Tuesday, October 9, 2018


I landed in the hospital in less than 24 hours with some sort of raging infection that caused horrid headaches paired with a fever and pain so intense I felt nauseous anytime I tried to move my head. I spent 19 hours in the ER before getting upgraded to a regular hospital room, mostly because they were very concerned I had bacterial meningitis which requires an isolation room. Isolation rooms apparently aren’t widely on hand waiting to go, or if they are, the hospital had filled them during my tenure.

I entered the ER around 7:00 p.m. the night before. LINK I got my hospital room around 1 p.m. the following day, after the infectious disease specialist decided that it was unlikely I had bacterial meningitis. She took me off all the IV meds except one antibiotic and let me remove my mask, so she moved right on up in my esteem.

Then they moved me up. That didn’t go nearly as well. I’ve no idea what I had (and neither does the hospital or team of doctors), but because I’d already been upgraded to a cushy hospital bed form the ER cot, they wheeled me on out and up.

I don’t think it had anything to do with the bed. I still had a headache but compared to the excruciating nauseating pain, the headache was completely bearable and I was downright chatty before the move. Then came the elevator ride. Two of them. I went from a chatty happy patient looking forward to a real room to a sniveling ball of nauseous pain.

I get motion sick. Not as much anymore as I used to as a kid, but a curvy mountain road in the backseat of a vehicle can still do me in. This sickness was like that, in the way where a lion is like a kitten. I thought I might expire on the spot from the intensity of the nausea, which only caused my headache to come roaring back as well.

I held on until they wheeled me into the room, trying deep breathing and any other silly exercises I learned to manage labor pains. There, I figured, they could hook me up with some more anti-nausea meds, which I’d had earlier when they worked like a charm.

Only no, first I had to run the gauntlet of hospital admission, even though I’d been there 19 hours and waiting for a room since 5:30 a.m., seven and half hours earlier. The nurses had to ask me a slough of questions, such as did I have cancer (I don’t know. I’m in a hospital. Aren’t you supposed to be telling me that?), do I have an UD (what’s an UD? It took at least three times for me to understand they wanted to know about an ultimate directive), who has my UD, (why are we talking about UDs? Am I dying? I feel like I’m dying!!! Please give me medicine!), what belongings I have (clothing, what kind of clothing? The kind you wear.), what’s in my purse, what’s in my wallet, please count your cash for me (I can’t count, I can’t formulate sentences Medicine!!!).

On the plus side, once I jumped through all the question hoops, they gave me medicine. Right after I dry heaved all over the irritating nurse who wasn’t allowed to go through my belongings (I passed caring at some point in elevator one) they hooked me up with the good stuff and I rolled over and passed out.

When I woke up, I felt better, in that way where I still had a headache but wasn’t likely to vomit all over anything or anyone. My condition improved from there, so much so that by the next day, they’d decided to release me. Despite the doctor saying at 10 a.m.  it would likely be a few more days, by noon I was up for dismissal. That was quick, but who am I to complain, at least until tomorrow when I have a vicious headache again?

They don’t know what hit me. The tests and jury are still out. It seems plain I had viral meningitis (better than bacterial, which is a three week sentence) but it was a secondary infection. Since no one in our household was even vaguely sick, not even a sniffle, it remains unclear what caused the virus that then migrated into my brain, but at least they’ve ruled out the scariest suspects. I’ll take no answer and good drugs over some of the possibilities they had on the table.

Better luck next time.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Where the Week Went

Well, I’d say I don’t know where the week went, but it turns out, I do. Not working on blog posts, obviously. Nope, instead I got unexpectedly ill, not that I ever get sick on purpose or even any time it’s convenient. And because I’m the mom, things came to a crashing, screeching halt. If you’re like me and don’t take enough breaks (guilty!) and do everything yourself (guilty!) because otherwise no one gets fed and hangry people do not make for a happy healthy household, then learn from my hard lesson.

I was fine on Sunday afternoon, even after my kid’s birthday extravaganza fun with variable weather conditions at best and entertaining 40 folks, 20 of whom were under the age of 10.

Then, I wasn’t fine. I had such a bad headache I not only couldn’t stand, I couldn’t move. I managed to make it to the medicine cabinet for over the counter help, which….helped. It didn’t go away but people needed dinner and school stuff had to get reviewed and well, every parent knows the chaos of a Sunday evening during the school year.

I ate dinner, waited to take more meds until bedtime, and passed out…for maybe 3 hours. Then nothing would help the headache. I couldn’t turn my head without blinding spasms of head pain. Then I couldn’t swallow without blinding spasms of head pain. But because I’m me, I didn’t want to bother my husband or drag my kids out of bed and there was NO way I was driving myself anywhere and have you SEEN how much ambulance rides costs? I did not get out of bed, I did not pass go, I did not go. Not in the night, not in the morning, not even when I heard my youngest son’s cries, which always act like a siren call for help.

