugh and this video made it happen. It is soooo stupid. Hope you like it... keep an eye out for the neighborhood squirrels.

I'm having surgery in the morning at 9:30. I dread having surgery. I dread being put behind in my routine and responsibilities. I dread pain. But, it's something that has to be done. What good does it do to fight against it?

And for those of you who can understand the significance... I have gnats in my house. Thus, nightmares and panic attacks. But at the same time, a little bit of victory. Just a taste but it is enough. Pray for me.

I covet your prayers for my family and me this week.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Update:
I don't have an infected tooth due to decay or cavities. I have some sort of weird, contained infection that started at the tooth. It started around the apex of a tooth that has already had a root canal and a crown. The infection has now moved into the jaw, the maxillary sinus and is about an inch from my eye.
I have an appointment with an oral surgeon today at noon. And possible surgery the beginning of next week.
I have no idea why. Neither does my dentist. Oh well.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Conspiracy Fail

The scary thing about this video is the woman's complete sincerity. I laughed when I watched it the first time but now... I just feel sorry for her.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

My Stupid Mouth

Have I ever mentioned that I hate my teeth? Well, I do. Maybe I shouldn't since I've spent sooo much time and money on them. I have terrible teeth. I brush with an expensive Sonicare toothbrush, use Crest ProHealth, rinse with mouthwash, floss and get my teeth cleaned every six months. And still with the bad teeth.

I went to the dentist not long ago and found out, to my great joy, that all I had left to do was one root canal and two crowns. I was excited. That would bring my grand total up to six root canals and 14 crowns. Geez. But I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. Just two more teeth and then maybe I could live my life like a normal person.

But no, that is not how it shall be. I now have what I believe to be an absessed tooth... and it's not one of the teeth the dentist told me about. *sigh* It hurts. The entire right side of my face is throbbing.

I do ask God, "Why?". I would love to know how spending thousands of my husband's hard earned dollars on my mouth brings God glory. I'm not being sarcastic... I really would. I would love to be able to understand why I have to hurt so often. Chris says that I shouldn't rage helplessly against something that I have no control over but, instead, I should trust God. And, oh, how I long to. I want for it not to bother me. I want to not feel like a failure. I want to say with the utmost sincerity, "Blessed be the name of the Lord." But instead I find myself wanting to cry.

I am so very glad that God is bigger than my stupid mouth. I am so very relieved that He has a plan that includes this pain and that it will bring Him glory. It's so easy to feel sorry for myself and so hard to believe the gospel right now. But He is here and He is good.

And tomorrow, I go to the dentist.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Museum Week

Discovery Channel has Shark Week; the Sharp Family has Museum Week. This past week we visited 6 museum/learning centers. They were:
1. Rock City (geography/earth science)
2. Ruby Falls (history/earth science)
3. Chattanooga's Model Railroad Museum (history/math... scale, you know)
4. Vulcan (history/science/geography)
5. Anniston Museum of Natural History (history/science)
6. Berman World History Museum (history/science/geography)


We drove a lot but it was worth it! Each place we visited had something new for us to learn and it was a nice break from routine. I highly recommend visiting a museum. My kids l-o-v-e museums.


Some fun things we learned are: Magnesium is a mineral that, if ingested in high doses, gives you diarrhea. The first Olympics that were held in the US were in St. Louis in 1904... the same year that Vulcan was exhibited in the World's Fair in the same city. Maggie still hates skeletons. A flute can be a flute and a gun at the same time. Cave formations can look like bacon. Momma is afraid of heights. Museums can never contain all there is to know in this wonderful world.



Our all-time fave is the Birmingham Museum of Art. We go there about 2 or 3 times a year. It's free, which is always good. We go to our favorite exhibits first and then do a little exploring. Surprisingly, the kids love the Oriental section. We usually spend the first 30 minutes being shadowed by our own personal security guard until they realize that the kids know proper museum etiquette. After that the guards are usually friendly and helpful. Proper etiquette involves staying at least 2 feet from a painting (even when you're pointing). If you want to look more closely at something, put your hands behind your back as you lean in. No running. No yelling. If we practice these things all is well.


I am thankful that we could have Museum Week. And now back to reality.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

I should be in bed. I should be sleeping. I should do many things things that I don't do. And yet... hmmm. Still awake.

I'm looking forward to Friday night. It's the first time we've had "Friday Night" in well over a month. (Football throws everything off. And yet, I'll be sad when the season's over.)

I miss my friends coming to my house. I miss the freedom and fellowship. I miss people bringing me food. I miss Leslie's creamer choices. I miss being made fun of by Heather. I miss watching women laughing and talking and taking a break. I miss Terri. I miss hearing my kids play with their friends. I miss KimHill.

I love Friday nights at my house. Please come over... I miss you.