Archive for August, 2006

Challenges of Parenting


Today has been a challenging day to be a parent.  Rose still wasn't feeling better.  She slept on my lap as I posted a question about her recent behavior to the Ethiopian Adoptive Families forum that our agency has.  Someone replied with a name of a parasite that their son came home with that produced similar symptoms.  I called our pediatrician's office to find out if that was part of the stuff they had screened Rose for, only to find that they had never received the results of the fecal labs that we had done weeks ago at Children's Hospital.  So the nurse called to get the lab results (normal, but they hadn't tested for that specific parasite) and then called me right back.  

I talked to one of the doctors in the office a bit more on the phone, explained that I was really concerned with how different Rose looked today, she just really wasn't herself.  The pediatrician I spoke with told us to start making our way to the Emergency Room at Children's Hospital.  There was a slight dilemma there, as I had Dillon as well, and also his first soccer practice with his new team, the Astros, was tonight.

We worked out that we would drop D with Nic, who (if we weren't back by 5:30, would take Dillon to soccer practice).  Then Chuck left work early for the day so he could come to the ER with me and Rose.  I know this was especially tough for him as they had some big disaster yesterday and he had warned me already he'd have to work all night tonight.

We get to the ER around 4pm and aren't seen by a doctor until around 5:45.  They seemed really busy, so I didn't mind except for missing D's practice.  But we finally get into an exam room, where we hang out forever, then they x-ray Rose's tummy & chest (all normal and good news, rules out pneumonia) then they try to put in an IV.

One nurse holds her while another pokes.   I am right next to her for comforting purposes.  It takes an interminable amount of time as they try one arm, dig around, try her hand, blood spurts, a vein collapses, then they poke her in the other arm.  The other nurse takes a turn and at this point they have to hold her stomach-down on the table, with Chuck and I helping to hold her down.  She screams, “mommy, mommy!” repeatedly at the top of her lungs.  It was terrible..  But after they got it in and I could pick her up she calmed down right away.

Then we hang around, waiting for her labs to come back.  During this time someone mentions to us that they will most likely admit her, and this is the first time this thought even occurs to me.  We call my mom, who will watch D for the night, talk to him and find out that he's #4 on the Astros, he got his jersey and the colors are black, red, and white.  He's excited to sleep over at Grandma's house.  

When the labs come back (around 9pm) they tell us that they are going to admit her because her AST and ALT counts (something to do with liver output) are seriously elevated, over 100 times what they should be.  Then we have to wait for a room.  

It's around 11pm when we get taken to our room, which is shared with another child.  Rose pretty much falls right asleep on top of me in the hospital bed, and manages to sleep through what seems like an endless stream of nurses and doctors poking her belly, taking her temperature, doing her blood pressure, and listening to various parts of her with their stethescopes.

I start watching “Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire” which is on one of the channels and then a resident comes in to talk to us about how Rose's doing.  He tells us a couple of possibilities, all of which sound particularly horrible and scary.  He asks me a bunch of questions that basically boil down to “did you poison your kid and are you just not telling us something?”   Which I try very hard not to take offense at, but I sort of decide I don't like this guy when he comes back an hour later at 2am and asks me again if I let her drink a couple bottles of children's tylenol.  Chuck sort of sleeps through a bunch of this on the couch in our room.  After the 2am visit I throw pennies at his head to wake him up (it doesn't) and then I just wait for a nurse to come back in and wake him, because I am pinned under Rose but we have been told that if we don't move our car tonight it will be towed out of the ER parking lot.  This sort of sucks, but as we had to circle around forever (and eventually Chuck dropped us off and parked in a driveway) I appreciate the need to keep that lot clear.  The nurse comes back in as I am weighing the repercussions of throwing a phone at Chuck (I decide it will probably be too noisy and potentially painful) as it is the only item I can reach since I ran out of pocket change.  Chuck wakes up and moves the car to another lot.  Then I am finally able to fall asleep at about 3am, but still wake every hour as the nurse comes to check on Rose. 

Not for those with weak stomachs… Continued


So, I thought she was over it on Monday night.  Pride apparently once again goes before the fall.

