Thursday, April 29, 2010

Post-Op, Day 7

I hope this will be my last update from room 5104. If all goes well, we should be going home sometime this afternoon!

We learned a couple of very important lessons last night. First, do not let Ethan nap until 5:30 p.m., even if it benefits the ortho residents who were coming by to put a cast on his arm. In addition, do not feed Ethan chocolate pudding after said nap. The combination of the two is sure to create a version of my child that I have never seen before!

Ethan was up until after 11:00 last night, acting like some sort of wild monkey man. Just thinking about it makes me laugh out loud. I seriously wish we could have recorded it. We tried putting him on our cot in the floor to see if he would fall asleep with us, but that just excited him even more. He was spinning in circles, bouncing up & down, and nose-diving into anything and everything. He cracked himself up at every little thing he did, which made Jeramie & me laugh, which only encouraged him to keep going. It was hilariously exhausting!


As I said, the residents came by around 7:30 last night to re-cast his arm. The goal is to get something on there that will last 1 week. It looked like they created a winner, but we found out this morning that it is already starting to slip. We have always had these cast woes, and it looks like this experience won't be much different. They are coming by around lunchtime today to put on yet another one; I'm just thankful we'll be able to avoid a 3rd trip to the OR!

If they're successful this afternoon, we'll be busting this joint! I'm so ready to get home... I can't wait to sleep in my bed, snuggle with my pillow, eat my own food, and (most importantly) get Ethan back where he belongs!

Continue to pray for us. Pray that this next cast will be the one and that we'll be back home just in time for dinner!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Post-Op, Day 5

Our day got off to quite the eventful start. I woke up around 6:00 a.m. to the sounds of Ethan crying and found our nurse hunched over his crib. Apparently, he had blown a diaper (thank you, antibiotics) and she was trying her best to change it with her itty-bitty flashlight, without waking him up. He doesn't really sleep through any of that anymore, though, and he was NOT happy about being awake. Bless her heart, she was trying.

She spent the next hour in our room as we progressed from getting him completely undressed, to changing his diaper, to wiping him down from (literally) head to toe, to re-dressing him, to changing his sheets.

Somewhere in there, between undressing him and re-dressing him, she had to unhook the tubing from his PICC so we could get his clothes on and off. In the few seconds it was detached, the line managed to clot off. At first we thought it was just positioned funny, so she and another nurse tried a few different things, to no avail. It was gone.

If you've spent enough time in the hospital, as many of you have, you're probably cringing right now. Losing a line is NOT fun, especially if it's the only one, and it has the ability to turn just about any day into a bad one. Images of the IV team rushing in to start another IV filled my mind.

About that time, I remembered what a doctor had told us last night once we got back from the OR. "It's likely we're going to switch Ethan over to by-mouth antibiotics.", she said. As I recalled that conversation, I breathed a sigh of relief and said something along the lines of "Well, let's just pull the thing out and send us home!" At that point, losing the PICC wasn't such a big deal. We no longer had a need to go home with it, thankfully, and it just may have been our ticket out of here.

Yeah, not so much.

Once the doctors rounded this morning, they decided that we would be staying a few extra days. The surgeons would like to take Ethan back into the OR on Thursday to basically do the same thing they did yesterday. They want to get one last, good look at everything and re-wrap his hand in a way that will be a little more convenient. At this point, I don't think we could put him in his car seat and go home, anyway, so I'm more than OK with the plan.

I am a little nervous about him receiving sedation for the 3rd time in 1 week, but he's done so well with it up to this point. I'm praying that will remain the same for Thursday and that the procedure will be as quick and painless as it was yesterday.

(FYI -- many of you have asked details about the bone infection. It's called osteomyelitis and all the blood-work is showing that we literally caught in just in time. Also, the results from surgical pathology, where they sent Ethan's amputated finger, tell us that all of the infection was removed from the bone! Is God good, or what?!)

I managed to escape the hospital for a couple of hours this morning to run home and get some more clothes. I took a shower while I was there, and even managed to put on some real clothes and fix my hair. It's amazing how much better I feel just after taking a shower in my own home.

Tonight, I'll be going to a family care dinner that's hosted by the 5th floor social workers. I'm really looking forward to spending some time with people who have become dear friends, as well as meeting new ones!

Feel free to come visit if you're in the area. At best, we'll go home Thursday evening...Friday afternoon, at worst. Jeramie is probably going back to work tomorrow, so I'd be more than happy to have some company up here during the day!

