Monday, June 28, 2010

Some of the many faces of Sophie...

Our youngest grandchild is Sophie Lyn. Sophie turns one year old this month. She has been such an interesting little addition to our family. For the longest time, her facial expressions didn't change much. What you see in the first picture is about as expressive as she got. She would mostly just sit and watch everyone else go about their business with very little reaction. Her Aunt Becca said she reminded her of the big gorilla in the primate exhibit at the zoo. I have to admit, I agreed with her.

Recently Sophie's little personality has started to shine through, making her a great source of joy for everyone in the family. In honor of her first birthday, here are just a few of my favorite pictures of her.

Is that surprise, confusion, fear, or just plain gas?

Can you tell she just learned to wave hello and goodbye? I love that little sideways grin.

This is such a sweet shot of her precious little shoe-button eyes!

This sweet baby is so sweet about wearing those horrible, huge, headbands that her mommy is constantly sticking on her head.

She is so good at blowing raspberries. Just try to not sit near her at the dinner table.

Never camera shy, I think she was actually trying to wink at me when I snapped this picture.

Needless to say, Sophie Lyn has grown past the "watchful gorilla stage" and provides us all with many chuckles and grins as we watch her ever changing facial expressions.

Happy Birthday, Little Sophie!

Friday, June 25, 2010


I am so thankful for the power of Priesthood blessings! I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am alive and well on my way to recovery because of one. If you read the previous post, you know that I had a DVT develop in my thigh as a result of surgery. What I didn't post, was the fact that 2 clots were found in my lung as well. After the HIT was discovered, the medical teams decided to run other diagnostic tests to see if there were clots elsewhere. When the two were found in my lung, the entire team was amazed that I had not developed symptoms. I didn't bother telling them that I had received a Priesthood blessing the first night I was there; it was more fun to watch them all marvel! I know I am not completely out of the woods, but I have such great comfort knowing that the greatest healer is on my side.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

One step forward, two steps back...

I know that when news is shared, it usually gets twisted and turned unintentionally. So, in hopes of keeping lines of communication open and easing the minds of friends a family I will try to explain how things are going with the hip replacement.
On Saturday evening, I noticed that my calf muscle was cramping up. I knew that I had been more active than usual and thought it was just in need of a good stretch. So, I did my therapy and added a few stretches, took some Motrin and went to bed. By Sunday morning, the calf was a tight as a charlie horse in full swing. I didn't see any swelling or redness so I wasn't too concerned. By the time I got home from church, my calf was starting to swell enough that I became concerned. I called the PA from orthopedics and described my symptoms so she sent me to the ER. After 4 hours there, I found out I had "deep vein thrombosis" running from my groin to my knee in the same leg as my hip replacement. I was admitted and immediately started on a regime on Hepron injections in my abdomen and cumodin tablets (I am not sure how to spell either of those meds!) Luckily, after a couple of days, a sharp PA noticed that my platelette count was dropping the longer I was on the meds. By Tuesday, I thought everything was going well and would be sent home to continue out patient therapy through the cumodin clinic. Luckily, the dropping platelette count indicated that my body reacts contradictory to what most people do on a hepron based med. My blood was getting thicker instead of thinner. Now I am on an IV with Argatroban. It is supposed to thin my blood and get it within a theraptic range so that I can once again go home and start out patient therapy through the cumodin clinic. As I understand it, this medication forms a block around the clot keeping it from getting larger. It also keeps my blood from forming other clots. In the meantime, my body will begin to create enzymes that will attack the clot and help it to break up. Once the doctors determined that the hepron was not helping, they ordered other diagnostic tests and, unfortunately, found an area in one of my lungs that "it is highly likely that there is a clot present." Ideally, the meds I am on now will also block that clot, etc.
At first I was anxious and frightened, but mostly very, very angry. I have worked so hard to get so far and couldn't believe this had happened. As the week has passed, I am less anxious and hopeful that this course of treatment will be successful and I can go home soon. Once there, I can regain the strength and mobility that I had finally built up.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

A fire fighter in the family...

