Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Free Tip

When you see a woman who is mere weeks away from her "due date", please refrain from asking "How are you feeling?" unless you really want to know...

She's feeling as big as a house.  She can't breathe.  She can't bend over and pick things up.  She can't run to save her life.  She hates all her clothes and wants to burn them.  She's exhausted, but sleeping is misery.  She misses her skinny ankles.  She waddles and doesn't like it.  She has ligament pain almost constantly.  She hates washing dishes because she can't reach the water stream without twisiting or bending.  She gets tired of the "bladder dance" going on inside her and the contractions that regularly accompany the dance. She can't get off the couch without either a helping hand or ridiculous body contortions and grunting.  She can't sleep on her back and, when she has to switch from one side to the other, she can't help but think of beached whales.  She wakes up completely when she does have to roll over for all the effort involved.  She has heartburn as she lays in bed and sometimes wakes up from a dead sleep to find herself choking on bile.  She has olfactory senses that are so acute that they pick up every strange scent in the vicinity, which is not necessarily to her benefit.  She has no lap for her four year old to sit on.  She has labor to look forward to...

 I could go on and on.

Get it?  Just ask a normal question like, "How are you?"  Then she can smile and say, "Fine" or "As good as can be expected", and she won't feel like punching you in the face...

-This free tip was brought to you by The Very Pregnant Women for a Less Aggravating World Coalition

Monday, February 15, 2010

Rohan Repair

Before my memory gets too hazy, I wanted to get this 'on the books' for the record. 

Last Tuesday, Rohan went in for surgery.  He had a hydrocele/hernia repair.  He's had the hydrocele for a long time, since he was in diapers, and we had taken him in to have it looked at when he was little.  Apparently these things are often self-correcting and so we were told to just watch it.  Well, I watched for several years and it didn't appear to improve, but seemed to be worse, in my estimation.  So, a few weeks ago, I took him back in to the Dr.   This Dr. told me that if it hasn't corrected itself by now (he's almost 5 years old), then it will not correct itself and leaving it uncorrected is as good as asking for a hernia in the future, if he didn't already have one.

So, he recommended a specialist for us.  We went and this specialist told us that it was indeed a hydrocele and already had an accompanying hernia and should be repaired.  He took one look at my very round, pregnant torso and asked, "When is this baby coming?".  I told him that it was due in about 5 1/2 weeks and he recommended that we fix Rohan ASAP so we won't be worrying about having a baby and having a little boy in surgery at the same time.  A wise plan, I thought.

He scheduled the surgery for less than a week later and off we went for a few days of anticipation.  

Monday night arrived.  Surgery was scheduled for the next morning.  My parents had graciously volunteered to take Mac and Ella and let them sleepover at their house, as we had to be at the hospital with a sleepy little boy at 5:30 a.m.   Dustin took the day off work and both Rohan and I were very glad he was there.  (Rohan has become quite the little daddy's boy in the last few months.)   

We woke early, got ourselves ready and woke Rohan.  He couldn't have anything to eat or drink and so we rushed him out the door before he could remember that he should be eating breakfast.  He was sleepy and wary at the hospital.  He didn't want to watch T.V. or do anything except sit on his dad's lap, or sit on mine and play with my hair.  We got him dressed in his little hospital jammies and when the anesthesiologist came, he told us that Rohan would need to drink some medicine that would help him relax.  In fact, he said it would make him "punch drunk".  I said something to the effect of, 'Good luck with that one... Rohan won't even drink liquid Tylenol.  He hates liquid medicine and he does much better swallowing a pill.'

The doctor was quick on his feet and told Rohan that if he could drink this very yucky tasting medicine, then he WOULDN'T have to have a shot, but if he couldn't drink it, then he had to get a shot.  Rohan thought he could probably drink it.

They brought in the medicine and the mean nurse gave me the syringe to squirt in the back of his mouth.  :(  I gave it to him and I thought for sure he was going to throw it back up.  He was gagging and crying and I felt like the bad guy.  He kept saying over and over, "I wish there was no such thing as this stuff!"  Poor little dude.

A few minutes later, they had us put him in the bed-on-wheels and accompany Rohan down to Pre-Op.  As we laid him in that bed and started walking alongside it, I got very worried.  Rohan just laid there with his eyes shut and I thought he had fallen asleep or something, but he wouldn't respond to me.  My mommy-instincts kicked in and I was feeling like yelling something at those people demanding to know what they did to my son.  I don't know why he wouldn't respond, but once we got into Pre-Op and the bed stopped moving, Rohan opened his eyes and acted more normal.  After wiping more of his medicine-laced spit out of his mouth, he started being chatty... something he hadn't been all morning.  And by the time they were getting him ready to wheel away to surgery, he was relaxed and being downright funny.  Punch-drunk, indeed...

