Friday, July 30, 2010

Failure to thrive...

So, that's what they called the baby giraffe at the zoo. It came to the point where it was switching from nursing from momma giraffe to regular adult giraffe food. It wouldn't eat and it died. They had no reason for it other than "failure to thrive". So as my daughter is gumming her apricot in the handy dandy food net so she doesn't choke, I'll type about my son who has an "over abundance to thrive" and will in the end either get himself taken away from us or die.

Since March, we have had 4 ER visits and I am pretty done. That averages out to be 1 a month. In July, we have had 3 ER visits which to this point is .75 ER visits a week for a whole month.

I love this boy, I really do, but he is exhausting both of us. Both Matt and I feel as though we've aged 30 years.

This latest adventure and visit to the hospital is all about his curiosity of mechanics and his need to drink EVERYTHING around him that's liquid.

Our lawnmower died and so it's just been kind of sitting while Matt decides if he wants to fix it or not. Or keep it as a memento. We are probably going to bronze it. And when he dies, it will be his headstone. I don't know, he just has this attatchment to the thing.

Somehow, my Houdini son managed to unscrew the cap to the gas tank and while playing with the hose, filled up the gas tank. Oh Look! Liquid. I must drink it!

I looked up to him spluttering and running away and figured the booger had just sprayed himself in the face with the hose again. He does it on occasion and it startles him enough that he thinks it's funny. But then when he kept struggling to breathe and started to retch, I ran over to see what was up and was overtaken by the smell of gas fumes.

I threw his clothes off him and onto the lawn and looked over and realized he actually been playing with the lawn mower.

So... is this where I'm nominated for Mother of the Year award because my kid drank gasoline right in front of my face while we were both in the back yard and I didn't see it? :/

I wasn't sure what to do. I didn't know if he'd gotten much in his stomach or if he just tasted it or if he had gotten some down his gullet how much, do you induce vomiting, drink milk, eat bread, just drink water, do nothing, etc. That was what went through my head in the few seconds it took for me to put him on the floor of the kitchen and call poison control.

The guy on the other end heard him coughing and told me that I HAD to get him to an ER IMMEDIATELY!!!

Way to keep a mom from panicking dude.

He asked if I could drive and I had just seen Michael's car out front so I told him that I could. He said he'd call Primary Children's hospital to let them know we were on the way. I walked outside to tell Mike I needed him to drive us to the ER and the car was gone. GONE!!!!

Then I really panicked. This is the time that an old school brick phone is handy. I started pushing buttons faster than my phone could deal with and then would open whatever place I had clicked then again and again and again. I ended up calling 2 different people, couldn't hang up, then had to sit while a stupid game loaded before I could actually call Matt or 911. It took all of my strength to keep the phone in my hand and not throw it through the front window.

I got a hold of Matt and he was 20 minutes away, could I walk to the hospital?

blink blink.

Um...Primary's is like an hour with both kids in the stroller. He was thinking LDS just a couple blocks away. I reminded him that they'd just send us to Primary's. Then, with what I could tell was a shrug with the comment, he told me to call an ambulance since we've met our deductible at least 3 times now just this year so it'd be on our insurance.

I made my very first and hopefully last 911 call.

Then I realized I didn't know what to do with Bea. She was napping. They told me not to leave Linus's side and make sure that he is breathing and responsive and his color stays ok. Which I at least knew that much. But I also knew he would flip his shit (pardon the french, but have you seen him freak out? You know what I mean) if I left him with the EMT's.

So, I'm running up the stairs with him in my arms, I put him down to pick up Bea, pick up Linus, run back down the stairs, realize that I can't open the door with my feet from this side and had to put both babies down to open the door, pick up Linus, ran next door, wasn't sure that I rang the door bell cause Matt called, the neighbor answered the door, I asked if she could watch my baby while we went to the hospital for Linus, um...crap...I left her in the house, I'll be right back, right then the ambulance shows up, I grabbed Bea, neighbor grabbed her, I took Linus to the ambulance, realized that the paramedics came and they were beautiful.

Ok, so that really is what it was like in real life.

Except that I did talk to Matt on the phone for a second in there, I did hear the sirens and thought for a split second that it was cool we got sirens, Noticed the firetruck and couldn't figure that one out till I saw the paramedic and then realized my state of dress and grooming.

This next part will really only be funny to those of you who watch the tv show Modern Family.  There was one episode where one character was having a kidney stone attack in the middle of the night and he finally let his wife dial emergency. She then put her makeup on and put her sexy shirt on and he was all, "did you just get dressed up for them?"

Then, the gay couple have a fire in the microwave and they call emergency and they both get dressed up for the firemen.

I didn't get the chance. I was straight up haggard, house wife, I haven't left the house in 3 days. I hadn't done my hair. I had no makeup on. I couldn't tell you the last time I plucked my werewolf eyebrows, or shaved, legs or pits. I was wearing capris to go with the awesome hairy legs. I was also wearing my nursing cami around the house and didn't get a chance to put on a decent shirt. I am not even sure I put on deoderant. Not that it matters because the smell of gasoline was pretty over powering, but still. The paramedics were beautiful.

