Thursday, January 29, 2009


Well, I prayed a couple of weeks ago that God would send some snow to Indiana during our visit, and I guess His answer was YES! By yesterday morning, we had 12-14 inches on the ground, and I think there is more to come in the next couple of days. I heard it was the most snow dumped in one storm here in 30 years or something. Since we aren't responsible for shoveling a driveway or paying a gas bill up here, we are loving it!
We got to go sledding yesterday, and boy did we have fun!!! I don't know how many times I went down the hill, but it was enough that my legs are sore today from climbing back up. The kids are having the time of their lives (ok, Elias is at least). It really is so much fun to visit this for a week, and not to have to deal with it all winter. :)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


The kids and I are back in Indiana visiting friends, and having a ball!!! We arrived Friday and got settled in at the Millers' house (just down the street from our old house). Kylee and Ian didn't know we were coming, so when they got off the bus and saw Elias, it was like a scene out of a movie! (seriously- 5 year old girl running up the sidewalk, arms outstretched, towards 6 year old boy- I wish I had the camera!)
We spent Saturday just trying to recover from the 4am Friday wake-up (and the almost-missed flight because I forgot Mr. Pig and didn't realize it until we were halfway to the airport!). Saturday night we were able to visit with 5 or 6 neighborhood families and see how much all the kids had grown in the last year. I was amazed to see all the kids were in person, even though I follow all blogs.
Sunday we went to Traders Point, the church where Adaryll served from 2002-2008. I wondered if I would even actually make it into the service, there were so many people to hug! It was so, so good to see all those people in person! But what was even cooler was realizing that I have people in Austin at HCBC that I love just like I love the people here. And we have only been there for a year. It was an amazing realization. I really almost cried realizing that God would do that for me. That he has given me 2 amazing families of believers in 2 completely different cities. And that we are part of both forevermore. Wow.
I have more to blog about Sunday afternoon and yesterday, but I want to get to today's photos now so that Elias' teacher can show them to his class. There was a question asked of the class Friday about what was more fun- snowmen or snow angels. I think about half the class had to guess because they had never even seen snow. (how sad!!!) So here are our pics from today- and I'm not sure which Elias thought was more fun. But snowballs were right up there at the top of the list too! (we are supposed to have 10 inches of snow by tomorrow, so expect sledding videos tomorrow!)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Packing Up

And heading out!!
The kids and I are coming to Indiana FRIDAY!!! YEAH!!! (it's probably too cold to wear crocs there though, huh?)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

20 Something

I have finally succumb to the phenomenon we all know as Facebook. I registered an account last spring sometime, but I only actually went to the site about once a month. I just didn't see the point- I already blog and read everyone else's blog, which is WAY more interesting than just looking at a profile on facebook, right?!
But when Elena was in the hospital, the only internet access I had was my cell phone. Which is REALLY limited. I could see my emails and reply, but I could not access my address book to email out if I didn't have the email address memorized. Now I know a lot of useless information, but memorizing people's email addresses is not something I do. So, I started updating my status on facebook with information about what was happening with Elena. WOW! Talk about quick response! I had comments flying left and right and people all over the country were praying for her within minutes! Now I am addicted.
During the time we were in the hospital, I received a friend request from a Kim-last-name-I-don't-recognize. I saw that we had several friends in common, so I just ok'ed the request and moved on. Several days later she left me a comment and I went to her page to figure out who she is. Once I thought I knew, I sent her a message asking if she was Kim D. who I grew up with in ElPaso. Yes she was! We got to talking and it turns out we both got married around the same time, our boys were born within 2 months of each other, our girls are 3 weeks apart, she lives less than 50 miles for me, and both her kids' names start with Z (ours with E's). Her husband is in the military and we started talking about their life. It seemed so different from mine. But the more I thought about it over the last few days, it really isn't different at all. Her husband works so that people can be free- so does mine! Her husband has to up and go whenever his job requires- so does mine! I am thankful that my husband does not have months of deployment, but I also know that he is going to Europe this month (see his blog for more info) because God told him to go. And that we moved across the country 7 years ago and again 1 year ago because God told us to. So we are at God's beck-and-call in much the same way my friend's husband is at our government's. Interesting, eh?
The funny thing is, I had just blogged about this girl last November in my post about my favorite Christmas ornaments. She is the "childhood friend, Kim" that made that baked-dough-Santa. Wow, huh?
She commented on facebook about how my faith inspired her and I had to take a step back and ask myself "What faith?! I am really struggling here! I haven't slept in a week and I'm scared to death for my sweet baby who has been on oxygen for 7 days!" And then I realized that that is how God works. Rarely is someone inspired by the person with the perfect hair and makeup whose life looks so pretty. Funny, because that is the front I have tried to put up for a lot of years. But I have learned over the last several months and years that that isn't really who I am. And, frankly, God can work bigger miracles when you admit that you need them. So humbling myself, admitting my fears, and then deciding to still turn to God and rely on Him for strength is much more inspiring to someone looking on. Wow- I can do THAT!
Thanks, Kim, for the encouragement!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

