Monday, March 26, 2012

Medical Monday

Jaydon is feeling better by leaps & bounds. He has been attempting to take the state-mandated PAWS tests a section at a time. His proctors have been great. He gets super tired really fast. Today, he started going to school for 2 hours at a time again. We'll see how far he gets with the testing. The last day for the testing window is Wednesday.

Our next appointment has been scheduled. I'm both looking forward to it and dreading it. We are scheduled for a cystogram. Apparently, they pump his bladder full of dye and take x-rays. I'm hoping they use the catheters that are already in place. Then we'll go to the doctor's office to get some catheter training.

As for me and the baby, we're getting better. Bronchial things are a little hard to get rid of sometimes. We are making improvements with the help of a vaporizer.

In the writing department, things are at somewhat of a standstill because I've lost the disc and keycode for Microsoft Office. Since I had to take my computer back to factory settings, I have to re-install the software. Oh schwell I guess. I'll find it eventually.

Trying to keep everything short, sweet and to the point today. Family night is about to begin.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Book Review ~ Not My Kid… by Mary Billiter

Book Review ~ Not My Kid… by Mary Billiter

Mary Billiter had been one of the key people that fueled the fire of writing in me. She is an amazing person-quite an inspiration.  It took quite a while for me to purchase this book. Finances have been tight for several months and I couldn’t justify the price (not that its expensive, we were just cutting out all the little things). I finally managed to get some Amazon gift cards and made my purchase. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the prize. Everything I had heard about the book was positive. When the package finally came, I opened it right there in the post office. Here is the “blurb” about the book…

Megan Reilly is a newly divorced single mom trying to raise two sons. She is also an ambitious journalist covering a story about bomb threats at her son s middle school. After her thirteen-year-old, Cameron, is arrested for shoplifting, he becomes the prime suspect in Megan's big story. Her response is, "Not my kid." As the case against Cameron builds, even the man who loves Megan thinks the boy deserves to be put away. But the authorities haven't bargained on the fierce power of Megan's maternal devotion.

I scraped every morsel of time I could find, picking up the book and reading. Almost every chapter brings a different point of view. I love how Mary did this. This book really grabbed me. I could connect with each of her characters as I worked my way through this novel.
Mary touches on some very real issues including domestic violence, single moms trying to raise their kids, relationships – both past and present, and troubled teenagers. She painted a strikingly accurate picture. While there is some colorful language (creative adjectives I think is what they were called in high school), it is used in context and not splattered through the book unnecessarily.
I would definitely read this one again and I can’t wait for her next novel! Mary, thanks for the wonderful read!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Medical Monday

During the surgery, the OR team removed part of Jaydon’s intestine and patched it onto the bladder, making it big enough to hold about a liter of liquid. Then they removed his appendix and created a stoma through which he will be able to catheterize himself once everything has healed. Then, they discovered his urethra was closing off so they fixed that issue. He has 3 new holes in his stomach, 2 catheters (1 suprapubic and 1 in the stoma until it heals to prevent it from closing off), a 4-inch incision and various stitches all over. Poor kid was really worked over! We spent exactly a week in the hospital recovering.

We had hoped we could go home Sunday-crossing our fingers but not holding our breath. The doctors had hinted Friday night, Saturday or Sunday. Aunts, cousins, Grandma, Grandpa and all his siblings came to visit and to play in the Forever Young Zone on Saturday. Did you know 13 people fit in one hospital room? Jaydon was really worn out and in all the commotion, we (all of us) had forgotten about pain meds-he seemed to be fine. We discovered Jaydon doesn’t complain about pain until it is overwhelming. He started throwing up Saturday night. As a result we got to spend Sunday in the hospital. The branch president happens to be related to one of Jay’s parent’s neighbors in Montpelier and he knew several of Jay’s aunts and uncles. Small world, huh?

We have been home from the hospital for about a week. Jaydon has been doing well except for the fact that I can’t seem to get him to eat. I have heard that going under anesthesia can cause strange side effects with taste buds. My mom finally got him to eat on Friday by offering him a variety of things like pizza bites, hotdogs and apples. We think he over ate because that night, he started throwing up. Poor kid wasn’t even able to keep pain pills down. At any rate, he fell asleep around 5. Sometime after 7, I woke him and told him he needed to come out and TRY to drink at least a little bit. He groaned and rolled over. I tried again. He pulled the blanket over his head. I leaned my hip against the doorjamb, folded my arms and said “Here’s the deal. You can either come out and drink some Gatorade OR I’ll drag you to the car and take you to the nearest hospital and have them put in an IV.” He practically flew out of bed and down the hall. I almost had to take the Gatorade away to keep him from drinking it too fast. Silly boy. I’m here to tell you, kids bounce! Sunday, he was up and moving like he hadn’t been hugging the pink bucket all day. He seems to be doing fine.

