Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Doing the Monster Mash

I took Emily down to the cafeteria so I could get some lunch.  She was wearing the ladybug costume that the activity department gave her.  She was a hit. 

It was crowded and busy, filled with milling people.   Standing in line for a sandwich, my kiddo projectile puked.  Without any warning.  She covered me, herself, the floor around us, and, I suspect, the guy in front of me in line. 

It was a Cafeteria Smash. 
Very seasonal. 

Probably going home tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Maybe It's Three?

When someone gets sick, doctors like to find one cause for it all.  When they don't get better and they don't find that one thing, sometimes it's more than one.

Maybe it's h. pylori, cyclical vomiting, and some long string of letters like SIADH-which means a hormone problem where your body gets rid of too much salt...or some such problem.

I thought we were going home today.  (Well, I68 is closed, so more like to the nearest hotel.)  Emily was strutting the halls this morning pushing a dolly in the stroller and waving and blowing kisses at everyone around.  Then she threw up lunch, and again, and again, and spent the rest of the day fussing and sleeping and puking. 

Maybe tomorrow?  

Bad Christian that I am, we had a plan for the day.  I guess that's off.  

Yes, the big kids will survive.  I'm just so sad that we've changed a lot of plans recently.  And wondering how this will affect the plans coming up.  I know I just need to get through today, but I'm a planner (well, somewhat anyway).  How will this affect Thanksgiving...and Christmas....and maybe I don't need to worry that far ahead, but I am.   

Warning: Please do not quote a Bible verse to me.  I know several on the subject of worrying.  I am already convicted enough.  Prayer is still appreciated.

Milk dud report:   We lost power on the hill around 7:00 last night. The new generator works beautifully.  Thank you, Lord, that Kenton planned well ahead for that drama.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

And Again...

Emily is back at WVU. 

The doctors hoped that everything was caused by h. pylori bacteria.  Since she's sick again, we have questions but no one has many answers. 

Doctors have three big questions:
1. Most of the time h. pylori is wiped out by antibiotics.  Does she need another round of antibiotics?  Is it causing all the problems?
2.  Why does her sodium drop like a rock?  Does it drop and cause vomiting...or does it drop because of the vomiting?
3.  Instead of one thing causing the trouble, are there several things going on with her?

Lots of questions, not many answers. 

If you are praying, besides the obvious prayer for answers and healing, Kenton and I are pretty emotionally wrung out.  I think the other kids are handling things better this time but they're also worn down by this.  I'd love to heap some blessings on the staff here.  They have been pretty wonderful, from the doctors, nurses,  and aides, right down to housekeeping and the people who deliver meals.

God IS good and, thank goodness, His mercies are new every morning.  I CHOOSE to trust in his faithfulness regardless of the circumstances.   

Thursday, October 25, 2012


We're up, we're down, we're all around.  

Just when we think we have the world by the tail, we get caught up short.  

Emily is sick again.  

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


We've been fighting with health insurance to get Emily put on our family plan.  

We flew back into the US on Friday evening and I called Monday, August 13 to get her added.

The lady told me congratulations, said I needed to fax in a form, and added which form it was.

She also said that Emily could not be added until September 1 but that she was covered under me until that time.

A week later Emily made her first US trip to the hospital.

Where it turns out the insurance lady was wrong. 

Emily was not covered under me because she was over 24 months.  

I can't tell you the extra stress this added to our hospital stay.

After each hospital stay, I would call and they would tell me that the previous staffer had, once again, given me the wrong paperwork to fill out and that my daughter was not yet covered.  

This happened four times.  

Every night in the hospital, every bit of labwork, every test, the ultrasound, upper GIs, Xrays endoscopy, MRI, EEG, feeding tube and IV saw our bills increasing.

And so was our stress level.  

Eventually I just quit worrying about it.  It was more than I could take.

Plus, Emily was NOT getting better.  

I didn't care about the money, I just wanted my kid healthy.

Friday, I called again.  

Good news!  Emily is accepted on our plan.


Well, thank you very much.   That is such a huge relief.  

Don't worry, insurance will only be responsible for my heart attack. 

We protested.
And began to accept that this is probably the way it would be.
I kept thinking about the parable of the woman who begged the unrighteous judge for justice.  
The judge gave her what she wanted because she was persistent.  
We kept praying and kept being nice (mostly) with the insurance company.  
And kept track of every fax and when it was made.

