And then he plays peek-a-boo with his greasy pizza-covered hands. Pizza night is always bath night. Always.
And then he plays peek-a-boo with his greasy pizza-covered hands. Pizza night is always bath night. Always.
Today went pretty well! Nate and Will arrived at the hospital on time, and then proceeded to spend the better part of the next 3 hours hanging out together as they waited for anesthesia. We called it "bonding time" rather than a really long wait. But shortly after the pre-surgery anesthesia consult and a quick chat with the ENT, Will was changed into a lovely gown and big socks and whisked away.
We were told that the surgery would take a total of 90 minutes, most of which would be eaten up with set up. They have to get the breathing tube placed, start the IV, administer the anesthesia, position his head correctly, and then figure out how best to get all their lights, fiber optics, and surgical tools up Will's little nostrils. No wonder he came out of surgery with two larger nostrils than he went in with!
The "your table is ready" pager went off almost exactly 90 minutes after he was whisked away. We could hear Will in the PACU before we saw him. He does not wake up from general anesthesia well. But who does? He was mostly just mad. It was not a pained cry that he was making. It was a "what the heck just happened to me... who are these people... why does my nose feel like it is full of packing material... where are my pants" kind of whine.
When we went to pick him up (in hopes of offering some comfort), Will's nose started to ooze yucky post-surgical stuff. I felt bad, but I had to keep gently wiping his nose to keep the ooze at bay. Thankfully it stopped after about 30 minutes.
We were able to calm Will down and he gulped down a small container of applesauce. I think it made his throat feel a little better after the breathing tube he had during anesthesia. They removed the IV and we started to get Will dressed.
Finally we saw the ENT! He told us that everything had gone as they planned. He did point out that when they opened up Will's sinus, what they removed didn't look like "typical fungus." By that he meant that what came out of Will's face, at least at first glance, looked like a terrible bacterial infection. No fungus. The culture that they took is the only 100% positive way to know exactly what had taken up residence in Will's sinuses, but those take 5 days to come back.
No fungus is good. Bacteria is typically much easier to treat.
So then we were discharged. With a prescription for an antibiotic, recommendations for pain relief (Tylenol!), awareness that they had used a disolvable packing in Will's sinuses and that would start to come out in the next couple of days, and a follow up appointment for a week from tomorrow.
Will was so much happier in the car. And then he spent the remainder of the afternoon a little out of it, but still happier than he was at the hospital. We are keeping up with the Tylenol, and things seem to be going well. Will keeps sneezing! We thought for sure this would be painful to him, but he just thinks it is hilarious.
We already notice that his breath smells better. He ate well this afternoon, though he doesn't want to drink. I think its probably difficult to drink when your face is full of packing material. Hopefully as that dissolves, Will's desire to drink comes back.
Thanks for checking in on us today, and for all the positive energy sent our way! Will proved himself a champ once again. He's on the up and up again! Just a little goopy.
My dad is 58 years old. That's a lot of almanacs. That's a lot of facts. My family has always been into history and geography, and I think that Nana Jean probably recognized and encouraged that when my dad was very young.
We read almanacs and enjoy studying maps. Tell my dad where you need to go anywhere in the United States and he can tell you how to get there... he knows the Eisenhower Interstate Highway System by heart. Unless you like losing quickly at Trivial Pursuit, I recommend you turn down a game with him. Even if you're armed with a World Almanac and he is asleep. He'll still win.
A couple of months ago, Luke asked to see one of the outdated Rand McNally road maps that we keep in the van. I thought it was amusing that he would show interest so young. I told him that Grandpa would be so proud! He asked me to point out where we lived. Then we talked about where all our extended family lives. Afterwards, he could point to different states on the map and remembered who lives where.
For Christmas, Luke got a map puzzle of the United States. Despite our best efforts, Luke has never shown interest in doing puzzles. Not even when he was younger. I was totally shocked when he pulled this new USA puzzle out after New Years and asked if we could do it together. It said ages 6+, but we decided to give it a try.
Luke and I put together the outside of the puzzle together. We looked at the colorful box, and noted how each state had a funny shape and a unique picture on it (peanuts on Georgia, a football on Ohio, and a big boot on Texas). He clearly understood the task at hand. I took a step back to see what he would do.
