Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Big Pot (Which when it is stirred, doesn't always work out) and a long story

That's the expression I used when I went to the doctor yesterday, and the way my head feels.  I feel like I have a Big Pot full of Doctors that are taking care (or say they are) taking care of me right now.  I have the staples - the onions and garlic, that I know, and when I scoop them out things go well.  But, some unfamiliar spices or flavors come out other times, and I am not happy with the result.  I mean, really?  Am I 85 years old that I need someone to specialize in every part of my body?  Endocrinologist, OBGYN, Urologist (x2), Interventional radiologist (IR), primary care, and I know I am forgetting a few others. 

My problem right now is that when I chose to go to the hospital closer, I had a different grouping of doctors helping me.  When I met with my OB yesterday, we were trying to figure out how we can switch over easily when I have the baby, so I can have the proper care while I am at the hospital delivering.  We weren't sure we could go to a different doctor after one had ordered us to put in the nephrostomy tube, but I will be having a C-section and while I am at the hospital I can do some things to speed the process of figuring where the stone is that was causing problems, and getting it and the tube OUT (I usually stay there 3 days since it's "MAJOR" surgery, as my mom says.).  So, I don't have a date for this baby.  I tried to plead my case for a little earlier than 39 weeks (October 8) but I am not sure they want to do that.  I have diabetes (baby is big, measuring 2 weeks ahead, but may not be completely developed lung-wise, even with the steroid shots I received, etc.) and we want to keep the baby safe.  I get it, and we saw the baby in a sonogram, saw her face, little mouth moving and some practice breathing, and I know I need to keep my eye on that sweet prize.  It's all for her.  God is in charge, I know!  But, the doctor listened, and said they would "discuss me" at the next meeting.  I will be back weekly, so I will be hopefully get a date soon.  I am going to be spending a lot of time in the car!

*Here comes the Long Story: Last Friday I took the kids to school for orientation, all by myself, I would add.  I knew something was wrong with the tube, and knew I was going to have to go in to see the IR that afternoon.  My mom came to help, and I drove off to the hospital.  Nurses are super sweet, and we go back into a room and they say it's a quick procedure, shoot some contrast in the tube to see what's going on.  I had the same doctor and buff nurse who remembered me from the week before, so I was at least very grateful for that.

I am put on a small table, on my side, wrapped in a lead apron, and then covered in a sterile drape: otherwise known as a big plastic tarp to cook me.  I had some layers of clothing on, and I was VERY sorry I did that.  I was trying to peel off layers without interrupting, but I was sure it would be quick and I thought I would just offer it up.  No biggie.  Doc starts working, tells me there is a kink in the line and they can do a 3 minute change.  Okay.  Numbing shot on the area and we can do this.  More to offer up.

An hour later, the doctor says something is wrong.  The quick change isn't possible because there is sediment build up IN the tube, as well as around the tube.  He says the change has to be a complete tube change, and he's very sorry.  Meanwhile, I am cooking, roasting, baking (one nurse even called me  "pig in a blanket" which I did NOT let slide, and he knew it, I gave him such a hard time), and my legs are cramping, and the nurse is fanning me between his running back and forth to the drawers for different size things.  It starts to hurt as my kidney is swollen, and that tube is STUCK.  He is pushing, pulling, and I am trying really hard to be a good patient.  He keeps apologizing, nurse keeps fanning me, and I am praying.  2 hours later, the doctor gets the tube out - and I KNOW he didn't, but it felt like he just yanked the darn thing out.  OH. MY. OHMYGOSHTHATHURTSOMUCH and I screamed.  I am so embarrassed but I did.  It continued to hurt, and I was a mess.  The nurses come running in, the doctor asks if I can be sedated and I didn't even have an IV.  Nurses shove one in my hand, and start shooting some meds into it, not much help with pain, but it helped to calm me a bit.  Just a bit, mind you.  My prayers got much louder, and I was a mess.  Then, he has to put a new one in, using the same lane into the kidney.  yikes.  I am totally upset, and he gets it in and then shows me the line he was fighting.  Covered in stuff on the outside.  No wonder.  My sweet Tommy is waiting for me in the room, and I cannot move for the pain.  Nurses give us instructions (thankfully!) and want us to come back every 2 weeks to change the tube, either the quick one or the long one.  My anxiety went through the roof, and all I could think was please please please put me under!  Which, they may just do to keep me okay.  Technically, that means 3 more changes.  3.more.times.  Hopefully, no more.  First one is Friday, a FIRST FRIDAY in the month, so I am pretty sure the Lord will be asking for some sacrifices on His day.

Monday, August 25, 2014

School! It has begun!