How's Elena?

I can't even begin to tell you all of the things that God has and still is teaching me through Elena and her illness the last 2 weeks. Was it really only 2 weeks ago that we went to the E.R. in Dallas??? I am still processing all of it and promise to share soon- it is just all overwhelming and fresh right now.
I can't remember what all I have posted about this whole experience,and right now I am too tired to look back and read, so forgive me if I am repeating myself. :) The virus that landed Elena in the hospital was her third respiratory infection with wheezing since October, so the consensus of all the doctors is that she has "reactive airway disease" and will most likely end up with asthma. This means that, theoretically, she is going to have respiratory difficulties each time she gets a cold, etc. because her lungs are already inflamed. To avoid that, she is on a twice a day steroid breathing treatment at least until we see the pediatric pulmonologist next week. 3 of 3 doctors we have seen have said that she will stay on that at least through the winter to help get through cold and flu season, but the final treatment plan will be made by the pulmonologist.
She also has a different breathing treatment to be used for wheezing, but we have not had to do that in several days. (Praise God!)
All in all, she is doing great! She has definitely experienced some emotional trauma from the whole thing, but we are so thankful to have our happy, energetic girl back! (she even challenged me today on American Idol Wii!) Now it is a waiting game to see what happens to her lungs the next time she catches a cold. We appreciate your continued prayers for that!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Talking Heads

We have this rule in our house- if you are thirsty in the evening, you have to ask for a drink BEFORE bathtime. It helps to avoid the inevitable "I need a drink of water" thing that happens as you are tucking kids into bed. Or after they have already been tucked. So, whenever Elias tries to ask for a drink as a ploy to delay bedtime, I can just casually state that he needed to have asked for it before his bath.
Lately, as he is climbing up the ladder into bed, he sometimes says to me, "Mommy, do you know what I was thinking tonight before bath?" Yes, I know. That you were thirsty. But apparantly not thirsty enough to let me in on it. Which means you will not wither away before tomorrow morning. Sorry- go to bed.
Tonight, though, he took me by surprise. He told me that he was thinking in his head before bath that he was thirsty. And that his head tried to tell my head. WHAT?! Sorry, I said. My head did not hear your head. Goodnight!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

A Little Bit Confused

As you read in last night's post, Elena LOVES the moon. She gets excited about it every night. If we are in the car, she talks to it out her window the whole way home. Maybe she will be an astronaut. :)
So, tonight, I thought I would take her love of the moon a little deeper. You know, give her an appreciation for the God of the universe who made that moon she loves so dearly. After asking Elias to let Elena answer my question, I asked her if she knew who made the moon. Silence. Again, I asked, "Elena, do you know who made that moon?" "Ummmmmm", she replied, "Santa Claus!"

