Tuesday, April 29, 2008

1/8-Happy Boy

Well I wished for a half-happy Matthew, but we haven't quite got there yet ... I'd say we got about 1/8 happy boy now.

The antibiotics did the trick for taking the worse of the issue away. No more fevers and Matthew did settle a bit after that. We are now left with a boy who is still miserable and cranky, but a cranky more like his old self ... just more extreme then he used to be. It has left us wondering how much is attitude and how much is him trying to tell us something. Today I took him back to the pediatrician again since he continues to be so miserable and is not sleeping the greatest at nights. We are taking off for holidays the next couple days (without Matthew) and before I left I wanted to know whether his ears were getting better as by now the antibiotics should have done the trick. It's frustrating listening to him cry and not knowing whether he has reason to cry or not. He quiets easier now if entertained (although this doesn't always work) leaving us wonder if he's just gotten used to being catered to. The fact that he continues to cry off and on throughout the night made me believe he still wasn't feeling well ... and I was right. The ear looks the same or maybe slightly better. Well at least I know I can be a little more sympathetic ... especially since I am currently suffering from a cold and earaches as well ... there as some times we wish our kids just wouldn't share :)

The doc didn't do any changes as he already has Matthew on a pretty good medication and the ear does not look like it's going to perforate, so he just wants us to finish up the antibiotics. Not so sure on that idea since it's already been over five days on the antibiotics, but we'll dose him with a bit more ibprophen now that we know he's still ailing and see how he does. Doc also wasn't too happy with Matthew's weight as he hasn't gained anything back that he lost, so he wants to keep a closer eye on that too. I'm not too concerned on that one yet since we just started on full strength formula today and we've still dealt with a couple vomits lately. We'll keep an eye on it and see how he does. And we're still doing the food battle, but I won't look too much at that right now as he's still struggling with this cold ... once these things settle down we can refocus on the original eating issues and see how his resp rate does (which has been staying the same thru the cold).

Rob wrote his last exam today (last for this semester, he still has one more night course to complete this spring before we can celebrate the end of his Mac Days)!! Yahooooo!! So tomorrow afternoon we head off for the first holiday we've had in a verrrryyyy long time!! Only a couple days, but it will be nice to kick back and relax. We are taking the girls with, (shhhhh ... don't tell them, they have no idea - we've had to disappoint them too many times before that we have learned not to say anything until it actually happens) but leaving Matthew behind ... as much as I love him I am very much looking forward to some time away from him. Since he seems to do better when out (just so that I appear to be a liar :) and being entertained I'm hoping his new surroundings will keep him mellow for the next few days and not make him too much of a burden for Joyce.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

How's Matthew?

So that's the questions I've been asked a lot the last few days ... guess that's what happens when you blog your frustrations. As of yet I do not have a clear answer to that question, although I think and hope we will finally see some light at the end of the tunnel soon.

Monday we tried again to re-introduce full-strength formula, but already on the second bottle he vomitted it all back up. At that point I had decided we needed to get someones opinion on this as it was going on six days of him being sick. So I made an appointment with the pediatrician for the next day and then went back to feeding him straight Pedialyte for the next 24 hours.

Monday also introduced a new issue into the equation ... did I ask "what next"? In the morning he had a bit of a cough, by evening he had a full-fledge chesty cough that was dragging him down and sure sounded like it hurt each time he coughed ... and he cried each time just to confirm it did indeed hurt. Just another thing to make life more interesting.

By time I seen the pediatrician on Tuesday I had just started Matthew back on formula - 1/2 formula, 1/2 pedialyte. We were having better luck with the stools - less of them, but still diarrhea. The cough was still sounding awful. He was still miserable, clingy, snuggly, sleeping off and on all day in my arms, crying during coughing fits and any time you put him down. The pediatrician agreed that six to seven days seems a bit long for a regular flu but yet it's not impossible. He was concerned about the pattern we were seeing once we reintroduced full-strength formula as well as the fact that he was crying and miserable non-stop for the past days. The positive side he felt was the fact that he's having both vomitting and diarrhea, for just vomitting would be more concerning. Since Matthew seems to do okay on half-strength formula and doesn't vomit until it's full or almost full-strength we decided to try get him onto 3/4 strength and leave him on that for the next week and see what happens.