As they wheeled him away, awake, alert and alone, my heart wanted to bust out of my chest.  I had no idea what a hard thing that would be to send him off with strangers to go to sleep and be operated upon.  Ugh.  I was so glad, again, that Dustin was there with me.  My baby was alone and, although the rational part of me knew that this was a fairly minor surgery and he would be just fine, the mother-part of me was in anguish and I wanted to cry for my little Rohan.

Off to the waiting room we went.  As we walked in and found some seats, we noticed a horrible noise that permeated the room.  It must have been something to do with the HVAC system, a high, ear-piercing whine.  I had brought a book that I had just checked out at the library, but I wasn't going to read with Dustin sitting there by me with nothing to do.  But, he was going crazy at the sound and I had brought my iPod with me, so I let him put in the earphones and drown out the awful squealing noise.  I was able to ignore it a little easier than he, so I tried to read a book.  It was hard to care about this fictional story when my baby was asleep in surgery somewhere not far from me.

The hour crawled by and finally, the doctor came to the door and brought us into a little room where he told us that Rohan did great and that he would probably wake in ten or fifteen minutes.  He told us that someone would direct us to day surgery in a few minutes.

And we waited a little more.

Finally we were called down and when we got there, there was no one at the desk to tell us where Rohan was.  We waited for a few minutes before we heard Rohan screaming not far from us.  We followed the cry and went into where he was, rather hysterically, waking from his general anesthesia.  He calmed a little at the site of us, but he was very upset and kept saying his hand (where he had an IV wrapped in gauze... too tightly, I might add) and his incision site were hurting.  He kept trying to pull off the gauze on his wrapped hand and kept complaining of it all hurting.  It was very sad, but I felt better.  It was over and he was there and crying to his parents and we could hold him and try to comfort him.

After a few minutes, the nurse brought some pain medicine.  He didn't want to drink it, remembering the last thing he had to drink, but this one didn't taste near as bad and he got to chase it with apple juice.  It took a little time for the pain meds to kick in, and Dustin held him while I hummed lullabies in his ear, just like when he was a baby.  Soon he was asleep and Dustin and I breathed a sigh of relief. 

He slept for about 45 minutes and the nurse made us wake him up.  I was worried, but he woke, had some apple juice and started being cute and chatty.  He was such a champ!  He was more or less back to his normal self and he was very happy when he got to have his I.V. taken out.

We were discharged not long after that and went straight to Target to buy him a prize for being so brave.  When we told him this, he said he shouldn't get a prize because he wasn't brave.  He thought that crying about the nasty medicine he had to drink and crying when he woke from the general disqualified him from the "brave" category.  My heart melted.  This boy is so easy to love.  We assured him that he was, indeed, brave and we went and picked out two "Bakugan" toys... something he's had his eye on for a while.

A few more stops at stores and two vomit-sessions for Rohan and we were home.  He didn't want any more pain medication because he didn't want to throw up and I was worried that he would be hurting too much.  Amazingly, he didn't complain ONCE and he never took anymore meds.  Not even Tylenol.  He lounged around with his dad and watch movies all day and he's been completely and totally normal ever since!  He often needs reminding to take it easy and not run and jump around. 

I love my little Rohan and I'm so relieved that this ordeal was over so quickly and relatively painlessly!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Friday's Fabulous Five

It's been a while, but I'm trying to make a comeback!

Here's a bit of fabulousness for my Friday...

1- We got the report from our tax man today.  It was good.  Very good.  I ♥ refunds...

2- Something that's tickled my mind with worry for the last several years will not be a worry anymore after next Tuesday.  Although I'll still worry until probably Wednesday, I'm happy to have an end in sight.

3- My parents adopted a dog.  She's awesome... a year old Irish Wolfhound/Greyhound mix.  She's beautiful and sweet and big and wonderful and she lives at my parents' house, not mine.  Dustin and my kids all have been wanting a dog, but I flatly refused telling them we're having our own little "puppy" soon.  Now, they all have their dog-wish satiated without actually having a dog.  Thank you mom and dad...my family thanks you too.

