Saturday, June 27, 2009

About Joshua's Surgery

It has been 10 days since Joshua's surgery; and finally, he is doing well enough to go without oxygen and be able to take breaks (short ones) off his ventilator without affecting his oxygen saturations and carbon dioxide levels. Hurray!!!!

In fact, today... we went to eat lunch out and then shopped in Walmart for a while. And we did not take his oxygen tank with us!

Many people still ask about Joshua's surgery and what it was for... so let me try to explain. He had part of the new breathing pacemakers he will use in the near future implanted into his body.

Joshua had 2 electrodes and 2 receivers connected to long wires like the ones in this picture:
implanted in his chest...
The implanted receiver is a small electronic device, about the size of a quarter and approx. 1/4 inch thick, that receives radiofrequency energy and converts it to electrical impulses which stimulate the diaphragm.
The implanted electrode is a highly flexible stainless steel wire, insulated by silicone rubber, with a platinum nerve contact on one end, and a connector that mates with the receiver at the other..

In the diagram below, you can see where they go inside the body:

you'll also notice a black box connected to white wires with a white circle at the other end.

The box is a Mark IV transmitter like this:

and the antennas look like this:

An external antenna is worn over each implanted receiver and sends power and radio signals from the transmitter to the receiver transcutaneously. This radiofrequency coupled design means that there are no wires or plugs protruding from the skin, and no batteries in the implant that would require periodic replacement.
An antenna is a durable disposable item which requires periodic replacement. It is recommended that antennas be replaced prophylactically every six months.
Here is Joshua showing his surgery incision sites in the pictures below:

Here's a closer look:
the top two incisions are where the electrodes went in (and had to be sewn in around the phrenic nerve

the bottom two incisions are where the receivers (round about the size of quarters) went in (just under the skin so they can make contact with the antennas which will be worn on the outside)
Joshua will not be able to use his pacemakers for some time (we are still waiting to hear from the doctors when they say it is okay to try them out) but when he does, he will use this Transtelephonic Monitor to send information from his pacemakers to the company that makes them, so they can help make sure everything is working properly and they can give the information necessary to the doctors.
For much more information on these diaphragmatic or breathing pacemakers, made by Avery Biomedical Devices, check out their website:

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Home from Hospital

Josh only spent the one night and about half the next day in intensive care before they decided to move him on out.

Since we had to wake up at like 3:30AM Wednesday, the day of his surgery, and then I stayed with Josh with the sick baby as his roommate the night of his surgery, by Thursday, I was really, really sleepy. James signed me up to stay in the Ronald McDonald House room available to a few lucky parents whose children are in the hospital. Luckily, I was chosen to get one of those nice rooms for the afternoon... so James sat with Josh.

I figured if they moved Josh, it would be much later in the day or even the following day, so I didn't worry much about it. But, while I was resting and showering, they were moving Josh and his dad to a room out on the intermediate care floor. The best part about it - it was a private room!!!!

Josh called me on his cell phone to tell me the good news. He was feeling good enough that they let him come off his ventilator for a few minutes and he walked out of the PICU into his private room. But he had to get right back on the ventilator. He was sitting up smiling at me when I walked into his new room - room number 922.

