Face of hope

Face of hope
Courtesy: TIffany Kay Photography

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

I love to laugh...no, really. I do.

This past weekend started off as good as any. Matter of fact, better than most.  I was treated to a great birthday lunch by friends, my students were having a great lesson week, and we really enjoyed watching our girls' dance school perform at the local festival.  Things were going very smoothly... and then Sunday came.

Sunday was basically going to be a lax day.  I had moved all my students to that morning/early afternoon( to make up lessons from Saturday when we were at the festival.)  We were going to head to evening Mass when I was finished teaching.  And after that Brian had planned a relaxed night home just cooking out, getting the girls ready for the week and spending some time together.  The day started out as planned - everyone got up, helped clean up the house for my students, got dressed, ate breakfast..etc... It was a gorgeous warm sunny day, so Brian thought it would be fun while I was teaching to have the girls help him wash the car.  He does this a lot in the summer with them - they love helping and of course all the water, and he gets some outside tasks done while I teach.

First several lessons went off smoothly - I could hear the laughter outside, and the occasional hose of water that would splatter our kitchen window as they washed the cars.  During my second to last student, I actually stopped because I heard a SMACK... the sound is pretty hard to explain, but it was definitely from outside.   I didn't think much of it because they had sponges, buckets, hoses, and all kinds of things going on out there so I basically ignored it and kept teaching.  But then I heard the scream. Absolutely the most horrid scream I have ever heard - it is the one as a mom when you go "oh no.. which kid... and what did they break..."  I ran to the window and saw Brian picking up Kaitlin off the ground.  Now I was even more concerned because this is a kid who can take a hard soccer ball to the face from 2 feet away and not even flinch. And why must children always do these things literally within arms reach!? It's like a backwards way of throwing on the parent guilt... the infamous "I was right there!" ... Sigh.

Come to find out, Kaitlin had been climbing on the side of our van. Older and wiser daddy gave the warning of soap+water+child = not good... Kaitlin, the younger more adventurous soul decided the warning was something that needed to be tested.  Long story short, the back of her head and the back of her left shoulder and shoulder blade had a very intimate and direct meeting with the concrete of our driveway.  Brian immediately did the first aid protocol and after evaluating the situation, we decided she did need to be seen.  I took her to Children's and they checked her over.  The did some x-rays of her shoulder because the doctor was certain she broke "something"... but come to find out, she had a lot of soft tissue damage and inflammation, but no broken bones. Her head of course was thoroughly checked.  She had a huge knot on the back lower left side of her head, a swollen eardrum, blurry vision, and extreme fatigue, but the doctor felt she could go home and heal there. They didn't see any evidence of a broken skull or pressure at that time.  (Thank you to Kaitlin's guardian angel - and I will warn you this won't be her last 'adventure..')  They wanted to give her ibuprofen regimen to help the inflammation in her shoulder joint, but because of the concussion she couldn't have it.

NOT a happy camper

The doctors of course said no activities, dance, PE, running around.etc...for at least a week... but they also said no TV, reading, or schoolwork... I'm pretty sure that's the first and last word Kaitlin heard because she gave me the biggest smirk ever. I mean, a doctor telling you no schoolwork? Uh, I would be asking them to write that one down! ;) After watching her a bit longer, we were finally discharged and off we went back to the house with a concussive head, a slinged arm/shoulder and some Tylenol.


Kaitlin was practically falling asleep sitting up and while talking to me that night, kept interrupting herself mid-sentence to change to a different topic.  It was hard to follow.  I just smiled and nodded but on the inside was thinking "Oh my.. is this what it's like when people talk to me?" (I know I change stories a LOT when I talk with people. So I'm not sure how much of her confusing talk was from Kaitlin's concussion, or just genetically inherited).  Her talking became more "Kaitlin-like" in the last 12 hours, and her mood was lifted by receiving a ton of cards from her classmates at school - she was very grateful to feel so loved. She will probably return tomorrow and just continue the restrictions the doctors gave her for the week.   Although she did tell me to quit telling people she fell off a car when they asked.  She wanted a "cooler story."  Uh, sorry hon.

Loving the cards from her school!