All of a sudden, he was into puzzles. He kept consulting the box for which color or shape to go after next. He picked the big states around the bottom of the country to start out with, then worked himself north on the eastern seaboard, through the Great Lakes and Central Plains, and finished out the perimeter with the apple state of Washington. Then he filled in the middle. He was good! He obviously doesn't know the names of the states, their capitals, nor does he recall exactly on the map where each state goes... but just give him a couple of months and a weekend with Grandpa. I'm sure its just a matter of time.
It dawned on me that this might have been how Nana Jean felt 54 years ago, when watching her budding spatially-oriented kid and realizing that he too had the geo genes. I kind of got teary, thinking about it that way. Motherhood and pride and amazement still feel the same, no matter what year you exist in.
When Luke was nearing completion on the new puzzle, Matt tried to get in on the action. He would point to a random spot on the box cover, and then pat his hand on a random spot on the nearly-complete puzzle. As long as Matt didn't mess up any of the pieces that Luke had already placed, Luke didn't mind the attention.
When the last puzzle piece went in (that would be the great state of Arkansas), Luke beamed with pride. He completed this pretty challenging puzzle with minimal assistance from me... and I think he knew that his geo geek mom thought that was pretty cool.
Would you believe it... the reason for my blog silence over the past couple of days has been because I haven't been close to a computer! Somehow the stars aligned, the babysitter worked out, and Nate and I actually got away. Not for a couple of hours, not for an evening... for 2 days and 2 nights. A vacation! I almost forgot what that was.
Nate and I spent the past couple of days at Snowshoe Mountain in West Virginia... the closest good skiing mountain (according to several other northern transplant skiing aficionados we know) to central North Carolina.
We left early on Friday morning and spent the better part of the next 7 hours on county roads and switch backs, making our way first over the Blue Ridge Mountains and into the Allegheny Mountains before making the climb up Cheat Mountain to the resort. At first the skinny curvy roads were fun and the 18-wheelers barreling towards us exhilarating... but after a couple of hours of that, I was honestly just happy that we weren't getting car sick.
We arrived, checked in, suited up in our ski gear (snowboard gear for Nate) and headed to the slopes. It had been 3 years since we last hit the slopes at Elk Mountain in northern Pennsylvania. We were a little rusty, but not too bad!
We did well on the slopes (only 2 falls), braved some more difficult terrain on the second day, had fun shopping for souveniers, eating out, playing darts, and most of all... laughing. Thank you so much Oma for watching the boys, and for Stara, Joe, Michele, Susie and Kemp for helping her!
It was a little strange that there was no cell phone reception on the mountain. We soon learned that due to Snowshoe's proximity to the Green Bank Telescope, there are no cell towers or radio frequencies for a 13,000 square mile area! Talk about radio silence. There were no people walking around on their cell phones, all the kids were skiing instead of texting, and we actually had to use a calling card to call home! So nice in a way...
The boys did seem to miss us (Luke told me that when he "gets 5," he wants to come with us to go skiing) though they enjoyed all the time sans parental law and order. We got home on Sunday just as naps were ending, so we were able to catch up a little that afternoon before the week started again. Apparently they cleaned up the chaos before we got home, because things didn't look too bad around the house.
Of course the biggest concern for us when leaving home for a day or two is Will's care. Let's face it... caring for him is complicated and could easily be intimidating and scary. He is a challenge to feed, takes a number of medications, and has seizures that only Nate and I have experienced. Makes you want to sign up for babysitting, right?
To the best of my ability, but trying not to be neurotic, I developed a spreadsheet of each boy's typical day, including waking times, little habits and -isms, medications, preferred foods, and bed time routine. I gave Will his own page, including the all important sections of "How will I know if Will is having a seizure?" and "What do I do if Will is having a seizure?"
I say "all important sections" because unfortunately Will did have a seizure on Saturday night while we were away. But Oma, Susie and Kemp handled it in stride - they caught it early, read through my instructions, administered Will's emergency medication, and tested for sub-clinical seizures. They called us, of course, but all we could do from our hotel room was offer support and make recommendations for the next couple of hours.
I will be honest. I felt a little helpless and guilty for being away while Will had a seizure. I did not sleep well. My mind kept saying "if I were home, I'd be checking on him now..." But I wasn't home. I wasn't there. But now, a couple of days later when I stop to think about it, I am relieved that we were able to rely on someone else to assist! When you're never sure when the next seizure or shunt malfunction is going to be, it could be fear-inducing enough to keep you alone on your own couch for the rest of your life. I am grateful for the assistance, the confidence, the ability and the willingness of my mother to help us out! Thanks Oma!
