Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Again, long time, no post. I just spend most of my time busy with work and the kids, it seems, and feel like I have little time for much else.

The summer has come and nearly gone, with Ian starting Kindergarten in a week. That's strange to me that he is already five and ready to go to school. He is very excited, yet apprehensive at the same time. As I look back to the last two years that we've had in Charleston, it amazes me to see how much he has changed. He has been through speech therapy to address a stuttering problem and is now working on saying his 's' correctly. He's done well with that and I'm very proud of him. The school schedule is something we'll have to work out as we get into it, but right now it appears I'll be dropping him off most days on my way to work to delay him taking his Prograf as long as possible and getting as close to 8 a.m. as we can. He's excited to ride the bus home. I'm curious to see how long that lasts. I was never big on riding the bus, even when growing up in Utah and the only time we rode the bus was to go on a field trip.

Livia is quite the busy little person. She still climbs everything (Mountain Goat), and is still running and, now, jumping all over the place. She's starting to talk quite a bit, and is at least as opinionated as her mother. Easily as stubborn, too. :) HAHAHAHA She took off on me yesterday while we were downstairs (just she and I) and by the time I turned around, she was already all the way up the stairs. I heard her on the stairs and sprinted to and up the stairs. She was at the top, looked at me with a big smile, and said "Ta-DA!!!" I scolded her for going up the stairs, but also had to apologize for not putting up the gate. I knew I should have done that...

Elaine stays busy with her church calling and taking care of the kids. I know she needs a break, it is just a question of getting her to actually schedule it and go. As tired as she is, I cannot think of a time when she doesn't pull her own weight and then some. Her days are long as my commute keeps me away from the house a lot.

We're now about 20 months removed from Ian's liver transplant, and he continues to thrive. I thank my Heavenly Father every day for that blessing and that we are able to grow and learn together as a family.

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Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Yep, pretty much I'm a slacker as far as keeping up with the blog goes. Been about 9 months since my last post. That's pathetic (no comments required from the peanut gallery, however).

Part of my own complacency comes from Elaine starting Ian's blog, which you can see here. That being out there now, that's a pathetic excuse (again, comment not required) for not keeping up here, so that a father's perspective can be given. Perhaps it could be useful to someone else.

So, where have we been since April '09? Much has happened, most of it good. Work has been busy, I've traveled to Florida a few times for work, and I've learned a lot. I wouldn't mind ditching the safety responsibilities that I have, but that's not possible at the moment. I am grateful to have a good job that I do, overall, enjoy.

I've watched the political scene in the United States boil over as the country becomes more polarized. I have caught myself getting too caught up in this before, and have tried to remove myself some, with the understanding that I am committed to my own viewpoints. That doesn't mean that someone else cannot have theirs, and we should be mindful that they are, likely, equally committed. That effort to maintain respect has led to some great conversations. While I don't believe anyone on either side was persuaded from his/her view, it did create, I believe, better mutual understanding. I watch and listen now more objectively to the different sides of different policies and it is fun to watch, especially spirited but respectful debate.

Livia passed her first birthday by making an absolute mess out of her cake. That was a lot of fun to watch. I believe Elaine has pictures on facebook as well as her blog. She is into everything. She started walking at 10 months and was running a couple weeks later. She still hasn't stopped. She's a climber, too, which Ian never was, so that's been a new experience. Her nickname is "Mountain Goat" when we find her up on something she shouldn't be. It is matter of time, I fear, until she finds a way around the cabinet locks in the kitchen. She keeps us on our feet at all times, except when she has her needed afternoon nap.

As for Ian, he has truly done well, for the most part. Several months ago he had a sustained fever and the fear then was that he had contracted a nasty flu. It turned out to 'only' be a respiratory infection that was quickly hammered back. We passed his year mark with a Liver Day celebration. Elaine and I spent much time reflecting on the year that had passed and how much our little man had grown and developed during that year. He is, without a doubt, a different boy now than he was pre-transplant. His energy is through the roof, he eats a lot more (and I mean a lot more). His mind has an extra edge to it, which may have more to do with his age than the transplant. He is loads of fun, that's for sure. We had a visit with the transplant center in September and his visits were pushed out to six months. That's the longest we've ever gone between visits.

