BAM Family

BAM Family

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tonsillectomy: What happened and our first week of recovery

We are still alive! It has been one week since the boys' very LONG week.

Last Tuesday was probably one of the most terrifying days of my life. I mentioned on FB that Benji had some post-op bleeding but here is what happened. (This story is a little gruesome. Beware).

We got back home from the morning surgery at 11:30am. Both boys did really well. It was pretty funny when they got Versed--the chill-out meds--to make them sleepy. Probably the most memorable moment was when Micah said, "Daddy, where's my pinky?" while he was examining his own hand. Hilarious!

Micah had a hard time when they took Benji back for his surgery. He cried a a lot and basically threw a temper tantrum for 40 minutes. He missed Benji, Benji got to ride on the cool bed with wheels, he did NOT want to wear the "cool" tiger gown, and he was hungry and thirsty gosh-darn-it! All that made a made a mad little three year old.

Both boys woke up from surgery pretty well. Benji did better than Micah--Micah HATED the IV in his wrist (it was all bandaged up like a boxing glove) and cried for the entire hour in recovery that he wanted it OFF!! Yeah, those two hours in recovery were long.

Like I said earlier, we got home around 11:30am and the boys wanted to eat and drink! YEA! They had ice-cream (as promised!), popsicles, scrambled eggs, and a bit of banana while they watched a movie on the couch. The pain meds from surgery were hanging on really well and were keeping everything at bay. We thought, this is great! They are doing really well--we didn't even think they would eat a bite for weeks!

We put them down for a nap around 12:30pm and ate some lunch ourselves. We heard a lot of coughing over the baby monitor during their nap but that is pretty normal, according to the doctors.

We heard Benji crying at 2:30 and when we went in to check on him, I noticed a trail of dried blood coming from his mouth and blood coming out his nose. His pillow and blankets had some blood on them too. I was a little worried at this point but wasn't panicked because I knew that a little bleeding after a tonsillectomy wasn't abnormal and that a little ice water would usually help stop it.

Well, at this point, Benji was NOT interested in drinking. We had to pull out the drill sergeant voice to get him to drink anything. I remembered that we were supposed to try and put ice packs on his neck to help reduce the bleeding too--yeah, have you ever tried to put ice packs on a 3 year old? They don't like it. At all. Meanwhile, we had a washcloth for Benji to spit in--his saliva continued to get brighter and brighter red.

I called the ENT, trying to stay calm. I got an answering machine. I was mad at this point. I needed to talk to someone--NOW! I called our pediatrician, knowing that I could get ahold of a nurse right away. The nurse was wonderful and while I waited on hold, she called the ENT and told them to call me back within 5 minutes, which they thankfully did. Frustratingly, the doctor who did the surgery was still IN surgery and the other doctor was with patients. So, I had to wait for a call back. And then, when she DID call back, I got disconnected! AH! I am SO frustrated at this point and that washcloth is getting redder and redder. FINALLY, the nurse called back and said that we could try to see if it would stop at home (at that moment, the bleeding seemed like it was reducing) but she recommended that we go the ER.

Aaron and I deliberated for about 2 minutes--then the bleeding started in earnest again. We got the boys dressed, grabbed some pull-ups, blankets, toys, and water cup (after all, Micah still needed to keep drinking!) Aaron--so good in a crisis--packed the laptop, cord, dvd's, and the boys' medication (which I forgot about).

Both boys were so pale in the back seat as we drove the 15 minutes to the ER. Benji was whimpering a little bit off and on and spitting into his washcloth. We drove into the ER parking lot and he started crying in earnest. And then I heard the sound every mother fears--her child getting sick. As Aaron pulled into the parking space, I turned around to look at Benji and saw blood pouring out of is mouth. Absolute horror washed over me and all I could say was, "Oh God! Oh God! GodGodGod!"--the prayer of a terrified parent.

Aaron slammed the car into park while it was still moving and I jumped out of the car almost before it stopped and ran around to Benji's carseat (he was behind Aaron) crying "Jesus Jesus Jesus--help us!" He was still vomiting blood and was completely covered. I remember Aaron telling me to calm down and I pull myself together for Benji's sake--and Micah who is watching this whole ordeal.

I am shaking as I try to unbuckle my son--he is crying and completely drained of color. Aaron tells me, "I'll get him! You get Micah!" We quickly change places, running around the car. Aaron grabs Benji and runs with him into the ER. I am so concerned about getting into the hospital that I forgot my purse in the front seat. I walk as quickly as I can with Micah, trying not to jostle him. He asked me, "Mommy, was that ketchup?" Poor baby! He is probably so scared and confused. I said, "Sure, honey. It was ketchup." Sometimes it's better to lie.

