Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Magical Minivan of Wonders and Unusual Odors

Shortly after Iraq was born, I traded in my shiny, red Toyota Celica for a 2000 Toyota Sienna. Although I never saw myself as a minivan person prior to the purchase, I was quickly sold on the spaciousness and features of the cute little behemoth. Over the 7 years I drove it, it continued to be reliable no matter how many M&M's were melted into the carpets or drinks of various flavors and colors were spilled in it... but it did have it's own odor.

It was perfect for our needs in Texas, but since moving to Virginia we have found that the mountain pass my husband must travel to work can become more than a little dicey on early snowy winter mornings. Last winter we had a really fun and interesting adventure un-sticking his Toyota Camry from the snowbank in which it had become unwillingly incarcerated after sliding down an icy hill. It was stuck on it's poor belly like a kid over a barrel.

With 2 kids still in car seats and one teenager who simply doesn't fit between them on a bench seat, we needed a minivan with all-wheel or 4-wheel drive. Toyota makes an AWD Sienna, but there is not a reasonably-priced used one to be had anywhere within a 300 mile radius. SUVs are great, but also gas hogs, and many don't come with 3rd row seating. And then we found the Ford Freestyle - it's kind of somewhere between an SUV and a station wagon, it has AWD and 3rd row seating. Nothing against my Ford-owning friends, but my hubby and I have both had Fords in the past, and we aren't big fans. We're Toyota people. But here's the catch... the Ford Freestyle is build on Volvo technology, not Ford technology (for the most part). Um... Volvo is good!

I have to say, it was tough saying "goodbye" to my Sienna last night. I went out to "clean it out" so no one would see my shed a few tears. It was a GREAT car for a LONG time! But alas - say "goodbye" I did.

And (hopefully) for the next 7+ years, "Skye" will be my ride!

And in other news, Iraq is tasting the sweet rewards of her gardening endeavors.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Skink On The Loose!

Sometimes life is like a football game. Can't you hear the announcer now?
"WOW - look at those kids driving forward. The girls are covering the camp side of things, and the young man is really knocking heads in summer school!
Another fine piece of art making its way down the field in camp, and....  OHHHHHHHHH... intussusception!"

These are those little times you take a step back and work on rewriting what's in the play book for the week!

When the doctors came in to The Skink's room this morning, they told me that the doctor who had performed yesterday's procedure (talk about southern exposure) went back and  looked at the images again. When he did, he thinks he found evidence of a portion of the intestine with some intussusception at the beginning of the procedure. This could have been left over from the first procedure, or the intussusception might have reoccurred slightly following Sunday's procedure. At any rate, it was corrected by the end of the lovely barium enema, and The Skink went on to have a very comfortable evening. So comfortable, in fact, that I had a rather hard time keeping up with her. You'd think the Pediatrics ward would be more child proof!

The Skink had plenty of time to practice looking cute.

And then she took a ride in the magic bedside table the hospital was kind enough to provide for her entertainment.

And then she investigated what was being served... but since it was raining, the answer was "not much."

And finally, she had time for a little daydreaming before the doctor came with her walking papers. (She ran instead.)

So we are finally home. We'll be watching closely for the next 24 hours... or possibly for the rest of her life... for any signs of another bout of intussusception. We hold no ill feelings toward the doctors that initially diagnosed The Skink with constipation. Sure, it was a pain in the a$$, but without x-ray vision, even doctors fumble sometimes!


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Monday Night Skink-in-the-Hospital Update

*sigh* They wouldn't let us go home tonight. Honestly, I really appreciate that they want to err on the side of caution and watch her for one more night. She was allowed to eat real food this evening and I suppose they want to make sure it's actually going all the way through. In the mean time, we have gone through an entire package of diapers since the enema - LOL! Yes, this is one of the only times in my life that I'll tell you that it is a good thing!

The Skink is SO much happier than she has been in the last week or so and clearly far more comfortable. YAY!

Unfortunately, there will continue to be a risk that the condition can come back in the future. Goodness knows - I'll probably be running her in for every case of mild constipation. Better safe than sorry! I'm just so happy she's doing so well right now!

Good News!

Today we went for another barium enema. (Gee - what FUN that is!!) Instead of using wheelchairs at this hospital, they have these things that look like giant plastic strollers  that look like they just might be made by LittleTikes. I got to go for a ride with The Skink on my lap. Of course I couldn't resist challenging an elderly lady in another chair to a race.

Following the procedure, we put The Skink on the toilet and told her to go potty... and go potty she did! Of course all the enema stuff came out, but so did a lot of stuff we had hoped would come out quite some time ago.


After all of this, The Skink was clearly feeling MUCH better! She has been laughing and playing all afternoon without any signs of the stabbing pains. The barium enema showed there does not seem to be any blockage left, but there is some swelling which is probably what caused her pain yesterday. This swelling may have been preventing the passing of all that collected "stuff" in there.

There is a chance we'll be going home tonight! After feeding The Skink some crackers, she did show some signs of discomfort, but if she's still got some swelling in there, it would make sense things aren't feeling quite perfect just yet.

We want to thank everybody SO much for all the thoughts and prayers! I'll update again as soon as I can.


Monday, July 19, 2010

Skink Update: Monday 7:06 PM

The Skink was very happy to see her big brother last night. I think Broadway was just as happy to see his little sister.

