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For the Love of Reading

August 31, 2015

Those of you who know me, know that I love to read. Given the choice, I’d rather be curled up on the couch reading a book than doing much else. Unfortunately between kids, dog, The Husband, part-time jobs, lots of jobs I do for free and everything else that happens on a daily basis I don’t read much anymore. But someday…. I will make the time to read again!

I hope that I can encourage my girls to be readers. The Big One is a lot like me when it comes to books. Each night when I tuck her in, she asks, “Can I read for a bit?” Most nights I tell her 15 minutes is all she gets. I am still working on the Little One. Her struggle is with finding something she is interested in. Everything is boring she says.

In the interest is encouraging a love of reading for all, I wanted to introduce you to my friend’s latest project. Robb has been a friend since high school. We bonded working on the high school newspaper and that bond continued as we both took countless English classes at San Diego State University. We ate many a lunch together between classes – yogurt pretzels and Dr. Pepper. We shared a secret for many years that I finally confessed only recently to my mother concerning a certain car accident on the freeway in which I was not the one driving MY vehicle despite what we told my parents, the insurance company or the other driver for that matter! Our lives have taken many different turns over the last 25 plus years, but through the magic of Facebook, we’ve been able to share glimpses of life with one another.

Robb has co-authored a book with his friend, Sue Ranscht, and needs some help getting it published. I know those of you who read my stuff are all in agreement that we lived in a messed up world. People are mean just to be mean. People are judgmental in feeble attempts to make themselves feel better. People are bullied for being different. It’s crazy to think how much happier we could all be if we just learned to love one another and embraced our differences. Those differences are what make us each beautiful and wonderful and fantastically made.

enhancedThe book is called, “Enhanced.” The authors describe is this way:

ENHANCED is a story about belonging or not belonging. It’s about the harm that comes to a society that deliberately excludes those who are different from its mainstream population. Historically, literature and entertainment lack protagonists who are role models for many of those who feel they don’t belong. We created characters to counter that lack…

Sounds interesting, huh? So please, click this link below. Read the excerpt and if you feel so inclined, pledge to purchase a copy of this book and help my friend achieve his dream!

https://www.inkshares.com/projects/enhanced

 Kids are Funny, I Tell Ya!

June 22, 2015

So, the Girl Scout troop end of year fun is at our house this weekend. That means we are in serious cleaning mode. All the piles of junk need to be sorted, trashed, recycled, re-homed or put away. The girls were both diligently working on their rooms while I tackled the kitchen.

I freely admit, I don’t like to clean. I am a surface cleaner from the word go. No shame, I know my issues. As such I am often like the kids, and get distracted. I cannot just clean for 3 hours straight. I clean a little, then stop to work on the dishes or the laundry or something else. So I was getting bored with the kitchen and switched to laundry for a bit.

Meanwhile, the Little One had found her gold LEGO ornament and pieces from a few Christmases ago. She was trying to get all the pieces back into the clear ball ornament. She asked for my help getting the pieces all apart. I am the master LEGO separator in our house. This, of course, caused the Big One to wonder where her gold LEGO ornament was. So she set off to find it. As I am folding laundry, she comes in exasperated because she cannot find hers. She hems and haws, sighs, taps her foot on the ground. All the while, I admit, I WAS ignoring her. I knew what was coming next.

“MMMMOOOOMMMMMMMMM, can you PLEASE help me find my LEGO thing?”

I said I would help in a few minutes as I kept folding the laundry that was all over my bed. She continued to sigh, stomp her foot, pick at the blanket. More deep breaths as I asked her if she checked the top of her dresser. YES. Did she check her LEGO shelves? YES. Did she check the catchall baskets on her cubby shelf thingie. YES, she had checked EVERYWHERE and the LEGOs were GONE.

Again, I am still folding laundry. In my head I am thinking that if she would HELP me fold the laundry, it would get done faster and then I could help her. But she never picks up on it, she just continues to sigh and tap her foot. So I continued sorting socks, folding PJs, etc.

Then the Little One comes in asking if I could go get her a broom because she needs to sweep BEHIND her dresser????? (Who does that??) I continued folding laundry, wondering when they will ever get to the point where they see that I am doing something they are perfectly capable of and offer to help. (trust me I’ve tried asking, hinting, directing and yelling they are not fans of folding laundry). I tell the Little One she knows where the brooms are and get it herself. Again the Big One is still staring at me, sighing and getting generally annoyed that I am not helping her find her missing LEGOs.