Anyway, after my shallow wallowing and then giggle about it. We got to the hospital, were seen super quick and this is what we found out. Hydro-carbons are digestible. It's ok to drink them. But it irritates the stomach so if you vomit them back up, you can aspirate the fumes. The fumes are the problem because you then possibly get a chemical pneumonia. Which can then lead to a bacterial pneumonia. They said that is why they look for soot around mouths and noses after a fire or burn injury. Because the kids could be at grandma's house and the chemical pneumonia sets in so fast they could die in hours.

So, we had to sit in the hospital for 5 hours and then get a chest x-ray. And Linus couldn't eat or drink anything for a while just in case he started to crash and needed to be intubated.

At this point, I at least felt a little vindicated that I had done the right thing in calling the ambulance. I have had some emergency medical training and I know I can't differentiate between my education in the area or me being the mom. Especially after this being the 4th time we've been into an ER since March, I was hesitant.

I also started to wonder at what point do they look at his history and call child protective services. I did jokingly tell the doctor that I have Linus take the tops of the medicine off because I just can't do it and he can get into everything.

As soon as Linus realized that these guys in scrubs weren't going to suction his nose or poke at his burns which are now fully healed, he was in 7th heaven. He wanted to play with the cars and be held and was great with the nurses, techs, and doctor. He didn't do so well with the x-ray, but that's just because it is a little scary.

The room smelled like an auto mechanic shop. He was breathing gas vapors for a while, as well as burping and tooting them. But after the x-ray, we got the green light to go home!

They told us to keep an eye on him for about 24 to 48 hours, but since he looked so good, he probably would be fine.

As of this posting, we are taking donations to buy Linus his new home. Seriously, click on it and check it out. You might get one for yourself. They look fun.

Anyone else afraid their kid is so over zealous to thrive that they may just cancel themselves out before they hit 5?

My funny for the day

I just had some funny things happen today and wanted to share. 

First off, I was going through some old books that my mom had given me and was just trying to figure out what to keep, give away, completely throw away , etc. I like to flip through all books just because you never know what you'll find. Like $100. 

Ok, no, that didn't happen. But, I did find a cute little Valentine's Day letter from a little girl named Patrice to her mom. 

Dear Mom, 
        I love you. I love you so much. I bet you didn't know that I love you. I do. I love you more than a cross eyed cow.

Love trice.

Um... uber compliment to you mom I guess... I couldn't stop reading that note and giggling over and over. She repeated the "love you more than a cross eyed cow"  over and over and over. 

Secondly, I was at the park with my mom and Linus. Oh and Bea as well. I forget her sometimes cause she is so good and just sits there and eats grass and bugs and dirt and stuff. So, I was playing with Linus and this guy kept calling his little girl "Number 5". 

Number 5? I guess that's easier than a name. I may take that and even though I have only two kids, it's better than calling Linus (who I call Boo quite often) and Bea. 

"Boo, Bea come here!"

Didn't get it? Say it out loud then. Hehehe...or it may be funny when they are teenagers. 

Sunday, July 25, 2010

TJ's German Adventure Part 1

So, because I am so cool, I have a guest blogger... hahaha. Actually, my brother is in Germany and I know that not everyone has facebook, so I asked if as he wrote about his German Adventure, I could re-post here.


TJ Edwards On July 20 I left the United States, and landed in Stuttgart on the 21st. Butterflies the whole way. I didn't know where I was staying, what my responsibilities were, how to speak the language...pretty much shooting in the dark. When I landed, I went to the information desk, showed the woman the name of the town where I needed to go, and was on the bus ten minutes later. 

Small details. Instead of going to Reidling then to Mörsingen, I went to Rütlingen on the way to Mössingen. I spent the better part of the day in a delirious confusion caused by exhaustion and dehydration. Surprisingly it took more than three hours to find someone who spoke enough English to help me get where I needed to go. 

Eventually I was convinced to go back to Rütlingen. On the train I fell asleep between every stop, for how long who knows. When I got off the train, I wandered into a restaurant (aptly named Relax). All I wanted was to have a glass of water a pint and to regroup. Instead, I got a glass of water, a pint, directions to the Internet cafe, detailed bus schedule that would take me to Zwiefalten, a couple laughs, another pint, and a feeling of the bars namesake that I haven't felt in weeks.

An hour and a half later I was being welcomed to the Zwiefalten, and ushered to Mörsingen. In hindsight, it is not surprising that I was given slightly "off" directions, this town where I am now residing for the next two months has just over one hundred residents. 

Susanne met me at the bus station, her smile alone would have convinced me I made the right choice coming here. It is still all new but her generosity, enthusiasm, and kindness are all perfectly reflected in that first "Hallo." 