Ian's blog details, to some degree, the events of the last few days. He had a lowgrade fever on and off starting Saturday. Monday evening, it spiked to 102.6. Anything over 102 is an automatic trip to the ER. Of course, by the time we got to the ER, it was down to 100.6, but we were accepted and they started a battery of tests. They tried to place an IV, but took a nasal swab at the same time. Ian was doing great up to the swab. That's when he flinched a little, crimping the IV. It was useless. They tried to place another with no success, and by this point Ian is already tentative about it because it hurts. He does great with labs, but that's a much smaller needle. He cried through the second, with me basically pinning his arm in place. They tried again for a third after his x-rays, and while they were able to get the blood they needed, the IV failed (big bruise from that one). This one was especially bad because I had him pretzeled up so I could hold him still while they placed it. All these tests came back negative. The ER was busy, and the doctor had become a bit wide-eyed when I told him Ian was a liver transplant recipient. I believe, but have no proof, that he was eager to pass us off. He did not consult the transplant team about steps to take, in spite of my request to do so. So, they started paperwork to transfer us to MUSC. They came back in and said they needed to get an IV in before transfer. I said, "No offense, but no, you won't. They can do it at MUSC if it is needed." Ian was given shots of antibiotics, one in each leg. That didn't go well either. I was holding him down as he pleaded with me to make them stop. I had to keep whispering to him that it was needed and to be tough. Turns out this antibiotic was not and would not have been approved by the transplant team. Not too happy about that, as might be expected. Over two hours later, we were finally on an ambulance being transported to MUSC (they didn't want me to drive him, though I'm not sure why). So instead of being there in 30 minutes or less to MUSC, we sat around the ER while we waited for paperwork to be filed and for people to make/receive phone calls. Ridiculous. At 1 AM we finally arrived at MUSC, and Ian finally went to sleep at 1:30. My night was not done, as questions had to be asked and answered. I slept where I could between interruptions, but these crappy couches are not intended to be comfortable, but torturous. Whoever set out with that evil design gets kudos for succeeding.

So, here I am, second night at MUSC. I'm going to sleep soon with hopes of really sleeping tonight (curse the couch!!!). We hope Ian will be able to go home tomorrow, but it just depends what they find/don't find in the tests. Only time will tell...

Similarly, only time will tell if my newfound commitment to this blog will last...

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Too little too late, I think, as Elaine has already posted most of our happenings for April. It was quite the busy month.

Easter was an adventure with Ian. He returned to church, but told us a week or two before that while we were at church on Easter that he would be thinking about his eggs at home (we had just stated during family home evening that we should think about Jesus during Easter and the wonderful sacrifice that he performed for us). I like to think that Ian got it, but mostly I'm convinced that it was all about the candy for him.

Like I wrote in a previous post, we saw the Braves play six innings of baseball, but left early to avoid freezing the remainder of our tushes off.

Ian continues to do very well with his recovery. Livy keeps growing like a weed. Elaine does a great job keeping up with both, and I just try not to get in the way of any of the three.

I'm approaching my first goal with my exercise efforts. I may not reach the goal I had in mind, but I've made significant progress. I'm down about 15 pounds at this point and my weight has dropped below 240 lbs for the first time in over four years, though I'm still hoping to reach my goal of 230 by May 9 (that's a lot of weight in a short amount of time). I'm pretty happy with the habit development both on the exercise front as well as the eating battle. I've been able to shift my food intake to less and overall healthier. Naturally, I do cheat every so often. I'd go nuts without the occasional chocolate bar, and I still crave Troy's Philly Cheesesteaks (haven't found a comparable one here in Chucktown yet). I have not allowed myself to return to non-diet soda, since I'm fairly sure I would have a hard time giving it back up. This is my hardest challenge, to be truthful, since I LOVE Mountain Dew's Livewire and Voltage flavors.