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Sweet, Sweet Kids

As I sit here catching up on everyone's blogs, I can hear my sweet Elias singing in his bed. "This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine." How great is that? When I went in to turn off his light and tuck him in, he had a "My First Hymal" in his bed with him and he was going through singing each one. No comments about how baptist it is that our kid even has a "My First Hymnal". :)
We actually got out of the house today. I have been in seclusion for 12 days: 2 days in Dallas at Adaryll's Dad's house, 7 days in the hospital (minus the ambulance and plane rides!), and 3 days here at home. When I realized how long it had been since I had gotten in the car and gone somewhere (anywhere!!!), I made a plan to get us out a bit today. I needed more albuterol for Elena anyway, and I needed to deliver some materials to a friend who will be teaching my Growing Kids class tomorrow so that Elena doesn't have to go to childcare at church just yet. Plus my sister had told me that the Crocs outlets were having a $4.99 sale on kids' crocs, and I could hear my name being called from the Roundrock Premium Outlets. So, after Elena's morning breathing treatment, we loaded up and ran some errands. Man, it felt SO good to be out amongst the living!! One prescription and 6 pairs of crocs later (I KNOW- it really is a problem for me!!! But $4.99?! Who can pass that up?!?!), we came home for lunch and naps.
Tonight, when Elena saw the moon (Wow- has anyone else looked out there tonight?!), she exclaimed sweetly, "Moon! Moon, Mommy, look at that moon! It's shiney, Mommy! I wanna take it home with me. Gnite moon." So, so stinkin' sweet.
And it's a good thing she is so stinkin' sweet because she decided last night was the time to act out all the trauma she has gone through. She cried out for me over and over during the night, and actually got out of her bed (gasp!) this morning and was beating on her door screaming for me. She has been in that bed since June and has never done this until now, so I am sure it is related to all the horrible things she experienced last week. Plus, I was sleeping right next to her all week in the hospital. Wierd that she waited until night 3 at home. So, tonight we talked about how scary the hospital was, particularly the tubes in the nose and the IV, but how all of that is over and she is back safe at home. And we prayed for God to help her to know that He is taking care of her and that He is keeping her safe. Now I am hoping for a better night!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Snap, Crackle, Pop

Seriously, my daughter's lungs sound like breakfast cereal. It is crazy. They purr, the rattle, they wheeze. They could likely tour the country as a one-man-band and bring in enough money to cover that care-flight. (ok, kidding, the care flight was covered by insurance)
We had her follow up appointment with our pediatrician this morning. After a long night of counting respirations, looking for blue lips, checking for belly retractions, and listening to wheezes in the lower right lung, I walked into their office armed with my stethoscope. I know not every mother out there has a stethoscope, but now they know who they are really dealing with. :) I basically told them that I am listening with a stethoscope, whether I should be or not (just as I did with Elias and his virus that landed him in the hospital at 3 mths old), so they might as well re-orient and educate me on what I am hearing. Thankfully they took me as a concerned mother who wants to be involved in her child's healthcare as opposed to a crazy, sleep-deprived, over-reactive, dramatic mother. (though both may actually be true...)
I learned a lot in my 15 minute crash course on pulmonary sounds. We heard mucus plugs popping, wheezing, purring, and crackling. I learned that an inhale wheeze is a little more serious than an exhale wheeze as it means there is more inflammation and constrction. I learned how to discern between nasal congestion and lung congestion (nasal sounds the same in both lungs and gets louder as you move up where true lung congestion would be louder on one side and generally get quieter as you move up). I also learned how to adjust the stethescope to tightly fit your own ears. Hmm, I guess I have not been using it to it's fullest ability the last 6 years. Really, I am NOT trying to manage Elena's care on my own, I just want to feel empowered to make the best decisions for her. Does she or doesn't she need a rescue treatment? How bad did she sound before the treatment and does she sound better afterwards? You know, things like that. Actually, we gave her a treatment in the office and the wheezing completely disappeared. (which was great for the moment, but likely affirms the suspicion of asthma long term) I just felt so much better being able to actually hear for myself the improvement that she made.
It kind of stinks to be such a concrete thinker sometimes, because I need such tangible evidence to convince me of anything. But I think, in a situation like Elena's, being concrete and factual is helping me cope with the crazy emotions that have been overwhelming me. See, I am not normally a hugely emotional person- I rarely base decisions on emotion alone. But this is my baby we are talking about! And we are talking about her at a time that I am quite sleep-deprived! So, emotions have been pouring out of me in a way that I am completely unable to control. And it is kind of nice (at least more in line with my comfort zone) to get back to the facts. She was wheezing, we did a treatment, now she isn't. Her pulse oxygen also went for 95 (not terrible at all, but also not great) to 98 (very good for a sick kid!!!). I like seeing that and not having to base my perspective of how she is doing on how I THINK she is doing.
On that note, I am off to listen to the lungs one last time before bed. :)