Since Josh was successfull in walking from PICU to his new room, and doing so good sitting up in a chair for more than an hour, he decided he'd like to talk another walk and check out the floor. He heard there was a playroom and a theater! So, they came in and turned off his hospital ventilator and we took him out for his walk. I noticed soon after we left his room, he was really sweatting alot. And I noticed he got pretty quiet even though his dad was talking about how great the theater was when we got there and a child life person was there asking him about movies and games he liked. I had a bad feeling that Josh was worse off than he was letting on. I asked him if he needed to go back to his room and get on the vent again, and he nodded his head.
We started back and he got looking worse and worse. I asked him if he needed to lean on me or if we needed to get him a wheelchair. He turned down the chair, but put his hand out for me to hold onto. He barely made it back to the room on his own power. He just wanted to immediately sit in the chair - his lips were turning blue and he was pouring sweat. We hooked him up to the vent immediately. His carbon dioxide was up over 70 (normal is 35-45). And it took a bit longer to get his pulsoximeter hooked up. But it was still down in the low 80s by then (it was definitely lower than that before he got on the ventilator) very dangerous! We had to inflate the cuff on his trach to get as much air into his lungs as possible, and he just leaned his head over onto a nearby pillow and just went right to sleep.
That incident scared me alot! After Josh woke up later, I said let's not do that again for a while. He needs to heal for a few more days before we do another walk around off the vent.
I stayed another night with Josh that night. But things were much quieter this time. Except that we got woke up several times after 4am so that they could get some bloodwork, then respiratory techs had to check the ventilator, and later a doctor could take a look at his incisions and remove the bandages. We kept trying to sleep again everytime someone would leave, but it seemed like we just closed our eyes and someone else was walking in (it wasn't really that quick but just seemed like it). We finally decided to wake up and I got dressed. Soon afterward, Joshua's breakfast arrived and I went to search for coffee (it was awful by the way).

James came from the motel and brought me some breakfast from their continental breakfast buffet. It was pretty good. On my way down to go meet James to help carry in my food, an associate of the surgeon who operated on Josh stopped me in the hall. He said since they weren't really doing anything for Josh (because I was doing all his trach care and giving all his meds, etc.) we didn't really need them and he thought we should be allowed to go home. He was going to talk to the surgeon and let us know later. Wow, not even 48 hours ago, Josh was being operated on. Now they were talking about letting him go home!

So, I had good news to share with James when I went down to meet him. But we didn't know when they would hear back from the surgeon and do the discharge paperwork. So, again, we waited and watched TV. James and Josh played some battleship. And one of my cousins, who I haven't seen in years, came by and took James and me to lunch. We told the nurse to let us know if the doctor called or came by, but we didn't hear anything. Josh was busy watching a movie while we were gone. And he was anxiously waiting for the doctor to let him leave.

As the hour got later, our hopes for getting discharged Friday were dwindling. Then, his nurse said she called and another associate of the surgeon who would have to sign the discharge papers had not heard anything about sending us home. So, we started preparing to stay another night. Josh and his dad were working on picking out foods Josh wanted for his meals the next day, when the nurse came back and said the doctor was planning to come see us as soon as his procedure he was in was done. He was probably going to discharge us after-all!

The doctor showed up just before 6pm and was happy to check Josh's incisions one more time (Josh was concerned because one of them was a bit red around the edges). The doctor said they looked really good, actually. And he was satisfied with his recovery and we could go home if we'd like. Of course, Josh was thrilled to go home.
It's a three hour drive to get from the hospital to our house, and we still needed to go pick up the rest of our stuff and check out of the motel. We figured if we got to leave the hospital by 7, run by the motel (about half an hour), pick up something to eat (half an hour) we could possibly be on our way home by 8pm. That would have us getting home around 11pm.

Our plan was a bit busted, because they were in the middle of shift change and had another patient being admitted. So, our discharge was not complete and we were not even leaving the hospital until about 8 or so. We decided to go to the motel, drop everything off there, get some food and eat at the motel. We spent the night and had our free breakfast there the next morning. We loaded everything up and left there about 10:30 or so the next day.

We made it home Saturday around 1:30pm. The problem we faced was that Joshua was having trouble keeping his oxygen saturations up unless we inflated the cuff on his trach. When we do that, though, he can't talk. I told him to try and nap as much as he could so we could inflate his cuff. That worked the biggest majority of the way home. But as we got closer to home, he wanted to wake up and talk to me. And his numbers got worse and worse. It was really starting to worry me. So, instead of stopping for lunch on the way, we went straight home and hurried to get him and his ventilator into the house. James brought down his oxygen concentrator from his room and we got him hooked up to it all right away.
We've kept him hooked to both vent and oxygen since we got home, and cuffed his trach as much as he'd allow. He has been complaining some of pain - mostly from his being constipated - but also from healing from the four incisions. But we now have his prescription for some good pain killers filled. And he is finally feeling better. Josh and I camped out last night on the couch in the recliners, so he wouldn't have to try and climb the stairs.