Mom caught a cold. My wonderful children shared it with me. Because being the primary care-giver 24/7 is so draining, I'm not doing entirely well. I'm starting to feel better, not so much like I've been run over by a truck now. The Relief Society has been wonderfully supportive. I was able to attend a writing chat online with Ali Cross Thursday and the ladies were amazingly supportive and made me feel like I have accomplished A LOT when I actually feel like I'm dropping the balls I'm trying to juggle. I can't do it all and what I can do at the moment needs to be enough.
Thanks to everyone for all your prayers, thoughts, smiles and support! I couldn't do this without you!

Sunday Smidgen

Writing has been slow because medical issues are completely draining - emotionally, physically, mentally, creatively - you get the picture. Its no wonder that I have come down with every sneeze, sniffle and cough my kids are bringing home from school and so lovingly sharing. I have been unable to focus on one WIP (work-in-progress); instead, I have been jotting down whatever comes to mind and fitting it in where it best fits. I managed to hand-write about 6 pages of a scene waiting for PeeWee Wrestling to begin. Here it is. Any comments, suggestions, hints, and/or tips are greatly appreciated. Enjoy!

Bethany groaned in frustration as the doorbell rang. “Grand Central Station,” she muttered as she stepped over the toys scattered through the living room. “What now?”

The doorbell rang again. “Hold your horses. I’m coming.”

She paused briefly to toss some dirty socks in the direction of the laundry room. “The bin is ten feet from the door. You’d think they could at least make it that far.”

The doorbell rang again just as she pulled the door open. “Really? Didn’t your mother teach you patience?” she asked before her mind registered the policeman standing in front of her. “Oh. Um. Can I help you?”

“Ma’am. We’ve gotten a report of vandalism.”

“Really? We just got home. I haven’t noticed anything.” Bethany glanced around the yard, searching for damage.

“No, Ma’am. Not your property. The complaintant mentioned that your kids were involved.”

“Excuse me?” Bethany closed the door against her thigh, sandwiching herself between it and the doorjamb as if trying to block the officer out of her life.

He handed her a packet of papers. “We believe your boys were involved because of the descriptions given at the scene.”

Bethany scanned the paperwork, her eyes zeroing in on the date. “Today? This says the incident happened today. It couldn’t have been my boys…”

“Ma’am, everyone says that. The court date is on the paperwork. Please make sure you and the boys are there on time so we can proceed quickly and decide what type of punishment is necessary.”

“We just got home from Logan. There’s no way my kids were involved.”

“I’m guessing you have fabricated evidence to support this?” he smirked.

“Fabricated? What happened to innocent until proven guilty and all that?”

The officer leaned forward and pointed to the date circled in yellow highlighter. “Here’s the date. Thank you for your time.” He turned and stalked off her cluttered porch.

Could this day get any worse? She thought as she watched the squad car back out of her driveway before she closed the door. Her fists tightened, squishing the summons. Moving through the living room, she kicked the toys out of the way before slumping into the recliner. She shrieked in alarm and leapt out of the seat, then turned and looked for the offending toy that had jabbed her backside. “Stupid Transformers.” Frustrated, she pitched the toy into the toybox as she sank into the plush softness.

Tears blurred her vision as she reviewed the crimpled pages. The incident happened this morning well after they had left for Logan. Her children were named as possible participants but the neighbor hadn’t been positive of their identities because he had only seen their backs as they retreated down the alley.

Bethany breathed a sigh of relief, knowing that the dentist would make a statement on her behalf. She also had all her receipts and could get her bank to print out a statement. She vividly recalled the policeman’s words, harshly indicating that her kids were definitely to blame. She would do everything in her power to help her kids avoid the bogus charges.

She believed the police were “gunning” for her kids. The boys had been in the proverbial wrong place at the wrong time. The real culprits had been the Stake President’s twins and the Relief Society President’s oldest son. No one had believed her kids at the time and when the sentence had been handed down, her boys had endured the punishment without complaint.

The real hurt had happened when the Stake President had visited their ward and had called her family to repentance citing the quote by David O. McKay. She recalled his words vividly.

“David O McKay tells us ‘No success can compensate for failure in the home’. I tell you this, A mother’s place is in the home. Do everything in your power to remain in the home where your children need you the most. Children need to be nurtured and a mother cannot do this in the workplace.”

Holding her head high, she had ignored the condescending glares. Tears flowed down her cheeks just as they had that day. Sliding from the chair and onto her knees, she poured her heart out to her Heavenly Father begging for his comfort and help.