Again, if she would have folded a T-shirt, I might have gone a little faster or maybe even stopped folding to help her, but she insisted on just being disgusted with my pace, so I kept at a snail’s pace. It’s fun to the be the mom sometimes.

Finally I finish folding the laundry. By now the Little One has swept behind her dresser. She is disgusted with the amount of dog hair back there. So she sets her sights on the Husband’s dresser. She is on the ground with the broom, reeling in disgust at the piles of dog hair under there. As long as nobody is crawling around on my bedroom floor, they’ll never see the dog hair under there. SHEESH, kid, give me a break.

So I head into the Big One’s room. Asking again if she checked everywhere. Again, she says YEEEEESSSSSSS! I know that I will find it because that’s what I do. So now I had to decide how obnoxious to be about it. So I start in the least likely places. Asking did you look here? Did you look there? Now she was getting really ticked at me. So I started on her basket things. In the SECOND one I looked in, what do you think I found??? YEP, the LEGO thing that was NOWHERE to be found. I am amazing like that. You can be jealous.

I was feeling pretty self-righteous, I admit it. When the Little One came in with a pile of dog hair, almost as big as her head. “MMMMOOOOOOOMMMMMMMM! You need to clean better!” She exclaimed.

 

 

We are sure going to miss that child.

 

 

 

I’m kidding. I didn’t beat her. I simply pointed out that now that she was such an expert dog hair wrangler, it could now be added to her weekly chores. Score again for mom!

 

Not Your Typical Kid

April 11, 2015

robot So I am well aware that my kids are not typical kids. And I am cool with that. Last night, my fabulous 25yo niece called and asked me what our plans were for today (Saturday). I told her we were going to Robot Day at the Central Library. She was silent for a second and then started giggling and said, “Why are your kids so weird? Can’t they have a softball game or something like that?”

I laughed it off and told her I was okay with weird kids. Cause really I am!

So we rode the trolley downtown today to attend Robot Day. The Big One competed in a First LEGO League robotics competition last month. She had a lot of fun and learned a lot about robots, programming and dealing with obnoxious boys. She was on a team of eight – six boys and two girls. They did well as rookies and had fun at the big competition at LEGOLand. (I think they finished 7th out of 62 teams). It was a great experience.

At the library today, there were a lot of big and small robots set-up and different displays to check out. We watched a 3D printer create part of a castle and then laughed as the guy tried to sell me my very own 3D printer for $799. (or $70/month he offered!)

Then we moved on to watching a some 20-something year old young man play with his robot. The robot was supposed to be doing a line following program. But each time the robot approached a curve in the line it stopped running. The following conversation ensued:

FIXITMOMMY: “See even the big kids have some challenges with line following programs.”

BIG ONE: “Ummmm, We had some trouble with it but eventually got it to work.”

20-SOMETHING DUDE: “Yeah, well the problem isn’t our programming, it’s the course.”IMG_7124

FIXITMOMMY: – rolls her eyes at the kid as if to say, ‘yeah right, it’s the course’s fault not you the one who created the course and the programmed the robot.’ I didn’t verbalize my thoughts, merely kept them to myself. But clearly he knew what I was thinking.

20-SOMETHING DUDE: “No, the curve is too tight, the robot cannot do it” as he is peeling off the black tape to change the course on the table.

BIG ONE: “Well for my team, we weren’t allowed to change the course. We had to fix the program until it followed the course right.”

20-SOMETHING DUDE: “ Ummmm …..” continued to peel off tape to change the course.

FIXITMOMMY: “OKAY, umm, let’s go see something else.”

It was fabulous to watch my 9yo school this big kid! Yes I admit I walked away laughing. Poor dude didn’t even know what to say. Weird or not, the Big One is awesome!

There is ALWAYS Something

March 7, 2015
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See, she was fine last night!

I swear y’all I cannot make this stuff up. So this is finally the last weekend of Girl Scout cookie sales. It’s been a long six weeks of sales, but there is finally a light at the end of that tunnel. Let’s just remember last year. The last Wednesday of cookie sales is when the Little One took the “epic fall” off of the monkey bars. She and I spent the last two days of cookie sales on the couch trying to keep her pain under control, while The Husband, the Big One and a couple great friends sold their booties off unloading 165 boxes of cookies. It was a huge cookie selling weekend.

So here we are again the final weekend of cookie sales. The Husband is TDY for Reserves stuff so it’s up to me and the girls to get this done. We don’t have nearly as many boxes – only 97 to be exact. We had it all planned out. We were going to sell out this evening at our booth sale and actually be able to CANCEL a sale tomorrow. It was going to be great.