Thankfully, when you run into the ER and are covered in blood, they take you back right away. I was doing fine until the attendant asked me what happened--only a few sentences in, I burst into tears. The nurse told me to pull it together--"you need to be strong for your kids!" She was right but it was so incredibly hard. Having Micah in my arms gave me strength to do it though. I didn't want him to be scared. So through my tears I told him that Mommy was scared and sometimes people cry when they are scared but I am still going to take care of you.

Poor Aaron lost it too. Both of us were weeping in the hallway of the ER. Benji was just laying against Aaron's chest, not even crying anymore.

Micah was so brave through the whole ordeal--he didn't cry once. He drank his water and took his medication and was given toys by the nurses. He was such a good boy--especially for having surgery that morning too!

Everyone in the ER was wonderful--we saw a doctor within 3 minutes of going back and saw the ENT doctor on call within 10 minutes. Thank God the bleeding had stopped but we made a decision to have Benji go back under for surgery to re-cauterize his throat. They had an OR open and he was in surgery within an hour. They "suctioned out" his stomach of blood too (when they told me that, I said, "So you pumped his stomach." They said, "No, mom! That is so harsh! We just suctioned it out." Hmm...semantics.)

Benji was out of surgery by 6pm and his wake up was rough. He cried a lot and hated the IV's again. All he wanted to do was drink--which was a good thing!--and once we were out of danger of throwing up again, he drank and drank and started to feel better.

The nurse was so nice to us when we were in recovery and brought Micah chocolate pudding. Aaron's cousin brought us food to the hospital and stayed for a few minute while Benji was getting his strength back.

We finally left around 7:30 and came home, exhausted in every way possible.

Thankfully, Aaron's mom was on her way up from FL (she asked if we wanted her to come up and we enthusiastically said YES) and would be here the next day by noon.

Sorry this was so long. I thought about writing about what happened a few days after it happened but I wasn't ready yet. Even writing it all down now, I felt myself tearing up. I have never been so scared as when I saw my child vomiting blood (even though I know, in my head, that it was just his body's way of getting rid of the drainage. Apparently, the stomach doesn't like blood too much). I ended up throwing away  Benji's clothes and Aaron's shirt (the OR nurse gave Aaron surgeon's scrubs to wear because his shirt and shorts were covered in blood), though I did manage to get Aaron's shorts clean. Horrible, horrible day.

The rest of the week has been up and down. Days 2 and 3 weren't bad--the hardest thing has been to get the boys to drink their medicine, especially at night. The literally developed phobias of drinking meds--with screaming, shaking, spitting, kicking, etc. Oooh. It is not fun. We were usually up for 30min to an hour each time we had to give them meds.

The days have been spent watching movies and playing with new toys that Grammy bought, church friends brought, and play group friends graciously gave us. I have felt so loved with all the cards, gifts, coffee, meals, bread, desserts, and prayers that have been given to us and for us. Thank you all, dear friends.

Day 4 was worse than previous days. Days five through seven--even worse. And the night times of these days, pretty much hell. I haven gotten less than 5 hours of sleep each for the past two nights--last night I was up every hour until 4am with Benji and then up from 4 to 4:45 with both boys. They both got up before 8am. Thank God all of us took a LONG nap today.

They seemed more perky tonight (day 8) and a peek into their throats revealed that the whiteness (scabs) has reduced dramatically so I think (hope? PRAY!) that the road to recovery is starting to improve. We probably have a 3-4 more days at home and then we can get back to a sense of normalcy.

The good news: Both boys can breathe through their noses now and there is NO MORE sleep apnea!! No more snoring! Sweet, silent, glorious breathing at night. Thank God.

It was worth it.

But, boy, was it a big price to pay.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Preparing for your child's surgery

Sorry for the lack of posts this week. I have been on a bit of an emotional roller coaster.

Tomorrow Micah and Benji are getting their tonsils and adenoids removed. While this is a routine surgery and the most common surgery performed on children every year, these facts do not lessen my anxiety as a mother. It is always difficult to see your child in pain--whether it is skinned knee or an ear infection. But knowing that you are "deliberately" putting your child in pain--even though this pain will be beneficial in the long run--is downright nerve-wracking. I've even had nightmares off and on this week. 

People have tried to comfort me: 
"Oh, they'll be fine! Just give them lots of ice-cream."
"Kids are resilient. They'll bounce back in no time"
"They're going to be so excited about eating popsicles that they won't have time to think about being in pain"

I'm sure people mean well, but no amount of ice-cream will be able to take away the pain of a tonsillectomy--the doctor told us that the painkillers won't even do that. 