An overwhelming feeling of warmth filled her, comforting and buoying up her spirits. Rising to her feet, she attacked the cluttered living room with a vengeance as she created a defense plan. Within minutes, the clutter disappeared replaced by calm and order.
Have a happy Sunday!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction Voting

Voting has commenced on Week 10 of the Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction Contest. There are 15 entries and are all quite interesting. Please go here and vote for your favorite! My entry is #10 by Steph in WY. Happy reading!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The QUICK Surgery - Thereby Avoiding Worry (I think)

I’ve started this blog post several times. Since I don’t know the ending, I don’t know how to word the beginning. Here goes... It all started when (insert waving fingers here easing us into the correct scene)

I crawled back into bed after having a rough, almost sleepless night. The kids were on the bus and I was looking forward to several hours of rest, relaxation and quite possibly some much needed sleep. My darling daughter woke up, so I fed and changed her. Then we snuggled under the warm blankets, inviting sleep to overcome us.

Music filled the silence as my phone announced the incoming call. Sure, I was waiting for this call to tell me when my son’s surgery would be, but I was expecting it much later in the day. Eight A.M. is an uncool time for a phone call.


“Hi! This is the nurse with Urology. We have an opening for surgery tomorrow. Can you be here in an hour?”

“Um. No. It takes at least 3 hours to get there from my house. Is this a joke?”

“Can you come today?”

“Well, I guess,” I hedged. “My husband just went back to work yesterday.”

“Oh. Well, I can TRY to get you scheduled for next week, but that won’t be a “sure thing”. The soonest we can be sure about a surgery after tomorrow isn’t until mid-April.” The keyboard was clicking ferociously through the phone lines as she searched the schedules.

“If you put it that way, schedule it.”

“Great! See you soon!”

And away we went! I ran around the house like a chicken with her head cut off for several minutes, tossing clothes in the bags, into the washer, dragging clothes back out of the washer, loading the car, waking up kids, throwing them into clothes then hustling them out the door and into the car. The roads were great, the drive beautiful. During all this, I was talking, texting, facebooking, and IMing and trying to get a hold of Jay.

We arrived in SLC and dropped the kiddos off at my sister’s house then headed up the hill to the hospital. I hadn’t received clear instructions other than to COME. First, they sent us to Same Day Surgery. They weren’t expecting us so they called around to see where we were supposed to be. Then they sent us downstairs to Admitting. We got the paperwork all squared away and went to the Children’s Surgical Unit. Interestingly, someone screwed up Jaydon’s birthday & age. They thought they were admitting a 1 year old instead of a 10 year old so we were put in NICU. They scrambled around for a bit and finally moved us to the M Pod where we waited for several more hours before the chaos began.

An IV and an NG tube were placed; I’m not sure which was worse. They started pumping him full of bowel prep fluids – and we waited. And waited. And waited. Finally, everything started happening. This poor kid has been through the ringer. The nurse waited for Jay to get to the hospital before starting the next phase of the prep work. At about 2am, I hit the wall. I’m so glad Jay was here to pick up the pieces that I dropped. I crashed hard & slept through the hourly procedures & the 6am lab visit. 

At any rate, Jaydon is in surgery. We are about 2 hours into a 6 hour surgery. The nurse has reported that he’s doing well. An epidural was placed to help with the pain & discomfort following the surgery. Thank you for all your prayers! I have been surprisingly calm all day. Your prayers on our behalf are such a comfort and a blessing.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Flash Fiction Entry - Indies Unlimited

I decided that I had such fun with the last Flash Fiction piece I wrote that I'd try again. I've never been good with short stories because I want to paint a bigger picture. These pieces are quite fun.  This week's contest at Indies Unlimited caught my eye. I've always loved westerns. There's something about the Wild West that creates intrigue. Here's this week's piece -

Metal grated against metal as Engine 4003 shrieked to a halt. The bell tolled creating an almost dissonant harmony. Thick, black smoke filled the air as the engine coughed its annoyance at being stopped prematurely. Two dirty faces peered out the open doorway at the track laid out in front of them. The men disembarked the train and cautiously approached the body.
The bloated corpse was lying facedown between the tracks. Both men pulled their bandanas over their noses to try to block out the stench. A swarm of flies rose into the air like a black tornado as Ben, the engineer, toed the body with his boot, rolling it over.

The pair blanched as they recognized cattle baron Ted Trillert.
“Wonder how he got clear out here.”

Dennis shrugged. “Dunno. We can’t just leave ‘im here.”
Ben gagged. “I ain’t touching him. We can tell the Marshall where he is when we get back ta town.”

“Help me put him on the train.”
“Where’s he gonna ride? No one wants that stink in the same car as them. Just roll him outta the way and lets get a move on.”