We had another ultrasound this morning. The doctor couldn't tell if the problem was back or if the area was just swollen from the trauma. As the day wore on, the stabbing pains started coming back. This is not what we wanted to see!

We did get a really neat visitor, though...  This is Crystal. She is a therapy dog that brings her people to the hospital about 3 days a week.

A really nice doctor came in this evening and just kind of hung out with us. The Skink is so tired of being poked and prodded any time someone wearing scrubs or a white coat comes in, she goes into freak mode as soon as the door opens. The doctor's visit did wonders to calm her down. Dr. Jacobs went so far as to put on The Skink's cow puppet and play a game of baby-munching-cow! The doctor was able to witness a number of episodes of apparent stabbing pain where The Skink doubled over, crying. (Those episodes are pretty hard on mom and dad!)

It is quite possible she'll have another ultrasound some time tonight instead of waiting until morning which was the original plan. If it looks like the issue is returning, we will likely do surgery as the next step. Another doctor mentioned simply doing another barium enema, but I just don't see doing that procedure over and over as a great option.

The good news is the results of this morning's ultrasound suggest the affected section of intestine has not died - this is GREAT! Of course if the problem keeps reoccurring, the likelihood of that happening goes up. 

Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers!


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Update: 5:10 PM EST

The ultrasound showed that The Skink had an intussusception. According to the Mayo Clinic web site, this is "a rare but serious disorder in which part of the intestine — either the small intestine or colon — slides into another part of the intestine. This "telescoping" often blocks the intestine, preventing food or fluid from passing through. Intussusception also cuts off the blood supply to the part of the intestine that's affected." You can see the website here: Intussusception.

It is one of those things that needs to be handled quickly because the blood supply can get cut off, killing the part of the affected part of the intestine - that is a bad thing. So they took us to the x-ray suite and did a controlled enema while watching the fluid on a monitor. Using pressure from the fluid, they physically pushed the telescoped portion back out.

It was stressful! I had been warned that the procedure could cause a rupture and the surgeon and OR was on stand-by. There were times we could see the fluid causing the intestine to bulge, and nothing was going through. Each time, my silent and fervent prayers were answered when the intussusception gave way a little more, allowing the intestine to right itself by a few more inches.

The good news is that they were able to push it back out. The bad news is that there is still a chance it can happen again. At this point, we are staying until Tuesday. If she starts developing problems again, they will do surgery. They will also be watching for signs that a portion of the intestine has not survived the intussusception.

We still welcome all the prayers we can get. We are not out of the woods yet, but at least we know what the problem is. Thank you for all the well-wishes!!

Update: 1:02 PM Sunday

The doctor sees something on the x-ray that is unusual. Possibly a tumor, but let's hope NOT! We'll be going for an ultrasound shortly.

The Skink is in the Hospital - Boooo!

The Skink has been having tummy trouble for the last week or so, but as this is not an uncommon thing for kids, we didn't really thing much of it until she started having stabbing pains in her abdomen. I took her to the doctor on Thursday and he believed she was constipated and sent us home with a prescription for some laxatives.

Three days later, the stabbing pains were even worse and she was vomiting. Needless to say, on Saturday I took her to the ER and after x-rays and 2 unsuccessful enemas, she was admitted. Now she is passing only liquid, and the "stuff" the x-ray showed backed up inside of her has not come out. An NG tube put some more laxatives in from the "north" to no avail. We are now awaiting more tests.

Despite the pain and being stuck in the hospital, The Skink still finds things to laugh at. Your prayers are much appreciated. I'll do my best to update everyone as I can.

Hangin' with mommy.

Wish us luck!


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Running Behind

We saw fireworks from my parent's boat on Saturday night which has now become a family tradition. I didn't try to take any pictures... it was dark, and I'm sure you've all seen fireworks before :-)
On Sunday we spent the day playing in the lake. Iraq wanted to try out the snorkeling set she got for her birthday. She ended up wearing the fins the entire day!

And THIS! I heard of the KidCo PeaPod travel bed through another Blog-Mom. Can I just tell you - this thing is awesome! We took it on our trip to Busch Gardens and The Skink loved it. We zipped her into it (she couldn't escape without our help) but she never complained at all. She went to sleep right away the first time we used it. Needless to say, we bring it with us to Mimi and Pop's house now. It's really light weight, sets itself up in no-time flat and folds up into a carry-bag that is about the size of the front tire of a BigWheel. When it was time for nap-time at the lake, we just put it in the shade and The Skink crawled in happily and went right to sleep... with her herd of cows, of course!

Hope everybody had a safe and happy 4th of July!

On one other note, The Skink finally cut her last baby tooth. For what ever reason, the tooth just to the left of the top middle teeth had been MIA... until we went to Busch Gardens and it decided to make an unannounced visit. We had started to think she didn't have the tooth at all, but... surprise!


Monday, July 5, 2010

A few more pictures from vacation...

In some cases, the bubbles are just as much fun as the rides at Busch Gardens!

And the Critters!
 And the shops!
And finding you have the negotiation skills needed to get somebody you love to try something new!

And then a quick trip to the beach... but just for a few minutes.
And after some softshell crab sandwiches, we drove back home. Vacation was nice, but it's also nice to be back home :o)