Then at about 4 a.m. I hear that awful sound of barf. The Little One unleashed the vomit-monster. I flew out of bed to check on her. Fortunately she was quick enough to grab her bedroom trash can to corral the mess (Thank you God!). I have no idea where it came from, she was fine when she went to bed.

I swapped out her trash can with a small bucket and went to clean up the mess. Of course the child had not emptied her bedroom trash can in a while so this was not a quick dump it in the toilet and flush kind of clean up. I don’t know what she had been doing in her room, but her trash can was full of tiny pieces of cut-up paper. A million little scraps that were now stuck to the bottom and sides of the trash can. I went to the kitchen to try and clean up the mess. Of course all those tiny pieces of paper were colored with red and orange marker. So when I put some water in the can to try and clean it out it looked awful. I couldn’t decipher what the kid had even thrown up because the colored paper was now running and the trash can looked like it was full of red watery mess.

So I dumped all the mess into a small plastic bag to take outside to the big trash can. I paused at the back door to flip the back patio lights on. (I needed to make sure there were no skunks or opossums running around back there). After a few seconds I opened the back door and the damn dog attempted to bolt into the back door. I screamed, she panicked. It was not pretty. (Again, thank You God, in my panic I was able to hold onto the bag of barfy, papery, watery mess)

I calmed my heartrate, called the poor dog some choice words and then finally got the bag of barf into the big trashcan. I went back inside to check on the Little One. She was now resting in bed. So I crawled back into my bed and tried to go back to sleep. It didn’t take long before I was once again startled straight out of bed, this time it was Gracie (the damn dog) barfing. She at least made it outside. Got the dog calmed down and tried once again to go back to sleep.

Well, that was not happening. Every thirty minutes for the next two and a half hours, the Little One continued to barf. Meanwhile the dog’s stomach also continued to make all sorts of strange noises.

So now we are in a holding pattern to see what the day will hold. She’s been barf-free for a bit now and I am hoping against all hope she stays well enough for the booth sale at 5 p.m. tonight. If not, y’all are going to have to help me out with this crazy cookie business (again!)

I Cannot Make This Stuff Up

September 22, 2014

We are all busy. We all seem to have several directions in which we are pulled. Today was one of those classic several-things-to-do and not-a-lot-of-time to do them in days.

It started last week. After driving the MomMobile somewhere, I noticed a stinky burning plastic-like smell coming from under the car. I tried to ignore it. Then it happened again on Friday and Saturday. So on Saturday afternoon, I pointed it out to The Husband, who basically shrugged his shoulders and blew it off. Then on Saturday evening we went to dinner, upon returning home, I pointed out the smell again. This time The Husband acknowledged that it smelled a bit funky.

Then on Sunday we went to the Padres games. We had tickets to hang out with The Boo Hoo Crew, a kids rock band that the girls love! Once we arrived at Petco Park,  The Husband and girls all noticed the stinky smell. We popped the hood on the MomMobile but couldn’t see anything obvious – there was no smoke, no fires, nothing that looked like it was melting. So we closed the hood, went the game and that was that.

When we got home from the game, the smell had gotten worse. So The Husband says that I should really take it in to get it checked out. Monday is my day off, so it’s the “easiest” to be without a vehicle. Just to be safe, we asked my dad if we could borrow his truck. The Husband would take the truck to work and I would take the MomMobile in for service and could drive The Husband’s car to get the girls to gymnastics after school if need be.

So I called at 7 a.m. to make an appointment. The earliest I could bring the MomMobile in was noon. After reiterating that my car smelled like burning plastic to the service person, I made the appointment. I am fairly certain the gal I made the appointment with thought I was a little crazy. So noon, rolls around and I approach the service entrance. The greeter guy welcomes me and asks what the problem is. I explained to him that my car smelled funny – like burning plastic. He literally laughed at me and said, “Lady there is a joke there, but I’m not going to say it.” I laughed and agreed, it sounded odd to say my car had a funk, but I wanted it checked out.

So one of the service managers came out. She walked in front of my car to get to the driver’s side. As she walked by my car, she made a funny face. Then said to me, “your car stinks.” I was grateful for the acknowledgement that I was not insane. The MomMobile did in fact stink. So she did a quick check to see if the plastic fender liner things were rubbing on the tires (a common occurrence apparently in lowered vehicle –of which the MomMobile is NOT!). I jokingly said, it’s probably just a plastic bag stuck somewhere. She smiled and said maybe, but she couldn’t see anything on quick glance.