Thanks for everything y'all have done for us in the past week. Your love and prayers fill our hearts with unspeakable joy.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Friday, April 23, 2010

Post-Op, Day 1

Thank you for the prayers you've lifted up for our family. Here's a little update for you, based on what I posted last night.
"Here are a few specific things you can be praying for tonight/tomorrow: our ability to get some quality rest this evening, that any and all infection will stay away, and that the IV & PICC lines will stay put."
The three of us slept beautifully last night. Ethan fell asleep around 9:30 and slept through the night. Jeramie and I tucked ourselves in around 10:30 and were amazed when we woke up, for the first time, at 7:30 this morning! We all desperately needed the sleep, and I feel well-rested today.

I am also pleased to report that all 3 of Ethan's lines stayed right where they should over night! This has to be some sort of record and, given the way Ethan loses IVs, this can only be explained by the power of prayer. The nurse did come in a little bit ago to take out the IV lines, so now he is receiving all of his medicine through his PICC. He seems much more comfortable now that his hand and foot are free from needles!

We don't exactly know the status of the infection. The plan is to take Ethan back to the OR on Monday to unwrap his hand, then re-dress it. The peds doctors feel that Monday is a little too long to wait to see what it looks like under there, so it may get unwrapped sometime today or tomorrow. Please continue to pray that these antibiotics have been doing their job, that this infection isn't resistant to them, and that Ethan will be infection-free within the next few days.

Ethan is napping in his crib right now and I think I might close my eyes for little bit, as well. Thank you, thank you, thank you for the prayers and encouraging messages. Keep 'em coming, we still have a ways to go.


On a different note, many of you know that Jeramie and I had a night away planned for last night. We had tickets to go see Bon Jovi and a room at a fabulous hotel in downtown Charlotte. Obviously, that didn't happen, and I threw a small pity party for myself yesterday morning. Then, this morning, I wake up to read this. Thank you, Stefenie; I couldn't have said it better!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Surgery Update

The surgeon came out around 6:30 this evening to tell us that all went well with the surgery. Actually, I'll go as far to say that it went better than "well".

In a nutshell, he found that the median nerve had been lacerated, and needed to be grafted back together. This was "worst case", but he was able to repair it with "best case" results. He said the nerve he used to make the repair was a close-to-perfect match. The prognosis for feeling to return to his hand/fingers is excellent and will actually take a few months, not weeks, to happen.

The best news of all came when he told us that the infection in Ethan's finger was not nearly as bad as they had suspected! He only needed to amputate the very tip of the finger, leaving the majority of the length. I broke down when he told us that, he acknowledged that it had been a very long, emotional day, and even teared up a little himself. It was a beautiful moment.

Once we were able to go back and see Ethan, I was happy to see that he was resting comfortably and didn't seem to be as aggravated as he had been in the past. We were moved back to our room on the floor about an hour later, and we've been here ever since. Ethan has slept the majority of the evening and our biggest challenge has been keeping him comfortable.

His left arm is wrapped in a dressing (about 5 times the size of his arm), he has 2 IV lines (one in his foot, one in his hand), and a PICC line that was placed while he was still sedated in the OR. The good news is that the team has lots of access points, but the bad news is that it makes it difficult for him to get comfy in the crib.

We are feeling your prayers, for sure! Honestly, I was shocked that the surgery went so well, then I felt guilty for doubting God's power. Your prayers are being heard, and Ethan's recovery so far is proof of that.

Here are a few specific things you can be praying for tonight/tomorrow: our ability to get some quality rest this evening, that any and all infection will stay away, and that the IV & PICC lines will stay put.

We've been told that we'll be here at least 5-7 days, so you can also be praying that Jeramie and I will remain patient with each other and make the best of these tiny rooms that we hate, yet love.

Urgent Update

Hey y'all. This is going to be quick, but Ethan, Jeramie, and I are in need of your prayers. We brought Ethan to the Duke ER last night with, what looked like, an infection in his left index finger (the numb one).

It progressed quickly (within hours) and it was decided that Ethan would be admitted. An x-ray showed that the infection had moved into the tip of the bone, which pretty much guaranteed some heavy-duty IV antibiotics.

I've not done the greatest job updating the blog lately, so most of you probably don't even know that he was scheduled for surgery next Thursday to repair the nerve damage in his hand. Unfortunately, that wasn't soon enough.

Ethan is currently in the OR; Jeramie walked him down about 45 minutes ago. The plan is to go ahead and do the surgery that was scheduled for next week. The median nerve will either be grafted back together (if it's lacerated) or de-compressed. This should restore feeling in Ethan's hand and finger within a couple of weeks. What WAS NOT planned is that part of his finger will be amputated in order to get rid of most of the infection. This is so, so serious. The infection is ugly, and is spreading QUICKLY.