I've also kept him home from church so he could get as much rest as possible. But we are glad to be home! And just in time for Father's Day.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Day One Post Surgery

Thursday, June 18 2009 - morning

Joshua came through surgery well. The doctor came and gave us the news about 10:45AM. That means the surgery took about 2 and a half hours. Pacers for both lungs were placed and tested. Josh has four incisions about 3-4 inches across, two on each side of his chest. It took about an hour or so for him to sleep off the gas they used to put him under. It was another hour or more after that before they finally got him a room in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.

We had a little trouble as we were following the transport team as they moved him from the 2nd floor (where surgery happened) to the 9th floor (where the PICU is). We did not fit in the same elevator as the team (since we had bags and Josh's ventilator) so we took a separate one. But, once we got upstairs, there was no sign of Josh or the team. The ladies at the desk on that floor called back and to the PICU but said he was not yet in the room. Well, we had Joshua's ventilator and even though he had a transport type vent attached, he would need his regular vent very soon. And they wanted us to wait like 30 minutes to go back - that just would not work!

James was getting really upset (remember he had had no sleep and he was very worried about Josh) so he started to get a little loud explaining to the ladies that Josh had to have his vent or he could die. (that was probably a little over-exagerated because the team could bag him or something if things got bad). Anyway, meanwhile, another parent who had been allowed back decided to help us and held the door open for us. But the lady at the desk didn't want us to be allowed back. It was kind of crazy. Then a member of the transport team (who had been Josh's nurse in recovery) came to tell us he was put on a regular hospital ventilator and didn't need our vent right now so we could go sit down and wait. Just as I was about to turn around to do that, another nurse from PICU came running out and telling me "Okay, Mom. We are ready for you. Come on back... come, come, come." So, I went on in and they seemed very apologetic for the confusion. I think the transport team (and especially the nurse from recovery should have done a better job in communicating with us since they are the ones who should have told us what was going on before we got separated on the elevators in the first place) But oh, well. That is over.

So, Josh tried to stay awake and watch tv but the medicine he is taking was making him sleepy. I told him it was okay for him to fall asleep. Then, every time the medicine would start to wear off, he would start to feel lots of pain. It sure did come on fast! And when he was awake, he didn't feel up to moving much at all. He had me doing just about everything for him. Poor thing. I'm sure he didn't expect to feel much pain if any - but he sure is.

Then, around 7pm, they brought in another patient that would share his room (because it is big enough for 2 pediatric ICU patients). The patient was a little baby - probably not more than 3 months old. We overheard that the baby was on a ventilator as he was brought to the hospital (I"m guessing either by ambulance or perhaps flight) but they were planning to extubate him. I'm guessing they did that once he was in our room, but luckily they had the curtain drawn so we didn't have to watch it. The baby's mom wasn't here for a good while. I'm sure she had to drive herself or get a ride or something. It was hard to sit there in the same room with a crying baby and not be able to get up and go to him to help. But the staff tried to be in with him as much as possible.
During the night, the baby must have had a very hard time. He had to have a machine brought in called a C-Pap and he had to wear a face mask. The baby did not like that at all. And even with it, we overheard that his oxygen saturation levels were in the 80s. The doctors and respiratory techs came in very frequently all night long, increasing something on his machine to try and get the sats up. I heard once that they might have to intubate him again - but I don't think they did.
With all the commotion going on last night, Josh and I (yes, Josh had me stay in the room with him all night) didn't get much sleep. But the nurses and respiratory folks say they think we will probably be moved to another room today - maybe out on the intermediate care floor. That would be nice. But we have to wait for the surgeon to come take a look at Josh first. So, we wait and watch tv and cat nap from time to time.