He checked out his ears, which were fine, and given Matthew had not had any fevers since Thursday the cold did not seem a major concern, although he did think he sounded a bit wheezy and ordered a chest x-ray. We also decided to do an overall look at Matthew's blood as well as x-rays of his chest and abdomen. We have never done bloodwork on Matthew to see if anything is out of the ordinary. When the first bloodwork was done on James there was lots of stuff that wasn't right, it didn't tell us what was wrong, but it made us realize something was wrong. So these tests would just give us an idea of how he is faring overall, either putting our minds at ease or letting us know whether there is reason to be concerned. We were suppose to come back in a week to go over things ... unless he got worse.

Not two hours after the appointment Matthew spiked a fever. He had a rough night, coughing and struggling to sleep. He did not look well and I debated taking him to Emerge. But we held out the night since I knew we were off to Mac the next day. I figured I'd go for the tests and if he wasn't faring well just head to Emerge. So Wednesday we spent a good chunk of the day at Mac as there seemed to be excessive line-ups each place we went (plus running into people I know). Matthew fair quite well and I thought that he was finally on the mend since he had no more diarrhea and we were actually able to put him down for short periods and he would play. But again, two hours after getting home for the hospital he crashed, spiking a fever, coughing, seeming to be in pain ... another long night.

We managed to get him to hold off until the morning at which time I went back to see the Pediatrician. We went over the test results that were back thus far and everything was normal ... including the chest x-ray which was a bit surprising. So long term this is a good sign, but doesn't give us any answers for now. He did another check of the ears and ah-ha ... they are red ... not extreme ... but possiblity ... hopefully ... the cause of the latest fevers.

Unfortunately we had another vomit this morning - 24 hours after getting him onto 3/4 strength formula. So we're not sure how that fits in ... possibily just from being so congested, although he wasn't coughing at the time. So the game plan right now is to get the ear infection treated with antibiotics and then we can see how the rest of the picture looks. We may be looking at two viruses back to back ... which have really dragged him down making it such a long recuperation process.

We have a new pediatrician (ours is on maternity leave) but he's really good, listening well and wasting no time making sure he's covered everything. If Matthew doesn't appear better tomorrow we're suppose to bring him back in ... otherwise we play it by ear, hoping that everything will just settle down ... including the vomitting.

I have mostly come to accept that I'm simply not going to get anything done around here and so I am a bit better at tolerating Matthew's fussiness ... although I definitely still have my moments where I get frustrated that he won't go down for more then a few minutes (if that) without crying up a storm (and then coughing up a storm as a result). I also feel guilty as I see more responsbility put on the girls (Marietta pretty much got herself off to school on her own this morning, including doing devotions with Rebecca), which is a reminder of days gone by. I remind myself it's temporary and we'll put things back in order once he's feeling better. His attitude tells me that he is definitely feeling awful and I need to take the time to at least ease that awfulness as much as possible.

So last time I hoped we'd all get sick (or at least one of us anyways) ... this time I'm hoping the antibiotics do the trick to bring back my half-happy Matthew and everything else just settles out at the same time.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Funky Hair Day

Friday was Funky Hair Day at school this past week. Marietta had this idea that she wanted balloons in her hair, so her sister had to follow suit. Since Marietta had thin fine hair it easily stayed sticking out with pipe cleaners in it. Rebecca has thick heavy hair, so her's was not as cooperative.

What Next?

Wow, it's been two weeks since I last posted ... didn't realize it was that long. I always hear how people say that once all your kids are off to school it doesn't get any less busy, it just becomes a different business. I can fully related to that feeling ... yes, I realize my kids are not all in school yet (sometimes I wish :) When James was here it took every ounce and effort to keep up with his care and appointments and try and balance the rest of the familiy (and I'm afraid we didn't always do so well there). We got used to be homebound, to not having a social life, to living in our own small world of home and hospital. Life was busy and we learned to survive on the absolute necessities and let the rest be. Slowly we stopped missing the things going on around us because we didn't have time to think about what we were missing.

Now that James is gone we are no longer homebound, we can attend societies and meetings again, be more involved in what's going on around us, enjoy a social life and the joys of being able to just pick up and go out last minute. We can feel "normal" again. But I'm quickly realizing that "normal" can be just as busy as the life we lived before ... the only difference is we have more control over the business that takes over our life. We have more freedom to say "yes" and "no" to things, our business is more then just necessity, it's going beyond necessity. And then suddenly that business gets overwhelming and you start to wonder where you are suppose to stop. There is so much you see that you want to do and you feel lost in it all. And as I dive in I start to feel my family is losing out again, and I have to learn to say "no" ... but to what? And so I realize that life is always busy ... it's just depends on how busy we make it and what we are busy with ... and I need to step back and remember my family and that it still comes first.