Getting out and spending time together is essential for a marriage. A kick in the pants, a push out the door, a reminder that time away is important... thanks Village.
To get everyone out of the house for an afternoon, I thought it would be fun to check out Pullen Park in Raleigh. The park is 66 acres near NC State University and was established as a free public park in 1887, when the land was donated by a local business man. There is an amusement park on the property (the 5th oldest in the United States) which was recently closed for nearly 2 years for renovations. It reopened on Thanksgiving weekend. There is a train ($1 per ride), a carousel ($1 per ride), a small lake for paddle boating ($1 per ride), and several playgrounds. What amusement park is that cheap??
I never thought the park would be packed on New Years Eve. I figured that people would be at home with family, huddled around a fire to keep warm and ring in the new year, and watching football. Surely thousands of people didn't remember that the amusement park recently reopened and would all converge there at the exact same time as us. Too bad it was in the mid-60s and several thousand people DID have the same idea as me. Oh well. I am un-unique. Despite my best efforts, I sometimes choose the road most traveled. It doesn't always work out badly, though!
Once we found parking (took a while even with handicapped tags), we walked through the beautiful rolling hills, past the picnic shelters and the aquatic center and finally reached the amusement park. We could immediately see the line for the train, several hundred people long. Oh boy. Thoughts of turning back entered my mind.
Papa, Nate and Will (happy in a backpack) bought tickets for all of us, as Grammy, Aunt Kylie, Luke, Matt and I made our way to the playground areas. Wow. The renovations were beautiful. There were several playgrounds set up by age-appropriateness, and all of them had recycled rubber underneath them. Luke and Matt enjoyed their playtime. The rest of us chuckled a kid playing near Luke whose shirt read: I tried to be good, but I got bored.
Thankfully the train line moved quickly (at least 100 people fit on the train at a time). Before we knew it, it was time for our ride. Though Luke was excited for the train, I think that Matt might have been the most excited out of anyone. We loaded on the train and took a nice ride around the whole amusement park. Good $8 spent.
As we were deciding what to do next, I spotted the face of a friend from the University of Rochester (and fraternity brother of Nate's) who we haven't seen since 1999. After a couple of seconds of doubt (Raleigh is a long way from Rochester!), we realized that we knew each other. We all had a round of hugs and laughs, and caught up quickly on how we both ended up at this exact spot on the globe at the exact same time. As it turns out, one of their children is the kid with the I tried to be good... shirt that has been playing next to Luke!
Next we walked over the to the merry-go-round, which is a beautifully restored 1911 Dentzel Menagerie Carousel - one of only 23 remaining in the world. The line looked shorter than the train, but it was a little deceptive. Once you got into the building, the line wrapped 3/4 of the way around the carousel before you actually got a ride. Good time for snacks and for getting kids excited as they watched the animals go up and down!
When we finally made our way to the head of the line, everyone was excited to turn in their tickets and find a couple of animals together. Luke assured us that he wanted to ride a horse, and NOT one that stood still. Will stayed in the backpack, and Nate rode a horse with him. I stood by Matt's side to make sure he was doing alright - this was his first carousel ride. About halfway through the ride, he tried to slide off the saddle, so I stood him on the floor next to me. He quickly realized that the floor wasn't as exciting as the back of his magical horse, and put his hands up to get back up.
After the carousel ride ended, we took a nice walk around the paddle boating pond. Though there were thousands of people at the park, it did not seem too crowded. Luke took Will's place in the backpack for a bit. As we made our way back to the center of the park, the sun was starting to set and we decided to end our lovely afternoon at the park. Got to have some time to set up for our Rockin' New Years Eve!
We decided to get out of the house, spend some time together, release some endorphins, and enjoy the 55 degree December weather. Though we have tried other parks closer to our house, there is still nothing in our area that compares to Marla Dorrel Park and Kids Together Playground in Cary. It is a good 40 minutes from our house, but we find ourselves going back regularly because of the handicap accessibility and the fact that it is easy for Will, Luke and Matt to have a good time for a couple of hours.
Success! Will had a great time being pushed all over the jungle gym by Nate and Luke. Matt tested his chops on the 5-8 year old playground and held his own. And Luke just enjoyed running and squealing all over the place, thoroughly enjoying the change of scenery!
Seems like the truest meaning of Christmas to me.