I felt surprisingly well the second day, and was ready to get started. Susanne sells much of her work through craft fairs and markets all around Europe. Her most recent, one day prior, was in the UK. Her ritual, for returning from a market is to unpack everything, clean/organize the studio, then back to work. We worked half of the day, and her boyfriend, and his three children arrived. A few hours later, Susanne's sister and a couple of her neighbors showed up too. "To check out the Amerikaner," she said.

Wonderful schnitzel, bonfire, and volleyball until it started to rain. Then it was onto the salon, to have more fire and beer and conversation til the wee hours. 

Today we semi started working, she says we work really be able to begin until Monday, the children will be gone and it won't be so much like a holiday. I am very flattered by her compliments. "I have never had an assistant who could throw already, did you come from heaven. I work half the time and there are already twice the pots." 

Early afternoon we all went for a short walk in the forest, there are several loops to take ranging from one hour to many. As we finished the rain came in full force, and uncharacteristically so. Most of the rest of the day was spent drinking tea and chatting. 
Switching to beer, having dinner, evening bonfire...and now sleep.

Gute Nacht

Linus pics and video

 I apologize that these videos are sideways it was on my phone, I am not much of a video taker, nor was it the best of circumstances. Regardless of the circumstances, he has received his pain shot and this was too cute to not record. 

Sleeping on the way home. Thank God for modern medicine. Four hour ride home.
Poor kid with his "boxing gloves".
Grumpy drugged up kid.
Knee one week later.
Palm, pointer finger, thumb one week later.
Wrist, palm, thumb, fingertip one week later. You can see the little tiny blisters all over .
Linus aiming his new nerf gun the day after his birthday. All healed but a few spots. Not too bad a week later.
And a bit of fun and cute to end the picture post.

P.S.- He is 3 weeks healed. Is doing amazing and still just has a few scabs. His new skin is pink and very "newborn"-ish. The best therapy I've found for him is to make him give me knuckles and then a high five. Both hands alternating. And to have his hands spread as far and wide as he can to trace them. That's one of his favorite things. Hooray for fun therapy!

Thou Shalt Love Thy Neighbor.

I have to continually remind myself of this.

She makes it VERY hard to do.

We have a neighbor with whom we share backyards, she is old, and I think she is crazy. Not that being old makes you crazy, but maybe in her case it does. Or she has always been crazy. I don't care. We are dealing with the brunt of her crazy right now.

I don't even remember if I have posted anything about this, but our first time meeting her, she pulls out the "Hi, I'm Betty. This fence is falling down and I'd like for you to pay half."

I understand that sharing the cost of a mutual fence is usually common. But really? The first time you meet someone you throw that out? Then she ends her request for our money with "I'm elderly so I'm on a fixed income. *poor me face*"

I sure wish I lived in my home long enough that it's probably paid for, have a renter downstairs, and had a fixed income. That would be pretty dang nice. Right now, we are a new family, with little kids, brand new OLD house that needs and unbelievable amount of money put into it, and numerous visits to the hospital. AND I don't work. I stay at home with the kids and heaven forbid Matt lost his job and couldn't find a new one. I'd go to work making 1/4 of what he's making.

So it got to where I hated going into my backyard. It was like she was looking out the window all day waiting for me to go out there and then would come running out complaining about one thing or another.

"The vines on the wires need to come down."
"The trees need to be trimmed. They are too close to the power lines."
"The fence is falling over, we really need to get together and talk about your part of paying for it."
"That tree really needs to be cut down. It's too talk and could fall over onto my house."
and on and on and on.

One day not too long ago, I looked into my backyard and there was some strange guy there. Matt went outside and they were tearing the fence out.

Fine. Tear the blasted thing out. But #1- common courtesy states you let us know that you are doing that or in the least that someone is going to be hanging out in our backyard. #2- Make sure you have a plan in place to keep our chickens and ducks and kids out of your yard. That shouldn't be our responsibility if everything is fine the way it is. Anyway, whatever. She then had the gall to ignore Matt for 20 minutes while they were tearing the thing down, pretended like she just saw him, and then asked if he got the message that she was getting rid of the fence.

Previously, Matt has told her time and time again, that if she wants to pay for supplies, he'll build the fence, but that we just don't have the money nor the desire to split a professional to come in and do it. She keeps telling him that she doesn't understand what he means by "she buy the supplies and he'll put it up".

For real, lady?

Then, he explained that she could do whatever she wanted with the fence, but it was the retaining wall that was the reason the fence was falling down and it would be stupid and pointless to tear the fence down and put up a new one if the retaining wall was failing.

She couldn't understand the reasoning behind the fact that the retaining wall was her responsibility. It's her dirt. It's her wall. It's her wall keeping her dirt out of our yard since we are downhill.

Imagine her surprise when she went to multiple attorneys to find out the actual law on this.

So, THEN she tried to get us to pay for half the retaining wall and the fence...

O.o  <-------That's my blank stare.

So the fence is torn down, and her son and family show up. Which was fine, but they acted like we were the most awful people. Their surprise when we were nice to them when their football was thrown into our yard and that I gave their dog a treat just killed me. WTF did she tell them about us?