Why, as humans, is it so hard to overcome the psychological aspects of some things (see: Mt. Dew Livewire)?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Well, we had another trip to Atlanta this past week. It was good, I think, except for the trip to and from and everything in between those driving periods. No, just kidding. CHOA partners some with the Braves (or vice versa), and the Braves provide tickets to the game, dinner, and pictures with some of the players. It was fun. We got the stadium around 4 or so, walked around outside (see Elaine's blog or Facebook page), and then got out of the wind for a while before heading into the stadium around 5:20. Dinner was a ballpark dinner, which was fine. Two players, Matt Diaz and Blaine Boyer, came up. Ian did pictures with Diaz, but wasn't interested in Boyer (really wasn't interested in Diaz, but we convinced him to go ahead). Chipper was busy getting ready for the game, we suspect. :) The wind blowing across the stadium was sharp and quite chilly, so we got cold pretty fast. Livy didn't make it to the first inning and she was ready to go, so Elaine and Livy left for the car to wait on Elaine's sister to come get them. Ian and I got a blanket from the car, courtesy of Elaine, and made it a bit longer. We got some cotton candy for Ian around the end of the 4th, and he said that was worth staying for. But he got cold trying to eat it, so around the end of the 6th inning we called it quits and headed for the car. We stopped at the restroom (that's an important detail for everyone, isn't it?) and finally cleared the stadium around the 7th inning stretch. Ian is interested in doing it again next year, I think.

The visit at the hospital went well. They are pleased with how Ian is doing, and we got some tips for dealing with 'Evil Ian'. He gets pretty bad at times in terms of sassing and poppin' off. Some of his meds contribute to that. He has done well the last few days, especially.

The drive home was pretty rough. Livy cried...no, Livy screamed a lot. Elaine climbed into the back seat between the two car seats in the Corolla and sat back there. She has a nice bruise to show for it. The Corolla is officially done taking all of us places. Its just too dang small. We also determined that Livy is done travelling to Atlanta for a bit. Six hours in a car seat is not fun for her, and therefore not fun for us either.

I have not blogged much on my weight loss efforts much, but I'm pretty pleased overall. Since February, I've dropped close to 15 pounds, so I'm down from around 255 to around 240. I still have a ways to go, but I credit the Wii Fit for most of the progress. Not only does it help me to exercise, but now whenever I even think about eating something, I have to also consider what it is going to do to those scales later. Thus, my eating and drinking habits have changed considerably. I eat better and less, and soda is pretty much an unthinkable now. I do love the Vitamin Water, though, especially the Energy flavor. I'm not too certain that the weight loss is visible yet, but I feel better, which helps with the motivation to keep going.

Not much else for now...

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Saturday, March 07, 2009

So it has been a while, again, since my last post. That should be an indicator to all that things with Ian are going well.

He and I went to Atlanta for a follow-up last week, and it was good. We got into Atlanta late Tuesday night and stayed in a hotel. It was kind of fun to get out with just Ian and go, but we also missed Elaine and Livy (though even a king-size bed would have been crowded with that many people). Ian is now on a month schedule, meaning he needs to return to Atlanta only once a month. He's doing fantastic!

Until today. We're in the car out running errands, all of us, when Ian tells us his nose hurts. We look, and sure enough, his nose is running like the New River after a heavy rainstorm. As we start to probe, he readily admits to us that he has shoved a raisin up his nose. Great. Just what we needed. We get home, and we try to get it out any way we can. He blows his nose. We use a bulb syringe (aka snot sucker), all to no avail. We cannot even see the thing, but Ian is insistent that its in there. We call his doctor, and they tell us to find either a nearby urgent care place or go to the emergency room. It is already 7:00 PM, mind you, and this is certainly not how I had planned to spend my Saturday evening.

Off to the ER we go, Ian and I. We get there, get checked in, and in just a couple minutes, we are taken back to a room. Ian and I dig into some snacks that Elaine sent with us. Soon after, in comes the physician's assistant (PA). She cannot see it either, but she explains what we're going to try after Ian unsuccessfully tries to blow it out again (he's quite good at blowing his nose, btw). So, we get in position (an orderly or nurse comes in to help), and she holds his left nostril closed (the raisin is in his right nostril), and I basically give him a puff of air through his mouth ala mouth-to-mouth. I failed to anticipate the mess that would come out of his nose. My left cheek is now coated in Ian's snot. All I can do is start laughing so I don't throw up. The raisin did not come out (WTF!!!?? (where F=Freak)). The PA is laughing with me (probably so she doesn't throw up). She looks, and she still cannot see the raisin. Out she goes to consult the doctor. I console Ian, because he sure didn't like me blowing all that air into his mouth and is now crying rather fiercely. I sign some papers so that our visit can get filed with insurance.

