Saturday, April 30, 2011

Update on Mom

The trach and g-tube placement went well. She can't talk yet because she'll need some time to learn how to control the air flow with the trach. The doctor told us that she would likely be at the hospital until Monday. From the hospital, she will be on to the LTAC (long term acute care) facility for about a month and after that will be the rehab center (hopefully where she was before as long as they can handle a trach) for a little while to continue her recovery.

Some people have asked why she had a trach and g-tube put in. The doctors and all the respiratory therapists believe this will give her the best chance at a better long-term recovery. Before the trach, every time she had a hard time with her breathing they would have to put the ventilator in which brings sedation and hospitalization with it making the forward progress harder. With the trach in, when she has a hard time with the breathing, she will just be hooked up to a machine to assist her with taking the best breath she can without the sedation and down time. The trach brings some increased risk of infection because the body's natural filtration system, i.e. your nose, nose hair, mouth are no longer part of the equation. This risk of infection, however, is not as great as the risk of having another breathing set back that would require a vent again. She will learn to talk with it in which is just a matter of figuring out how to control the air flow in the trach. The g-tube was placed so she can get the nutrition she needs while she learns how to use the trach that's now in her throat--harder to swallow right now and getting used to different pressure/feeling in her throat. She needs the best nutrition to make her stronger so she can do all the intense rehab that will be necessary soon.

An important side note: WE ARE ANTICIPATING THAT BOTH THE G-TUBE AND TRACH WILL BE TEMPORARY. She should not need to have either of these for the rest of her life but they will be in for months as she recovers.

Thank you, thank you, and thank you some more for all the kind thoughts, prayers, cards, emails, calls, etc. I may be slow in getting back with people when you call or email but it's been hard to find a lot of spare time. Please know that we appreciate every single one of them.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


Mom is going to have a trach put in tomorrow as well as a g-tube put in at some point tomorrow. The procedure should take just 1/2 hour for both as they will be put in by 2 doctors at the same time. Both of these items should be temporary and allow her to recover more quickly. She will be in the hospital about another week recovering and healing from this. After that, she will be off to an LTAC which is a Long Term Acute Care facility where she will likely be there a month. Following the LTAC, she will return to the rehab center where she was a couple weeks ago.

I'll update more tomorrow and give more information then but quite frankly, right now I'm tired and I want to go nighty-night.

C ya!

P.S. Click on the links if you don't know what a trach and g-tube are.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Pomp and Circumstance: Luke's Monday School Graduation edition

Long time blog readers will remember a couple years ago when Ella graduated from her beloved Monday School along with Myles. This time it was Luke's turn and he was super excited! All day long he asked how much longer until we could go to graduation. He was most excited about getting the diploma and the cake/ice cream after the ceremony. If anyone in my local area wants more information about this great (and practically free) program, just let me know!

I have some cute videos of the kids singing their songs but Blogger is giving me a hard time putting them in here. Will try again later.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Top 10 Reasons Why I Love My Mom

10.) She calls my Dad "Dick." Not because his name is Dick, Rick, or even Richard. It's Dick just because she calls it the way she sees it and she usually sees things in a funny way. She calls him Dick so much that my long-time BFF's Mom thought that my Dad's real name was Dick (it's actually Mike for those who don't know him).

9.) She lets my overdue library fines slide. Yes, yes, I know I should always return them in a timely fashion but sometimes life gets in the way. Right now, I'm sitting beside a stack of books that I got out of her library before she went in the hospital that I haven't returned yet. Please forgive me, Library Ladies at PCML* (You know who you are).

8.) She tells everyone that she does my laundry, dishes, and cooking when she's at my house. In all actuality, this is mostly a lie but I don't see the harm in it. Ok, yeah, so she did a couple loads of laundry when Ella was a baby (7 years ago) and she puts together a meal in a crockpot when I get all the ingredients together for her. It makes her feel good to tell everyone she's such a Superstar Grammie.

7.) She calls me constantly to let me know what the weather will be like the next day (sometimes even multiple times a day depending on how Jym Ganahl switches his predictions). I haven't watched the weather in 34 years--true story. Remember a few weeks ago when it snowed randomly on a Wednesday? I only wore a light shirt to see her at the hospital because I had no idea the weather was going to be bad that day. I was a little miffed at her that day for not telling me to wear a coat.

