Friday, September 28, 2007

Back-to-school Colds and Such

Elliott turns six next week! He is a delightful little boy even if I wish I could pick him up by his ears sometimes to get his attention or stop him from chasing his sister!

For Elliott's birthday it appears we are circulating a cold around the house; first Elliott, then Daddy, then to Beth and back to Elliott. I'm not really sure if I contracted it or if I'm just grumpy with the shortening days and cooler weather. I have nothing to be grumpy about since we consider these days or normalcy to be such a gift.

Our friend's son has been battling Aplastic Anemia and recently underwent a bone marrow transplant. He has gone over 100 days since the transplant and is doing very well with the exception of some oddities with his skin. There is a possibility that he has something called Graft-vs-Host-Disease. His family has amazed me with their faith and poise during this ordeal. His mother and I have developed a special bond having gone through such times when you felt you would lose your child. Thanks to God that her son is doing well yet he will always live with special medications and concerns. The bone marrow gave him a second chance at life but amazingly, he was ready to go to Heaven if that is where God wanted him. I'm in awe...

So, I almost feel lucky in these days when Beth nurses a cold and I know that my cuddles and a bit of Motrin will ease her discomfort. I don't fear for her anymore but I certainly don't take a moment for granted. And, Elliott...well we couldn't have been any luckier to have such a healthy and happy child.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Mercy San Juan NICU Reunion

The Mercy NICU Reunion is a special day for us to reconnect with some of the nurses and doctors who took care of Beth (and Mommy and Daddy) when Beth was so tiny and fragile. These photos show Joan, our primary nurse and wonderful friend; Simon, one of her many respiratory therapists who saved her life on MANY occasions; Lori, a sweet nurse who was with us on our discharge day; and Kathy, the developmental specialist whom I credit for saving Beth from developing an oral aversion and sensory processing disorder.

This list doesn't do justice to all the great people in the Mercy NICU. I always knew they were special but lately, I've learned just how special. I am a member of a group of moms who blog about their premature babies. These babies have been in NICU's around the country (I think our numbers reach nearly 200 moms). Some of those NICUs have terrible visitation policies (two-hour limits in some cases), and a climate not conducive to helping parents cope with the fear of having a baby in a NICU. Most hospitals do an excellent job and as in any profession, there are people who love their jobs and some who apparently don't. But our experience with medical personnel throughout all points of our ordeal(with the exception of one doctor), left Mike and I with an awesome respect for nurses, doctors, janitorial staff, volunteers, chaplains, dietary staff, and secretaries.

Someday we'll find a way to pay it forward.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Going to the Poor House

If you know our family history with horses, you know that these two pictures could spell T-R-O-U-B-L-E (or the poor house)! Beth and Elliott had a chance to ride ponies at a friend's 6th birthday party. Beth settled in like she was born to be an equestrian. If Gramma had been at the party I think there would have been a flood of tears (or hysterical giggles).

Elliott was very comfortable around the ponies and showed amazing poise for a little boy who is sometimes afraid of large dogs. Isn't it amazing how they surprise you??

During the past week, Beth has been fighting a virus. Her fever bounced from 99 degrees to 102.5. She managed to kick the bugs by herself and was in reasonably good spirits for the 3-4 days of discomfort. Oddly, I can't figure out where she got it or why Elliott, Mike or I didn't get it too. I guess she'll be the canary throughout this coming winter. We are pleased that she is handling life's little colds and viruses without much difficulty.

You might recall that Elliott was seeing a neurologist for migraine headaches. We had our 3 month appointment to discuss the MRI results with his doctor who told us that Elliott's brain looks nice and normal. We'll just have to monitor what triggers the migraines (although we have a pretty good idea about that already).

Dr. Asaikar told me that migraines fall into three patterns for children. Some get them in clusters and then show nothing for 3-6 months before another round starts. Some children get migraines very frequently and at regular intervals. Still others get them at a young age and never again until they become adults. These things are very hard to understand especially when there is no physical reason why they happen. As in most people, Elliott's are most likely triggered by stresses and allergy attacks. He has had two migraines when at altitude so it is possible that a combination of the bright mountain sun and pine allergens could be our culprits.
I am very grateful that he has no other issues that could be causing these. And, as for our amazing daughter, I am doubly grateful that she is as healthy as a ...dare I say it??! (That's for you Mom!)