Aaron and I are preparing for 10-14 days of constant, round-the-clock pain management for our precious three year old boys, pain that we are "deliberately" putting them in. And we can just pray that pain will be the only thing we have to worry about--I don't even want to think about post-op complications such as dehydration and break-through bleeding. 

We know that the pain will be worth it in the end--that the surgery will help them sleep better, eliminate their sleep apnea, and maybe even help some of their speech problems and daytime crabbiness. 

But every parent has doubts--that is normal. It is normal to second guess your decision to enter into any planned surgery. And like all parents, Aaron and I can only hope that with every decision, we are doing the best thing for our children. 

So, knowing that pain is coming, pain that there is inevitable with no way for a parent to take it away, how do you prepare for your child's surgery? 

Here are some things that we have done:

1. Educate yourself about the surgery and post-op care. 

Doctors never want to freak parents out so they would rather reassure you that every is going to be fine than give you the gruesome details that you are in for a living hell after surgery.

Like most modern parents, I searched the internet for stories of parents who had "been there" with their kids. This website, in particular, was a goldmine of information about what to expect post-op for a child's tonsillectomy .

Knowledge is scary at first. But after it has been digested, it is empowering. The more you know, the more you can tell yourself, "I can do this," rather than later saying, "I never expected this. No one told me how hard this would be." 

2. Educate your children 

We told the boys about the surgery about a week and a half beforehand. Some parents may want to start sooner. Since we told them, we have talked about it almost every day. We try to use words and concepts that they will understand

"You are going to take a nap at the surgery center"
"Dr. Tim is going to take your tonsils out (avoiding scary words like "cut") so you can breathe better and sleep better at night"
"The doctors and nurses are our friends and are going to take good care of you."
"If you are scared, you can talk to mommy and daddy about it any time."

And of course, talk up the "good" things like the ice-cream, popsicles, DVDs, TV time, and new toys. Those are thing that they can look forward to. 

3. Talk to your spouse

Confess fears to each other and support each other emotionally. 

Make a plan for how you will handle post-op care. Aaron and I have talked at length about how many days he will take off work (being a teacher, I am off during the summer), how we will handle night-time meds administration, as well as sharing tips that we have learned from our personal research. 

4. Enlist help

I fortunately have a best friend who will do anything for us (and vice versa) and she didn't bat an eye when we asked if she could take off a day of work to help me when Aaron goes back to work. 

Even if you don't feel comfortable asking for help, people will most likely ask if they can help you. If you have no idea what you want them to do, don't reject the help--ask them to make a meal. That is always helpful and is one less thing mom and dad have to think about. 

5. Eat ice-cream 

It's not just for the kids. Mom and Dad need ice-cream too. Ice-cream is good for the soul. 

I hope this is helpful for parents who are waiting and preparing for their child's surgery, either now or in the future. We can do this. 

I'll keep everyone updated about how everything goes tomorrow and how we are doing in days and weeks to come! 

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Meng Menu

I had a great shopping trip this week! I employed many of my tips for keeping my grocery budget under control and I came out on top! I spent $115 which included $33.87 of savings (coupons and Kroger plus savings). Ten dollars under budget! YEA!

Here is what I'm cooking this week:

Saturday: Grilled Pork Loin, roasted red potatoes, green beans
Sunday: Breakfast Casserole, fruit salad
Monday: BBQ Pork sandwhiches, ranch potato salad, fresh summer fruit
Tuesday: Baked Chicken breasts, mashed potatoes, corn
Wednesday: Spinach Cheese Roll-ups w/sausage, green salad, homemade bread
Thursday: Bacon, eggs, English muffins, orange Julius 
Friday: Frozen Pizza, green salad

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Sweet Summer Dress

I made a dress today! I bought this super-soft purple knit fabric months ago--around Christmas I think? and had yet to do anything with it. I had been doing some mental fashion designing for a few days now and this is what I came up with. 
I used a tank top as a template, folded it in half, placed it on my fabric and drew a dress template with a white crayon in an A-line fashion (I am really up on the latest sewing tools here). The dress is just a back and a front with self-fabric binding at the neck and around the sleeve to make the straps. 

I added a self-fabric belt to pull it all together. I love how it looks. It is so soft, drapes well and flows beautifully. 
It is always fun to design a dress and bring it to life in one afternoon. Such a sweet addition to my summer wardrobe!

Copycat Sunhat

I have been looking for a way to keep the sun out of my eyes this summer. I can't wear sunglasses because I have regular glasses and my eyes have issues with my contacts. So, I attempted to make a sunhat of sorts.
When I was 11 or so, I had a dorky obsession with hats. I am afraid that the tendency toward dorkiness has never left. Yes, I do know that this creation is pretty silly looking.
I made a copy-cat version of this hat/headband on etsy. It was really easy. I have yet to try it out yet but tomorrow we are going to the splash park and I am going to tie this baby on, throw my hair in a ponytail and hope it does the trick.

