Friday, November 20, 2015

That Darn Hip: Post-Op

I finally got to hold Jack for a good long while this morning. He was too uncomfortable the first few days post-operation, but this morning, he snuggled right in with me. Heaven, I tell ya..

Besides a few quick photos and updates to Facebook, I haven't had a chance to write about the surgery or how Jack has been doing since then. Now that we are four days out, I thought I'd give a little update.

The hip surgery could not have gone smoother. We were impressed with Jack's pain management and his care. We could tell that both the orthopedic surgeon and anesthesiologist were compassionate, thoughtful and very committed. This was a significant surgery and we knew that pain and muscle spasms were the norm. Jack had some rough moments immediately coming out of anesthesia, but after that, he did well. Much better than we expected, really. Besides putting the hip back in socket and the whole reconstruction of his hip, the doctor was also able to do a lengthening procedure of Jack's leg tendons, so hopefully his muscles won't be so tight.

We felt confident enough to leave the day after surgery. I think the hospital staff knew we had been around the block with this whole surgery thing and as everyone knows, no one sleeps well in the hospital.

Once set up at my parents house, we have been getting our routine down. Meds, repositioning of Jack's body (even though he is pretty much set at a certain angle with the body cast, we have to make sure he has good blood flow to all of his limbs and that he doesn't develop bed sores), trying to get Jack to eat (he took a total of 11 bites yesterday, but we'll take it!), keeping him hydrated, and what we are learning to be the hardest battle - dealing with the boredom. Yesterday we were able to get out for a quick 5 minute walk in his new wheelchair, but he was still too uncomfortable to stay at the angle long. So lots of movies, lots of playing catch, lots of trying to get Jack to laugh. We will slowly add more activity as he can handle it.

Jack has quite the balloon bouquet going and he continues to get such sweet and thoughtful care packages. And us adults are well-fed, too. So many goodies have showed up at the door and we couldn't be more thankful for everyone's kindness.

One last thing - all the texts, messages, and comments were so encouraging to us as Jack was in the hospital. We read every single one. It's moments like these that I realize Jack has a giant cheering section across the world. How cool is that?

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Saturday, November 14, 2015

That Darn Hip

We are packing, prepping and letting Jack spend as much time in the bath today as he wants. He got a super cute, super short haircut, too. Didn't love that part, but he needed it.

Tomorrow we leave for Missoula and Monday morning is Jack's hip surgery. Surgery will begin around 7:30am (mountain time) and will take approximately 3 hours. We will be in the hospital at least overnight and depending on how he is doing with pain management, maybe an additional day or two.

This is a fairly extensive surgery and we would so appreciate your thoughts and prayers as we make our way to Missoula, for smooth sailing and no complications on surgery day, for his recovery time in the hospital (that we get pain management under control and no infection) and finally, his 6 weeks in the body cast. We will remain in Missoula for two weeks post-surgery and will come home to Clancy once we make it past Jack's first follow-up appointment with the orthopedic surgeon. The cast will finally come off on December 28th - our very own Christmas present. Then we will begin Jack's rehabilitation to learn to walk again.

Before I go, I just want to thank those who have written encouraging messages and sent care packages and gift cards. Jack hasn't even had surgery yet and we already feel so loved and supported. It is times like these that remind me how blessed we are. I will remember your kindness and pass it along when others go through scary things like hip surgery.

Jack has been through so much in his six years, but he has also overcome so much. He is a fighter. I know there will be rough and painful moments, but I also know that we've made it this far. Just have to get that darn hip fixed!
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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

It Takes A Village

School pictures came back today and we have this.

I love how it captures his sweetness.

I've written about school picture day before. Plain and simple - it is not a fun day for our boy and last year, I got caught up in trying to make it happen... and I was bummed when it didn't really work.

This year was different. I let go of picture day. I read my own advice and told myself to chill out. And in the process of getting ready for my exams, I didn't have time to give it much thought. I got Jack dressed that morning and made sure his hair wasn't too out of control, but then I went off to study. Jon went along and decided to stick around to see if he could help. They worked hard and finally got a tiny smile. It takes a village, I tell ya.

Today, when Jack's helper handed the packet to me, I couldn't help but sigh. What a cute kid. He looks so old. I imagine this is what most parents think when they see school pictures. Like how is my baby even in a school photo?

You know how FB and certain apps show you what photos you posted on this day, however many years ago? Well this morning my Timehop was making me all weepy. There were photos of one of my baby showers and there were even some pre-Jack photos. To think of all that has happened since then. Of how he's grown and how I've grown and the lessons we've learned along the way. The way time does, it just flies.

Anyway. You're one cute kid, sweetie.
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Monday, November 2, 2015

Simply Monday

Real life happens on a Monday baking banana bread.

Banana bread just came out of the oven. The morning news on the television is my background noise. Jack is playing in his room, coming into the kitchen every few minutes to see what I'm up to. This reminds me so much of those years spent in RSV isolation.

Jack woke up in the middle of the night on Friday not feeling well. We got some Tylenol and Zofran (the med combo from God, I kid you not) on board and the boy back to sleep, hoping it wasn't a migraine. He woke up with the same fever Saturday morning and was sniffling and coughing. No migraine, but a virus of some sort. We called off our plans to meet friends at the downtown trick or treating event and the lunch we'd been invited to afterwards. We have been at home since. No costume on Saturday. No school today because Jack needs to be 100% over whatever this is before we send him back. And especially, better by his surgery date.

We are home and it is quiet. So much about this morning reminds me of the days where it was just Jack and I in the quiet rhythms of RSV isolation. I did a lot of baking, reading, and watching TV during that time. But I also spent a lot of time dreaming. Dreaming about the future and breaking free of the confines of these four walls.

In the throws of my PhD program, I've often looked with rose-colored glasses back on those days. Every preemie parent that just read that sentence probably thought "Oh no you didn't!" And I know. Cold and flu season was always incredibly lonely and isolating. It was hard seeing others seemingly living their lives, while we were stuck in the preemie trenches.

I am one of those grass is always greener types. I always dream about what is next, about what could be better out there. But being a prisoner in my own home helped me realize some things. There is a certain peace that only comes in the slow pace for me. Much of my best parenting moments and memories happened during that time. I grew stronger after the devastation of the NICU experience. I healed. And I came to know some of my greatest support during that time. Writing here and the other preemie parents I met because of it - that all happened during isolation.

I am reading a book called Simply Tuesday. It was a birthday present from a wise friend. It's about small-moment living. I know that sounds totally buzz-wordy and a bit self-helpy, but it's the concept that real life happens in the small moments we find on our most ordinary days. The book is a giant invitation to slow down. This is kind of the exact opposite of how I view my own life, or at least, the success of my own life. I am a go-getter. I want to change the world. This desire has been around since I was young, so I've been working on it for awhile you could say. I just never quite understood how I could really "change the world", though. So in the meantime, I have spent a lot of time dreaming, planning and checking off goals. I want to learn everything, not just sound bites, but the inner-workings or things you have to wrestle through. I also want the best for Jack - not only for his health and wellbeing, but also for his overall life. I want him to be happy. So I spend a lot of time thinking and doing. It's not a bad thing, in and of itself.

But it's good for me to slow down, too. To cherish the pace of a Monday at home. I get frazzled with too much extroversion. I get frazzled when I'm tired. So yeah, maybe it is rose-colored glasses speaking here, but reading this book is showing me how RSV isolation taught me a few really important things. Maybe the Mondays baking banana bread and staying home are pretty special. Maybe even significant.
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