Her son's dog is a hunting dog and had been in the car since Washington. It was running, barking, and going crazy. I don't care. I love dogs. But she was up yelling out her window to "Shut that dog up!" "Stop that dog from barking!"

It was noon.

Again... Really?

So, we had some friends over. We get loud. We have a fire. We drink. It isn't anything that doesn't happen almost every weekend once the weather gets tolerable. And of course, there is gasoline to keep the fire going and of course you can't keep the boys from playing with the gas.

We sat and watched them watching us and then they turned the lights off once they realized we were watching them back. We then saw lights that seemed to be camera flashes... I don't know, nor do I care, but it was weird.

We've spent about a month ignoring each other and it's been nice. I mow the lawn, she comes out to garden, I turn the mower off, she goes inside. That's the dance we dance these days.

Until today.

Not only was it early, but I was in my pajamas (ie: no bra) and hadn't had my coffee yet. I am NOT in my best form early in the morning.

She caught me and came rushing forward to ask me to talk to Matt about the "bonfires".

Apparently she doesn't realize that if someone has VERY frazzled hair, jammie top with no bra, boxers underneath, babies in diapers and ridiculous bedhead,  MAYBE that isn't the best time to talk. I just like to make sure the ducks and chickens have food and water and then go back inside to get prepared for actual outside time. Sometimes Linus likes to play out there  a little longer... grrrr.

I saw her out there and tried to sneak into our backroom and hiss to Linus to come inside. He  promptly yelled out "NOoooooooooo!" Sigh, so outside I went to get him and she caught me.

Her: Could you talk to Matt about the bonfires?
Me: .......bonfires?
Her: My grand daughter was here a couple of weeks ago and she almost called 9-1-1 she was so terrified. Luckily she came and woke me up.
Me: ............Um.............Ok? (We were able to see all of them watching us out the window. She was there as well. And the kids seemed to be enjoying it. It's in a fire pit with a chimney...)
Her: And it's killing my lilac bush, see? And I've noticed you haven't had any fires since Linus's accident. How's he doing?
Me: He's fine, this isn't where he was burned, he understands fire safety, it was just a camping accident. I will talk to Matt about the gasoline, but really, we have fires almost every weekend. There isn't much that we'll do about that.
Her: (scoffing) Well, if that fence was there, it would have burned to the ground! Those flames were 20 feet high!
Me: ........O.0 (blinkblink)........This door was here at the time... it's not even browned. (It was an old door from our garage that was sitting behind the fire pit at the time. Besides, our tree up there would be dead if that was true. But I'll talk to him.......

I can only shake my head. I understand that there are 3 sides to every story. Hers, ours, and the actual story.

Everyone has that neighbor. She is ours and a few others' on the block. And we are hers.

Friday, July 16, 2010

My head is obviously not in the right place.

We have been down a car for a little while. This is the way it went.

Matt had a Mazda. I had my Jeep and my Hyundai.... lots of sales, broken cars, and other mishaps later, we have a CNG Blazer in the garage that caught fire just a little bit and is undrivable, the Jeep has brake issues, a Prizm that Matt drives, and nothing for me.

Of course, if I wanted to get up and get myself and kids ready (just enough to ride in the car) in the morning, I'd have a car for all day. But then I'd have to manage my day so that we'd be ready to go and pick him back up. And I'm lazy like that.

So, I walked to the Training Table for some cheese fries with the ultimate dipping sauce. I crave food and sometimes I can't ignore the craving. Even to walk 2.2 miles in the heat. It wasn't bad and the food satisfied my weary soul.

Then I started thinking about it and thought, "Self, there are just a few inches that are being stubborn post-Bea. Maybe a little more exercise will cure that. It usually does."

On Monday, I decided that instead of waking up the babies, I'd just let them sleep and then walk to their doctor's appointment. It isn't as far away as Training Table. (Or so I thought). But I did manage to get there in 30 minutes thanks to the awesomeness of running downhill. With a stroller.

Today. Oh, today is a completely different story.  Today we ran out of milk. Smith's is not very far away and I decided we could walk there. Easy Peasy.

It took us a while to get ready. I decided that I would spare the shoppers of my stinky self and actually shower. We finally got going about 2 after naps and baths and showers and etc.

One block in and my feet started to BURN! I'm talking OMG my feet are on FIRE!!

I forgot to put my shoes on.

Re-read that last sentence. I. forgot. to. put. my. shoes. on.  That, my friends, is where my head is these days.  Where you might ask? I HAVE NO IDEA!!

So, I got back to put my shoes on and made it to Smith's in about 10 minutes. It really is that close.

And then, I tried to actually shop with my stroller. Now don't get me wrong. I don't want to look a gift horse in the mouth (whatever that means). The stroller was free, it is awesome cause it is single wide/double long so I can get through doors and whatnot, but it doesn't turn very well. Not at all when it comes to a steep grade and a turn. And the basket underneath is ridiculous to get to. So I attempted the stroller maneuver while carrying the basket.

It didn't go well.