Rose has continued to intermittently puke and keep stuff down, though looked terrible today so I took her to the doctor.  They were very nice but couldn't tell me anything, since she doesn't seem to have many other symptoms.  The list of things she could have (I kid you not) range from pneumonia, a virus, a parasite, a lego (she could have 'eaten' a small item), a bacterial infection, and many more.  Apparently vomiting with no fever, other GI issues, etc., could be just about anything.

So we're watching for dehydration, we have to get her to keep liquids down, or take her to the emergency room for an IV.  That would probably be pretty terrible for her (and wouldn't do much for her growing mistrust of doctors and nurses).  So we've really been pushing fluids.  Except she hasn't, and won't drink anything except water or milk, and milk is out of the question right now.  We've bought ten different kinds of juice, gatorade, vitamin water, pedialyte, etc., to see if there is one she'll drink, but she hates the sweet stuff and she mostly flat-out refuses to try it.  And yesterday she puked just from the fruity smell of hand soap, so I have been reluctant to push it.  Apparently Chuck got her to drink a little Propel today, our pediatrician said anything with sugars or electrolytes is better than water.

I'm sure she'll be fine, it just totally sucks right now.  I really want to be able to communicate with her now more than ever!  She seems uncomfortable, and I'd like to make her understand that swallowing the baby tylenol might make her feel better.  Just that we have her best interests in mind and aren't just thinking of ways to torture her.  And to perhaps ask her if she ate a lego.

 On the upside, it's been three days since Dillon's punk rock birthday party and Django is still dyed pink, I kind of thought it would wear off by now, Dharma's did.  (Bathing the dogs has been sort of low on my list of priorities with a sick kid around.  Not that it ever ranks particularly high until they roll in something dead or jump in the river or a similar provocation.)  But it's cool having a pink dog, though he looks a little mortified about it.  Of course, he always looks a little mortified and I'm not sure dogs can see pink…

Not for those with weak stomachs…


Some days being a mom is less glamorous than others.  I woke up bright and early this morning trying to clean up the house after Dillon's punk rock birthday party last night.  From 7am to 9:30am I made quite a bit of progress on the dishes and laundry, etc.  At 9:45 I decided to wake up the kids, who were still totally zonked out from staying up until 10pm the night before.  

Before you read further, I have to note that readers with weak stomachs just might want to skip this post altogether and wait until I post something shiny and happy on another day.

…so I have to wake the kids up because I am supposed to meet someone at work, and I have to shlep the kids, and their aunt Anna with to my work in order to make this happen, because Rose will still not let me leave her anywhere.  Which is fine, but it requires everyone to get out of bed so we can pick up Anna after her diving/swim practice and get to my work by 11am.  And I walk into the kids room, they are both still sound asleep.  But I notice something all over Rose.  And a thousand terrible scenarios play through my head as I start freaking out.  And I raise the shades to the room and realize that there is neon orange vomit (that is more or less the consistency of play dough) all over my child and her bed.  I must say something out loud at this point, because both kids wake up.  I instruct Dillon to stay put in the top bunk, grab Rose and put her on the potty.  Dillon ignores me, so then I instruct him to watch his sister on the potty while I assess the situation in the bed, I am trying to figure out if I should call the doctor.

It looks terrible, but I throw everything down the laundry chute and run a bath, Dillon is watching his sister but also laughing at her because her hair is neon orange.  I should probably mention at this point that the only thing Rose ate after 3pm the day before was cheese and peanut butter sandwich crackers, you know, the obscenely orange ones.  They are her favorite, and she was pretty much on a hunger strike at the party and I couldn't get her to eat ANYTHING.  So she ate two packages of those, about 12 crackers, including one that Dharma got.

So I tell Dillon not to laugh while I give her a bath and wash her hair.  She looks miserable.  I am sure she feels miserable too.  I can not imagine how this child threw up so much without Chuck or I hearing and I am considering calling Child Protective Services on us.  When I get her out of the tub I just wrap her in her froggy towel and all she wants to do is hang out and have me cuddle her.  She won't let me dress her.  I call Chuck to let him know what's up, and ask him to pick up Anna who will be waiting for me outside her swim practice.  