Josh is hurting so bad he doesn't feel he can lean up or get up - in fact, he barely moves his hands even. I know he will have to start moving around and getting up soon or he won't be able to come home. And I know he wants to go home and get out of this hospital.

Meanwhile, here are the pictures I promised in my last post. They are from Tuesday after Josh's post-op appointment, when we went to Hermann Park near the hospital. We enjoyed watching the paddle boats, ducks and turtles. Then, there are a few pictures from just before surgery. They had me wear a big 'ol pair of coveralls called a "bunny suit." It's not very attractive, so I let James take a picture of me in it since we took pictures of Josh in his hospital gown.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Pacer Surgery

It is Wednesday, June 17th 9:40AM as I begin this post; and I am sitting outside of Children's Surgery Waiting Room at Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, Texas. Joshua is in surgery right now. We arrived at the hospital just before 5:30 this morning. Josh was a little ticked that he had to take off all of his clothes and put on a hospital gown. But he relented and did as he was asked. Then, he even climbed onto the gurney and watched TV as he waited for them to come wheel him into surgery. We waited quite a while, and talked to several doctors and nurses. One of them, the anesthesiologist (before she got all the details of Josh's surgery) thought they were going to open up his entire chest, so she suggested he have an epidural. We did not know she didn't have all the details, so we were helping to explain about the epidural to Josh - who all of a sudden got VERY nervous. They planned for me to wear a "bunny suit" (a set of blue paper coveralls - and huge I might add) so I could go in with him to the operating room until he fell asleep. After the surgeon explained to her that Joshua's incisions would not be that big, she came in and said he would not need an epidural after-all but I could still come in with him like we planned (since that seemed to re-assure him).

Another man - from the company that makes the pacers - came in while we waited to show us the device and explain one more time what all they would be doing to implant them. He also explained how to use them (even though we won't be able to do any of that for several weeks).

Finally, they were ready and we wheeled him (still hooked to his home ventilator) down the halls to the OR. They quickly put him on their ventilator and bled in the knock out gas, which they explained smelled kind of like stinky elephants at the zoo. Josh didn't have a chance to tell us whether he smelled anything or not as he was out very quickly. Before he closed his eyes, he had a very scary look of panic on his face that only came on him after they started the gas. It was sad to see him look like that. And of course, he stiffens up so as he goes under and squeezes his eyes closed as if in pain. I knew he wasn't, though. It is just an affect of the gas as it puts him under.

I stayed in the OR a few more minutes until they were sure he wouldn't open his eyes again. Then, they had me wheel his ventilator cart into the recovery area so it would be ready for him. Then, I went to join James in the waiting area. After I got out of my "bunny suit" we went to eat breakfast. That was 8:15AM.

It's almost 10AM now - an hour and a half after surgery began and so far no word.

Will update again later and have some fun pictures to share, too!

Until then, pray for us and especially for the doctors, etc. working on Josh right this very minute.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Summer Break Begins

Last day of school was Thursday, June 4th
Now, we can sleep in a little later. But we are still going over to take care of my little elderly couple - at least until the week of Joshua's surgery (we'll get to that soon).

Josh enjoyed a few days of hanging out with one of his best buddies from school, Joel. Joel has twin brothers who are developmentally delayed, so he has learned to be very patient and understanding. Their teacher put Joel and Josh together earlier in the school year and found that the two worked together VERY well. Joel's dad, a chaplain in the Air Force is currently deployed, so now that school is out, his mom decided they should go spend some time with her parents so she'd have help with all the kids. But before they left, she let Joel come spend time with Josh.

We took Joel fishing with us, then he spent the night. They also spent some time hanging out at the park, playing basketball and playing on the playground equipment. Now, Joel and his family are at their grandparents house in another state. All the way there, Joel and Josh texted each other asking each other "what's up." I know because Josh kept asking me how to spell the names of the programs he was watching, etc. and he needed help reading some of the text messages Joel was sending to him. It was very sweet.

