Monday, December 27, 2010

There's room for one in the downstairs family room

There were three things Jack wanted for Christmas: Legos (as always), a camera, and an iPod touch. Well, 2 out of 3 ain't bad. No iPod this year. Santa's pockets aren't quite that deep, so Jack will probably have to buy his own like Taylor did.

I had worked really hard to try to convince Taylor she wasn't getting anything at all because she's been bad, but since she has actually not been all THAT bad, Santa came through with a few things, including the iTunes gift card, which was the only thing she had said she wanted. She also got a beautiful cedar chest that my dad built for her.

Addie wanted it all: Barbies, American Girl dolls . . . more barbies, more dolls . . . and a Snuggie. Our Santa is a sucker for a deal, so she got a knock-off Snuggie and a knock-off American Girl doll. She's too young yet to read/care about labels, which is just as well since our Santa isn't much for labels. She also got a scooter, which she promptly fell off on her way to her friend's house and skinned her knee. She is not the most graceful child in the world.

Jack got one of those paddles with the little ball on a string, which kept him and us quite entertained all morning, since he is not good at it. The little ball lit up when it got hit (it didn't light up a lot since Jack was mostly flailing about rather than hitting it) but it looked pretty cool.

The kids even played a board game nicely together . . . for a little while. Before the game ended Taylor got bored and quit. Her punishment for ruining it for everyone was that she had to clean it all up. I guess she didn't learn her lesson, because she pulled the same stunt the next day.
Me . . . well, I was just happy to stay home all day in my jammies. I didn't shower. I didn't even brush my hair. I refused to let the guilt of family obligation get to me about going out for the traditional round of visiting. I stayed home and ate chocolate, played with my kids, laughed at Jack when he hit himself with the paddle ball thingy, enjoyed the fire in the fireplace (a real wood fire, not a modern gas fire), took a nap, and made the very un-Christmas-y dinner of Navajo Tacos. It was as perfect a Christmas as I have ever had, as an adult at least. The only thing thing that could have made it more perfect was if that nasty snow snorm of Tuesday could have come on Christmas morning. A snow storm quickly changes from nasty to beautiful when you don't have to go out in it.
And now that Christmas is over, I have the itch to get it all put away quickly. That's tomorrow's project. And then I'm off to Walmart to see if I can find a screamin' deal on Christmas Tree #3.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Finally . . . pictures

Primary Children's always has the best trees. Lots of the people who buy trees from the Festival of Trees donate them back to the hospital for the children to enjoy. This one is right inside the front doors, just outside the cafeteria. If it doesn't show up well, it is Horton (Hears a Who) climbing on the tree, and the tree is bent over from his weight. It is so cute and a great way to greet all the children (and adults) who come through. We took these pictures on Monday, the 13th, when we were there for a regular appointment. Although I had my camera on Cath Lab day, I failed to take a single photograph.

Everything went perfectly well at Cath Lab on Monday. The cardiologist opted to not close the fenestration after all, since the clots appear to have dissolved and the pressure in her heart was slightly elevated (the fenestration helps keeps the pressures lower). Since they didn't close that up, the procedure only took an hour. They are keeping her on the coumadin a little while at least, and at our follow up visit in February they will likely prescribe an additional medication to help with the pressure in her heart (she's already on one) or put her on oxygen at night.

Addie is not a good waker-upper from anesthesia. As soon as I was able to be with her she was crying and wanting to go home immediately! The anesthesiologist had given her some anti-nausea medication and she was able to keep her juice down for a change, and then moved on to some graham crackers, which she also kept down. As soon as she had eaten a few crackers she perked right up and asked for pizza! So we ordered her some pizza and sprite from the cafeteria and she ate all of my fries (Lane went and got me a cheeseburger) while she waited. She then proceded to eat her entire pizza and goldfish crackers before we left at 3:00. She was in a much better mood after she ate and was back to her usual Ray of Sunshine self.

Another tree by the elevator.

This what happens when you don't download pictures from your camera for a long time. This is Tree Decorating Day, which was apparently a Sunday. I chose this picture because it shows off how tall Jack has grown.

Tonight's dinner. I can't resist photographing a lovely, golden piece of chicken. This is called Spicy Garlic Lime Chicken (or something like that). It was really good. Recipe below. And remember, chicken must always be served with carrots. I'm pretty sure it's a rule.

3/4 t salt
1/4 t black pepper
1/4 t cayenne pepper
1/8 t paprika
1/4 t garlic powder
1/8 t onion powder
1/4 t dried thyme
1/4 t dried parsley
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
2 T butter
1 T olive oil
2 t garlic powder
3 T lime juice
In a small bowl, mix together salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, paprika, 1/4 t garlic powder, onion powder, thyme and parsley. Sprinkle generously over both sides of the chicken. Heat butter and olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Saute chicken until golden brown, about 6 minutes on each side. Sprinkle with 2 t garlic powder and lime juice. Cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently to coat evenly with sauce.