Matthew has helped to slow down the business by once again giving us a "run for our money" (what money?). I think he just figures if I'm going to be busy it should be busy with him!! Self-centered little guy, eh!! :) I can sit here and joke and write like it's all good, but I won't ... for I'm not feeling so fine lately. We sang Psalm 102:1 this morning and the words struck me as so often scripture and singing does at various times in our lives.

Heed my prayer, O LORD, be near me;
O incline Thy ear to hear me.
Let my cry come unto Thee;
Do not hide Thy face from me.
When I pray in grief and worry,
LORD, to me Thy answer hurry.
Listen to my supplication;
Quickly come with consolation.

The last few days I've felt like I'm going insane as I try to keep my head on straight and the tears of frustration, worry and the unknown from falling. I realize tears are good, I have no issue with crying, but I cannot let the girls know that we worry when we have no valid reason to be so worried at this time. Life is so much easier when we are clueless, when we don't look ahead and just dwell on the present. It seems my mind is constantly fearing the worse, doing battle with myself on just dealing with the present problems and not reading too much into them. I wish I was clueless and not so prone to make a mountain out of a molehill. I wish I could use the knowledge I have gained to comfort myself instead of add extra stress.

So you're wondering what I'm rambling on about and I'm sure you've gathered that Matthew has something to do with it. As I wrote last time we're still not confident we have the answer on Matthew, but yet we have nothing that strongly indicates there is something wrong with him. Sometimes I think we read too much into things and create a fear that shouldn't be there, at the same time I will never forgive myself for ignoring things that could mean something ... and it is always a balance of when to act and when to sit and wait.

This past week Matthew developed what we thought was the flu. As I mentioned we have days where Matthew doesn't really want his bottle, Tuesday was an excessive day, where he cried and cried but absolutely refused the bottles for hours at a time, before he finally gave in and drank something. He woke up Wednesday morning in a bed full of vomit, continued to vomit his formula after that. We put him on water and worked him back up to full-strength only to have him vomit again. We switched him to Pedialyte (rehydration/electrolyte fluid) and spent the next days monkeying with this trying to get him to drink, he would only take little bits at a time, usually refusing anything that had too much formula in it, preferring the Pedialyte. His vomitting turned to extreme diarrhea. By Saturday we felt he had been off formula long enough that we had to start getting him back on full strength formula. Our readings indicated that once a child stops vomitting to start feeding them normally even if they have loose stools. And so this is what we did ... and he slowly took his bottle (I think he was getting to the point of starving as Pedialtye is far from filling) but not even 24 hours after back on full strength formula he starts vomitting again. Nevermind that while you feed him from one end he's moving stuff out the other end. With the restart of vomitting we begin to doubt that we're just dealing with a flu ... still possible ... still hoping ... but rather doubtful.

Although the symptoms are bothersome they are not near as bothersome as his constant ... and I mean constant ... crying. He is a permanant fixture in our arms (as he is sitting right now with me ... and still complaining). There is little which entertains him for more then a couple minutes. He snuggles and falls asleep in my arms ... which at first I enjoyed since he absolutely never sits still, so snuggling is a luxury. He's sleeps more often, but usually for short lengths. And after several days of not drinking formula and not eating and surviving off of pediatlyte it feels like we're constantly trying to feed him and since it's not long lasting he doesn't sleep the greatest. Getting up two to three times a night shouldn't be all that bothersome to me, but I guess the body gets to a point where it says enough is enough and so tiredness makes for two (at least) miserable characters.

And as I walk or rock and snuggle with Matthew my mind has more time to think and while thinking is good at times, it can help to drive a person insane at other times. Our snuggling chair is across from my computer which slideshows James' pictures and so I have entertainment while I sit with him. Sometimes this brings happy memories, other times it just brings an overwhelming sense of sadness. I remember writing a blog entry on James' Story called The Lord's Blessings and another one talking about Why and as I read them now I wish I had the strength I did then, for I'm not feeling all so blessed right now and I constantly wonder what the purpose of this extra stress is. I may not ask "Why Me?" But I find myself asking "What Next?" I try to tell myself that half a year from now I'll be looking back and laughing at how paranoid I was, but right now I can't convince myself that this will truly be the case. I can only pray fervently that it will be.