Okay, back to Josh's surgery. It is coming up very soon - June 17th. We leave Tuesday, the 16th very early to make it to Houston in time for lunch and Josh's pre-op appointment at 1pm. Then, Wednesday, we are set to arrive at the hospital by 5:30AM! The surgery is supposed to happen at 7:30AM. And, we are told to expect Joshua to remain hospitalized for a week to recover. He will have those special diaphragmatic or breathing pacemakers implanted - one for each lung. But he will not be able to use the pacemakers for some time still. I'm told they have to "fuse" into place for up to a few months before he'll be able to get them running. But once that happens, he should be able to go without his ventilator much or all of the time (at least eventually). We are so excited about that prospect, but still a bit worried about the pain and risks associated with surgery.

I have officially resigned as the caregiver for my elderly couple - after 3 years with them. They finally got help from the state and an agency is assigned to them to provide them help. I trained a CNA with that agency on Friday, my last day with them. It means I do not currently have a job - but I wouldn't be at one for a week or more anyway because Josh is going to be in the hospital. But I have found a position available at his school as the attendance clerk. I would absolutely LOVE doing that job, so I applied. I have not heard anything yet, but am praying it will work out. Josh is already talking about how excited he would be to have me working there. We could go to lunch together and he wouldn't need to ride the bus to or from school anymore.

We are still trying to sell our house. We have had 8 showings. I really hope we find a buyer soon. I'd sure like to be moved and ready before time for school to start again. And I want to set up a nursery room for Steffany and her baby, even if she decides to get married and move away. I always want to have a place for her and the baby in case she needs it.

She is still having some morning sickness and mood swings. And she has quit her job at the pizza place she was working at. She is making plans to hopefully have an office job with the family of her baby's father. I sure hope that works out for her. I guess time will tell. The good news is that the baby's father was really come forward telling us he cares about Steffany and their baby and has been excited planning for the baby.
Okay, on to some disheartening news. Another child diagnosed with the same thing Josh has (ROHHAD) is involved in a study with Johns Hopkins, testing whether the disorder which they believe may be autoimmune could be cured with a very strong, miserable dose of chemotherapy. Please keep that little girl, Haven Fowler and her parents, Misty and Kris, in your prayers. They are about to go through some of the toughest days of their lives.

The chemo treatment breaks down the immune system to the point that the body cannot fight off really anything. It also makes you extremely sick to your stomache, causes ulcers in the mouth and for hair to fall out. Doctors do not know if Haven will survive the treatment. But the hope is she will, and will emerge free of the symptoms of ROHHAD completely. If this chemo does in fact get rid of the ROHHAD, I'm sure the doctors will want to have Josh do this too. While I wish he could be cured, I am scared of the risky treatment. I guess we will cross that bridge if/when it comes.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

June 2 Headlines

Headlines for June 2, 2009

Joys of Teenage Pregnancy - Morning Sickness and School

My 17 year old daughter, about 7 weeks pregnant is experiencing some serious morning sickness. She texted me this morning telling me she needed food but could not move she was so sick. I told her she needed to go to the bathroom and throw up. Then she'd feel better. She did and she did. Then, I brought her a peanut butter sandwich and milk. The girl who a few weeks ago would not come out of her room without makeup and hair perfect for school is now sporting a new look - without much makeup. I think she looks nicer this way.

Several friends and family have recommended possible morning sickness remedies - from something known as Preggie Pops to Lemon Wedges to Saltine Crackers. I read a possible cause of morning sickness is the increase of a certain hormone in the blood that just increases until about the 12th week and that hormone makes you more and more sick until it levels off. So, Steff may be in for more sickness for the next month or so at least before it lets up. Yay!