So they would charge me $55 for the diagnosis and then deduct that from any necessary repairs. I waited for the shuttle to take me back home and left the MomMobile. Got the shuttle home, ate some lunch. My fabulous niece delivered my Scentsy order to me (YAY! https://rjones.scentsy.us/ – if you need some yummy smelling stuff). The day was going pretty well.

I picked up the girls from school. We worked on a little homework and since the dealership had not called about the MomMobile, we took The Husband’s car to gymnastics. While at gymnastics, the dealership called and left a message saying the problem had been discovered, taken care of and the MomMobile was ready for pick up.

Now at gymnastics, the Big One took a pretty good fall off of a bar, landing square on her face. So when she began complaining on the way home of a headache, I was not surprised. My head would hurt too if I had taken the fall she did. Since I forgot to grab my Bluetooth out of the MomMobile and I am not smart enough to synch my phone to The Husband’s car. I gave the Big One my phone and asked her to call grandpa to see if he could meet us at home and shuttle us to the dealership to pick-up the MomMobile. We would just have enough time to get my car, run through a drive thru for dinner and get to a 6 p.m. training for Girl Scout nut sales. It would be close, but I figured we could do it – despite the Big One’s headache!

So we got home, grandpa enroute to our house and the Big One says, “My tummy hurts.” The Little One grabbed a bucket and the Big One sat on the couch. Trying not to freak out at a faceplant, followed by nausea, I offered for the girls to stay home alone while I picked up my car. The dealership is about a mile from home, so it’s a quick trip. The Big One really didn’t want to stay home. So we gathered their booster seats and a bucket and piled into grandma’s Jeep. We were not three blocks from home when the Big One started puking.

Now just an aside, grandpa is a retired medical examiner investigator. The man dealt with all forms of dead bodies over a 20+ career, but he does not do puke. As the Big One is puking, I am trying to calmly reassure here that all is good. Meanwhile the Little One is excitedly providing a play-by-play. “MOM! Allison is puking! EWWWWWWW!   It’s bright red!   UGGGGHHHH! I think it’s strawberries.” My poor dad is driving and beginning to look a little urpy. I unrolled the window and calmly asked the Little One to just be quiet. I figure if we just get the dealership, we will all survive.

Of course there was nowhere to park in the service area. So I told my dad to drop me off and then circle back around to where we had seen the MomMobile parked. I walked in and Kristen, the service manager, just had this look on her face. Before she said anything, I asked, “It was a freaking plastic bag wasn’t it?” She just started laughing and apologizing. All I could do was laugh. I certainly didn’t want to cry. I was close, but managed to laugh and told her about the kid puke in the car, etc. Turns out she was having a similar day. So we laughed and decided we’d each have a drink for the other tonight!


plastic bag02


So that there is $55 Vons bag. I am trying to keep things in perspective. A $55 bag is way better than a huge repair for something really broken. And since I am not at my nut training now there isn’t much to do other than open a Smirnoff Peach Bellini. Cheers!

{The Big One seems fine after the puke in grandma’s car. The pupils are tracking. She ate some toast. So I don’t know what caused it!}

Part 2 of the arm saga – Recovery and Karma

June 26, 2014

blog007So we got sent home from the hospital on March 6, surgery day! Sarah was in a lot of pain. We struggled to keep ahead of it, so there was lots of tears and sadness the first few days. They gave her Tylenol with Codeine for pain. The problem is whenever she took it, she became a hot, sweaty, cranky and uncomfortable mess with arm pain. It just made her miserable, so we opted to stick with plain old Motrin for pain and she was much happier.

She got to spend a week on the couch, literally. She would get up to go to the bathroom, but that was about it. She ate, slept, played, read, everything on the couch. She became fairly adept at using her left hand to eat, drink, pop the bubble thing on the game Trouble, and do her homework.

She was eight days post-op when we went to Dr. Sadeghi’s office for the first real cast and X-rays since surgery. Fortunately they took the X-rays with the soft cast still on, so the drama was minimized. They took X-rays. Doctor said everything looked good and was where it was supposed to be. Then we got introduced to the cast room. They cut off the soft cast, giving us the first sort of glimpse at the broken arm. It was still extremely swollen. The pins stuck out of her skin, but were covered with gauze so it wasn’t too gory. Sarah was in a lot of pain as they re-casted with a hard cast. One of the techs held her arm straight up, while the other wrapped. I was in her face trying to keep her calm while The Husband took it all in. It was the Friday before St. Patrick’s Day (which would be her first day back at school) so she opted for a green cast.

blog008We were told to make a follow-up appointment for two weeks later to check X-rays and change casts. So on March 28, we returned to Dr. Sadeghi’s office. This time the cast came off for X-rays. I will say that I was more than happy to get that green cast off of her arm. That thing was disgustingly ripe. It was filthy dirty and smelled like something crawled up in there and died. Sarah was a bit freaked out by how her skin looked. This was the first time it had seen daylight in three weeks.