I finally finished, got to the checkout, got all of us settled with groceries, got walking and.... Ugh. The basket under the stroller was scraping. I tried taking the heavy stuff out and carrying it. That lasted half a block. I decided to risk the walk, scraping and all, and just walked home.

Thank heavens the kids were able to sleep in the 100 degree weather. Ya, you read that right. 100 degree weather. I decided to take a walk to the store, grab 2 gallons of milk, 2 gallons of apple juice, and other odds and ends and walk back up hill. And I'm not talking a slight grade either.

Where is my head? Again, I don't know.

It took every ounce of energy I had to get the stroller home. The last ounce of energy I had was pushing it up our driveway to  get the stroller into my back yard. Thank God my scraping stroller basket withstood the scraping walk and I didn't end up with groceries to carry on my shoulders as well as pushing the darn thing. \\

Did I mention I had hamburger in the diaper bag?

We got home, I almost collapsed, I realized I hadn't eaten anything yet today, and the kid meltdowns proceeded. Linus was hysterical because he woke up and wasn't well rested, started crying, started wiping his face, got sunscreen in his eyes, which started the whole cycle over. Bea woke up to him screaming, decided she needed to join in. I tried to put her back to bed but that was pointless. If she falls asleep for even a minute and is woken up, she's up. I tried to take care of Linus and his poor eyes. I still needed to put the food away. I REALLY needed water and some sugar.

I got things somewhat under control and 10 minutes later, Matt walked in the door. Two hours earlier than normal.

That was a bittersweet welcome surprise for me. I could have waited a little bit and just taken the car, but I didn't know he'd be home early.

Here it is, 11:15pm. I am so exhausted that I can't sleep. But my pants are already fitting better.

And I don't care if it is just water weight. They still fit better.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Dear Mom,

I know that these last couple of weeks have been hard on you. I totally understand. Weddings, travel, injuries, long lost sons, theft, and then more theft. It's draining.

I just want you to know, I know you are having a hard time. I wish so much that I had so much Calgon you'd be taken away for a month.

I also want you to know that we are down to one car. I don't know if you know that or not, but between Matt and I, there is only one car. Otherwise, I'd have been down visiting and trying to boost your spirits. I know you know what it's like not having a vehicle. I remember pretty well when we were "in between" vehicles when I was a kid. The time between the blue station wagon and the red truck. The time between the red truck and the Dodge minivan. The times when the minivan was broken. The time when the minivan just died. Or when your vehicles were taken by Dad for various reasons.

Anyway, I also want you to know that I, too, am in a bit of a funk. I think I am exhausted. I think my medication is off, and I think that I just don't deal with this much stress for so long. I have hit my brick wall. I know you know what that's like.

Just, please, don't think that I don't care. Don't think I don't understand your pain and sadness at this most recent event of loss. I may sound preoccupied but I've got me a toddler who is now so clingy he can't bear to have my attention anywhere but on him. All the time. He will barely sleep in his bed by himself.

I will make it up to you. I just want you to know how much I love you and how grateful I am for everything you do. You are one tough broad who just keeps on truckin'. I know you got that great trait from GG who will outlive us all. I'm convinced.

On the Linus front, he loves his books and asks me to read them to him at least 3 times a day. He certainly likes that Strawberry book and really likes the McDuff book. He loves his dog ball so much that he took it with him on his last burn clinic appointment. Thank you for getting him a ball he can throw and it won't hurt Bea. He carries the fish puppet around quite a bit and likes to have it kiss my face. He is trying to hard to figure the snail out. Good choice in gifts Nana.

Have I mentioned the exhaustion? Unfortunately, I know you can sympathize. I have seen you hit your shut down mode and I am there right now. Hopefully soon I will be back on my feet and be a better daughter in your time of need.

I love you,

Healing commences

So Monday was our return visit to the burn clinic so they could look at his wounds and then we could move on from there... more dressings, splints, physical therapy, etc.

We got there and after taking all of the dressings off and using a wet washcloth to scrub them, we were given great news... most of it is healed.

He has just a few spots that are still a little weepy and his big burn on his hand is still delicate, but for the most part, he is healed.

They explained that his new skin is pink and shiny and that it is brand new skin like newborn skin. It's pink because it's transparent and it will take 4 to 6 months to built pigment in it. Until then, we have to put lotion on it everyday, continue the stretches, and sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen. I guess if we don't put sunscreen on his new skin, it'll build more pigment than his other skin and he'll have permanent dark spots.

He does have some bandages still on the couple places that are still healing and a compression bandage on his hand with the palm burn. They sent us home with a ton of stuff (stuff= $$$ :/ ) And we go back in 3 weeks to determine the level of scarring if there is any. If there is, and it's in places that it will cause problems, they said there are things they can do to minimize it.

Anyway, I will post pictures and videos as soon as I find my computer cord to my phone. I don't want to go the extra mile of emailing myself, downloading them from there, then downloading them here... I am lazy like that.