He does, and he brings Anna back with some bananas, which is the one fruit that Rose will eat and I have heard they are easy to digest (being part of the BRAT diet and all that).  I assume she was sick during the night, so I figure we could try to let her eat some banana, see if she can keep it down.  Long story short, she can't.  But the positive side of that is that I find out that she is the world's quietest puker.  The child does not make one sound.  So I don't feel as bad about not hearing her in the middle of the night.

So we spent the day in a quiet state, mostly laying around.  I felt terrible because Rose was obviously unhappy and uncomfortable, but unable to express if there was anything I could do for her.  She was mostly content to be held the entire day.  

We hadn't opened D's presents at the party, so we had a great day of leisurely opening them and having plenty of time to play with each one before moving on to the next gift.  He had a good time, and Anna stuck around to help out because I pretty much had my hands full.  

Finally Rose kept some food down.  Believe it or not, she ate a good chunk of Dillon's leftover birthday cake (some may wonder what I was thinking letting her have it, but I was a champion puker as a kid between being a picky eater and hypoglycemic, but I know what it's like to have a yen for something after being sick, so I'm a soft touch in that department).  But the fact that she wanted the cake was extra-surprising to me because Rose hates all sweets.  After trying ice cream, chocolate cake, muffins, cookies, etc., she has made a face like she believed I was poisoning her.  But the cake was a hit.  And after she kept the cake down for a couple hours, I let her eat two more pieces of it, and then she ate three banana bread waffles.  So hopefully, she's feeling better!   

It's when you are on your hands and knees under a table cleaning up a puddle of banana-puke that you think, how did my life bring me here?  I remember, despite dealing with my own puke pretty well (I pretty much made it to the bathroom every time after I was about 4), sort of being a sympathetic vomiter and not really wanting to get near other folks.  Particularly in college, I would be right there if you needed some 7-up, but I'm not going to be in the bathroom with you holding your hair back or what-have-you.

Chuck, on the other hand, is a champion in that regard.  He's held my hair back when I had food poisoning, and when I was in the delivery room having a c-section with Dillon.  And, I've seen him on several occasions catch handfuls of Dillon's puke.  Once, at Baker's Square, he caught D's puke and knocked an entire glass of diet coke into my lap.  It was cold and incredibly unpleasant.  We were in self-imposed Baker's Square exile for a while after that.  Though everyone there was pretty nice to us and they didn't make us pay the bill (our food hadn't gotten there yet). 

I haven't ever had the urge to catch my child's puke in anything that couldn't be put in the dishwasher or (preferably) disposed of entirely. 

Ah.  The joys of motherhood.  Would I have ever expected  five years and some days ago before my son's birth that I would some day have occasion to type the above sentence?  Who knows…

The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow…


So, since Dillon's been a baby, he's had this mix cd that I made for him of slow bedtime songs, stuff like 'the Rainbow Connection', 'Seasons of Love', 'Somewhere Out There', 'Goodnight My Someone', etc… Think musicals and kids' movie themes.  And the fourth song on the disk is the song, 'Tomorrow' from Annie. It was one of my all-time favorites when I was a kid, I knew every song from the musical, and my dad has a funny story about absent-mindedly whistling it while walking into a courtroom and the judge commisserating that he also had an eight-year-old daughter.  I used to listen to the record non-stop that year, and probably drove my parents up the wall.

 Anyway, I put the song on Dillon's cd, which he has taken to listening to while going to sleep.  He didn't actually used to, he finished the 'music-to-sleep-thing' when we were still living at Fratney, but we thought it might help him get used to noise in the room with him which would inevitably occur when sharing a room with his little sister.  So for the past two or three months it's been this music at bedtime, and this has continued with Rose coming home.  

Well, tonight, I'm sitting on her bed, rubbing her back, trying to get her to go to sleep, and singing along with the cd.  And Rose starts singing with me, not entirely clear as a bell, but definitely recognizable, "tomorrow, tomorrow i love you, tomorrow ma-na-nah ma-nay a-nay".  It was fantastic.  I don't know how the greater adoption community feels about Annie (or Oliver! for that matter, I have 'Where is Love' from that musical, and Les Misrables 'Castle on a Cloud' on there too…)  Not really sure why I put so many songs sung by musically-gifted orphans on this cd, which I made like five years ago, I'll have to find out if I'm ruining my daughter by having her listen to them.