My husband made me the first available appointment with the doctor at noon because I couldn’t handle a telephone much less talking. I took more over the counter pain relief which kicked in after two hours and didn’t provide much in the relief category, but got me to the office courtesy of my shuttle driver also known as my husband. There, they couldn’t figure out the cause of the intense head pain (not a migraine, not a sinus infection, what else is there?) but gave me a shot of serious pain relief and sent me off with a prescription for pain meds and nausea relief. (The pain was so intense it made me feel like vomiting.)

If you’ve read my other recent prescription trials and errors, you know this probably isn’t going to end well. Sure enough, the first drugstore didn’t have that pain relief and said it wasn’t manufactured anymore. Huh? So we tried a second with the same result, though I had to come home first because even sitting in the car proved excruciatingly agonizing. 

We (ha ha, my husband - there is no we, there is no I, there is only a fetal ball of pain moaning ) spent the remainder of the day trying to reach the doctor to get a new prescription that could actually be filled. The doctor had warned me to take the first dose within four hours of receiving the shot of pain meds.

That did not happen. By the time the doctor called back around 6 p.m. (my appointment was at noon, remember), I had spiked a fever around 100.7. Not bad, but turns out it’s enough for serious concern. We went straight to the ER, in that way where the kids needed dinner first.

At the ER, we told them of the suspected meningitis which earned me an immediate mask (I wouldn’t get to take that off until the next morning around 11 a.m.) and a “fast” track through the cumbersome ER channels. We checked in at 6:50, got called back around 7:30, saw the nurse at 8:00, and the doctor came by around 9:30 to kick off the real fun after the kids went home.

It took two doses of morphine and another shot of even more pain relief to put a dent in my skull of agony. At some point, I could no longer move my eyes without setting off the throbbing fireworks of sparkling pain around my temples and down the sides of my face, much less the ever present band of murderous intent that was now my constant companion.

I took more tests, and they ran more labs, and finally by 5:30 a.m. they got very concerned with the lack of results in either pain relief or cause and started giving me everything they had. 

Guess what? I perked up around 11, after five physicians and many more nurses, all of whom went above and beyond to help me. I waited for a bed to open in the hospital starting at 5:30 when we both knew they weren’t about to send me home, but it had to be isolation which takes time to prepare. Until I got to the end of line (yay for daylight hours and the upper echelons of healthcare professionals) and ran into the infectious disease specialist and some test results. I got to take the mask off, which was nice because I was no longer so cold (my fever had risen to over 102 by the time we got to the ER) and my breath fogged up my glasses and they cleared over and over again when wearing the mask which is not the best condition for clear heads under normal circumstances. And we are so far from normal we were in Wonderland somewhere, but I had no trouble saying adieu to that mask.

So that perked me up, as did my first meal in well over 24 hours and actual pain relief and my temperature hovering closer to 100 and other vitals starting to feel reasonable as well. At this point I got upgraded to the only ER patient room with an actual attached bathroom (out of 22), and the morning nurse felt sorry for me being stuck in the emergency bed for almost 19 hours so she upgraded me to a real bed. That, the fluids, food, and proper meds had me pretty much beaming.

And then this happened.

So no blog posts for you, my friends, Only this cautionary tale of woe.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Xavier Turns Three

Xavier had a his third birthday, and boy was it a doozie! We celebrated on Saturday with a big party at a local park and playground where they have live animals, including chickens, and an actual red truck to play in.

Since we won the party at a silent auction, we had no limit on the number of attendees. So we got to invite Xavier's entire class and all of our friends and both the older kids' friends.

We had a blast! We lucked into beautiful weather (though we had indoor space just in case) and got to play in the water feature there to boot. Xavier ordered a "Mis" cake, which is his name (it's Polish) for Pooh Bear, with balls. The bakery neglected to add any balls so they stuck a few football rings in at pick up. Xavier did not seem to mind. He's such a sweet, easy going boy most of the time, and the cake had plenty of blue icing. His favorite color is blue, and he will wear his bright blue fleece pants over any other. Sadly, I had to retire them (they were size 18 months!) after the end of summer when capri length pants seemed less of a good idea.

We went crazy and had the party catered by a local Mexican restaurant since Xavier loves quesadillas and beans. We had the usual few last minute cancellations but had only orders food for adults plus a tray of (extremely popular) mini burritos. We ended up with TONS of food. We managed to send several meals' worth home with four different families and still had a fridge full.

Xavier loved opening presents from his friends. One parent even drew him a custom card with some of his favorite things - a fire engine with a chicken tossing different kinds of balls!

Xavier loves any kind of sports ball. Or any ball really. Tennis, soccer, baseball, football, basketball, golf, ping pong. You name it and he loves it. He can smack the baseball off his plastic tee pretty far now, though he still often hits the tee too. That's probably for the best as otherwise the balls would be going in neighbors' yards or down the alley each time.

Xavier got to pick the movie that night for family movie night. He choose the ever popular Chicken Run, which we've watched several times.