Those of you who’ve had a cast removed know that it can be a bit intimidating when they come at you with a saw, so Sarah was already on edge. Then add in the fact that her arm had not moved for three weeks and she had FOUR pins sticking out of her skin – she was not happy. I got volunteered to go in the X-ray room with her while The Husband got to stay outside. The screaming that occurred while they tried to get clear pictures was almost as bad as the day she broke it originally. I know it hurt and I also know there was a lot of fear, so I did my best to calm her down and not cry myself. It was tough.blog009

Dr. Sadeghi, upon looking at the X-rays asked Sarah if she wanted the wrist pin to be removed. She enthusiastically said “YES!” through her tears. So the cast room tech grabbed a pair of what looked like pliers (I don’t know the technical term) and asked her if she was ready. Dude should have asked me if I was ready. I could NOT watch that grossness. Sarah and The Husband watched that thing get pulled out of her wrist. I saw it for a split second and was ready to barf. It was gross. He just twisted and pulled until that thing finally came out all the way. Sarah felt much better once it was out. I was dizzy and sweating! Once it was out, they re-casted her in a pink cast with red stripes. Since the wrist pin was out, the cast was much shorter and most of her fingers were free! She was thrilled that she could hold a pencil if she really wanted to.

We were getting closer and closer to cruise time. And Dr. Sadeghi knew it. The Husband kept reminding him. So we made the next appointment for April 7, about 10 days after the wrist pin came out. And FOUR days before we were leaving for the Disney cruise. It was also Sarah’s 7th birthday. I tried to prepare both Sarah and The Husband of the possibility of getting a whole new cast or maybe a removable cast or maybe no cast at all. Dr. Sadeghi wouldn’t commit to what would happen. We had to wait and see.

So the big day arrived. We went to the cast room first, got the pink cast removed and then headed to X-ray. Moment of truth. There was some fear and trepidation, but no tears this time. She struggled to get her elbow in the correct positon so it took several attempts, but finally they got the X-rays they needed.

Then we waited to see the verdict. Would the three elbow pins come out? Was there enough new bone growth to go cast-less? Would he opt for a removable cast? Dr. Sadeghi came over, greeted each of us and asked Sarah if she was ready for the pins to come out. She again said “YES!”

blog0019Now when the wrist pin came out she was sitting up in a regular chair, watching it all. This time they had her sitting on a bed. They asked her to lie back, which she was not too happy about. But she finally obliged. Dr. Sadeghi was taking these pins out. He gloved up, grabbed his plier thingies and went to work. I was again at Sarah’s face, while The Husband watched. The first pin came out easily, she didn’t even notice. Then came the next two. They were a bit trickier. I am glad that I couldn’t see what was actually happening. I could see the grip that the doctor had on her upper arm as he twisted, turned and yanked those things out. It was pretty intense the amount of force used to get them out. Sarah flinched a little but not too bad. Again, I think it bothered me the most! Sarah asked if she could keep the pins, but he wouldn’t let her. He said they were too sharp and he didn’t want her to hurt herself. So she was disappointed, but she got over it when he told her she was free to go! No more cast. No removable cast! No nothing, just a naked arm (well besides the gauze that was catching the residual blood from having three long pins pulled out of your bone!)

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Sarah and The Husband showing off their muscles. :-)

It was indeed a happy birthday! She got the cast off. He did stipulate that on the cruise there was to be no swimming with the dolphins and no waterslide. He said that she could “swim” in the pool or ocean but explained that by swim he really meant wade in the water. The arm was still weak and she needed to be careful.

The cruise post will come later, let’s just finish this saga first!

So we went on the cruise, had a fabulous time, yada, yada, yada. Of course Sarah went on the waterslide. She also swam with the dolphin. She also went snorkeling and fed a stingray. This may or may not be the reason she got sick and threw up for the last several days of the cruise. But at least she had fun before karma bit us in the butt!