Fast foward to Monday morning.  Of course, scratch the original schedule we had  -  Kaitlin was staying home and the others were headed to school.  Once everything was calm, I fixed a bath for Kaitlin so she could not have the shower beating on her injured shoulder.  She was able to relax, get all cleaned up, and come downstairs for something to eat before being grounded to the couch.  As I walked downstairs I heard water.  I remember thinking "Gee, the bathtub sure is louder than I remember when draining..."  As I neared the bottom of the stairs I thought "Ok, now that sounds like a waterfall..."  Oh yes people - I was correct.  No need to head to Niagra Falls or spend the money on ferry rides - we had a free waterfall right here in our own home.  The downstairs toilet was overflowing and flooding out.  Water was also shooting out from underneath the toilet. How is that even possible!? Our whole bathroom was soaked.  It was leaking on to our carpet in the living room.  And I could hear it downstairs - splattering on our garage floor I assumed.  I opened the door and started down the stairs.. and then I just turned back around.  I just couldn't.  I knew immediately it was some sort of different problem than a clogged toilet, so I called the plumber.  And we waited.

In the meantime, Kaitlin was still miserable - complaining of head pain, fuzzy vision, and she just didn't look right. I knew she was hurting and realized I hadn't arranged a ride home for the other girls.  Luckily, we found another parent to get them from school so Kaitlin could just rest.  The plumber showed up and took one look at what had happened and said "I'm pretty sure this is something in the main line." .... oh wonderful! I thought.  He continued on to check our system while I started getting dinner ready for the kids.  Meagan had finally fallen asleep while playing in the playroom and was napping while on a feed and Kaitlin was resting.  The plumber comes back in and talks about what they will need to do to check out the problem when I hear babbling from the other room.  Meagan must have awakened, but, it's not unusual for her to play or babble a little before really waking up enough to want to get out.  So I continued to listen to the plumber and just as he was about to start talking options, I heard Meagan saying something over and over again.  I heard her feeding pump beeping and realized it had probably stopped.  I excused myself and went to unhook her from her feed  When I walked into the playroom, this is what I saw:


Meagan was laying there holding her gbutton saying "Butttonnnnnn! Buttoonnnnnnn!"  I looked at her and said "Uh, yep Meagan. That's your button... and it should be IN your belly."  I quickly grabbed a syringe and pulled the water from the balloon. (Yes, that's right.. Meagan pulled out her FULLY INFLATED gtube.  I mean.. OUCH! Why??) I laid her on her back, put lubricant on the tube and tried to reinsert it.  It wouldn't go. It didn't feel like when we had just changed her tube a few weeks before... it felt really tough.  I tried again and it was absolutely not going in.  By this point Meagan was screaming and that wasn't going to help either.  Her hole looked to me like it was starting to close up so I knew we needed to go in to have it repaired.  I kindly told the plumber apparently Meagan felt attention deprived and now needed her plumbing addressed so we would have to make another appointment.  He was very understanding and left.

The next thing going through my mind was me walking into the ER with Meagan holding her g-button, Reilly and Anna tired from school, Maura asking for dinner and Kaitlin following close by with her arm in a sling...the only thing that could make it better would be to have our one eared cat following behind.... I didn't think that would go over too well so I called our babysitter.  I was praying she could come on such short notice.  My first thought was to say "Hi - can you please come stay in my flooded house with my injured child while I take the little one in to have her gtube put back in?" I mean she would HAVE to come then, right?  Fortunately, I gathered my senses bout me and even luckier, our awesome sitter was able to come on short notice.

Can I just sidetrack for a moment and say that I am so so SO thankful for sitters who truly know the family inside and out? The new sitter comes and you have to show them everything, write down everything, almost play psychologist to them and reassure them about everything..."I know it's 5 kids but it really doesn't seem like it most of the time...you'll be fine...."  And don't even get me started when words like gtube or seizure come into play.  The babysitter's eyes could probably be telescope lenses at that point.  But sitters who know the family and kids really well - LOVE THEM! It's like a whole new realm of freedom - you can walk out as they are walking in practically passing them a puking child while yelling over your shoulder random inaudible bedtime instructions and the experienced sitter doesn't even bat an eyelash. (nor does she think this is strange).  I realize I interrupted myself, but, I just had to give a shout out to the calm experienced sitters out there - now back to the topic of Meagan's tube.