Soon, here comes the doctor and the PA. They ask me if I'm sure he shoved a raisin into his nose. I assure them that Ian would not lie to me about this, since our idea of fun does not include a trip to the ER. I get a skeptical look, but they look amused, too. The doctor cannot see the raisin. We agree to try the puff of air again. Yours truly is again the puffer/billows. This time, at least I'm ready for the snot-blow that is going to hit my face, but this time they tell me we're going to do both nostrils. They close the left nostril. I puff and catch it all on my cheek again. No raisin. They ask if I want to wipe off. I don't see much point in this since we are going to do it again. They close the right nostril. I puff. Same amount of snot comes out of that nostril, again, coating my cheek. Still no raisin. They don't believe me at this point that its still in there because they still cannot see it. I handle a volley of questions, including about his runny nose. Now, Ian has had a cold for a bit, so there was some runniness there already, but since the raisin has gone in, the flow has increased greatly, and he says it hurts. I do not doubt my son.

The doctor determines to refer it to the ENT and we can go on Monday to see them. Fine, whatever, as I finally have a chance to wipe off my face. I use soap and water. Ian's face needs wiped, so I wipe it and have him blow his nose one more time. He really lets the nose-blow fly, and something hits me in the chest, and rolls down my shirt. There's that blasted raisin! I call the doctor back in (they were still walking away consulting). They come in to make sure he got it all, and sure enough it is a whole raisin. I'll post pics on Facebook tomorrow. Of the raisin, not me with snot on my face. There are no pics of that, thank goodness. I asked for a jar to keep the raisin.

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Three and a half weeks home now. I had not intended to have this much time between posts, but its been a busy time.

Elaine, Ian, and Livy went back to Atlanta a week after they got back to go to clinic, and Ian has had his Prograf adjusted back up a bit. He is doing well, however, and we just found out yesterday that he is now once a week for labs. His next clinic visit will be February 25. We are planning, right now, to have his PICC line pulled at that time and he'll just get poked once a week after that. He's a champ at doing that, so it shouldn't be a problem.

We got a Wii for Christmas, and I've been using the Wii Fit for the last week. I've had the weigh fluctuate a bit, but overall its down nearly two pounds. I won't call it a trend yet, but at least it is promising to see signs of potential progress. I overdid it a bit last night, so the next few days will have to be a bit lighter, but I should be okay again after that.

Work is good. I've assumed some of the Environmental, Health, and Safety duties for our site. My boss still intends for it to be temporary, but we'll have to see how things play out with the economy being as bad as it is and no real signs that it is going to turn.

That leads me to my next rant. Why in the world would Congress pass a bill in the name of economic stimulus that has so little to do with economic stimulus? There are so many things in there that have little to do with creating jobs or kickstarting the economy. We have history to learn from. When you put in socialist programs, like they tried under Franklin Delano Roosevelt with the New Deal, it does not work. FDR's own Treasury Secretary went on record saying it didn't work. It is also not temporary. We are still dealing with Social Security, and it has been morphed into something it was never intended to be. Under Reagan, taxes were cut and defense spending increased. The economy turned, and it did it rather quickly considering where it had been under the Carter administration. Now, Obama comes in, using the same fear tactics he criticized George W. Bush for, in order to pass some of the most socialist legislation ever in the name of economic stimulus. Now, if it works, I'll certainly admit, on here, that I was wrong and he was right, but history suggests otherwise...

Phew! Got that off my chest. I will try to refrain from posting political commentary going forward, but that issue has basically consumed my attention for a couple weeks now, all the time I have been getting more and more angry.

Well, it is nearly lunchtime, so I'm going to wrap this up. As always, we appreciate the prayers for Ian and us and I'll try to do a better job keeping people posted on what is happening with him and us.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Recovery Day 42...

and Ian, Elaine, and Livy are are their way home! Because of this, this entry will be VERY short.

Elaine called today and they let them come home. Ian's Prograf might need adjusted, but they can do that from anywhere. I'll be taking him to MUSC tomorrow for labs to be drawn. Should be interesting, since I need to have him there by 8 am in order to meet the 12 hour trough requirement for Prograf. Traffic into downtown sucks, to put it mildly. But, for my kids or wife, there's nothing I won't do.

Until later...

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