Just a quick note about today. I noticed the when his bandages are on, he won't use his hands. He acts like he is completely disabled. So, in my "mom knows best"ness, I took off everything and let him play. I let him play in the water, the dirt (his weepy wounds are scabbed for now), and his toys. He didn't have any problems and I personally feel this was a better physical therapy to keep his hands stretched than for me to hold his hand for two minutes. He seriously didn't even act like his hands bugged him for the most part. The edges of his burns have skin that is just there and needs to come off. It will in time, but he is a picker and sits and chew on them. Gross. Otherwise, he is doing so super great I am so glad! He is coming along quickly and to say my son fell into hot coals of a fire pit, he has walked away with miraculously minor injuries.

Kind of wonder if God knows that this mom wouldn't be able to deal with real life if it had been worse.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

1 Week...

So today is not only Linus's 2nd birthday, but it's a week since he decided to try out fire walking and failed.

Tomorrow we are going in for his week check up at the burn unit at the U Hospital and I need to vent a little bit...

When we went in, they kind of made it sound like a big deal. They offered a foam that has silver that leaches into the wounds and is an antimicrobial. We don't have to touch his wounds or clean them for a week. Otherwise, they'd show us how to clean, dress, and wrap his wounds, we'd have to clean it twice a day, and they'd give us all of these supplies. And I quote,"If you need anything, please call us. We'll get you in and take care of you. If you have any questions, please call anytime."

So when two days later Linus managed to rip his dressings off twice and then fell into the duck pond, I decided that the foam stuff was ruined, I threw them away, and called to see if we could get in so they could show me how to take care of his wounds without the foam.

"Um... I didn't see his burns, what do they look like?" I told her. "Well, we can get you in on Tuesday..."

Me: "That's great, but we have an appointment Monday and I need to know how to treat them until then."
Girl: "Oh, well, just get Neosporin and some gauze and just try to keep them on as much as you can."
Me: " often am I supposed to clean them?"
Girl: "Once a day or so."
Me: ......Um.....Ok.

So... I kind of felt that the girl on the phone was not aware of the "call anytime we'll get you in or answer any questions" policy. I felt she didn't give me any information and that we were a hassle. If his burns are bad enough we need to be seen at the burn clinic, why would she think that a week away was ok and NOT give me any information on treatment until then?


AND if we could have just used stuff we had at is the deal with "giving" us supplies we are going to be charged quadruple for? Just tell me how I can treat him from home and don't make such a big deal if it isn't.

Anyway, I was just very bugged about the phone call and feeling like I was pulling teeth to get treatment info out of her, she wouldn't transfer me to someone with more knowledge, and A WEEK TO GET IN?? Seriously!?

I am under the opinion that not only are they not very good at wrapping a toddler, they obviously don't have one at home and/or it's been WAY too long since they have. We have yet to come home and have the bandages last the day.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Day 3

The doctor we saw in the ER at the University of Utah who works in the burn unit gave us the number to call at 8am. So, bright and early, I was on the phone making an appointment. It's very strange that they have no openings until I pulled a name drop of the doctor who saw us in the ER and they were able to get us in within the hour...

So, let me break this story for a minute and explain that Matt and I only have one car right now. Not something that really has sunk in yet, so it didn't dawn on me that we were going to have to manage work, appointment, two kids, two parents, etc. It is a fine dance we dance, when we communicate. When we don't, it's chaos. Luckily, we don't live far from the U and I wouldn't mind walking home. There is the tracks station close by to make my walk shorter. But even more lucky, Matt has a job that allows him to be a little flexible with his time. Even more lucky than that, he has a boss that has a two year old who understands and even though there was a demonstration Matt needed to be to, his boss took over until we were done.

So, in the burn unit, outpatients are only seen by Nurse Practitioners. Which I certainly don't mind. In my experience, I have found better bedside manner from them than doctors (and sometimes longer waiting time, but they also spend more time in the appointment I am there for as well.) This particular NP was great. He was very friendly and I liked him very much. We also had the pleasure of meeting the Physical Therapists. They explained that burns tend to shrink and he would want to close his hands. As they heal, the burns would heal that way and he wouldn't be able to open his hands. That is where they come in and give us stretches to keep that from happening. While I don't like to be treated at a teaching hospital, I like being there with my family members. The doctors are explaining to the residents what and why for everything, so I learn more than I would otherwise.

Up until now, he had big, thick, white bandages resembling boxing gloves on. I was worried that he would have useless hands until he healed. It was very good to know they'd only bandage the actual wounds and he will be able to use his fingers. They said they wanted him to play and that would be the best physical therapy and in past experience, they've found that the more limiting they make a child's healing, the more they resist it.

Yay! I won't have to feed or hold his drinks anymore!

We were given two options of bandages. #1- change them everyday, but he can bathe. #2- A foam that they put on that has silver in it and the silver is a microbial so we don't have to touch the bandages until we see them again on Monday. Hand injuries really gross me out... let's go #2.

I feel really bad for the little guy, he sees scrubs and starts to shake his head and says "no,no,no". We may have to buy him scrubs for Halloween and he'll think he's the scariest person ever.