Final Pulmonary Visit before Breathing Pacemaker Surgery

Joshua went to see his lung doctor in San Antonio, Dr. Smith this morning. In the clinic, he sees a nutritionist who asked about our food plans and said Joshua's body mass index stayed about the same. She'd like to see it come down more, but at least it didn't go up.

He also sees a lady who checks how well his lungs work by doing PFTs (pulmonary function tests). Those are like playing a video game with your mouth. You stand and breathe into a little machine hooked to a computer. The lady tells you when to take a big breath in and when and how long to blow it all out... meanwhile on the screen you see something like birthday cake with candles that are blowing out or this time it was a brick building that you were blowing down like you were the big bad wolf. Josh was a pretty good wolf - knocking down that brick building on the computer screen.

He has a case manager who makes sure we are getting all the supplies we need, and writes up any letters necessary for the doctor to sign, etc. Today, we needed a letter written up and signed so that Joshua could remain at the same school next year since our school district had built a few new schools and changed up school boundaries. His nurse who has been with him all year will be the campus nurse next year at the school he's at now. We've decided it would be best to keep him close to her as he transitions from ventilator to diaphragmatic pacers next year.

And eventually, we see the actual doctor. He was a little concerned about an incident Sunday night when Joshua seemed to almost lose his balance coming out of the bathroom. He was off the vent getting ready for bed. His temperature was a little high, his CO2 was over 60 and his blood oxygen level showed the low to mid 80s - all of those things are not good. But, luckily all his numbers leveled off shortly after being hooked back to the ventilator. Since Josh looked good during the visit, the doctor just wrote about it all in his notes in case anything else happened. Of course, Josh slept all Monday afternoon and night so by the time we were at the doctor's office, he should have felt like a million bucks with all the extra rest. The doctor's other concern was with the test he'd ordered a few months back to rule out Cystic Fibrosis.

Cystic Fibrosis Test Results - Intermediate?

Because Josh's MRI showed chronic inflamation awhile back, the doctor thought there was a slight possibility that Josh could have CF - which can be very bad and usually results in early death (see To rule it out, Josh had a sweat test done. We never heard anything back about the results, so I assumed it was negative. But the doctor DID get the results back. He said it was not positive or negative - but intermediate. "What the heck does that mean?" I asked him. He says one of two things is likely here. 1. Josh could be a carrier of CF because he may have one allele out of the two you need to actually have CF. If that is the case, and one day he has children, he can pass the gene on to a child. Or 2. Josh's hypothyroidism could have thrown the test off. To find out for sure, the doctor ordered a DNA sampling from his blood.

The doctor also decided to check Josh's electrolytes since I reminded him our old pulmonologist used to do this at just about every visit. So, that meant Josh had to have blood drawn.

So, our next stop was Kids Express - a lab in the hospital across the street from the doctor's office. We arrived there about 10:30AM. You have to register again there and wait for the lab to call you. I guess we got into the lab area around 11AM. One lady tried to get a vein to draw blood from but had no luck. I warned her that Josh was a very hard stick - his veins just do not cooperate well even though Josh himself is a great patient. He sits still and just watches them work - no flinching or crying or anything. (he's a tough kid. I'd be on the floor crying by the time they did to me all they did to him!) After she tried and failed, she went to get help. The next person also tried and failed. Then, they decided to send us to a different lab in the hospital so more people could try (and of course fail).

We arrived at the next lab about Noon. Again, we had to wait for a tech to come get us. That tech tried for a vein starting around 12:20. About 5 people later, someone finally realized they could get the results they needed with just a finger stick. So, finally about 1PM, they finally stuck his finger (which is what Josh had wanted from the beginning but they kept saying they needed to much blood to do that).

We had hoped to be able to meet James and have lunch before having to be at Josh's school for an awards presentation that started at 2pm. Well, we didn't even leave the hospital until about 1:20 or so, so that was not going to happen. We BARELY made it to his school in time to get to the awards presentation before it started. We had to skip lunch altogether. It was nearly 3 o'clock before we finally got to eat something. Boy, were we hungry by then!