Today, we got word from the insurance agency.

They made Emily's acceptance retroactive.  She's been put on our policy

August 1, 2012.  

Huge burden lifted.

Thank you, Lord.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Day Ten

Okay, it's been a rotten day.  Partly because it's Day Ten and Emily can't stumble, wheeze, or do anything slightly out of the ordinary without me being scared that we're sliding back into Vomit Territory.  She slept a little longer during her nap and I was a wreck expecting any moment to hear a cough and sounds of puking.  Instead I heard her normal happy waking up yodel.  She appears to be fine....until the next not totally normal thing.

Right now she and Kaitlyn are absorbed in the Wiggles.  It's kind of funny, Emily keeps hitting buttons on the DVD player and Kaitlyn yells, "E M I L Y!"  to which Emily responds with a raspberry in Kaitlyn's direction.  Emily may not talk much but she understands a lot and is totally capable of getting her point across.

Davis is still trying to win Emily over.  She adores the big kids and plays with Kaitlyn.  Davis is another story.  He hasn't quite won her over.  It's kind of sad because he tries so hard and she really doesn't want anything to do with him.  I think if she would give him some love he'd stop campaigning for Alex.

Last night we helped celebrate Grandma Mast's birthday.  It was fun to be with the extended family again.  Even though most of them I see pretty regularly, it's still special to be together.  Titus and Delores were down from New York.  It got my kids all excited about having Paul and Bonnie's tribe here at Thanksgiving.

One reason my house is a wreck...

Their version of pioneers must be played in the dining room.

Jamison was official gate keeper every time I tried to pass through the room.

(Epic mother failure: getting my kids' hair combed lately)

Crossing the stream on stepstones...

Even "Lizzie" got a part in the game.

Off to the sandbox...
                          Time for igloos and secret passages....

jumping off stumps...

and the boys' version of booger ball...

                   You know, hitting a spice canister with a shovel...

and tricking your younger brother into thinking the next base is the stone wall while you laugh from the   sandbox.

Milk Dud Report: Soybeans are done, corn is chopped, hay is over, cover crop is being planted, cornhead is on the combine.  Kenton is working to get conveyors working.  The last of the silage bag is gone (thankfully) so he needs those conveyors working to feed.
The parlor doesn't have adequate water pressure to clean efficiently at all.  Parts are on order and slowly arriving which should improve the situation.  The new system necessitates getting some more new things like a TMR and a bigger generator and enlarging the freestall barn and covering the TMR "stall".  It seems like the work is never ending.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Goings On

 Mom and dad came to help while Emily was in the hospital last time.  I was so glad. They were coming anyway but came a little early.  Emily had great timing at getting sick.  We certainly managed to heap abuse on Kenton's mom.  Once she finished canning my green beans, during parlor set-up when she was getting up early to help chore (and did evenings, too), and when Megan and Davis got strep.

 Mom whipped things in to shape around here.  My husband was impressed.  Let's just say he strayed into the area of Things-You-Don't-Say-To-Your-Wife. May I just mention that mom doesn't homeschool, mow the lawn, or have a normal schedule when she's here.  Yes, I'm still a little huffy about it.
 The schedule is a little full right now.  There's kids' chorus on Monday night for all four, Wednesday morning Kaitlyn has preschool, and Thursday morning Jamison and Megan have piano lessons.  Throw in those extra events like a play at the college and a birthday party here or there and it gets a little crazy.

Dad got to help with parlor stuff and began wiring in the new generator.  He also got drafted to help around the house.  He put a shoe shelf in the dining room closet, a boot shelf in the back porch (Imagine, barn boots for six, winter boots for six, extras for guests...and when my kids leave theirs lying around for the dog to run off with, and a few pairs that no one is currently wearing but I haven't put away yet.  That's a lot of mess.) and  shelves in an extra closet (that used to be MINE) in the girls' room for clothing.  Dad enjoys helping.  He told me once he would be glad to do any remodeling in my long as it could be done with a chainsaw.

As long as they were here (and after dragging Martha home early from a visit to Janelle's) and since Emily wasn't sick we went ahead and did her dedication at church.  Have you heard this song by Casting Crowns?

Emily has forgotten her first love - the cymbals.  She has moved on to pompoms and cell phones.