About 7 months ago, Scott got back from a deployment to Iraq. He got back too late to start the semester so he had some time to spend with family and make some decisions about his career. He has always wanted to work with his hand, is interested in any form of science, and thrives on strange time schedules. He considered being a park ranger or a high school biology teacher so that he could use his free time for travel or building things. Unfortunately, between National Guard deployments and his ADD, Scott might be in school until he is 50. So, out of the blue he decides to give fire fighting a shot. He has already taken the initial exam and the physical aptitude test. This week, he had his interview with the Temple Fire Department. Now, if he passes the polygraph on Monday, he will spend 6 months in the Fire Academy. After that, he will report to the central fire station and work as a rover until he earns a spot at one of the crews assigned to a station. In honor of Scott's new adventure, I thought I would post about what I see as just a few of his many talents.

Scott loved living in Canyon, Texas. During one of our visits there, we spent some time in the Canyon. Scott has always enjoyed hiking. Between him and Ryan, hiking can be an educational experience (NERDS!).

Scott enjoys playing soccer and going snowboarding. He would prefer to live somewhere like Colorado, but I sure am glad he lives here.

Scott is a wonderful cook! His apple dumplings and bread bowls with beef stew are to die for!

Scott has inherited his grandfather's talent and is an artist with wood. He builds furniture, does remodeling, and is creating a masterpiece in Leslie's house.

Scott's years as an Army brat resulted in a young man who is patriotic. He has defended his country by serving in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He even marches in parades!

Scott believes in a minimalist wardrobe. Gray T-shirts and all purpose cargo pants or carpenters jeans. It has started to rub off on the other men of the family.

When our kids were little, we camped a lot. Scott now enjoys getting out for the occasional camping or fishing trip.

Scott collects state border pictures whenever he travels. I'm not quite sure how many he has now.

Scott creates unusual snow sculptures in the style of Calvin and Hobbs.

Scott has actually has grown fond of babies now that he has spent time with his beautiful nieces! But, he draws the line at changing diapers.

He has recently started geocaching when he isn't W.O.W.-ing.

Believe it or not, he actually reads the manuals when putting things together!

Right now, Scott's dream is to buy an RV and travel to Alaska.

And, most importantly, he puts up with hugs from his mom!
Congratulations, Scott!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

2 weeks, 1 day...a stinking plateau

When I was young, there was a show on television called Bewitched. There were numerous outlandish characters on the show; some with magical powers and others without. My favorite character was always Aunt Clara. She had a good heart, but was such a bumbling witch that most things she attempted ended up as disasters. I don't really remember much of the plots that the episodes followed, but I do remember wishing I could twitch my nose and instantly clean up a room. More than at any other time, that little trick would come in so handy right now.
As I sit here, wishing I was either getting my strength back more quickly OR had Samantha's nose, I can think of a million things that need to be done. The thing that is most frustrating about my list of a million things, is that I seem to be the only person that is aware of the list or is even feeling pressured by the seemingly insurmountable tasks that remain piled up. Don't get me wrong, there are many things I am very grateful for. I am thankful that my parents are enjoying relatively good health right now. I am thankful that Ryan is back on the oil rig. I am thankful that Becca has healed nicely and is back to her usual, busy, and flamboyant self. I am thankful that Scott has been able to do such a beautiful job on Leslie's house and has his interview with TFD on Thursday. I am thankful that Leslie and the girls stop by almost every day. I am thankful that Ron has been able to go back to work and feels confident enough to leave me alone at home. I am SUPER thankful that those blasted staples came out yesterday. I am thankful that, for the most part, I am off the walker. I am thankful that I usually get through each day now with just a few Motrin. I am thankful that there are things that I can do that keep my hands relatively busy.
Right now I just have to keep telling myself that if I am diligent with my therapy, this plateau in the recovery process will pass. I know that my expectations for this body of mine might be a little unrealistic due to the nature of the surgery. I guess I will just have to accept that this is an opportunity for me to develop more patience and learn to endure things that I cannot change with a more cheerful heart and the hope that things will eventually work out.
But, that being said; I still wish I had Samantha's twitchin' nose!!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Hopscotch and water...

