Sunday, September 28, 2008

Just hanging out

Hello, it's Ruth again. Jenna is in her own room and doing well. Now that she has her own private room, someone has to be with her 24 hrs. a day. So, this makes things a little interesting, but we've got child care figured out for the next few days. Tom is not feeling well, so basically we've just shipped Camden & Mackenzie off with friends from church for a couple days, and Trevin is here at the hospital with me & Jenna. So far all is going well. I don't really have much of an update on Jenna for today yet since the doctor stopped by just as I was getting in the shower, so they've got to come back in a while. I'll let you know any news.

There's an activity room just around the corner from Jenna's room which has a computer, so I'm using that right now, but it's only open certain hours.

Gotta run!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

quick update

This is Ruth's sister. She has asked me to give an update on Jenna, since she is having trouble with access to a computer at the hospital. Jenna was moved to special care unit yesterday afternoon, and did fine all through the afternoon and night. They are getting ready to move her to a regular room today. Her blood cultures have been coming back normal, which means there is no infection in her body. They are still waiting on test results for her parathyroid gland to determine the cause of her low calcium. They are still giving fluids through the IV, but she is doing well, and is in good spirits. Will update when there is more information, but they are planning on keeping her for at least a couple more days to get results back and give a treatment plan. Thanks for your prayers.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Medical Mysteries

Ok, I have ton to update! For those of you that may not know, Jenna is in the PICU (pediatric intensive care unit) at Children's Hospital in Birmingham. It's such a LONG story of what all has happened since I posted about going to the ER Tues. night. It's way too much to type, but I will give you the somewhat short version. Be warned, though, it's still a long post....

Wed. morning Jenna was fine and seemed to be back to herself. But, as the day wore on, we could tell she was getting more & more tired. She fell asleep on the couch & when my mom woke her to see if she wanted to go lay on her bed, she was warm again, so my mom took her temp & it was 104. So we started alternating tylenol & motrin every few hours. Skip ahead a few hours....she started complaining of stomach pain Wed. evening. I ended up holding her in my lap & as time passed, she complained more & more of her stomach and got to the point where she was screaming & kicking her legs in pain. It was pretty obvious how much pain she was in, so my mom and I decided to head to Children's Hospital here in B'ham to see what was going on. Of course she fell asleep on the way, and when we got here, she said nothing hurt anymore. I won't even go into all that, but basically we were here until around 2:30 a.m. then headed back home with no more answers to anything. Let me mention real quick that we brought Trevin with us so that I could feed him as needed....poor kid!

Let me also mention as a side note that I never got to tell you that Camden was at the dr's office Monday for a sore throat....dr. said his tonsils were big, but didn't look too badly infected. I had to go have a chest & neck X-ray done to rule out pneumonia & check on an enlarged lymph node in his neck. He received an antibiotic shot at the office, then a prescription for antibiotics as well. By Tuesday he was back to himself, and is doing fine on his medication. So, back to Wednesday....when Mackenzie got home from school, she was real quiet, eventually I took her temp, she was running a 101 fever, so I gave her a dose of tylenol. She also mentioned her throat hurt, which for her almost always means she has strep! The tylenol kicked in & she felt much better.

So, back to Jenna....we got back home around 3:15 a.m., put her to bed, I fed Trevin, and mom and I headed to bed. A little before 6 a.m., my mom burst into my room letting me know that Jenna was having another episode. I ran into the hallway where my dad was holding her. She was pretty stiff, and was starting with the saliva coming out her mouth. At least this time I kinda knew what was going on, so Tom grabbed a shirt, and we drove ourselves to the hospital instead of waiting for an ambulance. It was so discouraging to me have this happen twice so close together!! This time, though, I kept asking Jenna on the way to the hospital if she could talk to me & tell me if something hurt, and she just shook her head "no". That kinda scared me that she knew what I was asking & it was like she couldn't talk to me!!