We're home!!! It's midnight, so I really must not go into details- I really should just go to bed. But my little mind and then my feet keep taking me to Elena's door. Is she doing ok in there? Is she breathing? Are her lips turning blue? What is her respiratory rate? Is she retracting? I sure do wish I had an "OFF" switch to my brain! Actually, it has probably already switched itself off several days ago, and that is part of the problem!
We see her regular doctor in the morning, so it will be good for him to have a listen. I did a pulmacort (asthma treatment) in the nebulizer a couple of hours ago and there was a lot of wheezing. But she didn't seem to be in any distress. Actually, she seemed very happy to be in her own room, in her own bed, surrounded by her beloved birds.
So now I am going to go check on her (just one more time!!!) and go to bed myself. Aaaaah, what it will feel like to sleep in a REAL mattress with REAL sheets and an electric blanket!!! Heaven!!!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Once In A Lifetime (I hope!)

Today Elena was transported by a careflight airplane from the hospital in Dallas to a hospital in Austin. I really can't describe the feelings I had in anticipation of the flight. I was excited to be going home, worried about how she would do, scared I might puke on the helicopter, sad to be leaving the nurses we liked so much, glad to be going to a great support system of friends at HCBC. I was all over the place. Those of you who know me know that when I get to be a wreck emotionally, I tend to unravel physically as well. Without giving you too much detail, I will say that I did not make it through this day without the assisance of drugs. No worries- it was over the counter stuff. :)

We were scheduled to leave last night at 7pm, but we kept getting delayed due to the ice in Dallas. They changed plans from helicopter to plane back to helicopter several times during the night, but we ended up on a plane this morning around 9am. The adventure speaks for itself in pictures, so I will just let you have a look. Enjoy!

In the ambulance from the hospital to the airport in Dallas
With a paramedic (we had a team of 3) in the ambulance in Dallas.

With another paramedic in the ambulance in Dallas. They were all so great with her! In fact, I was riding in the front seat and they got my camera out and started taking pictures!

Heading towards the airplane in Dallas

Our plane (notice the propellers!)

Getting buckled in on the plane

A little in-flight movie on my ipod. For what this ride must have cost, we figured their ought to be some entertainment. Earbuds provided by generous paramedic who let her borrow his.

"Look at the clouds!"

A little catnap on the plane

Getting off plane

Getting in ambulance in Austin

Having a great time with paramedics in ambulance on route to hospital

We made it to the hospital!

Getting into her new bed in her new room in Austin

(to which she replied, "I wanna go on another plane and go back to my other room")

You have no idea the trouble we went through to get you to this room, sister!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Let's Start at the Very Beginning

