Our Family

Our Family
"These are the children God has graciously given to me. (us)" - Genesis 33:5

Monday, March 26, 2007

Hospital Free Weekend

Mike here, just so you know. (Side note to Michelle: please feel free to insert pictures as you see fit. Seeing as I am writing this from work.)

Anyway we had a good weekend. No children were in the hospital. Got some amount of sleep and I actually got out to see a movie with my brother. Can't tell you the last time we did that. Oh by the way 300 is an excellent movie - just not for the kids.

We went for a family walk on Saturday and Ethan and to a lesser extent Joshua played at the playground. Giving me a mild heart attack all the while. Ethan is a little monkey and was climbing up and jumping across bars, slides and ladders. Which is exactly what he needs but made me a bit nervous seeing as he did not always pay attention to what he was doing. But he had a blast never the less.

Then there was Joshua coming out of being sick for three or so weeks sat in the wagon and ate everyting in sight. His brother was not around so he was taking full advantage of the peace and quite to eat. He is his father's son after all.

Then on Sunday my cousin came over to watch the boys while Michelle, Rebekah and I went to Mass and Barnes & Noble. Traveling with one baby seemed extremely easy, don't know why it seemed like work the first time around.

All in all a good weekend.

Now only if the weather would match the calendar.


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

In Like a Lion

My big guy has had an interesting month. He has BEEN the lion. Being the oldest he is use to getting a lot of attention. Mostly because he can speak so well, and enjoys carrying on a conversation with almost anyone who is willing to listen and converse back. However, between his new little sister, and the illnesses that Joshua has been dealing with, a lot of that attention has been diverted...and it shows. Ethan has still been receiving attention, unfortunately it has been negative attention. The trouble this little man can cause is amazing. It's been impossible though to make sure that Ethan gets the playtime, "mommy time" and "daddy time" he's needed, with a very sick little brother, and a new little sister. We were doing pretty well before all of Joshua's illnesses...not so much now.

Then, of course, there is Joshua. He looks pretty happy here...that was last month! He is sick yet again. This time he has the stomach bug. He had been home for two days, and woke up Friday morning having vomited all over his bed. He continued with that for the rest of the day, and has since been clingy, irritable, and very sensitive to everything going on around him. The poor little guy has been sick for 20 days as of this past Sunday. (This whole thing started Sunday night Feb. 25) He just can't seem to catch a break.

Now, this morning, he woke up at 5:30am covered in spots!! He has a moderate fever, and is absolutely miserable. We will be going in to the doctors this morning. They think it might be a delayed reaction to some of the meds he's been on. I hope so, this poor little guy needs to get better!

Lastly, we have Rebekah. She has been an angel of a third child. Unfortunately her days are spent either in her carseat or in the bouncy chair at home, but to make up for the lack of attention, she has been sleeping nights in our bed. We couldn't have asked for a more "go with the flow" child. She will let anyone hold her, (unless it's feeding time!) and has proven time and time again that she is ready and willing to adapt to her surroundings. Thank God for that. Most of her pictures though will be like the one above. Well, at least she has some pictures right?? :)

We have definitely had a rough month, but as the saying goes "In like a lion and out like a lamb", we'll see!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

A Powerful Virus...and then some

So, we move on to Friday. Joshua had a rough night...so did Mike...he just couldn't sleep with all of the coughing. Since we made the executive decision that Ethan should go hang out with another family for the day, we called his Aunt and Uncle to see if he could stay with them for the day. I had a feeling the day wasn't going to be pleasant...I had no idea we'd end up in the hospital!

Joshua would just follow me around the house, sit down wherever I stopped and just moan. With every breath he would moan and cough, constantly. That and play with his ears. We've come to the conclusion that unlike his brother's attachment to a blankie and kitty, Josh is attached to his ears...literally. He plays with them to comfort himself.

I decided to help get him to sleep I would take a drive. He always falls asleep and sleeps well in the car. So, I fed and placed Rebekah in her car seat. When I turned around expecting to find Joshua behind me, I saw him in the playroom, curled up on the bean bag fast asleep.

About 45 min. later he woke up, not feeling any better, so we went for that drive.

He slept for another 15 min. but when he woke up, didn't look right. I drove over to Mike's work to get another opinion. We called the doctor because he just didn't seem right. This is when my mother's instincts kicked in. I wasn't sure he was bad enough to go to the ER, but at the same time, he wasn't looking so good. He was all one color...very ashen...and his breathing was incredibly rapid. He seemed to be struggling. Instead of waiting for the doctor to call us back, Mike took the rest of the day and drove us over to the office. I walked in with him, and with one look they brought him into the treatment room to check his stats. His oxygen levels were at 76%. They should be between 92-100%. Then they decided to listen to his breathing and when he started to cry, his O2 stats went up into the 80's. So, they put him on oxygen and then gave him a nebulizing (sp?) treatment. He practically passed out.