June is a busy birthday month. My brother, David, celebrates his birthday on the 10th. My husband, Ron, celebrates his on the 12th. And our son, Scott, celebrates his on the 13th. We thought we were going to have all of them together yesterday evening because Dave and his son Kyle were due in from Kansas. Unfortunately, they got in a little late (10:00) so we celebrated birthday month at Leslie's house without them.Scott had been gone for his yearly National Guard assignment, but got home a few weeks ago. He isn't the most demonstrative person in the world, but I think he has a soft spot in his heart for these two sweeties. I used to have to force Scott to hold little ones by dumping them into his arms. This was taken the evening after he got home. I think he missed them.
While we were at Leslie's house, the kids decided to play outside. It was a pretty hot afternoon, but luckily Leslie's house is surrounded by huge trees. The sprinklers were turned on for a while and the kids got to cool off.
We tried to teach the kids how to play hop scotch. Sophie spent most of her time toddling around picking up sticks or rocks. I had to post this picture because it shows her latest facial expression. I think that frown is such a strange sight on the face of such a happy baby!
Maggie didn't quite understand the concept of hopping on one foot from box to box. I think she got her hops confused with giant steps from Mother May I?
Luckily, the girls have a sweet older cousin. Seth is pretty patient about playing with the girls. They do have moments when it seems like all they do is run around the house squealing, screaming and giggling. Thank goodness we were able to get outside! For some reason they aren't nearly as loud out there!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Days 8, 9, & 10...

I have had 2 road trips this week! Yahoo! On Wednesday, I spent the afternoon with my parents where I worked on another block for my Liberty quilt. This block was called signal lights. It would have been so confusing without Mom to clarify the instructions. I left it at my parent's house or I would have posted a picture. Some of the family showed up there for dinner and conversations. It was a nice afternoon.
Yesterday, I attended the Stake Relief Society Women's Conference. The attendance was unbelievable! The cultural hall was packed with tables and so many more women showed up, that they had to set up tables on the stage. There were some helpful displays on Provident Living and food storage, a wonderful luncheon to enjoy, as well as the sweet opportunity to meet with women from my old and new wards. The guest speaker was Brad Wilcox. He is a well known author and motivational speaker who has presented at many church related functions throughout the world. His presentation focused on the power and grace of the atonement, and how we can experience success in our efforts to become worthy of our Heavenly Father's presence once we leave this life. It was a beautiful and uplifting meeting.
Hip wise, things are progressing quite well. At this point, I would just like to have one good night's sleep. I have never been a back sleeper and that seems to be the most comfortable position for my leg. I have tried laying on the opposite side and propping my leg with pillows, but it just isn't comfortable. Hopefully, as things progress, sleeping will be possible again.
Good news on the family front. Ryan is back in the oil field and probably won't be off-site until fall. And, Scott has an interview for the Temple Fire Department on the 18th. YAHOO! Leslie now has cabinets, a sink, and dishwasher installed in her kitchen. And, Becca is back to normal anxiously awaiting Ed's homecoming. The grandkids are still as beautiful as ever. I can't wait until I am up for another sleep over.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Days 5, 6, & 7...

Okay, I know there are a lot of blessings that will eventually come from having my hip replaced. I will be able to sit in the floor with my class again, I will be able to play tag and hide-and-seek with the grandkids, I will be able to go on long walks again, I will be able to do yard work, yada, yada, yada. However, there are some immediate goals that I need to meet first.

To start with, I get to give TED his hose back.

Arent' they just lovely? Ron and I are in a bit of a disagreement about when I get to give them back. The discharge orders say "wear for one week." Now, does that mean 1 week from surgery or 1 week from discharge? I think it means from the time the put the blasted thing on, which was in pre-op. However, Ron and Leslie (remind me I am mad at her) think it means from discharge. I guess since I am outnumbered, I still have 6 days of wearing these horridly uncomfortable leg girdles.

Next goal, get some color in my legs. Nope, not purple, tan. Doesn't that knee look beautiful? Remember I had HIP replacement, not knee replacement. Modesty forbids that I show you the hip bruise. Just imagine that shade and deeper all over my rump and hip!

And let's not forget the shin! I think Dr. Hit used my muscles for slingshots while he was in surgery and decided to get some drum practice in on my shins while he was at it.