As the song says, that's a very good place to start.
Many of you may remember the saga that was our trip to Houston a couple of weeks ago. Elena came down with bronchitis while we were there and I made comments about how one or both of our kids is always sick when we travel- remember?
Well, this time Elena has surpassed all expectations and, true to form, has brought much traveling drama to our lives. Let me start at the very beginning...
We were scheduled to make a trip to Dallas from last Tuesday (Dec 30) to Saturday(Jan 3). Adaryll's dad had gotten CottonBowl tickets for Adaryll and Elias, and we planned to surprise Elias with the tickets Friday morning. We would spend the week visiting with family and catching up with friends who live in the area. We had the car completely loaded Tuesday morning and were just waiting for the kids to get up to get on the road. (note: Elena had just completed her 7-day antibiotic from the Houston drama 2 days before this) When I got Elena out of bed, I immediately noticed her fever and she was wheezing. We decided to run by the pediatrician on our way out of town thinking she might need a few more days on meds. What we thought would take a few minutes took several hours. They ended up doing a breathing treatment there, ordering a chest xray, and then making us wait to leave town until the xray was read by a radiologist. It turned out that they could see infection, but that it didn't look too awfully bad. So, with 2 different kinds of breathing treatments to give every 4 hours, a new antibiotic, and lots of tylenol, we hit the road to Dallas. We got to Adaryll's dad's house around 6:30 that night. I told Adaryll that I felt like God was playing some sort of mean joke on me with her sick AGAIN while we were traveling. We had a good laugh about how God really is stretching me to trust in Him and not think that I can possibly have things in my control as I'd like to think.
So we got in and started breathing treatments every 4 hours (even during the night). She seemed to really be struggling Wednesday, so I stayed at the house with her while Adaryll, Elias, and Papa-G went running around town. Wednesday night she started the thing she was doing in Houston- she would cough so hard that she would gag herself on the phlegm and then throw up. We went to urgent care Thursday morning and they did another xray. They said she had pneumonia, switched her antibiotic, and gave her shots of antibiotics and steriod. They said she should improve within 8 hours or we should go to the E.R. We ended up in the Dallas Children's E.R. (at a brand new satelite campus in Plano) Thursday evening where they tried 3 back-to-back breathing treatments and then an epi breathing treatment. None of that worked and her pulse-oxygen was in the mid-upper 80's (it should be 100 if you are healthy and anything below 92 warrants putting on oxygen). So they started her on oxygen and put in an IV (that is a story in itself for another day). They didn't have a single bed open inpatient, so we were offered an ambulance ride downtown or a room in the E.R. overnight. We stayed in Plano because it is so close to Adaryll's dad's house. Needless to day, it was an awful night. Elena wanted me right by her every time she coughed, so I slept (not really) on a gurney by her side, and Adaryll slept in a recliner that didn't quite go all the way back flat. Friday morning we got a room upstairs and the boys went to the CottonBowl to watch Tech lose. :(
Honestly, from there everything is kind-of a blur. We have tried many times to wean her off oxygen and she just plummets when she goes to sleep. We have even had her totally off oxygen awake with her sustaining a pulse-ox of 92-93, only to see her drop to 84 at naptime. She has had numerous breathing treatments, therapy sessions (percussion beating on her back, blowing bubbles to make her cough, etc.) and a ridiculous amount of steroid. Her xray Friday confirmed that the infection is viral (as it affects the entirety of both lungs as opposed to one localized area). They could also see adelectasis- a condition where the lungs are partially deflated due to the stickiness inside the little tiny spongy parts. She has had tubes with vacuum suction stuck up her nose. And she has been SUCH a trooper!!! I think every nurse who has cared for her has left saying that she is their all-time favorite patient. She takes her meds easily, lifts her shirt anytime she sees a stethoscope, and hasn't yet tried to pull on her oxygen cannula, her IV, or her pulse-ox monitor. Amazing.
It is totally indefinite how long it will take her body to heal enough to go home, so we have requested that we be transferred to the children's hospital in Austin. At least there we can be amonst friends and Adaryll can bring me clean clothes! We had a careflight scheduled for 7pm tonight and the boys went on home this morning. Unfortunately, Dallas is having ice right now so our flight has been delayed until midnight. I am REALLY hoping they just postpone until morning instead. But we will take whatever we can get.
She is on a liter of oxygen now (which I think means 1 liter (think half of a 2-liter of coke) is being blown through her nose every minute), and her pulse-ox right now is at 92 sleeping. I am guessing they will up her enough to get her closer to 95 for transporting her.
I will try to be better about updating her condition. I kept feeling like I needed to blog, but it was all so emotionally overwhelming. I just didn't have the energy to rehash it all from the beginning. Sleep has been very sparse for me and I have not been out of this room much at all. Except I did leave yesterday to take Elias to urgent care while Adaryll sat with Elena. Elias had finished a 15 day antibiotic for a sinus infection and- guess what? He has an ear infection. Hey- at least they are consistent right?