Thursday, January 5, 2012

Family Health Update : the good, the bad, and the ugly!

As usual, my family's health issues have kept me hopping over the past few weeks.  Here's the summary...

The good news is that Owen has been cleared by neurology.  This is great news for us.  For those who didn't know, Owen had a number of (what we thought) were seizures.  Trust me!  They looked like seizures.  I'm not altogether convinced that the first one he had in August while on vacation in Vancouver wasn't a seizure, but there were mitigating factors at the time.  The theory is that he's actually fainting, but that the lack of blood to the head makes him mimic seizure-like activity (ie-convulsing/stiffening).  This can be really scary to see, but it's better than the original diagnosis of epilepsy.   Owen is learning to recognize the signs when he's feeling faint and sit or lie down.  He comes by this honestly as both I, my mother, and sister are all fainters.  The bad news is that blood seems to be a big trigger for him, so unless something changes, we can rule out a medical profession for him :S

Felix's lip is healing beautifully (see previous post for info).  I'm actually amazed at how quickly it's healed.  He went to the dentist for an x-ray as they though he may have damaged the big front tooth coming in behind the baby tooth.  Everything looks good.  He chipped his upper, front, right tooth, and his bottom teeth are a little loose, but he, thankfully, didn't do any permanent damage.  At the end of the day we were pretty lucky.  Considering he landed smack on his face, it could have been much worse....

As for Mr. Emmett, he certainly gave us a scare this week.  He'd been running a temp for a number of days, so we went in to see our pediatrician.  She heard fluid in his lungs and sent us for an xray at CHEO as she suspected pneumonia.  The radiologist sent her a report the next day that said he had "pulmonary edema".  That means that they essentially though he was in a bit of congestive heart failure (not totally out of the realm of possibilities considering his cardiac history).  The office was, unfortunately very cryptic when talking to me, but I knew what they were thinking which led to some sleepless nights.  Our pediatrician followed up with Emmett's cardiologist who got another radiologist's opinion.  The second opinion was that "while his lungs are wetter than previous xrays, its more in line with a viral infection".   So essentially, they scared the sh¤} out of me, but it's likely just a cold!  We're keeping an eye on him, but he seems to be on the mend.

Both Dave and I have been battling something I can only describe as gastro-like.  I brought the new year in at home in bed.  Luckily Dave was able to get out to a friends house, so the evening wasn't a total bust.

So I guess that's the low-down on our health status.  Let's hope for a less eventful year!

Christmas Wrap-Up was a lovely Christmas on the home-front...minus a few gastro/respiratory type "hiccups".  We got our tree this year from a tree farm in the south end of the city.  I have to say tbat I was really pleased with our tree and would absolutely cut one down again (Dave may disagree).  It barely shed its needles, it lasted the whole season with only a few waterings, plus it looked great!  As an added bonus, we went with some good friends of ours and had a great time at the farm and afterwards at their place.  A great way to kick off the season!!

Here are a few pictures of the festivities:
The boys were great on Christmas morning.  They woke up at 06:30, which is pretty normal for them.  We were worried they would wake up WAY earlier...

One of our favourite gifts was a BEAUTIFUL scrapbook of our summer vacation in Vancouver sent by Mike and Glenda (Dave's brother and wife).  Here we are admiring it.

Emmett hid out under the kitchen table to play with his new toys while we prepped for Christmas brunch at our place with Dave's family.

We didn't get many pictures this year.  This is the only descent one of the tree.  We really need to take our camera out more often.

Felix was really into Christmas this year!  The boys school had a great fundraiser this year where the parents donated inexpensive or lightly used gifts.  The kids were then able to purchase gifts for their family for only a dollar or two.  They even had them wrapped by the grade 6's.  I thought it was a great way for the kids to learn about giving, about the value of money, plus the grade sixes raised money for their end of the year trip.  Everybody was a winner!

Here's Dave's brother Geoff and his fiancee Amy.  We're so happy for the newly engaged couple :)

GG (aka - great granny Peggy) admiring our gift to her.

Round two with my family just before heading out to Christmas dinner...

Emmett has discovered the joys of sledding!