All in all, the week has gone by very quickly. Mom came over and taught me the basics of hand applique. Leslie and the girls stop by each day to check on my. Ron is hovering so very effectively. My church family is feeding my body and spirit beyond belief. I was able to walk out and sit on the deck for a while this morning. Each day I continue to conquer tiny obstacles and gain strength and energy as I continue to mend. I am so very blessed.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Day 4...

Ugh! Ringing in the ears is a nuisance! I had forgotten that aspirin makes my ears ring. I used to take it years ago for every ache or pain but, once Tylenol came around, I switched. My surgeon has me taking it to help avoid blood clots; however, I think I might see if I can call the nurse and see about stopping it. I can't get to sleep!
Recuperation is coming along nicely. I walked loops in the driveway while Leslie weeded the flower bed. I walked loops in the house in the afternoon while Ron did laundry. And, this evening Ron took me to the chapel so I could walk inside for a longer, uninterrupted time. 15 minutes, yahoo! Actually, that small amount of time irritates me. Patience is not something I have in abundance.
Physical therapy is difficult. Most of the movements are simply tightening and the releasing the muscles in my legs, hips and bottom. However, I have to move the leg to the side with movement taking place in the hip area while my torso remains steady. That one is tough! It moves out about 3 inches right now. Ron is wonderful. He keeps telling me that he is amazed by my progress. Either I don't recognize it as clearly as he does or he is a great liar.
I read through my post op instructions this afternoon to see if there was anything I had forgotten. It seems that I was supposed to weigh myself every day and report any weight gain over 3 lbs. to the surgeon. I didn't know that, AND it started me thinking: Is the new hip lighter/heaver than the old one? Will the extra 2 inches I KNOW I have make me heavier or is the extra length from the artificial joint lighter than the bone that was removed? Should I compare today's weight with the pre-op weight that was accurate before 3 days of not eating due to nausea? Hmmm, I think I have too much time on my hands.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Days 2-3...

I love the picture! Becca sent me one like this when she had her recent medical procedure done and it gave me enough of a chuckle that I didn't worry about her as much. I thought it might do the same for my friends and family.
I am home and relatively pain free! I didn't get in for surgery until almost 4:30 on Tuesday. I swear, the most difficult part was trying to establish a stupid IV! I got poked 6 times in my right arm, because they didn't want to put it on the side I would be laying on. I told them that my left arm was best; but what do I know! After only 2 sticks on the left arm, they got the IV started. After that, the anesthesiologist came in and offered me a "cold one" (It amazes me that everyone assumes that all human beings are drinkers!) through an epidural. It really did relax me, Ron actually took notes about the stupid things I said. The picture is proof that I was feeling pretty relaxed. Anyway, got an x-ray, they taped a gauge on my right thigh, I initialed my R hip, and we headed for surgery. Then, the second most difficult part; waking up from the anesthesia. UGH! I always shiver uncontrollably and feel like I am fighting a royal case of morning sickness. Finally got the shivers under control and got back to my room around 7:30 Tuesday evening. For the rest of Tuesday night, Wednesday, and Wednesday night I battled with every narcotic known to man and lost each fight. Pain I can deal with; nausea and lightheadedness I cannot. So, by 10:00 this morning I decided to go without narcotics and settled for Darvocet and Motrin. I can't tell you how much better I felt within hours. During that time I was mastering all of the PT exercises and becoming good friends with a walker and bedside toilet. Anyway, I am home and am thrilled with the new hip. However, I SWEAR my right leg is now longer than the left one!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Day 1...

With all of the medical turmoil going on in the family this spring, I am probably the only person that is excited about my own situation. Today, I go in for hip replacement surgery and begin a journey toward renewed strength, energy, and activity. Actually, the process of getting my new hip began several months ago with my referral to orthopedics. The pre-op procedures began last week with a trip to admissions, meeting with the surgeon to sign consent, getting lab work done, getting a physical and having an EKG run, speaking with the anesthesiologist, then finally attending a wellness class to learn about physical therapy and post surgery procedures. But, for me this will be day 1. I will check in at the surgery clinic at 10:00 then hopefully, be in surgery by 11:00 or 12:00. Thankfully, other family members have come through their own medical surprises well, my classroom is packed, my students are in good hands, my hubby is here and meals are lined up. Now if the hands on the clock would just move a little faster!