(Why can't I look as cool as the model on etsy? Why oh why? Oh well, my hope is that it works and keeps me from squinting in the bright sun tomorrow morning. :)

Monday, June 6, 2011

BAM Diapers: Rave Review!!

I had my first (un)official review of my BAM diapers today. My friend Amanda wrote on FB last night:

"I need an order for 10 more diapers!!!! LOVE THEM so much more than my BumGenius ones!!!!! The hubby loves them too (he is against CD) and he told me he wants more of these! Just an example, we were testing them today! She has been in the green one since 1pm [She wrote this at 9pm] and I just changed it with NO leeks!!!! OMG! These are awesome!!!!!"

YEA! I am so excited that she likes them--and that she wants more. In fact, I whipped up two more for her this morning and she came by and picked up four more diapers. I will be sewing her six more in the next few weeks. 

I also sold nine diapers this weekend at a Cloth Diaper yard sale. This is the third time I have done this sale (it is hosted by a local natural baby store) and it was actually the worst sale of all three. However, I was glad to sell what I did and I was able to give out my cute little business card that Aaron made me to a few people. 
(sadly, blogger doesn't like the formatting of the business card so I can't post it here...)
I am so glad that I have broken even on the material I bought for this endeavor and have now made money too. So thankful! Thanks again to all who have supported me in this new adventure. I have more diapers left to sell too in both 10-20 lbs and 20-30 lbs ($16 each). Just send me a message if you are interested!

We are pleased to inform you....

YEA! I FINALLY had these six magical words offered to me in the form of an acceptance email for a story!!

My short story "Tallow and Tuffet" will be published by Lantern Hallow Press in their August issue of their e-zine Gallery of Worlds.

I love this story--I actually wrote it as a college sophomore but revised it significantly a few months ago.

I actually attempted to have this story published by a different magazine last year--but it was rejected. A few weeks ago, my college friend Rachel--who works for Lantern Hallow Press--emailed me (and a few other friends) to see if we wanted to submit any fantasy or fairy tale short stories. She loved Tallow and Tuffet--I am so glad because, like I said, I love this story too.

Here is a sneak peek of the story--it is actually the cover letter I sent to the other magazine trying to entice them to publish it; but I am so glad that LHP will be publishing it in August! Look for a blog post then for a link to read the e-zine.

"Tallow and Tuffet" Sneak Peek
“I don’t want to live this way anymore, Lila.” Jack patiently explained again. “The Traditions—they don’t make sense to me anymore. Maybe they will again some day, but right now, I’m…” he searched for the right word. “I’m defined. I just want a chance to write my own definition.”

The characters in this quote from my short story “Tallow and Tuffet” are curiously “defined”: both are characters from familiar children’s nursery rhymes—Jack of “Jack be Nimble” fame and Little Miss (Lila) Muffet. The nursery rhyme backdrop provides a sense of child-like familiarity, but the themes of searching for identity, breaking away from “safe” social constructs, defying tradition, and taking risks are ideas that young adults wrestle with as they move from the safety of socially-defined childhood to self-defined adulthood.

This fantasy story is set in “The Dell” where nursery rhyme characters live together, performing their personal traditions with acute daily faithfulness until one day,  Jack’s candle is snuffed out unexpectedly. “Tallow and Tuffet” uniquely begins and ends at the same moment with both Jack and Lila experiencing a type of loss that enables them, for the first time, to begin a journey of self-definition.

My intended audience for this story is sophisticated, intelligent, and intuitive readers ages sixteen and older. The story is both serious and humorous with just a touch of light romance. Unlike traditional nursery rhymes, “Tallow and Tuffet” does not end simply or tritely; rather the final scene is intended to leave readers questioning yet strangely satisfied. 

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Meng Menu

I haven't done a menu for a while--for myself or the blog!--but life is slowing back to normal so the Meng Menu is back! Here is what we are eating for the week. I went shopping tonight and spent $64!!! I think I'll have to make a small trip mid week to get some more milk, eggs, bread, cereal but I think that this will be a very frugal week! Thank goodness because the boys' surgeries are coming up and we are trying to save as much as possible! 

Saturday: Grilled Country Style Ribs, mashed potatoes, corn
Sunday: BLTs, Chips and dip, carrot sticks, apple slices
Monday: Grilled pork loin, roasted potatoes, ceaser salad
Tuesday: Hot dogs, chips, peaches
Wednesday: Beef Ravioli w/ marinara sauce, salad
Thursday: Shepherds Pie
Friday: Salmon cakes, cheese grits, steamed broccoli and carrots

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