The boys had a blast sledding!!  We didn't make it out too much because of the multiple bugs making their way through the house, but we made good use of the one day we were able to get out and have some fun.

I can't believe its all over for another year.  All the stress, and worry, and work for a few short days.  I hope the year ahead is a wonderful one for all our friends and family, and I can't wait to do it all again next year!!!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Round Three?? we are again...I'm a horrible blogger!  I want to be better, so I'm going to officially put my new years resolutions out there.  Maybe, by making it public, I'll actually follow through with a few.

So here they are:

1.  Obviously!  Blog more than once a year.  I'm aiming for twice a month, but we'll see how it goes :S
2.  Get healthy.  That may seem like a cliche as far as new years resolutions go, but I was really on a role before all of Owen's seizure stuff (that'll be a whole other post on its own!)  I need to get back too it, because I was feeling really good...
3.  I have very little control over this one, but I would really like to make less CHEO trips this year.  We're seriously considered frequent flyers in emerg at this point :S
4.  Organize my home.  That's a tall order, but any little bit will help.
5.  Finish my Critical Care Certificate at Algonquin.

I feel confident that I can knock a few of those off (or partially off) my list this year.  Hopefully I'll have a positive report in a years time...

I think Felix, however, felt pressure to get one more CHEO visit in before the new year.  He fell out of bed last night and must have fallen directly on his face.  He split his lower lip wide open!  Even I, with my medical background, had a hard time looking at it.  After a 4 hour trip to emerg in the middle of the night, Felix is ending the year with a bang (bwa-haha), and three stitches in his lip.  He was very brave, and they were able to do it without sedation.  He's on a soft diet until we can get him in to see the dentist as he has a "contusion" on his front, right tooth.  He's definitely enjoying his popsicle binge though!

 Felix before his stitches...and right after throwing up all over some lady's shoes :S

Felix with his stitched, swollen lips.  Can't take his eyes off his video game...

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Big Changes

I am a sucky blogger.  I constantly think up things to talk about, but never take the time to sit down and do it.  I think I'll have to make it a New Year's resolution to blog once a week...

So!  It's been busy in our house.  We had Owens parent-teacher interview at the end of October and his teacher doesn't think he should stay in early french immersion.  Owen currently goes to school from 1230-1500 and is only spoken to in French.  The english gets weaned in so that by grade 6/7 it's 50% french/50% english.

Owens current teacher is now the third teacher to tell us that this may not be the ideal program for him.  When they told us last year that he was "too easily distracted" for the program, I figured he was too young for them to be excluding him from trying.  We decided to give it a go.  A lot can change in a summer....

The thing is...I think he's feeling the pressure now.  He's now behind in his english stuff, and he's not getting any play time because he doesn't always understand whats being asked of him and therefor tends to be the last one done his work.  For those of you who don't know Owen, he's a bright boy with an extensive vocabulary who has an INSANELY inquisitive mind.  He's the last of my boys I though would be having any difficulties at school.

After our October interview, we thought we'd start doing homework every night and get him a tutor.  I changed my mind pretty quickly.  Owen is 5.  He's a baby!  He shouldn't be stressing about school and work and feeling inadequate because he's not "keeping up" with his classmates.  He's 5!!!  He should be excited to go to school, and see his friends, and learn, and PLAY!

After much deliberation, we have decided to switch him to St. Elizabeth's.  We were originally nervous about this school as it is considered an "inner city" school.  We met with the principal (who is fabulous by the way) and she absolutely put our fears to rest. 

As of January, Owen will be in the full day program there.  It's primarily english, but he'll still have 1/4 of the day in French.  They have middle immersion at this school as well, so if we're still there when he goes into grade 4, he won't have to change schools.  I also no longer have to worry about getting him prepared for his sacraments through our church as it will be done at school.  Yay!  The whole thing is just too perfect!

It's taken a while, and we're sad to leave his current school, but I think we've come to terms with the decision.  Even Owen is excited after he heard about the Smart screens that are in every classroom.  He asked me this week if he could switch schools NOW!

As usual...I've spent a countless amount of time and energy worrying about something that, in the end, I'm the only one stressing about it.  It's making decisions that affect my kids future that I find to be the toughest part of being a mom.