Oh yes, this is what we were talking about

I'm glad I took her in.. there was no WAY I was going to get that thing back in on my own. When the GI doctor came in and says "Wow.. hmmmmmmm" ... it gave me relief that we didn't keep trying at home. Three nurses and a doctor who was so tall he probably missed his calling in basketball couldn't collectively reinsert her tube.  He found out it had basically already closed to a size three notches smaller than her original tube, so we had to start super small and insert a foley and let it sit for a while... then do it again but with one a little larger.. and so on and so forth. Somewhere along the line I asked them for drugs for Meagan.  The nurses' first response was now that it had been dilated back up to size,  the reinsertion should be quick.  I mean, I get it... it should be...but let's be real... how many times with Megs does it turn from should be quick..... to oh that was harder than we thought..... the kid goes through enough.  Honestly,  I couldn't have handled what she had already to that point with all the pressure and poking and prodding... and logically thinking, her little tummy was going to be so sore after the ordeal. So my sarcasm took over. I don't know but it just happens sometimes....I told the nurse... "You know the chart you have to tell you how a child is feeling? You know how the highest number, a 10, is a crying child? Well she can't tell you on that chart. But, she's crying Actually she's screaming and crying, so I'm pretty sure that matches the picture on your pain chart that is a 10.  Please, give her something that makes her see rainbows and sunshine while you shove this plastic tube back into her closing up hole in her belly."  Miraculously, we had some short term pain meds in the room ready to go within 5 minutes.  Imagine that.
The doctor came back and with firm but steady pressure worked her tube back into the tract.  It took a good while - he kept thinking he had it, but then would realize it was popping out, or it wasn't fitting the way he thought.  I will say the man was very patient and very good with Megs - once the tube was back in, they let her meds wear off for about 20 minutes and then we were on our merry way.

Waiting with the Foley 

Tuesday morning came - Kaitlin stayed home again because she had started to spike a little fever the night before.  She was also still in quite a bit of pain and her head hurt.  The plumber was so nice and came back again to finish his estimate.  Well, I will say, the "nice" part was that he came back and didn't charge us again for the visit.  The "finish his estimate" part I will NOT attribute to nice. By any means. You know the estimate is never going to be low when a professional starts out with "Yes, this is verrrry interesting. These pipes - so verrrry interesting."  No no!! Don't say it! Tell me a book is interesting... or the paint color on my wall.. but not the plumbing system! I have come to learn that "very interesting" speaking to any major system in the house structure basically translates to "Yea, this is really messed up but I don't want to say it that way so I will just say it's interesting"  He gave us several options of what we can do to fix the root cause of the water.  None are easy. All are expensive. And that's that.

I was almost afraid to get to Wednesday because I figured something else surely had to happen. And it just couldn't because later today is Meagan's MRI we have been waiting for.  But thankfully, we are almost 2 hours in to today....and .. well....I'm just not going to say anything.

  What I will say is God gave us a sense of humor for a reason.  And when bad days happen, I think these are the BEST times to use our humor.  It's almost a defense mechanism so when things do happen one after the other, we don't have time to get depressed about it.  We just laugh.  And that's quite literally what I did after going through Kaitlin's head injury, the indoor waterfall and then Meagan's tube.  When I saw her holding that gbutton,  I just laughed. (any tubie mom will get that)....Even Kaitlin found humor in her injuries, telling me "Well at least I don't need to use my arms for Irish dance."  Point  - Kaitlin.  The poor plumber probably thought we were nuts, but what are ya gonna do.

 It's ok to feel sad or overwhelmed especially when it seems the hits come one after the other after the other - and I realize my snowball of trials the last few days are minimal compared to the trials others may face.  But nonetheless, these are the times we must turn to prayer and remember God is always by our side. We must trust in Him that He will guide us through - and we lean on our friends and family for those moments we need to vent.  But also remember He doesn't expect us to be somber or let our problems drown out the good. Look for God's Candid Camera. I know it's there. Remember that contagious gift of humor - and when things seem to just snowball out of control, forget it all - and have a good laugh.  Or write an incredibly sarcastic post about it? Whatever you do, one day soon, it won't be as bad.... (and you will probably have as many laughs thinking back on it all).

 As the famous verse from Mary Poppins goes....
The more you laugh
The more you fill with glee
And the more the glee
The more I'm a merrier me!