At this point I have to say, although we were worried, we didn't think we would need to go to the hospital. The staff at Pediatric Associates did such a great job remaining calm throughout the ordeal, that we were surprised when the doctor came in and said "You've probably guessed by now that we will be admitting him to the hospital."

So, over to the Elliot we went. We checked in on Friday the 9th and didn't get discharged until Tuesday the 13th! It was a very long weekend.

My poor little guy was just struggling so hard to breath. They couldn't determine if it was asthma or if it was just a virus that had settled and caused the extreme inflammation in his lungs. Not that it really matters because the treatment for either one is the same. They don't like to diagnose asthma under the age of 2-3, so they diagnosed it viral.

Mind you, he was treated for walking pneumonia as well. We had gone in to the office on Tuesday the 6th for Rebekah's well visit, and the doctor was very concerned with his cough. She took a listen and said that he now clinically sounded like what little bit of something they saw on the xray from the previous week. She felt it would be best to put him on antibiotics for pneumonia.

The poor little guy, although weak from the endless coughing, difficulty breathing, and very little sleep, was incredibly strong when it came to fending off the respiratory nurses...his arch enemies! They were extremely nice and patient with him, even though he learned how to use his IV arm as a weapon. (That little board under his arm to keep him from bending it, hurts a lot when he bops you in the head!) He got to the point where if they even poked their heads into the room, he would bury his face and start crying. Even in a dead sleep, once they turned the nebulizing machine on, he would wake up and immediately start crying. Who new that breathing in all that oxygen and medicated steam could be so traumatizing? Apparently it was because he cried through every single treatment. (We think that may have been one of the reasons why it took so long for him to get better. When he would cry, the medication wouldn't get inhaled properly. So, that's why they decided to put him on IV steroids to see if they could attack the problem from the inside as well, and try to make his lungs less inflammed.)

Even with his regular nurses, he would wave his arms and cry if they even tried to touch him. He had his little bubble around him, and if they got too close he would say "no no no no" and try to fend them off. Thank God they have a lot of patience, kindness, and perseverance, other wise we'd probably still be there!

Over the course of those five days we learned many things. We figured out that a Daddy is great for comforting when the Mommy isn't around, but the minute the Mommy shows up, the Daddy no longer exists. I found out how heartbreaking it is to leave one of my baby's behind at the hospital crying "Mama", so I could go home and take care of the other two. Mike found out how hard it is to get Joshua to rest when all he wants is Mama and not Dada all night. We were also reminded at how very blessed we are to have such great family and friends to help us out during such a difficult time.

With many thanks to Dan and Lori for taking Ethan all weekend, Friday through Sunday night, including an overnight, (even though you managed to lose him...in your bedroom!:), we couldn't have both been there for Josh and each other with a 4 year old running around the hospital room.
Thanks to Terrie, Norma and Deb for bringing yummy, hot food, coffee, and strong, caring arms to hold on to Rebekah so I could use my arms to hold onto Josh, and we could actually eat something besides veggie chips.
Thank you to Sherry for taking Ethan during the weekdays so that we could again be there for Josh, and handle the discharge from the hospital with all of the many directions and uses of the medications he would be on.
A great big thank you to all of the nurses, doctors and staff at Elliot Hospital. They were all great at keeping us updated, calm, and cheery despite the circumstances. Thanks to their hard work and dedication we were able to bring our little guy home safe and sound.
And thank you to everyone else for your thoughts, phone calls and prayers. You helped keep us connected to what was most important...our family.

Needless to say, we weren't the only ones who were glad to be home. Joshua was like a whole new kid. Even the last two days in the hospital, we could tell he was getting back to himself because he was becoming restless in the bed. We let him walk around a little in those cute little jammies they put on him, but it wasn't enough. Who could blame him. The only reason they were keeping him those last few days was because when he would inhale, he would still retract enough that they were concerned about a relapse if he went home. Come Tuesday morning though, with no retractions what so ever, we were discharged from the hospital with strict intstructions on nebulizing every 4 hours over the first 48 hours, and then once a day for the next two weeks.

We didn't care though, no matter how much work and how little sleep we were going to get, we were all just happy to be home.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

A Powerful Virus

A little over two weeks ago, our family came down with some sort of virus. You know the one...cough, runny nose, irritability, cranky, fussy, and tired.