I know some people were concerned that the other kids would be resentful because of Emily's sickness.  I will say it had some some horrible moments for all of us and I KNOW that there were times we all felt this way.  But overall, she is the beloved center of attention here at home.

She adds a ton of joy to our lives...and a bunch of work.

I forgot that you have to watch two-year-olds constantly!

I'm ready for things to settle down and for life to be normal for a little while.  We're heading into the window when Emily would normally get sick with a little trepidation.

I'm catching up s....l....o...w...l...y with homeschool.  I wouldn't have to but I like getting done early in the spring.  Davis is caught up and Jamison and Megan are with everything except science.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Home Again

Emily is home again.  She's on two antibiotics to fight the H. Pylori bacteria and two meds to help fight the irritation in her stomach from the enteritis.  A medical friend said, "Oh, that's an easy one to fix!"  I hope she knows what she's talking about.

(I'm starting to feel well enough to be crabby.)

You know you've spent a fair amount of time in the hospital when everyone from housekeeping on up to the specialists starts telling you they hope they won't see you again except at Walmart.
The doctors are VERY hopeful that all this misery has been caused from h. pylori.  It does tend to get worse under stress and the kiddo has certainly been under stress the last 2 1/2 months. There are a couple other minor(?) things that have popped up but we're not going to worry about them now.

So we're home.  Mom has things running smoothly and has started on the extras.  :)

(Little enough to fit in the sink, big enough to make a huge mess with the water)

Everyone is happy to heading back toward normal.

Well...mostly happy to be getting back to normal.

We'll settle in and pray that normal is right around the corner.

I can't say enough how grateful we are for prayer.  So many have shown us so much love and care.  I've had total strangers stop me to tell me they are praying for Emily, friends of my parents have called to ask how she's doing, I've had hugs from one med student and one housekeeper, notes, meals, offers of help.   We are overwhelmed with reminders of God's love and care.

Thank you!  
May God bless you as you have blessed us.    

Monday, October 8, 2012

Yesterday mom and dad and dad and mom and Kenton and the big kids came to the hospital for lunch and playroom time.  Emily didn't really enjoy seeing anyone but it was nice to be together as a family.

Kenton stayed with Emily last night so I got a break from the hospital (Yes, and Emily) and he got a bit of a break from the barn.  Kaitlyn has been having a hard time so it was good to spend some time with her.  She wanted me to sleep with her and started asking at 7:30 when we were going to bed.  Megan and Davis are getting better.

When Emily is sick she usually starts getting better suddenly.  She may throw up occasionally, but she smiles, walks, babbles, relates, and eats.  That's not happening this time.  It's been concerning us.  The doctors THINK that all the testing and being sedated twice probably is slowing her down.  I was hoping that she'd be home this past I'm cheering for Wednesday or Thursday.  I don't know if that's realistic.

Thank you for prayer.  I have had so many people remind me that God is good and that I need to have faith and trust.  I will try to rest in that.  

Sunday, October 7, 2012

And the winner is...

H. pylori bacteria

We hope.

Emily came back to the hospital on Tuesday night.  She's had an endoscopy, MRI, EEG, and lots of labwork.  She is one unhappy, crabby camper.  Some moments I'm ready to drop her on her head.  She's sick but also a pain in the butt.  She wants something but isn't happy with anything.

We got the diagnosis late Friday night.  We're still waiting to hear the results of the EEG.  They think that H. pylori is at the bottom of what's going on.  She also has moderate to severe chronic enteritis.  Lovely.  

Usually by this stage of the cycle we're seeing our happy baby eating and on the road to recovery.  She's still throwing up (emesis), still has not had a formed stool (poop), but is voiding normally (peeing).  (What is wrong with wrong with medical people anyway?!?)   She's finally begun eating (new since last Saturday) but is struggling to keep it where it belongs.  Have I mentioned that she's crabby?  Have I mentioned that I am too?  

My parents came from Minnesota so Kenton's mom is able to get a break from the other four.   Martha has been wonderful, I'm just glad to give her a little break and impose on my mom.  I think mom had the kids, house, and laundry whipped into shape in one day.  Kenton is struggling with the parlor.  Right now it's still taking a lot of work to get things done in there.

We're hitting an all-time low.   

Monday, October 1, 2012