The next day we woke up to the usual birthday balloons and present pile. Xavier had no idea what was happening but the other two sure knew. As far as Xavier was concerned, his birthday fun had concluded the previous day. Little did he know the fun was just beginning.

He opened all his presents to great acclaim, with several "this was just what I wanted!" remarks. He got a scented donut pillow that he still sleeps with every night, a night light with three removable balls that can change color (they stay blue one hundred percent of the time), a blue bike helmet, four new super wing transforming toys, a farm train set, a garbage truck matchbox car launcher (from Theo), three plastic chickens and Popsicle stick house built by Vivian, a set of pets and houses and food (also from Vivian), a flat bed trailer with a roller and skid steer, a record player, a new fire engine that lights up and makes noise, a Shine book, a poke a dot book, a reusable sticker transportation activity book, and a Star Wars speeder. I've probably forgotten a thing or two, but it was a very good birthday. He slept with many of the things he loved so much.

For his birthday dinner, he selected the ever popular conveyor belt sushi restaurant. We took him to the fanciest location complete with a train that delivers orders. He likes the blue plates best. (Plates are color coded to indicate price.) His favorite, besides the edamame, edamame paste and chips, fresh fruit, and potato katsu, is the salmon on rice. He even eats the salmon from it dipped in soy sauce on occasion. He definitely ate his fill and then some.

I know because he got to pick a birthday treat afterwards. He went with ice cream, and barely managed to put a dent in his huge cone.

We came home exhausted and worn out. The bigger kids had a cross country event that day they attended during Xavier's nap. He still naps most days, though he can power through in a pinch and remain fairly pleasant. He heads to bed by 7:15 most nights, and gets up with his brother no later than 7. He's often awake earlier and has surprised me a couple time by being the first one awake. He's very good at staying quiet and not waking anyone else up.

Instead he hauls his favorite Taggie lovie, his super plush personalized blue blanket, and his donut pillow into bed with me. At just shy of 35 pounds, I'm having trouble lifting him up.

For nap, he's going to sleep around 1:15 and getting up by 2:30 on a non school day. Since Xavier attends school on Tuesday and Thursday each week from 9-2, he naps later on those days. Other days he has to be awake in time to pick up his siblings at three, though he could last longer if he was subject to others' schedules.

He loves school! He started two days over the summer right around June. Now that he's in a class with the same kids each day, he's really coming out of his shell. He knows his friends by name and requests play dates. When I go to pick him up after five hours, he comes running to give me the best hug. But then he asks for more time to play. He often accuses me for picking him up because he didn't get to play in the garden, which is obviously one of his favorite places, though I have zero control over his school activities.

He crashes hard after a busy day at school. He hates going in the morning and has a mini meltdown each time but trots off without any actual physical demonstrations.

He loves this supper soft and fluffy red fleece patterned with skis and other winter themed things. I lucked into it on sale last year in March on a ski trip at the Hatley store and snatched it up in a size 3T. He wears it every day it isn't filthy. We used to roll the sleeves up a bit but that's no longer required.

He's solidly in 3T clothes. His head is often the issue with shirts. He can still wear some 2T pants depending on the brand and type, but much like his brother, prefers only "soft" fleece pants. He sleeps in his sister's hand me down polka dot pink nightgown almost every night. We're still propping up the mattress on one side to help with his sleep apnea. He has a contoured pillow, too, that I wouldn't dream of sleeping without. He sleeps in such s big pile of stuff in his converted toddler bed it is often difficult to spot him. Chika has taken to sneaking into bed with him as well, and they both love it. I usually remove her very much against her will before I retire for the night.

Xavier's favorite foods are quesadilla, Mac and cheese, and pizza. He loves juice and chocolate milk and pretty much anything food related. He often makes off with my kitchen implements, like tongs, measuring spoons, and funnels. He prefers to keep them in his own kitchen. He loves to "help" cook and it isn't a good idea to get between him and food.

He loves the super wings airplanes and anything else that transforms fascinates him. He's still obsessed with all vehicles, including but not limited to car transporters, trains, fire engines, garbage trucks, and construction vehicles. He will play by himself a home quite happily for hours on end with a constant chatter of running commentary.

He can climb with the best of them and at age three, has finally been allowed on the ladders to his siblings' loft beds. He's delighted with himself though he's had the skills for quite some time. He thinks he can do anything his bigger brother and sister can do, and most of the time, he's right. He loves to imitate people and he speaks in fully thought out sentences. When he gets super excited, he can't get the words out fast enough. It's extremely adorable. He made up a movie name the other week a joy chickens called Bockarella. He's extremely imaginative and clever and remembers and can apply information. He asks questions like "where does rain come from?" usually when I'm driving or otherwise distracted. His main form of complaint is shrieking, almost always due to sibling interaction. He loves watching his kindle though he rarely get much opportunity.

He measured 34.8 pounds at his most recent checkup and is 39.? inches tall. They don't bother to measure head circumference anymore, but I know it's big because of how often it gets stuck in shirts.

Xavier is a pure delight to spend time with and around and we are thrilled to watch him grow.