So here's to hoping the family wakes up tomorrow morning with the worst flu of the season that lasts a week and makes us feel so awful that we just want to cry all day long!! :)

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Matthew Update

So it's been a bit since I talked about Matthew. For the past couple weeks I wasn't really sure what to make of him, so I've just been watching, evaluating and waiting to see if he stablizes well enough to be confident we're on the right track.

So we've now gone over two weeks without any vomits, this is definitely a plus. On March 25th we stopped feeding him any types of cereals (rice, wheat, barley, etc) and put him on just veggies and fruits. It's interesting that shortly after this his rash completely cleared up and has not flared up since. His face also looks much smoother and nicer and you can tell that it has recuperated from it's irritation and isn't just waiting beneath the surface to burst out again. We have no idea if this is from taking the cereals away or just recuperation from being off milk, it is interesting that only days before taking him off the cereals we were still getting bad flareups and at that point he had already been off milk for six weeks. But at the same time we were having these rash flare-ups during the time period where we had him completely off of all solids ... so I don't think we've really discovered anything We'll wait a few more weeks before we reintroduce any type of cereals, that way if his face stays clear and then suddenly re-flares we have a pretty good indication.

Overall he seems to be doing better. There are still some issues, but they are not as loud and clear as before. He continues to have days where he drinks well and days where he's not all that interested in his bottle. Before the latter days would result in a vomit, but he's no longer vomitting. Our original reason for taking him off of cereals was because he showed no interested in them and was always very stuffed up to the point he couldn't drink his bottles during the nights, but yet would appear fine and without any cold symptoms during the day. But of course he has now developed cold symptoms, only a few days after we took him off cereals, so we have no idea where we stand on that now as this cold seems neverending. My excitement over his desire to eat has diminished somewhat. We definitely are not getting half to whole jars of baby food in him anymore. He's very up and down, mostly only eating 1tbsp to about 1/4 of a jar and sometimes even that's a bit of work to get in him, with the occasional time where he surprises us and eats 1/2 a jar. For now we're just happy he's attempting to eat, although it would be so nice to have a kid who just gets that eating is a good thing!! And when it comes to happiness ... well he's not all that great in that area ... good days and bad here also.

So overall he's more stable then he was, but hasn't shown us a complete and good turnaround. As it stands right now there's nothing clear enough to indicate anything further is wrong and so we chalk it up to a fussy child, fussy eater and hope he outgrows it in the next months.

Just Life in General

So it's been a while since I've written. Been rather busy around here, not really with any specific, just life in general I suppose. After two weeks of March Break, the week before that having a houseful of sick people and the weeks before that having Matthew so miserable he was a permanant attachment, I was starting to feel like nothing was getting done around here and the list was growing on things to catch up on (not like it ever stops growing). So it seems that's what the last couple weeks have been all about ... visitinng (maybe a bit too much of that, but it's so nice to get out and socialize :), babysitting, only two appointments, book club, women's society, shopping, wedding shower, adoptions shower, swimming lessons, organ/panflute concert, paperwork/computer work ... oh and did I mention cleaning and laundry and cleaning and cooking and cleaning ... sometimes it seems like all I ever do is clean. And right now we're dealing with strep throat ... hopefully only Marietta gets it. She's been fighting since Thursday and having a rough time. We got antibiotics yesterday but this morning she was much worse and was dizzy and vomitting (dry heaves since there's nothing in her stomach). So we stopped the antibiotics thinking she's reacting to them and have to go this afternoon for an appointment to get some new stuff.

So anyways, that's about the sum of it, here's a few pics to go with it. I told Joyce I was going to figure out how to post videos just so I could post the video of how well we surprised her for her shower ... but ... well ... I haven't even gotten around to getting the video from my camera to my computer, let alone from my computer to my blog ... lucky you Joyce!! :)

My sister Val is getting married on May 31st. She was not surprised for this shower ... but maybe we'll manage for the family one!!

Joyce and Ryan

The girls thought this game was just great ... good thing I don't have any cottonballs at home or I know I'd be finding them all over in their attempt to master the skill.