In the ER, she finally opened her mouth & talked to me. She was just real tired. But, they did pretty much the same stuff they had Tues. night when we were there, but also decided to do a CT scan. While we waited on those results, the mother in me kicked in & I started to formulate a plan on how to get Mackenzie to a clinic to get her checked for strep, get Trevin fed, and also be with Jenna! Just as I made phone calls to my mom to get everything arranged, the dr. came in & said they saw a small suspicious spot on her CT scan, so they wanted to transport her to Children's Hospital where they knew she would get the best care & figure out what was going on. So, I immediately called my mom back & said scrap the plan we had just made. I immediately made a new plan, which consisted of Tom going home & it would now be his job to get Mackenzie to a doctor. My mom was to get ready & get Trevin ready & meet me back at the hospital. She would ride in the ambulance with Jenna & I would follow behind with Trevin since I knew where I was going.

Let me mention before I forget that Mackenzie is now on antibiotics & doing better :)

So now forward to the ER at Children's yesterday morning. Things are a bit jumbled in my head because so much happened, but the basic info is that they ran a bunch of tests on her blood, did another CT scan, did X-rays of her chest again, & took a urine sample. Early on they discovered her calcium levels were very low. They also think she might have calcium deposits that they're seeing on her CT scan. There is also a possibility that she has an infection of some kind throughout her body. It could be in her blood (sepsis? I think is what the term was), or even possibly partially treated meningitis. Anyways, the low calcium was very concerning to them, so in an effort to start somewhere, they decided to start treatment to get her levels up. They started an IV of calcium & said she had to be monitored closely while on that. During this entire time, my mom was with me in her room w/Trevin so that again, I could feed him when needed. While Jenna was on the calcium drip, I ran her medical records to the pediatrician's office down the street (another story for another day!!!) and before I got back, I got a call from the ER doctor saying I needed to get back because they were concerned about some of the labs coming back. SO, I ran all the way from the parking garage to the ER. When I got there, they said they had taken her to get some more X-rays of her stomach to check for possible kidney stones. I think that those ended up being fine. But, they decided they wanted to do a spinal tap to check for infection, so I had to sign a release so they could do that. In the meantime, they decided that they wanted to admit her to the PICU until they could figure out what all was going on. Basically, they said a lot of the things they were seeing could be caused by the calcium being so low, but some of the stuff they saw (not exactly sure what) didn't really match up with a low calcium problem.

Ok, let me make another side note. My dad & Tom & our associate pastor from church were in the process of moving us out of our apartment yesterday, so as my mom & I were in B'ham at the ER, we had 3 guys in charge of moving us! No offense to any guys reading this, but you all probably know Tom, and the thought of him moving all our stuff out is pretty scary. I'll be lucky to find anything when I get to the new house! So this was in the back of my mind while all this at the hospital was going on.

Finally around 3 p.m. they got Jenna admitted into the PICU. They continued giving her calcium in her IV, and eventually wanted her to eat a bunch of tums!! They told her she could eat as many as she wanted! She's been in the PICU since then. She is doing well...her fever finally broke at some point because she's not hot today. Right now they are still working on the calcium problem. They're not giving her any more calcium through an IV, they're hoping to get her levels up the last little bit with food. Once they do that, they're still trying to figure out WHY her levels are so low. They think her para-thyroid (not sure on the spelling) gland is not functioning properly. Once they get that figured out they can look into whether she has an infection in her body. But they are giving her antibiotics through IV for 48 hours to see if that improves her bloodwork.

They are also waiting for a bed to open up in the special care unit & then she'll be moved out of the PICU into that. Basically it's a step down from PICU, but not into the "normal" wing yet. At least we're making progress.

One last side note about the seizures....they are thinking now that they may not have been febrile seizures, but rather something called Tetnies I think. I'm not good at all the medical jargon yet, but tetnies is where your muscles tense up & you would see more of a stiffening of a person's body from the muscles tensing & untensing. Hope that makes sense. But, I would tend to believe that more just because with both episodes, nobody ever saw her "seizing" per say. It definitely looked more like how they described the tetnies...she would stiffen & be unresponsive. Either way, it was completely scarey. But they did say low calcium could cause that.

Well, I've gotta run & get back up to be with Jenna. I can not use my cell phone in the PICU, so I have not been able to call many people. I will do my best to update on here when the PICU is closed to visitors. I think we're without internet at home, so using the computer here at the hospital is looking like my best option right now.