Dennis blanched as he grabbed the dead man’s shirt and rolled him from the tracks. He bolted upright and turned to run back to the train as a bullet ricocheted past his head. He skidded to a halt realizing they were surrounded by mounted men.
“Thanks for stopping this here train. We’ll be taking the payroll from here.”

You can visit Indies Unlimited here to read the other entries & vote for your favorite (obviously mine) on Wednesday. Hope everyone is having a great day!

Surgery Details - NO date yet

Friday wasn’t entirely horrible until around 5pm. Jaydon’s doctor called to discuss the next surgery. We had a nice little chat about Jaydon, how he’s taking everything and how we feel he will do moving forward. Honestly, Jaydon is getting cabin fever as I said in my last post. He’s already telling people what will be happening next. The doctor said he felt that they needed to do the more indepth surgery because of the extreme urine output we are consistently seeing.

What this means is the day before the surgery, we will go in and Jaydon will get a GI tube. The tube will help pump liquid through & clean out his intestines. The surgery itself will be approximately 6 hours. They will be removing part of his intestine to augment his bladder (make bigger). They will also take either another part of his intestine or part of his appendix to create a shunt, tube, or stoma. This will be used as a catheter path so that Jaydon can catheterize himself.

Following the surgery, we will be in the hospital for at least 4 days. The average is 4-10 days with an average of 7.

Obviously, with 5 kids, creatures, jobs and a myriad of other things going on, this is not an ideal situation. I have some ideas that should make creature care easier. It’s just a matter of getting everything implemented before the surgery. Although we don’t have a date as of yet, we SHOULD have more information sometime this week.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

An Update - Or Not...

I have been in a writer’s funk lately. This kinda-sorta means that I have been unable, unwilling, or otherwise avoiding updating my blog (and my relatives for that matter). My mother, mother-in-law, siblings, various cousins and friends have brought this mostly unintentional oversight to my attention.

The news today is *** (pause for effect) *** there is NO news. We’re still waiting for the doctors to call us back and let us know what’s going to be happening. A lot hinges on the labs that were drawn today and how the 4-hour clamping is going. The 4-hour clamping involves turning a valve in the catheter tube so that the bladder gets used to being used again. Every 4 hours, the valve is opened and the bladder is drained again. It is irritating being strapped to a timer. I’m not really that good with schedules that don’t line up “just right” and I can never seem to get them to line up because - Life Happens.

Jaydon is doing well. His spirits are up for the most part. He’s really frustrated that he can’t go to school. He wants to learn to snowboard. He wants to go to swimming lessons. He wants to be involved. He wants to be a normal kid. He hardly ever asks “Why? Why me? Why this? Why now?” He mostly takes it all in stride and attempts to make the most of it.

It’s hard for me to watch him. With the cold weather setting in again (we had a warm stretch for a few days where it got above 35 degrees), everyone is getting cabin fever. I’ve gotten to the point of needing a break, a creative outlet. I’m going crazy here!

I signed up for a PEG Workshop. It is gonna be AWESOME! Authors of all abilities get together for a small group editing session. We basically have “girl time”, reading and critiquing each other’s work. A published author or professional editor is in each group. The feedback you receive at these workshops is invaluable! Jay swears I didn’t tell him about the conference on purpose citing the oft used phrase “It’s easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission.” I swear I told him about it. I had even arranged for a sitter over 3 weeks ago. I dunno – selective memory? I even promised NOT to go to Cabelas without him. If you know me, you know that this is BIG. I offered to let him come & spend the day trapped in a library with a bunch of women. He just rolled his eyes and shook his head.

In other news - I entered the first 2 chapters of Crossing Stars into a contest sponsored by East India Press and David Farland. Today was the deadline although no time was posted on any website I looked at. It was sent in before midnight MST, so here’s hoping it got there in time. I also forgot to change the word count on the cover sheet. It started with approximately 950 words and ended with just over 2100 words. OOPS! Hopefully, the judges will understand my mommy-brain-moment. I realized the error just after I hit SEND.   RATS!

More on Writing - Part of gearing up for the LDS StoryMakers Conference in May is “March-A-Thon”. It’s similar to NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in that goals are set, writers get together in designated chat rooms to help, encourage, and basically “egg” each other on. We are the best cheering section for ourselves!

Breathing Deep! Spring is in the air! Winter is attempting to keep her icy grip on the world as she sends squall after squall into our tiny mountain valley. The signs of change are small – the birds are coming back, chicken eggs are in the incubator, the goats are kidding, calves are starting to bounce around the pastures and the snow is melting and freezing-quite possibly making it even more treacherous than mid-winter. Soon, the thermometer will again start its ascent and color will again grace our world. Enough rambling, it’s time for bed. Goodnight World!