4- Books.  I've been reading lots and lots of books.  Love them.  The Hunger Games and it's sequel, Catching Fire were fast, fun reads.  I read both of those twice and anxiously await the third book in August.  The Traveler, which I've read before but it's been a while, and it's sequel, The Dark River, which I'm reading right now (also read before).  These two are a set of a trilogy, you see, and the third one came out last fall and I wanted to refresh my memory before I read this last one.  So, I have the third one, The Golden City, waiting for me to read (that series is written by John Twelve Hawks, if anyone is interested).  I also read The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale.  Loved it!  Love her style.  I ♥ books.

5- Baby.  Baby is coming.  Baby is coming SOON!!  Part of me hesitates to put this on here because, while it is a completely fabulous thing, I'm a little bit anxious about it.  My due date looms just 5 1/2 weeks away.  That's freakin' crazy!  But, I'm excited to meet this little person who will rock our family's world for a few months while we settle in to getting to know each other.  And the birth of this baby will also mean the end of my being pregnant.  And let's just say that I'm getting to that point where labor is starting to sound better than pregnancy.  So, bring on the contractions, baby!  (in a few weeks.... not just yet as you need to bake a little longer!)

Happy Friday!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

A Farewell and A Homecoming

Dustin's has an aunt named Gloria. On the 16th of January her kids threw her and her husband a party for their birthdays.  Gloria turned 70 and Gale, her husband, turned 85.  I debated on whether or not to go to the party... it was in Salt Lake... and finally decided not to go.  I told Dustin he should drive our van (which is "my" car since I usually have the kids with me) because his car had been acting terrible.

Terrible is an understatement.  This little Nissan that he drove has always had "issues".  We bought if from my sister and her husband a few years ago... maybe 3 years... and it came with issues.  Hence, the $500 price tag that they sold it to us for.  It was a cute little Nissan Sentra with some electrical problems.  When we bought the car, Josh warned us of a few known "issues":
  • The wiper switch doesn't work.  It's been bypassed and there's a toggle switch that is down below the steering wheel for the wipers. 
  • The wipers only have one speed.  Slow.  Not intermittent, but slow.  
  • The wipers will turn off the moment you turn off the toggle switch, meaning, if the wipers are mid-windshield, they will stop there.  You have to time the "turning off" while the wipers are at the bottom of the windshield.  
  • The blower for the heating/AC system only works on one setting: High.  If you have the AC on, put it on defrost and you won't freeze.  (unless you have backseat passengers... they WILL freeze, but the driver and passenger will be in good shape!)
  • Oh yeah, and the dome light doesn't work.  
  • And, sometimes the dash lights don't work but if you ball up your fist and hit the dash in a certain sweet spot, they will usually come back on. 
  • And lastly we were warned very seriously, "DO NOT ADJUST THE TILT ON THE STEERING WHEEL.  IT WILL ARC."
  • Arc?
  • Awesome.
So, a $500 check was written, warnings were heeded and we were happy customers.  The issues we were warned about became routine.  We got used to the quirks of the car.  When we bought the car it had about 116,000 miles on it.  I think Dustin drove it for about three years.  His trip to Salt Lake would have rolled it over the 180,000 mile mark.  $500 for three years and about 64,000 miles?  Not bad, I say.

But, as the years passed, the list of "issues" grew longer.

  • The first time I drove the little car anywhere (which was when we had it about 2 weeks) the alternator died.  I love being a girl, who knows nothing about cars and getting stranded two hours away from home on a country road.  Thank goodness for cell phones.  This was an easy fix for my husband who DOES know about cars.  And it was nice because it broke down not too far from where my childhood friend, Beth, lived and she came and picked me up and we had a nice visit until Dustin arrived.  Bonus!
  • After a while, the car started to burn more oil.  And we had to check it often. 
  • Last summer the AC stopped working all together.  We never figured out why and my poor hubby just had a nice hot ride to and from work. (which is a 30 mile commute... poor, sweaty Dustin.)
  • Also last summer the fan blower, which only worked on high, stopped working at all.  So, no air would move through the car.  It does have windows that (thankfully) are not electronic... the windows would roll down.  So, that wasn't such a problem until winter came.  As you might guess, heaters are important in a car in Idaho... not just heaters, but blowers for the heaters.  So, Dustin hard-wired the blower so it was on ALL THE TIME.  You couldn't turn it off if you wanted to.  
  • The dash lights that used to work with that magic fist pounding stopped turning on, even when you hit the dash til your fist hurt.
  • The oil, which we thought was burning, was actually coming out of the exhaust somewhere.  The back of his car would get BLACK with oil.  It was gross and made for some very interesting misadventures while trying to get into the trunk.
  • Just recently, the ever-temperamental dash lights started working again... without any fist-intervention.  We don't know why.  But that was a nice feature for a little while.
  • Oil consumption (or leakage, as the case may be) went through the roof during the last year we owned this little car.  I'm embarrassed to say how much oil had to be added on a regular basis.  Like every time you filled up the gas tank!  (it rhymes with "due ports")
We knew that the end was near for Dustin's trusty little car.  That was why I asked him to drive our van, which is much more reliable.  He wouldn't do it and he set out on his adventure to Salt Lake which I had a certain feeling would end with him on the side of the road and me loading up our three kids and driving down to rescue him.