Keep praying for us! We're all doing OK and I have my moments where I break down, but I really am OK, and I've been good about asking for help when it's needed.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The ER

Unfortunately, we had a trip to the ER with Jenna last night. As we were getting ready to go to bed last night (around 11:00 p.m.), my dad went into the bedroom (same bedroom where Jenna & Camden were sleeping) and heard one of the kids gasping for air. At first we thought it was Camden since he has been coughing & is sick (more on that later). His first question was "Is he breathing right?" My mom and I quickly came down the hallway & tried to figure out what was going on. My mom realized it wasn't Camden, but Jenna, so I knelt down beside her to see what was wrong. I saw something coming from her mouth, and yelled "something's not right." We turned the light on to see that she had bitten her tongue & had saliva just coming out of her mouth. I quickly picked her up in my arms & started yelling her name, to which her eyes opened, but she was not responding. She was breathing, but she didn't respond. I yelled again "something's wrong, mom! something's wrong!" My mom was right beside me & agreed, so she yelled to Tom who was sleeping in the next room that something was wrong with Jenna. He came running & we told him to call 911. He went to grab a phone, meanwhile, I carried Jenna out to the living room on the couch. Her eyes continued to stay open while my mom just kept telling me to make sure we didn't let her fall asleep. But, she still didn't respond to us. I was getting more & more scared because it was just eerie looking at my little girl in my arms with her big brown eyes open & just like she couldn't even see me or hear me. Tom got a hold of 911 & told them to send an ambulance right away. While we waited for the ambulance, we just continued to keep Jenna's eyes open & slowly she at least seemed like she could hear us, but she still didn't really respond to us other than turning her head a little to our voices. It seemed like it was taking quite a while for the ambulance to get here, so we headed down to the van to just take her to the hospital ourselves because I couldn't stand to watch Jenna like this. As we were pulling away from our apartment, the police showed up with a fireman, and then finally the ambulance. As time went on, Jenna seemed to be coming around bit by bit. She would look at me, then start to shake her head to questions a little, and finally by the time we put her in the back of the ambulance she was actually awake & aware of what was going on. She was obviously a little scared & confused about the ambulance but did good. They checked her vitals & everything & she was OK, so we headed to the hospital. I rode in the ambulance while Tom and my mom followed behind. The nurse said at that point that from everything we had told them, that she was pretty sure Jenna had had a febrile seizure.

On the way there, she vomited, but otherwise did OK. Once we got to the hospital, she talked for the first time to one of the nurses. What a relief! From here, the short version of our couple hours stay is that they drew blood, took a urine sample, took an X-ray, and did a strep test. Everything came back pretty much OK...the strep test was negative, her fever was fairly low grade (about 100.1), the bloodwork looked fine, other than the fact that I guess she's anemic, her urine sample was fine, and the X-ray showed a small amount of pneumonia in her right lung. So, the doctor said that he does think she had a febrile seizure, which is fairly common in children. They gave her another dose of motrin for the low grade fever, gave her a shot of antibiotics, and then we were able to come back home. We also have a prescription for more antibiotics. She finished out the night just fine, and is not running a fever this morning thankfull!

I will post more later about Camden, but I ran out of time here & I've gotta run to get Mackenzie to school!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Our stuff is in

We made it through the day yesterday. The moving truck didn't arrive until around 11:00 a.m. And once it got here, some decisions had to be made. They couldn't drive on the driveway since it hadn't cured long enough yet. After much deliberation (and many phone calls b/w our agent, our relocation company contact, and the driver's boss) they decided to pull into our neighbor's driveway and come across the dirt with our stuff onto our driveway. (You could walk on the driveway)
So they got a slow start, but once they got into the "groove" they were on a roll. I started out marking box numbers, but it got too hard to mark numbers & tell them where stuff went, so my dad took over marking numbers, which was a challenge since he couldn't always understand their southern accent, and he needs a hearing aid :)

Good thing the basement is big! It got to be a standing joke for the moving guys that everything went to the basement. You see, it wasn't very easy to get to the basement. It's all dirt around the side of the house to get down around back. It's bumpy since the landscaping didn't get done. But they were troopers & took stuff down there. Since the bonus room isn't done and Tom decided he wanted everything that used to be in our garage up north down in the basement, there was LOTS to go down there. Unfortunately there was lots to go in the house, too! Tom has been saying all along that we built way too big a house. Well, when he saw the house after everything was moved in, he realized the house wasn't so big after all!