Dr. Sadeghi wanted to see us three weeks after the cast came off to X-ray and make sure all was good. We prepped Sarah before the appointment that we were not going to lie to the good doctor, but we were not going to offer any information on her cruise activities to him.

We had her appointment and everything was good. We were good to go. Sarah made him a Mickey Mouse doctor out of Perler beads. I made a little card with a couple pictures of her and we gave it to him as a thank you. One of the pictures I used was of Sarah holding a baby sea turtle, something she could not have done had she still had a cast on. We were so close. We were good. The appointment was done. We were given the all clear. We were almost out the door when it happened.  We were literally walking out the exam room door when this happened:

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Sarah with her surgeon, Dr. Cameron Sadeghi, this was before Sarah ratted us out (so he still liked us at this point!)

DR. SADEGHI: “You didn’t get to swim with a dolphin but you got to hold a turtle. That’s cool!”

SARAH: “NO! I swam with the dolphins! And I went on the AquaDuck! Lots of times!”

{ insert – Uncomfortable silence and giggles from The Husband and I.}

DR. SADEGHI: “I did not need to hear that.”

{ insert death stare from me to Sarah }

SARAH: “WHAT? It’s true I did do all of that.”

OY VEY! We were so close.

The Longest Blog Ever – A Broken Arm

June 26, 2014

This is truly the longest blog ever. This is not so much to make you laugh at my life like normal. This is just for posterity so that some day when the Little One asks about the day she broke her arm, we can remember.

So the last time the school called to say they had a kiddo of mine in the Nurse’s Office, I confessed to being the worst parent ever.

Now when the school calls you during the day, as a mom, I typically know that it’s not a good thing. When the phone rang at around 10 a.m. on Wednesday, March 5, I was at work and I had a weird feeling in my tummy. The moment the school phone number popped up on my cell phone, I felt like something bad had happened. I answered and it went like this:

ME: “Hellloo”

SCHOOL: “Hey Joyce, its Bernie. (now Ms. Bernie’s tone is usually very jovial and fun, but this time it wasn’t) She went on, “Ummmmmm, we’ve got Sarah here with us. She took a bit of a tumble off of the monkey bars.”

ME: “Oooookkkkkaay, do we have a bone exposed?”   (I don’t know why I asked that, I just had a feeling something was broken)

SCHOOL:Weeellll, nothing exposed but I am pretty sure you need to head to Kaiser.

ME: “I’m on my way!”

So during the conversation, I had begun shutting down my computer. My co-worker and I had been chatting so she heard the whole conversation as well. She didn’t even need to ask. She just said, “GO! We’re fine here!”

I texted The Husband and told him what I knew. Fortunately the school is about a mile from work and just around the corner from home. I parked in front of the school and our principal met me outside. Her daughter is in my Girl Scout troop and I consider her a friend as well as the principal. Her eyes were a bit teary and she said, “Joyce, I am so sorry she got hurt.” I could tell she was hurting for my child, which is very comforting to know. Of course you want to believe that everyone at school loves your kid, but there was no doubt that our principal cares for and was hurting for Sarah. In my fabulously sarcastic tone I said, “As long as you didn’t make her fall off the monkey bars you don’t need to apologize!” By that point we were in the office door and I heard this pathetic, gut wrenching, “MOOOOMMMMMYYYYY, AHHHHHHHHHH! It huuuurrttttsss!”

My heart dropped and now I teared up but I knew that I couldn’t cry or Sarah would have lost it. So I took a deep breath and made my way back to where she was sitting, surrounded by several school staff members. I could see that her wrist was swollen and bruised. I got the rundown that she was on the monkey bars, her one hand slipped and down she went. When she fell she, of course, put her right arm down to break the fall. She was all alone when it happened. She managed to get herself up and to a teacher who sent her to the nurse’s office.

It was very obvious that she was not going to move that arm for anyone. She had it resting across her torso with the left arm on top of it protecting it. I signed the papers to get her out of school and asked if she could walk to the car. She said no. So the principal got a wheelchair, I lifted Sarah into the wheel chair and off we went to my car. I pulled out the car seat, knowing full well that despite my car seat mentality there was no way I was getting this child into her 5-point harness. I lifted her in to the car, buckled the regular seatbelt around her and called The Husband to tell him we were headed to the Emergency Room. He questioned if it was truly necessary and I said yes and away we went.

Kaiser is also very close, just one mile down the hill and they have valet parking. We pulled up to valet and I asked the young man for a wheelchair. He got me one and helped me get Sarah out of the car. Then he parked my car for me (What a fabulous service!).

