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 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cystic_fibrosis). 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!

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