So, the work begins today, really! We'll be headed up after we finish breakfast to start arranging stuff & unpacking what we can, put blinds up, do little things the builder should have had done, and just talk some more about what needs to be sold in a garage sale!!!! :) (like all the SLEDS!! But, who's gonna buy those??)

Friday, September 19, 2008

A big day

Well, I wish today was THE big day, as in moving day. It's kinda moving day, but not the one I want. Today is the day all of our stuff that's been in storage is being delivered to the new house. Now you would think that probably means things are looking good at the new house, but that's not exactly the case :)

My parents & my sister all arrived safely, so we're all cozy in our apartment. Things are not done at the new house, but I refused to re-schedule the delivery of our stuff. Partly due to the cost of having it stored, and partly because this is the date we set, and dog-gone it, things should have been done. Should be an interesting day is all I can say.

Here's a quick rundown of the past couple days...
-Concrete did not get poured until Wednesday afternoon
-the electrician claims he's done all he can do before we're actually hooked up w/power
-the plumber has not finished everything he has to do
-the carpeting IS done
-the hardwood floor is NOT completely done
-the back deck is done except for stairs
-lots of the "little" stuff is NOT done (door knobs, door stops, bathroom mirrors & accessories, closet & pantry shelves, and NO cleaning really)
-the driveway is poured, but it's supposed to cure for 72 hrs. before it's driven on...kinda hard for that to happen this close to moving in. The carpet guy had to drive on it yesterday to get the carpet to our house. The moving truck will have to park on the street I guess to move our stuff - this should be interesting!!!

There are lots of other things I could talk about, but I've gotta run to finish getting ready for the day. I will try to post either tonight or tomorrow with how our day went, but just wanted to give everyone a quick rundown of the week.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


I decided to call the power company myself today to find out what I could about when power might be hooked up. I thought maybe I could give them my "sob" story about being in a 2 bedroom apartment with 4 kids, etc. WELL, long story short, the only engineer left here in town who is taking care of getting this stuff done goes to our church! I had no idea!!! I told him our situation and the urgency of getting out of this apartment, and he had a couple pieces of information that he needed, so I told him I'd find out the info & get back to him. When he gave me his name, I kinda laughed to myself & asked if he went to Cropwell Baptist. He said yeah, and I told him we had just joined a couple weeks ago. Then he said he kept wondering where he had seen our name before, then he laughed cuz he's a deacon and said he had seen it on the new member list. SO, he understands our situation, and is gonna do everything he can to get us hooked up with power ASAP. He said he can probably get someone out early next week. Which is still a bummer, but it's better than what they originally told me over the phone today which was that it would be 2-3 weeks, and I just about freaked out cuz we have to be out of our apartment at the end of the month!! So, anyways, continue praying that we get everything worked out quickly!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Quick update

Just a quick order for us to be able to move in next weekend we need to get power hooked up. In talking to our builder yesterday & today, it looks like supposedly everything else will be done except getting power hooked up. And that is out of his hands. Looks like the power company has sent most everyone down south to help with the hurricane victims. So, they only have a minimum crew here, and they're working on things on a priority basis. Evidently we're low on the priority list. So, if for some reason they can get to us, we might get to us this week, but I guess it doesn't look promising. Please PRAY that they might somehow get us hooked up this week!!!!

Otherwise here's a rundown of what all is supposedly gonna get done this week:
-retaining wall on the side of the house
-cement work - driveway, front porch, back patio
-steps in garage & front steps
-finish up electrical work
-finish up plumbing
-finish up HVAC (if we get power)
-back deck built
-mirrors hung in bathrooms
-shelves & "stuff" in closets/pantries
-finish tile work & grout
-hardwood floor
-finish up landscaping
-our stuff from storage will be delivered FRIDAY!!!

I think that's it....we'll see if it all actually happens!!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

There's lots going on around here! Mostly stress!! Please pray for me (us) as we are in the final stages of trying to get into our new house. It seems to me like there is an awful lot to be done in a short amount of time. Our builder told us yesterday that we may have run into a snag as far as getting power at the house. Long story short, the wife of the guy who is supposed to do the power may have had a heart attack yesterday. If the doctors find that she did, then this will delay us getting power by possibly a week, which means the house will NOT be done on time. SO, hopefully this guy's wife did not have a heart attack, and he will be able to get this done today or Monday.