6.) She has the ability to make me feel like Luke is normal despite his weirdness (need I even mention the poop-bot?) and that eventually I will be able to relate to Ella despite her girly qualities.

5.) I can call her anytime day or night and complain about whatever is pissing me off at the moment (with the converse being true, as well). She always unquestioningly takes my side about everything even if I'm doing a 180 from my previous day's opinion. She's my Yes Man.

4.) I just do

3.) Cause she's my Mom

2.) And I want her back

1.) Right now

Damn it.

You're hot then you're cold, you're yes then you're no

Update on Mom is that she was able to come off the ventilator for quite a few hours yesterday but had to go back on during the night because her oxygen level had fallen to the mid 80's (normal is 95-100). They've sedated her again since she's back on the vent.

Dad talked to the doctor who is coordinating her care a couple minutes ago. The doctor told Dad that they probably just tried a little too early. They'll leave her on there a couple more days or so and give it another shot.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Ok, let's see if I can get this correct

Update on Mom is that the pneumonia is back and along with it is another complication. Mom isn't getting deep enough breaths in and out just with the oxygen mask on. Because she's not getting enough of the breath back out, carbon dioxide (CO2) is getting left in her lungs. The CO2 is then combining with water (H2O) in her lungs making carbonic acid (which if I remember correctly from my high school chemistry class is H2C03 with the chemical equation being H2O + CO2=H2CO3 *thank you Mr. Cline*). From what I understand, the lungs always have some carbonic acid in them as a biproduct of breathing--she just has it in excess because she's not getting enough of the CO2 back out.

So, bottom line is they have to put the ventilator back in so they can get gunk out of her lungs. Will keep everyone posted as I am able. Thanks for the thoughts, prayers, etc.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Ella has a new hobby

Just a little more proof that Ella might actually be Aunt Robbie's kid instead of mine. Aunt Robbie decided to teach Ella how to rug hook over spring break. You might recognize rug hooking from Aron's Aunt Alice's blog on the side of this one.

Ella designed this little beauty all by herself and wants to hang it in her new room. She already has plans for the next one which will be mostly text: "Ella's Room. No Lukes allowed" Wait a minute...she might be mine after all...


Ella with the grades 1-3 crowd Ella implementing the strategy
Ella showing off her candy-filled rewards
Aron's hands cracking into Luke's goodies
The Three Stooges: Myles, Ella, and Luke (Chase declined the photo opportunity)

Grammie is officially at her rehab facility. They had an Easter egg hunt there over the weekend. My kids decided it would be a good idea to coordinate a Grammie visit with the hunt (those kiddos are so smart). Aron took Luke to the Pre-k/K section and I took Ella to the grade 1-3 section. We talked a little strategy before it actually started. As you can see by her stash, the strategy worked well. Yes, I took a toll of candy as mastermind of the strategy.

Luke's end of basketball season wrap up

" You see it, Stevie? This is my new sports bible and right next to it is my new basketball trophy. I already have a space cleared in my bedroom to hold both of these in a prominent position. Why yes, I do have plans to sleep with both of them tonight. How did you know?"
"My peeps and our trophies."
Luke's team finished the season with just one loss. He had a great time and was super excited about the trophy and sports bible he received for participating. As a part of the closing ceremony for the basketball season, all the kids get to run across the gym floor while their name is announced. I can't get blogger to let me add a video right now but I will add it soon. In the mean time, enjoy the pics.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

We're springing Mom out

Mom's being let out of the hospital today (YAY!)! She's going to a rehab facility this afternoon where she will be working on building up her strength. No clue how long she'll be there (we've heard varying reports from a couple weeks to a couple months...who knows) but at least she'll be closer to home and family. The kids are ready to start seeing her on a more regular basis. Her voice continues to get stronger each day but she's still very hoarse. Her lungs remain weak but she is working on building them back up, too.
I'm going to try to get back to my regular blogging. If something major comes along with Mom, I'll update here. Otherwise, it will be back to Ella and Luke adventures.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