 Early risers were very ready for school.  Tommy said they ate breakfast with their backpacks on!
 Middle School Patrick: 6th grade

 Batman will stay at home with me to keep me safe.
 Ever-ready, ever happy for school Emma: 4th grade.  (she wanted to wear her uniform to Mass on Sunday!)
 William is thrilled by his teacher, the same one Emma had.  1st grade!
God bless al the teachers, staff and all the families this year.  Thank you, Lord, for this amazing community that has been incredibly generous to our little family!  I need to write a blog post about it, but I am so emotional, and I can't do it properly!

Monday, August 18, 2014

August Birthdays

Two of my boys celebrated birthdays this month.  I missed both of them, as far as celebrating and spending time with my guys, and it was super hard. 

William turned 6!  He was showered with gifts from family and, Grandpa was sweet enough to take a video of the moment I missed.  He is so sweet and clever:

"William celebrated milestone six to great cheer,
With a cookie-cake too big to handle;
But a special assist from a sibling so dear,
Helped him extinguish the very last candle."

I can't seem to get the video to upload, but he was super cute.  I know they went to Red Robin and of course, they sing to you there!  I think he enjoyed it.

My Patrick (the big middle schooler) turned 11 on the feast of the Assumption, a fantastic feast day!  I was not able to make Mass with him that morning (so tough) and then they went to breakfast.  We had family offer to take the kids for us that day, and he left right after and went to his 2 aunt's houses.  Patrick (and all my kids) love spending time with cousins.  I kind of mentioned to Tommy that I wanted to have my chickens at home so I could be with them so we got to sing and open presents and be with him! 

Friday, August 15, 2014

It's the Details that Make a Difference

Wow.  What a week it has been.  We have all been through so much and I am so worried about my family, and my stressed out husband.  The Lord has given me a lot of suffering, but he has some extra stresses right now and could use some prayers as well!

Just a few things that I wanted to remember while it is fresh in my brain.

  • My mother and I made an executive decision to go to the hospital near us.  My OB doctor and the ones who handled everything last time is about 30-40 minutes away.  I thought that for ease of my husband (who is taking care of the kids), and that I might be able to get pain medicine sooner we should go close to home.  From this decision, I am afraid a lot of things went wrong that should not have.  They did not have my records so did not know my history (they had to get it faxed over) so it took longer to get pain medicine.  (ACK.  So awful.)  When I had my kidney issues last time, I had a "cocktail" as soon as the nurses saw me and heard me.
  • Thinking back, I think it would have been better to have MY doctors around me.  Not that my care was bad from any of the doctors, but they didn't know me.  I missed my OB, an amazing office with Catholic, pro-life doctors.  Maybe it would have been better to deal with the same urologist that helped me last time.  (Yeah, I know.  Only God can tell me what WOULD have happened, and he isn't likely to do that.)
  • After my nephrostomy procedure, I woke up with (JOY!) no pain anymore, and was so relieved that I did not ask very many questions about the procedure, follow up, care, etc.  I know I was under anesthesia, but Tommy wasn't.  They could have mentioned a few things to him about it.  But, I was at the hospital and I trusted that the nurses and doctors were taking care of me, and would know and help me.  I was there from Wednesday night until Sunday afternoon, and I did try to ask some questions, but they put me in the OB unit and it was a little more complicated.  I got lots of discharge papers about other things, but nothing for this tube coming out of my kidney and draining into a bag. 
  • On MONDAY night, I was once again in pain.  Same pain, same area.  Bag was not being filled and I knew there was a problem.  We went back to the ER, and the ER doc said, "You need to flush this daily."  Oh.  Okay.  More narcotics, and saline to flush.  Frustration growing.  (On a lighter note, my dad said to me, "Didn't your mother teach you to flush?")
  • On WEDNESDAY morning, at 4AM, we needed to go back to the ER.  Same thing, except this time, my tube is leaking (major ick factor) and I am hurting.  Again.  They did the same thing.  I thought it was fixed, but as I got home, I noticed my pants were wet.  Again.  BIG time annoyed.  I decided to make a stink.  I called the urologist, waited for a call back, and when one didn't happen, I told Tommy we were leaving.  I was trying to be patient and not get angry, as was my calm husband.  We would plant ourselves in the doctor's office until they saw me, or point us towards what we needed to do, or SOMETHING!!  So we did.  The urologist was super sweet, and tried to help us but admitted that they didn't have the parts to fix it, but then CALLED THE HOSPITAL for us, gave us an order, so we could go DIRECTLY to the Interventional Radiologist (who put in the nephrostomy) and we got to go right to where we needed to go for help.  Let me tell you, I was so hesitant that we were going to get help.  Just somebody help!  3 angels in scrubs entered our room: 2 nurses - one British, one very "pumped" male nurse and a DOCTOR!  First thing they said was that we are missing a piece to our tubing.  Oh geez.  As soon as that piece was put on, the bag IMMEDIATELY started filling up.  Then they start asking us how we were flushing it, and you know what? They looked at us and said "You aren't ever supposed to touch that part."  Great. So, with the help of these 3, we got all our questions answered AND, a PHONE NUMBER to call if we have another problem!  As we left, I burst into tears and just kept saying prayers of thanks.
  • I am hesitant to say that everything has been smooth, but at least we are not back at the hospital again.  Baby is doing well, and they won't stop my labor after 37 weeks.  Is it wrong to hope a little?  They gave my the steroid shots for the baby's lungs, so I am not so worried. 
  • I miss my kids.  This week has been a whirlwind of activities for them at someone's house, the pool, or something to keep them occupied.  The doctor that released me said that I needed to have help with the kids.  My in-laws and my mom have been here just about every day, including our 4AM ER visit, and doing the driving to and from basketball camp for Emma and orthodontic appointments for my kids.  My sister-in-law set up a meal train for the family and we have had so many generous offers for anything and everything.  I have been alone the majority of the days this week, and it is kind of lonely.  Poor Tommy has been trying to telework most days, and has helped me with medicines, doctor visits, grumpy moods, shopping and scheduling the kids out and about.  But, to be honest, it's been a little too quiet sometimes.  Maybe I am feeling a little selfish in how I want my days to go, but I am also worried that the kids are worn out from all the shuttling, and we have 10 days until school starts!  (Oh, and did I mention that I goofed on the supply lists?  What else is new.)
Anyways,  I can't believe the week it has been.  Please keep us in your prayers.