Secondly, they're supposed to pour more concrete Monday, but that's only if it doesn't rain. So, again, please pray it DOES NOT rain Monday, otherwise, this holds up stuff getting done in the house.

Let me mention here that our stuff is scheduled to be delivered next Friday the 19th. If things don't fall into place I have no idea what is going to happen with this schedule. We had to let the moving company know 3 wks. in advance when we wanted our stuff delivered, so I'm not sure we can just move the date easily. Along with that, my parents are coming down to help us move and they arrive next Wednesday. My sister is also coming and she arrives next Thursday. So, as you can see, we need lots of prayers that all the details work out & we can get into the house Friday as planned.

So, now back to the stressful things going on...
We have a water bill issue. We got the latest bill for the water usage at the new house, and it was $1500!! It claims we used like 548,000 gallons of water. I can't remember the exact number, but anyways, it's absurd. We have tried to get the water company to work with us to figure out the problem, but all they want to do is adjust the bill for us this once down to $400, which is nice IF I thought the bill was legitimate. For some reason, they don't believe us that there's no way we could have used that much water! It would mean that we left the water running for at least an entire week. Impossible since we are at the house almost every day & obviously would have noticed if the water was running!

We also are waiting to hear back from the storage people where our stuff is being stored. Now they're telling us a completely different price than before and it's like $2000 more. If this is the case, we're gonna be bankrupt by the time we get moved into our house! AGGHHH!

Now in other news, Mackenzie got her 1st progress report of the year from school. Looks like she takes after her mom :) She has 100's in everything so far, and she's gotten 100% on all of her tests each week, too. But, funny thing (well funny to me)...every day the teacher sends home a folder with her "grade" for the day, and up until yesterday, she'd gotten A+ every day. Well, yesterday she got an A- because it said she didn't follow directions & she didn't finish her classwork. When I asked to see her folder yesterday she didn't want to show it to me, and then she buried her head in the couch & just sobbed for like 20 minutes!! She was so upset that she didn't get an A+! She was way more upset than I was! In all honesty, I didn't really care much because obviously we can't all be perfect every day, and it wasn't that she was disruptive or disrespectful in class or anything. I finally got her settled down & told her not to worry too much about it. There will be days when she doesn't finish her work, and she just needs to do her best and try harder the next day. I told her I wasn't upset with her, and unless she started getting "bad" grades every day, then we'd talk more about it.

And lastly, I thought I'd share a couple funny things Jenna has said lately:

"Mom, when are you gonna be a grandma?"

"I think the baby likes me because I have brown eyes like him"

I guess that's it for now. Don't forget to PRAY for us in the next few days!! Thanks!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Pictures below

I posted some new pictures in the next 2 posts. But, I also wanted to give you a quick update on my day yesterday (which was after my terrible day Tuesday). I had to run a bunch of errands again yesterday, which included going to Birmingham to pick out granite slabs for our kitchen countertops. Overall, the day went OK, but on the way home, I ended up getting a flat tire along the interstate!!!! Normally it's not that big of a deal since I've changed so many flat tires in my day, but this is the 1st time I've had to do it on the gray mini van. Some nice guy pulled over to help which was nice. We had a heck of a time figuring out how to get the spare tire off. What an ordeal. I might mention that I had just gone to Sam's Club as well, so the back of the van was full of stuff which had to be unloaded to get to the spare. I even had a kitchen sink that I had picked up for the new house :)

But, in the end, it got changed and I headed home. So, you be the judge....was it a better day than the day before?? Today was MUCH better. I had an eye dr. appt, then got to take a nap this afternoon. Yeah!!

Ok, go check out the pictures

Kid pictures

Here are some recent pictures of the kids:

Tom was sitting around relaxing, while I for some reason had all 4 kids gathered around me....