Another old picture from November. Jack did this pizza all by himself - dough included. He's getting to be quite the chef. If only I could get Taylor to cook something besides Ramen and baked potatoes . . .

Monday, December 20, 2010


So while we wait today at PCMC, I thought I might as well make good use of my time sitting here doing nothing.

For anyone who has never had the opportunity to come to PCMC for a same day surgery, the whole process of simply checking in can be quite an ordeal.

We got a call this morning to come as soon as we could since the first case had been cancelled. We were already on the road by the time of the phone call, but still in PG city limits. Luckily both traffic and weather cooperated and we were here by 8:15. I had anticipated that since they were waiting on us, the whole check-in process would be expidited. I was wrong. First you have to check in on a computer and take a pager (there are never any pagers). Then wait for your pager to beep, or your name to be called (still don't understand the pager concept since the check in desk is about 3 feet away). We waited 20 minutes to check in, even though I told them that we had been summoned early. Once called to the check in desk, Lane and I both get stickers with Addie's name on them and wristbands, also with her name on them. Then we go back to the waiting area and wait some more.

Eventually, our name gets called to go to a pre-op room. Addie gets weighed and measured and her vitals taken. She changes into hospital jammies. Then we wait.

After a while the surgeon or doctor comes by to visit and re-explain what they are going to do and answer any questions. Then we wait.

Then a nurse practitioner comes and explains everything again and answers any questions again. When she is done, she takes us to the OTHER pre-op room. And we wait.

The anesthesiolist comes and speaks to us in Pre-Op #2. Today we were blessed with an exceptionally personable anesthesiologist. He was very thorough and spoke as much to Addie as he did to us. He even offered her the choice of going to sleep with the mask on (which she HATES!!) or having an IV placed. She chose the IV, and I wasn't surprised at all. She has had that mask on so many times and I think it is actually the scariest part of the whole experience for her. They have never given her a choice before. The anesthesiologst went to order the IV placed, and when he came back he said that the nurse practitioner didn't give her a choice because "what 8 year old child would want a poke instead of a mask?" Well, like the anesthesiologist said, kids who have been through a lot of this sort of stuff have been poked a lot and it isn't nearly as scary as that mask, with which they are not as familiar. I was so glad that she got to choose. I think it is very helpful in this sort of a situtation, when the child feels that everything is being done TO them, to let them have some control. I think it helps them feel not so helpless.

So she got her IV placed, and off we went to the cath lab. She started to cry a little bit when we reached the part where we can't go any further with her. The nurses were so sweet and let her hold her babies that we had brought with us.

And now we wait again.

We didn't have any breakfast this morning since Addie was fasting. We figured we would eat after her procedure started. We walked away from her at 10:02.

The cafeteria closes from 10:00 to 11:00 to make the change from breakfast to lunch. Naturally.

And so we wait.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

About $15 for a good one

. . . and back again we go to Primary Childrens. I got a phone call today from PCMC to schedule Addie for cardiac catheter lab on December 16. I'm glad they could fit us in before the year was out since our out of pocket max is just about met. So we have a regular follow up appointment on Monday, and then back we go again on the 16th for cath lab. Although I knew we would have to do cath lab, I had somehow forgotten about it - probably due to all the other stuff going on in recent months.

Whenever Addie goes for an echo, Dr. Day always goes "Hmmmm. That's weird." And it's pretty much the same whenever she goes to cath lab. "Hmmm. Didn't expect to see THAT." Dr. Day always shows us the film (?) from the cath and last time he showed 2 films. Silly doctor, he said to us "See that?" (Yeah, it's like looking at an ultrasound - nothing recognizable). "Uh huh," we always say. And then he goes on to explain why it is out of the ordinary. It happens every single time and we've just come to expect it as our normal.

I have reached Full Blown Christmas Panic early this year, as I expected I would. I should be able knock off quite a bit of it this weekend, or at least that is my plan which is sure to be foiled. It is the constant and unexpected foiling of my grand master plan that has put me in this position of Full Blown Christmas Panic a full week earlier than usual. And my Christmas cards aren't even mailed yet!!! One of these years I'm just going to go buy Christmas Cards like everyone else. What is wrong with me that I self-sabatoge with too many projects? I really should seek professional help.

I am in the middle (and by middle, I mean almost the end) of my quarterly pricing review at work. This means that I have to research all of my assigned items and verify that the published pricing is still accurate from the previous quarter. For the most part, I have items to research that are fun to look up - dishes, cooking and baking stuff, home decor, massage items, Christmas trees and decorations, . . . you know, fun stuff. I even have to do research on things like blood pressure monitors and bathroom scales that, while not exactly fun, isn't objectionable. Good stuff. Fun times. I also have really awful stuff (by my own infalable estimation). Baseball cards. Hospital beds. Handheld urinals. Yes, that's handheld urinals. Not so much fun. Not fun at all, in fact. But I can tell you when you are, or are not, getting a good deal next time you need to buy one. 'Cause you just never know when you are gonna need one.