Monday, August 11, 2014

30 week musings, and an added concern

  • Still here!  Still pregnant, and guess what?  30 WEEKS!!  This baby is big, but measuring, if you can believe it, right on schedule!  This little girl moves a LOT, especially at night.  It takes me forever to get comfortable, and no amount of pillows will make it better.  Actually, I think this one just about sums it up.  Though I am not in the last month of pregnancy, this song still applies.

  • Big news around here is Emma has a new smile!  She is officially a brace face, and sporting some metal as an expander.  She tells everyone about her treatment plan, and is so happy with all the steps.  I am so proud of her!  Mommy actually got a little ego boost while we were there, as her assistant was having trouble fitting the bands on her teeth, and my old boss told her to ask me for help, as "Fuzzy is an expert."  Well, when you put it that way.......and guess what?  She did ask for help!  And, it was like riding a bike.  I fit them on the second try!  Why yes, I will pat myself on the back. It's the little things. 
  • Countdown to school has begun!  We are at less than 3 weeks!  We have some homework issues: a math packet that was done back in JUNE that we have misplaced for one child, and the other child has to be refocused every.five.minutes. to work on his math packet, and we have a book report to do!  This mommy is very ready and very nervous about this upcoming year, especially with the baby coming in early October! 
  • Our family took a little evening trip with Tommy's parents to the Library of Congress in Culpeper.  We brought all the kids to see the Disney movie "Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs" on FILM, not on DVD.  I was thoroughly impressed with all the colors, and how much the kids enjoyed the movie, though some of them were determined to NOT like it.


    We had a Dopey and a Sleepy in our crew.

This is the Library of Congress.  Not exactly what I was expecting, but a really neat looking place.  If I heard my FIL correctly, it used to be a bunker. 
  •  Can I ask for some quick prayers for me during these last 2 months?  I am experiencing some symptoms similar to what I went through while I was pregnant with James.  And, now that I am re-reading it, the time frame is the same.  Sigh.  Trying to trust in the Lord and His plans for me and this baby, but I am VERY anxious.  I am almost always anxious, but it seems to have been heightened this go around.
*So, I wrote this post last week.  (My sister Jenn was very sweet and gave you an update about me while I was out.)  The same day I went to the emergency room with severe kidney pain.  I was silly and did not pack a bag, but I knew I was in for it. 2 hours of writhing pain in a labor and delivery room (because, at 30 weeks, no emergency room wants to see a baby come out there) with those monitors on the baby, waiting for just some pain medicine.  It took a long time to get some relief, and though the narcotic was a good one, it did not last long enough.
It was determined  that I had a kidney stone blocking my ureter, which, when you are pregnant, they can't see on a monitor with an ultrasound or anything.  But they could see that my kidney was enlarged and very full.  Oh my.  That pain.  So they did a procedure called a nephrostomy to allow it to drain (oh, the immediate relief!) into a little bag.  Inconvenient, but very necessary, and will be until the baby comes.  I was so grateful for the pain that was no longer, but the doctors were getting worried about my Oxygen levels.  (The alarm sounded like a doorbell, and went off all.night.long.)  Chest x-ray reveals not a blood clot, but pneumonia.  Thankfully, I was able to come home on Sunday with oral (YAY!) meds, and orders to take it easy.  Baby is doing well, and still hiccupping and wiggling at all hours of the night and day.
Thank you for all the prayers!  Please keep them coming, because as you can  imagine, pregnancy and pneumonia don't mix well.