Although it's a little hard to tell, Jenna has been making quite the fashion statement with her clothes lately. Here she is wearing a green shirt, blue shorts, and her socks pulled all the way up:

Sweet Trevin:

Mackenzie does a GREAT job taking care of Trevin. He is so good when she holds him (he cries when Jenna holds him usually), and tonight he was just staring at her while she held him:

House pics

So here's some up to date house pictures as promised:

The kitchen cabinets:

The dining room:

The girls' bedroom:

The kids' bathroom (rubber duck theme again):

The boys' bedroom:

The master bedroom:

The front of the house:

The back of the house:

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

I just need to vent!

Today was one of those days....
I (Ruth) had a very frustrating day today. I had an appt. to take our van in to get a part replaced on it this morning. They told me it would take a 1/2 hour to do it, so I said I would wait there while they did it. I showed up at 10:30 for my appt. and waited. And waited, and waited, and waited. I didn't end up leaving until after 12:30!!!!! Did I mention I had 3 kids with me? They did very well, though. Unfortunately I was pretty furious.

From there, I had to run some errands, stop by the new house to drop stuff off and sign papers, then stop at home long enough to change a couple diapers then head off to a dr's appt. at 3:15. I stopped at a drive-thru for lunch, and unfortunately Camden didn't have time for a nap before going to the dr. with me.

The dr's appt was with a family doctor that was recommended to me. I wanted to meet with one to discuss my gall bladder issues and medication for my UTI. Anyways, we showed up at 3:15, and didn't get called back to the exam room until 5:20!!! Once again, did I mention I had 3 kids with me?? Once we got to the exam room, we waited another 10 minutes or so. Camden fell & bumped his head, but luckily got right back up & was busy again. I, on the other hand, couldn't take any more. I started crying. I was so sick of sitting around waiting today! Basically I had spent 4 hours of my life with 3 kids sitting around doing absolutely NOTHING but waiting. I felt like people had no respect whatsoever for my time. I'm normally a pretty patient person, but this was ridiculous. As for the doctor's office, I felt like what was the point in making an appointment when they were no where near close to being on time??? Couldn't someone have called me to tell me they were running this far behind?

So back to my I was crying the doctor walked in. She asked if I was OK, and if my stomach hurt. I said, no, I've just been sitting around here for 2 hours with 3 little kids. She apologized. She seemed surprised that I had had that long of a wait. She claims it was a very busy day since yesterday was a holiday & they had been closed. Who knows...but anyways, she was able to give me a prescription that I can take that will allow me to still nurse Trevin (the one the ER doctor gave me would come throuh my milk), and she was also able to look at my ultrasound from the ER and she recommended I have my gall bladder taken out to avoid any further complications. I actually like that idea so that I don't have to continually worry about more attacks. BUT, for now I'm gonna try to hold off until October when we're all moved in to our house. Hopefully I won't have any more attacks between now & then. All in all, I actually REALLY liked the doctor. She was very personable (not sure if that's the word I'm looking for) and helpful. She just seems like she'd be easy to deal with. So, I'm torn....was she really worth the 2 hour wait?? There's no way I would want to wait that long every time I need to see a doctor. Maybe she was was just a very busy day & it's not normally that long of a wait. Who knows. Either way, she is setting up an appt. for me next week to meet with a surgeon and then we'll get surgery scheduled to get my gall bladder out.

In other news, we've hit a little delay in painting at our new house. LONG story short, we may have gotten bad primer. There are places where the paint is literally peeling off the walls. A rep from the paint company is meeting with our neighbor the painter tomorrow to see what's going on. But, in the meantime, the neighbor said he didn't want to do any more painting until we figured out the problem. Problem is, it's not like we can "start over", so we've got to fix the problem areas and move on. We've got deadlines to meet people! Did I mention that we're hoping to close on Sept. 19 and have our stuff delivered that afternoon?? So, hopefully painting will resume tomorrow and be finished by Thursday. Pray that it will get done!! I also should have mentioned that I actually had Tom watch all 4 kids part of the weekend so I could go paint at the house. I got the girl's room done, and the kids' bathroom.

I will post more pictures in the next few days. It's late tonight & I've got to get to bed. But, I did want to say that the kitchen cabinets are in! So now we can get the countertops ordered. Yeah! The siding is all done, too. We're hoping to get some of the landscaping done this week as long as we don't get rain from hurricane Gustav. We'll see...

Here's hoping tomorrow is a better day!