They wrapped him up, gave us some paperwork, told us to call anytime if we have any problems or questions, and sent us to checkout.

The U of U Hospital doesn't take our insurance.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Day 2

Linus really doesn't seem to be having much pain right now. We were given instructions to take him into the burn unit the day after the incident, but they were closed. It is a holiday you know. So, after calling around, we decided it was smartest to bring him to the University of Utah Hospital ER since they are the only hospital with a burn unit.

So, I just want to say on a side note: I'm 32 and I have no idea what year it is.

I filled out the paperwork and the guy at the front desk told me Linus was already in the system...I don't know why... and that if I have the ability to travel in time, he'd like to use that ability.


He showed me the date that I wrote down for the day of the accident and I put 07/04/2011. I didn't see anything wrong with that. He gave me a blank stare and it hit me. It's not 2011 is it. I have no idea what year it is. Is this the beginning of "Stay at home dementia?"

The nurse we got was brand new to the hospital. She wasn't a new nurse, she just was new to the U, so she got stuck with "the kid with burns". That's how they divvy out the ones no one wants. "Hey, newbie, you're up"

So we told her the story. Then a doctor with tie dye scrubs came in. We told him the story. Then 2 residents came in and we told them the story. Then 2 burn unit residents came in and we told them the story. Then the big shot burn doctor came in and we told them the story. Sigh.

I felt like I was in an episode of 'Scrubs' and this doctor was like Dr. Cox. He was cranky and mean and it was funny. In retrospect. It was strange to see these intelligent people tripping over themselves trying to please the Doctor and forgoing all common sense.

Ok, I'll say right now, hand and face injuries make me sick. They make me queasy and faint. I can see all sorts of stuff, have seen all sorts of stuff, but a cut on the face or the hands...ugh. No thanks.

Saying that, the burn doctor pulled the gauze off Linus's hands and OH MY GOODNESS!! His hands had doubled in size from the day before. He had the hugest blisters I've ever seen. AND THE DOCTOR WAS GOING AT THEM WITH SCISSORS!!! Gag!

I tried to watch, mostly couldn't, but I did see the  biggest blister being cut and not able to imagine the amount of fluid that came out of it. Then all I could think was... this is like breaking someone's water.  Anyway, they cut the dead skin off of the burns to clean them out, put some more salve on, mummy wrapped him again, and this time Linus did better.  Or maybe my memory is skewed and he was just as bad but I was trying not to gag and pass out that it seemed better.

The doctor gave us a number, told us to call the burn unit tomorrow and say Dr. so-and-so sent us and they'd get him right in. He also gave us a prescription for Oxycodone Elixer. Just for future reference if anyone needs to fill a similar prescription....NO ONE CARRIES IT. The only place we could find it was to go back up to the U pharmacy.

After the doctor and all of the residents left, the nurse gave a big old fist pump. She told us how lucky she was and we were that particular doctor was on call. She said he's one of the best burn doctors and that certainly made her day start great. Instead of her having to clean out a two year old's burns, the doc came in and did a great job and did it for her.

The best part of the day... we were in and out in an hour. Seriously. An hour in the ER. That is unheard of.

Crash and Burn

We own property in Mackay, Idaho. This will be for another story, it just sets the scene for our awesome 4th of July celebration.

Every year, my family (meaning, my mom, dad, brother, and sisters, and their families/friends) try to go camping at least once a year. We have gone on Memorial Day which is alright but it usually snows on us, we go on the 4th of July but there are usually WAY too many tourists, and we plan on the 24th of July because there are no tourists. This year we went on the 4th of July weekend.

I don't know the whole story, but with 8 kids (5 of them being under the age of 3) and 4 dogs, there are a few options of what happened and maybe a mixture of them, all I know is, I was putting the tent away and I heard "PULL HIM OUT!! AMANDA, LINUS FELL IN THE FIRE!"

So, I assume that maybe he tripped, maybe he was bumped, maybe a dog bumped him or any of these mixed together. No matter what happened, it was an accident, but my son fell into the hot coals of our campfire.

All I know is, I panicked.

I heard "Put him in the river!" So that's the direction I ran.

Matt yelled to me to bring him to the cooler and that was easier to get to, so I did. I didn't know what was burned. I didn't know what to put wet paper towels on to cool off. My son was screaming. That's all I knew.

When we figured out what had actually burned, I was able to put burn cream, wet paper towels, and wrap the burns up. If that is all I get out of my EMT classes, I'll take it. I'm just glad I remembered to use wet paper towels and wrap them.

Then I started to cry.

Good old fashioned mom style right there for you.

We were two miles outside of Mackay at this point and drove like mad to get there... to find out there were no medical personnel other than the local EMTs, who wouldn't be able to do more than I had already done. So, off to the next local town...30 miles away!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!

Off we drive and we came upon a firetruck who was directing traffic away from a car that had driven off the road recently and they were waiting on the tow truck. Kind of made us slow down. But only a little bit.

We made it to Arco, Idaho and because I really am a technotard, I couldn't use Matt's iphone. Especially with Linus screaming in the back. So I ended up directing us to the local police station.