My intuition proved correct.  He had been gone about an hour and a half when I got a call.

"Hi honey.  I don't know if I'm going to make it to Salt Lake... I'm hearing knocking noises from my engine."

Even I, a girl who knows nothing about cars, knows that knocking in your engine is not a good noise.

"Uh oh," I reply.

"Yeah," he continues.  "I think I'm going to turn around and see if I can limp along the old highway going slow and make it back home."

"Ok," I say.  "Do you think you can make it?"

"Maybe.  I'm not sure though.  I pulled over and added another quart of oil when I first heard the knocking.  We'll see if it does any.... OH CRAP!  NOPE!  THERE IT GOES!" he nearly shouted.


"There was a very bad noise.  I just threw a rod or sucked a valve or something bad.  I've got white smoke.  I hope I can make it to the gas station I just passed," he stated.  "I'll call you in a bit and let you know."

"Okay, love."  I reply dubiously.  "Shall I load up the kids in the van?"

"Yep... you better get ready to come and get me."

Sometimes I hate it when I'm right.  I jumped in the shower and got the kids ready.  Meanwhile, Dustin called back and forth to me with various plans.  Our mechanic/lawyer friend (funny combo, I know!) had offered to bring a tow dolly and tow Dustin back home.  That would be nice for me... not having to go down and pick him up or hire a tow truck to tow the car.  Complications arose with that plan and it didn't work out.  Other plans were discussed and discarded.  Finally it was decided. 

The car was not worth putting another engine in or even rebuilding it.  All the other "issues" made the car a headache that we were happy to unload.  Dustin called a wrecker and told him that he'd trade him the title of the car for the cost of towing it.  I drove down to Dustin, title in hand, suitcase packed and picked Dust up.  He signed the title, left it on the seat of the car where it awaited the wrecker.  We all proceeded to go to Salt Lake City and shop for a new-used car in the "big city".

And we found one.

And so I now say farewell to the little Nissan that served us so well for the meager $500 price tag.

And I say hello to an old-but-new-to-us 1996 Volvo 850.  My brother-in-law, Josh, works at a car dealership.  They had just gotten this one in on trade and it was one of those cars you hope you can buy if you're buying used and trying to keep it fairly cheap.  This car was very clean and meticulously maintained by a single owner throughout it's life.  The old man who owned it was obsessive in the care of this car.  Records were kept and kept well.  We had a 10 page printout of service records... oil changes every 2500 miles, new timing belt at 70,000 miles... if this car hiccuped, this old man brought it to the dealership for inspection.  There was only 90,000 miles on this car.  And, because my bro-in-law is the BEST, we got a screamin' deal on it, way under book value.

Thanks also to my in-laws who loaned a portion of the cost of the car so we could avoid financing.  We will pay them back this month when we get our tax refund and we will own this car without having to pay any interest!  :-)  Hooray!

And my favorite part about this car?  Dustin loves it.  He feels good in it.  It's an energy shift for him to drive something he feels good driving.  It's got a stock sound system, but apparently what comes stock in Volvo is pretty good because Dustin has been blown away that a radio can actually sound good!  He's made me laugh countless times with his marveling over the sound of his new car's radio. 

Our trip to Salt Lake ended happily (as happy as you can be spending a few thousand dollars on a car!).  I didn't want to drive home in separate cars, but we didn't have much choice.  But, my ever-loving and ever-adored husband gave his very pregnant wife a special treat... he let me drive the new(ish) Volvo and he took all the kids in the van.  Three hours of quiet, no arguing kids, no requests for water or food, no "Mom I need to pee!"... Just me and the Volvo's booming stereo....  Heaven!!!