By the grace of God, the ED was not that crowded. There was a fabulous triage nurse right there in the waiting room waiting for us it seemed. Frank was very kind and patient. He began taking Sarah’s vitals while I got her checked in. He didn’t touch her arm, just looked her over and mouthed to me, “Pretty sure it’s broken.” I agreed and we were wheeled back to the “fast track” area of the ED. They got Sarah in a bed and offered her some Motrin for pain. They wanted to give the Motrin and few minutes to kick in before we went to X-ray.

After about 20 minutes, we were taken to X-ray. Now Sarah has a huge pain tolerance. We often joke that when she falls, she bounces. It takes an awful lot to get this kid down. She can be gushing blood and still wants to keep on playing. So I tried to remain optimistic that X-ray would not be so bad.

It was awful. Gut-wrenching, heart-breaking misery. As the poor tech tried to manipulate Sarah’s arm to get pictures, Sarah was literally screaming at the top of her lungs. Huge crocodile tears streamed down her cheeks, snot poured from her poor little nose. It was the worst several minutes ever. She was in excruciating pain and everyone knew it. I tried my best to not look at the shape of Sarah’s arm as it was being manipulated. One time I got a glimpse and it was enough to make me weak in the knees and sweating. It took everything I had to not throw up. The tech was very fast and commented once it was done that Sarah had done much better than she would have done. The tech said she probably would have passed out from the pain. She gave Sarah a wad of stickers and sent us back to the ED.blog001

It wasn’t too long before an Ortho PA came and showed us the X-rays. There was no doubt about the pain. The bone had broken and rotated. This was not going to be an easy fix. The official terminology was a right humerus simple supracondylar fracture without intracondylar extension. Basically the big bone in her arm, was broken at the elbow. The PA told us the folks from the cast room would be over shortly to put a soft cast on Sarah to ease some of her pain until surgery could be scheduled. Oy vey! Surgery???

So we were told that they would either do the surgery late that night or send us home and have us come in super early to be the first case of the day on Thursday. While we were waiting for the operating room scheduled to be updated. The cast room folks were very gentle and kind while wrapping Sarah’s arm in a soft cast. This eased her pain tremendously.

A bit later the ED doctor came back over to make sure someone from ortho had talked to us. He offered Sarah more pain meds which she took. Then a few minutes later an orthopedic surgeon came to us and talked a little bit more about the elbow surgery required and asked if anyone had told us yet that Sarah’s wrist also appeared broken. Ummm, nope we hadn’t been told that news. Then he went on to tell us we needed to go back to X-ray to get better pictures of the wrist. Let’s just say Sarah was none too happy with this news. We tried to reassure her that now that she had the cast on, it wouldn’t be nearly as bad. And that it was only the wrist, not the elbow they needed pictures of. Off we went back to X-ray. It was fairly painless and again she was given a wad of stickers.

Then we went back to the ED to await our fate. By this point it was about 1:30 p.m.. We had been in the ED only 2.5 hours so we were doing well. Sarah was super hungry and thirsty but they wouldn’t let her have anything to eat or drink because they weren’t sure when the surgery would be scheduled. The Ortho PA came back and said they were going to admit Sarah for the night and she would be the first case of the day on Thursday. They wanted to be able to control her pain and get her in first thing. She told us the surgeon would be an orthopedic trauma surgeon named Cameron Sadeghi. We asked more questions about the procedure and who he was. Since it’s her elbow and wrist, we were all very concerned about range of motion and long-term effects. We wanted to know if we would be better served at Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego with a pediatric ortho surgeon. The ortho PA and ED physician reassured us that she would be just fine. That Dr. Sadeghi was a great trauma surgeon and that he fixes several pediatric arms each week.

At this point The Husband and Grandma made it to the ED. The Big One was with a friend and we were coming up with a plan. Since we were just waiting to be admitted, I went home to change clothes, get my phone charger and some home comforts for Sarah (her bear-bear, a blanket and some Doritos!) It was nearing 4 p.m. and we were both super hungry. The cereal we had for breakfast had long worn-off. The kid wanted Doritos and since she was cleared to eat whatever she wanted up until midnight, she got Doritos.

While I was gone our friend, Pastor Steve, stopped by the ED to check on things. He had a nice visit and prayed for Sarah with my mom and The Husband. I got what I needed at home and headed back down to the hospital. Finally there was a room available and we were headed upstairs for the night.