I'll write again soon!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Treading Water...

It's been almost a month since I posted because I've been drowning (not literally of course).  I don't know what it is, but I'm overwhelmed right now, and feeling a little paralyzed by everything in my life.  My house, my kids, my job....I feel like nothing is getting my full attention these days.

Thanks goodness for Sandra and my mom who listen to my complaints without judgment.

Today was a good day.  The kids and I got out this morning to St. Elizabeth's which has a Parenting and Literacy Centre.  We go to this catholic school in the mornings sometimes because it has a playgroup that runs from 8-12, Mon-Fri during the school year (closed during holidays and OCCSB P.A. days).  There are a few things that make it a wonderful program:

1.  You can bring kids aged 0-6 which means I can bring Owen (he's getting older now and not always welcome at other playgroups).
2.  On Tuesdays and Thursdays there is a 20 minute gym time which totally wears my kids out.
3.  They provide a healthy snack.
4.  Alice, the lady who runs this particular program, is a saint!  She knows EVERYTHING about ANYTHING child related.  She knows about different activities/playgroups in the area.  She gives out monthly newsletters with all kinds of ideas of things to do or make with the kids.  PLUS...she always gives me a hand with my three munchkins and they love her!
5.  It's FREE!!

I'm actually kind of reluctant to talk about it because I love it so much and don't want too many people showing up suddenly (not that more than a handful of people read this blog).  Alice and the school, however, have preserved my sanity on more than one occasion and I feel I owe it to those other moms out there who need OUT!

There are a bunch of Parenting and Family Literacy Centres in Ottawa.  Check out the website to find one near you :)

Thursday, September 23, 2010


After months and months of anticipation, worry, anger, frustration, and general over-the-top freaking out...Emmett's surgery is done.  It took all of an hour.

I wonder if it hadn't come on the heals of his heart issues whether I'd have been such a basket case.  I really was a basket case.  We noticed the bump early, and doctors seemed to want to ignore it.  I really fought to get an actual diagnosis.  I'm glad I did, but I'm a little frustrated that I had to fight so hard for it.

While its certainly not on the same level as his heart stuff, and in the end it was an elective surgery...I think it was the right thing to do.  It could have seriously interfered with the development of the bones in his skull.

The surgeon said it went really well.  They got it all and sent it for pathology (standard for anything they remove during surgery).  She said it looked like it was a dermoid cyst (as expected).  "What else would it be?" were her exact words.  I certainly could have given her a list of thoughts that had gone through my head as to what it could be...but I didn't want to look like a crazy person.

I think the hardest part for Emmett was the fasting.  He woke up from the surgery howling like a wild animal and wouldn't stop until he'd had two bottles of water, a popsicle, a bottle of milk, some juice, and a granola bar.  The nurses were less than impressed that he skipped ahead a few steps in the eating process (he was supposed to stay on clear fluids until this evening).  He didn't throw up though, and there really was no other way of consoling HA!

After that, he was happy as a clam.  We were home by lunchtime with a happy, though tired little man.  He has a dressing on his head which we can remove after a few days, and we return to see the surgeon at the end of October.

So that's it...I don't know what to do with myself...there are no surgeries on the horizon (knock on wood).  While parents of cardiac babies never really know what's coming next until it hits them, it's nice to have ticked off so many things on Emmetts health 'to do' list.

With any luck...that's the end of his time in the O.R. until he's a VERY old man!!!

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Sometimes, after nights like tonight, when I arrive home over an hour late from a shift because patients were heavy on the call-bell, I was bogged down with admissions and paperwork, and I feel like I ran around all night and accomplished nothing....I need to remind myself why I love being a nurse (and I usually do).

1.  It's NEVER boring.
2.  I have the privilege of being invited into peoples lives when they are at their most vulnerable.
3.  Once in a while, I feel like I actually made an impact on someones life.
4.  I learn something new every day that I go to work.
5.  I've got the best dinnertime topics for my non-medical friends and family.
5.  Nurses ROCK!  And I get to call them my friends :)

There's more, but I'm too worn out to think about it anymore.  My next installment will be titled:  Why I hate the inventor of the call-bell.