Well, Josh got the worst of it. He ended up with a moderate fever for most of the first week. It got to the point where it spiked up to 104 degrees and he was brought into the ER for a chest x-ray to check for pneumonia.

A little bit scary...for me because I couldn't go with him. Not because I don't trust my husband with him...far from it...but he's my baby and I wanted to be with him. Unfortunately the ER isn't the place for healthy infants, so I stayed behind. The good news is they came home with a positive report that his lungs looked fairly healthy. That was Wednesday the 28th of Feb. However, if his fever persisted through Saturday we were to come back in to have him evaluated again.

Well, needless to say, the fever went away Friday night, but the cough persisted. My poor little guy was just exhausted from coughing so much. He was falling asleep where ever he could. Well, at least where Ethan wasn't around. (Thank God for that train set upstairs!)

I wasn't too worried yet, because the fever left, and from past experience I knew coughs could hang around for weeks. Plus, for those of you who know Joshua, he can be...well...irritable and ornery whether he's sick or not. Makes it a little tough to tell the difference between not feeling well, and just being ornery!

We knew something was up though when he didn't even want the camera around. Mike couldn't get him to smile for anything!

So, on we went into the following week with a very irritated boy. Not to mention that for anyone who has either had a bad cough or been around someone 24/7 who has a bad cough, you know how irritating it becomes for the non-cougher to constantly hear that sound. Needless to say I was becoming quite irritated myself with the endless cough. Then you add in "mother's guilt" because I was also losing my compassion...it was a very long illness...and it was only going to get worse!

Monday, March 05, 2007


As in receiving communion during mass at our church. Mike and I up until a few weeks ago have still been receiving communion at our church. We are devout Catholics and felt it important to still take communion even though it contains gluten. Mike hadn't noticed any real difference, (although I swear he acted differently when he went without), but I most definitely did. Within that day and over the next few days I began to feel the effects. Crampy, gassy and bloating...that's just to name a few without going into disgusting details. I hadn't noticed these issues while I was pregnant. But it certainly could have been there but showing itself in the hive issues I was having.

I had asked Mike to get a hold of our priest to discuss what we should do because I would just go up, and as discreetly as possible make a bee line for the wine, avoiding the host. Not really the Catholic thing to do. I felt guilty, and empty not being able to receive. As Father Marc later said when we spoke with him, "The Body of Christ shouldn't make anyone sick!"

Come to find out, Father Marc was already in the process of ordering these special low-gluten hosts for the parish. There are two other people who have requested them as well. He referred us to this website: http://benedictinesisters.org/english/site.php to see what it was he was offering us.

According to the information:

"The Celiac community’s response to us... Since we began selling these breads we have served over 2000 celiac sufferers. We have had only positive feedback from those who have tried them. Our low gluten altar breads were featured in an article in the magazine Gluten-Free Living. The editorial and accompanying write-up cited data from the Center for Celiac Research that showed that the 0.01% gluten content of our breads would be perfectly safe for most celiacs. The article states

The measurement cited here, 0.01%, represents 10 PPMs (parts per million). But the more important number is 37 micrograms, because it is daily exposure to gluten that counts. The best current information shows that 10 milligrams a day should be safe.
Ten milligrams is the same as 10,000 micrograms. If you divide 37 micrograms into 10,000 micrograms, you will find that you would have to eat 270 wafers every day to reach the danger point. At most, celiacs would consume one wafer per day or about 0.04% (four tenths of one percent) of the amount considered dangerous."

The one downside, at least from Mike's point of view, is how we have to go and receive this special host. Because of cross contamination possibilities, our hosts are placed in a separate pyx so they can be consecrated during mass when the rest of the hosts are. However, because they use their hands to give them out, we would have to be the first ones to go up and receive. That's right. As soon as the priest comes down from behind the altar, we have to walk right up to him and receive our hosts before the rest of the parish goes up. This means we need to sit closer to the front of the church...with three children...who don't sit still...who don't stay quiet...and who most times gather many looks from the other people who are trying to LISTEN to the mass. Oooopppssss! :)

So, we will see if we have a reaction. It didn't taste bad, in fact it reminded me of a Cape Cod chip without the salt. We just don't know how sensitive we are. Ethan is still a few years away from receiving his First Holy Communion, so we'll see what will be available to him then. For now it's a step in the right direction. It's nice to see the Catholic community doing what it can for those of us with this disease, so that we may be able to participate in the most sacred part of our mass.