It's a beautiful day both outside and inside

It was gorgeous outside today. Aron and I decided to take a "day of rest" and not visit my Mom at the hospital for the first time in two weeks. We did some laundry (wow did we need that), dishes (yikes it was scary in there), took big naps (can you say "exhausted"), and took the kids to the park. I told Dad to call me if anything big happened with Mom and we would be right there. Well, something big ended up happening.
She was moved out of ICU. And you know what it means when you get out of ICU and go to the regular part of the hospital, right? Right? Right?
We hopped in the car and took a little drive to see her new digs with the kiddos. When we told them where we were going, it was like it was Christmas. Imagine a lot of whooping and little arms being waved in the air. They were a little shy for about 30 seconds because Grammie looks a little different (nasal cannula, IV bag, etc.). Soon Luke was sitting on the end of her bed tickling her feet and she was kicking him back. Good therapy for everyone involved. Mom should still be there a few more days then she'll be off to her rehab facility to get her working out started. I'll let everyone know when Dad finalizes her location for cards and visitors but you can still send them to their house or mine in the mean time.

Saturday, April 09, 2011


MOM IS AWAKE. Super duper awake. She gets tired easily but I was able to have conversations with her last night for the first time. Before this, she would nod yes or shake no but not really engage in conversation and preferred to watch TV more than anything. A few days ago when she was first waking up, Dad asked her if she knew how she got there and she said no. He then asked her if she wanted to know and she also said no. Yesterday, she waited until Dad left the room and asked me how she got there. Knowing her response to Dad just a few days ago, I asked her if she really wanted to know and she said yes. I told her she went to our local hospital and that after they got her ready to go, she got to Riverside by helicopter. I avoided using the word Life Flight just because I wasn't sure if she knew exactly how bad it was and I didn't want to frighten her. She was amazed--she had no recollection of any of that.
Yesterday, she had a barium swallow study because she's having a hard time swallowing, her voice is weak, and her cough is weak as a result of having the vent in for so long. The study showed that she's having a hard time swallowing thin liquids like water but does fine with thicker consistencies like honey. With the weakness in her throat, liquids like water could just trickle down into her lungs and she would never know it. As her throat and everything continues to heal, she will eventually be able to drink water and other thin liquids again.
She also had physical therapy and occupational therapy evaluations yesterday. They want to start in on her therapies right away. They were very hesitant to give an estimate for how long she would need to be in a rehab facility building her strength back up but eventually my Dad wore them down. The therapists estimated that it would take 2 months for her to be able to go home. We don't want it to be that long but we all realize this is the best thing for her. The severity of the pneumonia and sepsis was just so bad that it took all she had to survive. My Mom's a tough cookie...she'll kick ass at all that therapy and come back home stronger than she was before.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Quick, brief update for Mom

The ventilator is out! She spoke a few words to my Dad. She still has a lot of "pneumonia stuff" in her lungs but things are looking up! Very excited to have her achieve this milestone and we continue to pray for her in this transition.
As an FYI, I think I might be having some problems with my cell phone ringing when someone calls. I've been getting voice mails when the phone hasn't actually rang and it's not showing up that I missed a call. So, if you need me, don't rely on me seeing that I missed a call. Leave a voice mail and I'll get back to you or try again.

Monday, April 04, 2011


Mom slept most of the day today. Jeff and I went to visit around 4:00 this afternoon. She was out of it for most of the time we were there. Right around 6, she started opening her eyes more. She was laying in an odd position in the bed. It didn't look comfortable at all so while her eyes were open, I asked her if she was comfy. She turned her head to the side for no. (YAY!) I asked her to squeeze my hand. She didn't but then I asked her to blink for me and she did. I told her to try it again to make sure it wasn't a fluke and she did it again (DOUBLE YAY!). Soooooo...some good responses from her but she's still not 100% awake nor is she off the ventilator..... YET!

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Close but no cigar

Mom did really well with the breathing trials the last couple days. So well, that the nurse decided to take her off the ventilator (yes, OFF THE VENTILATOR) today. She started to wake up a bit around 2:00 and was awake with clear, wide open eyes for a couple minutes. She got tired again, though, and fell back asleep. The nurse said that some people just take longer to process the sedative through their liver. Today's nurse was really great. She even pulled up her initial chest x-ray showing the pneumonia and the updated one from today. It was amazing how much fluid, gunk, whatever was in her lungs when she first arrived. X-rays of the lungs are supposed to be all black. For Mom's, only the top 1/3 was black and the bottom 2/3 was white with pneumonia. Even the part that was black had some white specks in it. So, she's going to be ready again tomorrow for another shot at getting off the ventilator (have to be off the sedative and fully awake when the vent is taken out). Yay! Can't wait to talk to my Mom. I totally miss her.