TAKS Test Results

During our long adventure at the doctor's office and labs, we got a message from Josh's school nurse with some very happy news. The results were in from the re-take of the Math TAKS test. (remember, Josh failed the first time and had to pass to go on to the 6th grade). He had done it, he passed the Math TAKS!!!!! This is quite an accomplishment for Josh. He has a learning disability and was WAY below grade level when he began this school year. Passing the TAKS test on his grade level was a major achievement. We were all very excited to hear this news. Josh IS going to be a 6th grader soon - Yay!!!!

Papa Tom back in Hospice House

But we also got some troubling news today... Josh's grandpa (my father-in-law) who has terminal cancer got much worse the last couple of days and was taken back to a hospice house. He was reportedly very confused and the worry is that the cancer has likely spread to his brain. We have known for many months that Tom would not likely survive his cancer. Doctors had predicted he'd only maybe make it 3 months - and that was back in August or September. Here it is more than twice that long later and he was still having some good enough days that he went to a little fishing pond near his home and he had good visits with family that would come to see him. We still had hope that he would be cured completely somehow. But this looks like it may be near the end for him. And we are very saddened at this thought.

Uncle Mutt Passed Away

We also learned today that my great-uncle, who also lived in Odessa and was battling a form of cancer, passed away. He was several years older than Tom, and had developed pneumonia in both lungs. Doctors were preparing his family that he would not likely survive the pneumonia. And the family had told him their goodbyes. But who is ever really ready for a loved one to part from this world? We still must go on knowing we will not see them here again. My great-uncle Mutt was a very kind man and I know he was a good Christian. So, he is having a tremendous family reunion in heaven now with many of his brothers and sisters, parents, and so forth. It helps to know that one day I'll see all of them in heaven, too.

Debris from Flight 442 Found in Atlantic

Some other big news of the day not that directly affects us, but that draws our attention, has to do with a plane filled with over 200 people that disappeared over the ocean. There was no distress signal before it went down. And nobody is sure what happened. Well, today, searches located wreckage from that plane over a three mile area in the Atlantic. That means any hope that all those or any of those people on board survived - is gone. It makes me think about how many people get on a plane or in a car and really don't know that that vehicle will reach its destination. There really is no guarantee that we will be here even later this very day. Those people were gone in an instant. It boggles the mind.

Space Shuttle Visits San Antonio

Another plane carried an unusual visitor to our area today. I heard about it while we were at the doctor's office. The space shuttle that was supposed to land last week in Florida could not do that due to bad weather. It landed instead in California and was being flown back to Florida on the back of a large plane. That plane with the shuttle on its back, had spent the night last night in El Paso; and was supposed to stop for fuel in Dallas/Ft Worth. But weather there prevented that from happening. So, instead the shuttle came to San Antonio to refuel. It landed at Lackland Air Force Base around 10 o'clock. It stayed about an hour and a half before it continued its trip back to Florida. I wished I could have taken Josh to go see the shuttle while it was here, but we were stuck in the doctor's office at the time, darn.

Another Plane Brings Home Orlando Visitors
And yet, another plane heading into San Antonio today brought back my sister and her boyfriend. I went to pick them up from the airport around 5:30 this evening. They had been in Orlando to watch one of his brother's graduate high school. I'm sure glad they made it there and back safely.

Object Reported Flying Near Continental Jet

Friday night, as my sister and her boyfriend were headed to Orlando, they had to stop over in Houston to change planes and were stuck there for about 3 hours as their plane was delayed. At that same time, I learned today, in nearly the same location, a pilot of another plane was reporting seeing something perhaps a missile or rocket flying directly toward is plane as he traveled at about 13,o00 feet. So far nothing has been found to determine what it was for sure. Luckily nobody was hurt and it only came about 100 to 150 feet away from the plane. But it sure makes you stop and wonder what if. Yikes!

Discovery Documentary - Life or Death : Battling to Breathe