We found the little, tiny, micro medical center there. It was a 3 bed/1 room ER, 12 room hospital, with the senior center at the end of the hall.

I'm pretty sure that there is only one doctor for this hospital and she only comes in when she's paged. There were only the nurses and we had to wait until the doctor came in to look him over. (I just want to point out now how bugged I was that #1 one of the nurses couldn't spell and #2 they took the wet dressings off and never put anything back on... of course, I'm not a nurse or a doctor, but I do know that a dry burn hurts worse than a moist burn... does that make sense?) Anyway, we had to wait for the doctor to show up for her to look at the burns and let Linus get some pain meds. It took her about 30 minutes to show up. Keep that number in mind as I continue this story.

When she got to the "hospital", she was pretty abrupt with us. She told us after touching his burns and he didn't respond to her touching them, that he had 3rd degree burns and that is was very important to get him to the burn center in Salt Lake. If we didn't, he'd lose function of his hand or hands. She ordered the pain meds and Linus was given a shot of Demerol and Phenergan. The nurses told us to walk around with him for a bit and in about 20 minutes, the meds will have kicked in and they could clean him up.

As we were in the ER, a woman came in with a 4 week old baby. A little girl who was maybe 8-10 was holding him and dropped him on his head on concrete. It was an accident and she was very distraught. The mother was hysterical. The baby was unresponsive. The nurses asked if we could go out into the hall to give them some room and I saw this baby. It looked like a doll. It is very disconcerting seeing such a small body not moving. Babies are always moving. Even when they are sleeping but this little thing was not moving. He was unresponsive but breathing on his own.

The mom started asking the doctor if her baby was ok. The doctor replied with "No. He is not ok."


They spent quite a long time putting an IV in. I don't know where they put it, but they had a really hard time getting the IV in. By this time, they had called in life flight and the baby had started to cry.  My mom overheard the doctor tell the nurses that the baby wouldn't survive.

That certainly put Linus's burns into perspective.

As we waited for life flight, I visited with my mom and dad who were so awesome and came to sit with us and take Bea so we could be with Linus.

I saw the mom of this little baby for a minute and put myself in her place and felt an overwhelming urge to go and give her a hug. So I did. I hugged her, I told her that I would keep her and her son in my prayers. I don't know if it mattered to her, but it made me feel better.

The helicopter finally landed and this baby was full on wailing now. What a wonderful sound. The doctor explained to the mother that he seemed to be doing much better and she didn't want to make a prognosis because she didn't have all of the tools to do so, but she thought he just might be ok.

My mom overheard the nurses ask the doctor if she thought we were going to actually take care of our little boy, the doctor said that yes, she did, she overheard Matt on the phone calling the burn center. That phone call turned my experience around a little bit. The nurses and doctor were much more friendly, much better with Linus, and the bedside manner had drastically changed. I wonder how many children these guys see in a month or a year who are hurt and they see that proper treatment and/or proper follow up just doesn't happen. I know we looked pretty red-neck after having camped for 3 days. Dirty, stinky, disheveled. It's tough not to judge a book by it's cover sometimes I guess. If we don't care for our own personal hygiene, how can we care for our kid's? I think that it took a minute to have it sink in that we were just stinky, dirty campers but that our children are first and foremost.

I will be posting a video of Linus on his drugs that day. It was too cute not to video tape.

When the baby was finally loaded and the ER put back together, we were allowed back in and got back to the digging and cleaning of wounds.

Matt and I are very hands on when it comes to helping the doctors and nurses with our kid. I would rather hold my child down and whisper reassurances than have strangers hold him down.  It can certainly be difficult, but I feel that if my child doesn't have a choice in being there, neither do I.

We got the little guy cleaned, salved, wrapped, and we were done. He stopped crying once the bandages were on. They gave us some Tylenol with codeine to help with the pain and had us give that, then 3 hours later give ibuprofen.

We then set out on our 4 hour drive home. And Linus slept all the way.

I just want to thank my family for being so concerned, so on the ball, and for realizing it was an accident and that we aren't mad. I can't give out enough 'thank you's to Daniel, the boy who saw Linus go in and immediately pulled him out. If it weren't for him, he'd have much more severe burns. Thank you to Tyne who shouted "River!" in my blind panic and help shake me out of it. Thank you to Mom and Dad for coming and being with us at the medical center. It's always better to have mom and dad there. Thank you for all of the others who helped me take care of Linus during that first few minutes. I'm not even sure who did what.

I almost feel though that the Bigger Hand was moving us and that as much as it sucks that Linus was burned, I feel like his injuries helped save that baby's life. It literally took the doctor 30 minutes to get there. I don't think that the baby would have made it had the doctor not already been at the ER. And Linus's burns aren't anywhere near as bad as they could have been, he didn't get his face or respiratory tract, and he is doing great. Is that me rationalizing an accident? Maybe, but it makes it easier for me.

Linus, let's try to go a couple of years without another hospital visit ok?