As they were getting Sarah settled in the room, I noticed it was dinner time and the gentleman delivering meals was the father of a kiddo is Sarah’s class. So he and I chatted for a minute and he gave me a menu for Sarah to choose from. He told her she could have whatever she wanted. Not one to pass on some food, the kid ordered just about one of everything. Her friend’s dad happily obliged and even brought her two brownies.

We were in for the night. I’d rather not re-live getting the IV started because that was a nightmare! I think it’s part genetics and part severe dehydration, but it took FIVE nurses FORTY-FIVE minutes and I think it was EIGHT pokes to get the IV started. At one point I felt like I was going to pass out and had to go outside. It was awful. But a testament to Sarah’s toughness, the kid never flinched, never complained, never fussed. God bless Grammy who had arrived just in time to read countless books to Sarah during the entire ordeal.

It was a long night of trying to keep her pain under control, while keeping her comfortable and reassuring her that the surgery would be just fine. At the same time I was on my phone putting my mad Internet stalking skills to work to determine that this surgeon was someone really worthy of entrusting my child’s life to. I discovered he is a fairly young surgeon. I think he’s been a Kaiser about three years, was recently married, beautiful wife and wedding and fabulous honeymoon!   (Man, the things you can find on the Internet!). He seemed alright so now all we could do was wait until morning.

At about 6:30 a.m. they came for us and wheeled Sarah to the OR. The Husband, had tried to sleep at home, but ended up joining us at about 5 a.m. in the room. So now the three of us were just hanging out in Bed 1 of the pre-op area waiting for paperwork and to meet the anesthesiologist and surgeon.

Anesthesiologist came first. He seemed like a typical anesthesiologist, a little older, a little crankier, all business. He was ticked because all that work on the IV and it was positional, so Sarah was still really dehydrated. The nurse tried to jerry-rig a board and lots of tape to Sarah’s hand to try and keep the darn IV flowing. It was a challenge. Then we met Dr. Sadeghi. It took all that I had to not ask him old he is. He looks very young. But he seemed nice. He was confident. He was forthcoming with what we should expect.

He told us that he fixes these type of fractures all the time. If it’s a simple break it could be re-set in 10 minutes. If it’s a more complicated break it could take up to two hours to re-set. It could require pins. It could require opening up her arm. It could require stitches. He wouldn’t know for sure until he got to work. He did tell us that from looking at the X-rays, the break was pretty bad and would more than likely require at least one pin. Then the time came to say I love You and send her off with these strangers. That part was very difficult. These people were literally going to have my child’s life in their hands. I know it was a broken elbow and wrist, but with anesthesia and the unknown involved it was hard to let her go.

We headed to the waiting room, where Aunt Tami had already camped out and saved us some seats. She and I immediately left The Husband with the gear and headed down to the coffee cart. And then we waited. And we waited. And we waited. Now when the surgeon tells you it could take up to two hours, you really don’t want it to. But it did. It was actually two hours and 10 minutes before we saw him emerge. He told us everything went fine. She was in recovery. Her break was one of the worst he had ever had to fix. He ended up putting three pins in her elbow and one in her wrist.

We asked about recovery time. We asked about range of motion. We asked about swimming with the dolphins. We asked about water slides. WAIT! Did I forget to mention that we were leaving for a Disney cruise FIVE weeks from the week it happened? Yes for 18 months we had been planning a Disney cruise for my sister’s 25th wedding anniversary. And now we were facing the possibility of a cast on the cruise.

Dr. Sadeghi told us to expect the cast to be on for four-to-six weeks. And even if she did get the cast off, there would be no swimming with the dolphins or waterslide. OY!

We hung out in the recovery room for about 90 minutes before they moved us back up to Sarah’s room. We didn’t know for sure if we were staying another night or if we’d get to go home. Dr. Sadeghi told ublog004s it depended on Sarah’s pain tolerance.

We had a fun day in the hospital. It was Sarah’s roommate’s birthday so we got to have a birthday party complete with Dr. Dog and a magician who performed several magic tricks for the girls. Then at about 4 p.m. Dr. Sadeghi came by, checked Sarah’s arm asked about what meds she had taken and was surprised that she had only asked for one dose, so he said we could go home. We’d follow up with him in a week to get the real cast on. She had to stay home from school for that week.

So Papa came to help me load up all the gear we had managed to accumulate over the last 30 hours or so and off we went back home.

I can’t believe that any of you would hang on so long to read this! This is the longest blog post in the history of blog posts. I’ll finish the recovery next time!

 

Here’s where we started and after, just for fun:

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