Please, please pray for the surgeons right now. Pray that Ethan's median nerve function will be completely restored. Pray that the infection will be stopped, and that the majority of it will be removed. Pray that the surgeons will be able to save the majority of Ethan's finger, protecting the functionality of it all.

Pray, pray, pray.

Friday, April 16, 2010

A Couponing First

I have so many friends who are into "couponing", and they are serious about it! I've longed for the day that life would slow down a little, and I could get organized enough to do it myself. I mean, I typically go into Target or the grocery store with a couple of coupons in hand, but nothing like some of these ladies (and guys!) do.

So, imagine my excitement when I went to Harris Teeter today and bought this:

...and only spent $10.36!! There it is, folks. My first "look-at-what-I-bought-for-a-little-bit-of-money" photo. I saved $24 and spent $10. That's what I'm talking about! I plan to go back for the next few days while the sale is still running. By Tuesday, I will have lost about $42, but will have 12 packs of diapers to show for it.

I am pumped! The spark has officially been ignited. Bring it on.

*Oh, and HUGE props to Meg the Magnificent for bringing this incredible deal to my attention!* Go check out Money Saving Mom to take advantage of it yourself.

Friday, April 9, 2010

All Things Ethan

This little boy

is so fun these days!

I could seriously sit and watch him play for hours.

Who am I kidding?! He doesn't stay still long enough for me to sit and do anything; and I love it!

At 13 months old, he blows me away with his development, considering where he started.

He climbs the stairs.

"Monkey crawls" to wherever he wants.

Ethan Crawling from Joye Mullis on Vimeo.

And looks absolutely adorable when he holds his hand to his ear and said "uh-row" (hello).

I just can't get enough of him right now.

He tries to eat whatever we give him, in small quantities, and has come to really love mashed potatoes.

It doesn't hurt that he has 13, going on 14, teeth that enable him to crunch down on just about anything. Actually, I'm sure it does hurt, if his temper and crazy sleeping habits are any indication.

Still, he's about as precious as they come.

His vocabulary sounds a little something like this:
-"bi-ber", "di-ber", and sometimes "di-per" for diaper
-"baw" for ball
-"nigh-nigh" for night-night
-"uh-row" for hello
-"Dada" & "Mama"
-"dat", with a 4-finger point, for (what we think) is "what's that?"
-"cat" for any animal with 4 legs
-and, "bop" for ... we have no idea!

He walks with the support of our hands, cruises along furniture, and has just started transitioning from one piece of furniture (or person) to another. This new trick has led to his first busted lip.

But even still, he is unstoppable.

He loves it when Jeramie or I "chase" him, and gets more tickled at the thought of us "getting him" than when we actually do!

He is determined

and fills my life with such pride.

This little boy

has my heart.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter Weekend 2010

Easter 2009 - Ethan was 1 month old, sporting a scalp IV, which we lovingly called his "Easter hat".

We had an excellent weekend, celebrating Ethan's 1st Easter at home! This time last year we were battling IVs and making a home for ourselves at Duke. Ethan's "Auntie Tara" had given him the cutest Easter outfit, and we were so disappointed that he couldn't wear it, thanks to all of the tubes, wires, and lovely medicine cap on top of his head. It was hard to focus on the true meaning of Easter, and I allowed myself to wallow in self pity instead.

This year, the idea of a resurrection is more real to me than it's ever been. The magnitude of what Christ did for us, so that we can live the life we live, is enough to shake me to the core. The thought of Him rising, and us one day joining Him, is comforting this year.

When I stand in that place,
free at last, meeting face to face
I am yours, Jesus you are mine
Endless joy, perfect peace
Earthly pain finally will cease.
Celebrate, Jesus is alive!

Thank you, Lord, for the resurrection of your Son, and mine.


Ethan decided that, in his true fashion, no exciting fun-filled weekend would be complete without a trip to an urgent care. We were driving down I-40 on the way to visit Jeramie's parents when I glanced back to check on him. I was shocked to see that he had managed to get the splint AND bandages off of his finger and proceeded to chew it to a bloody pulp. ARGH! Jeramie pulled over and we re-wrapped it as best we could. Needless to say, we drove straight to an urgent care in Mebane, who just so happened to be open on Good Friday!

The doctor thought everything looked OK and instructed us to leave it open to air for a bit so it can begin to scab over. We made it through the weekend without any other incidents, thankfully, and now we're more than anxious to get this problem fixed!!

After that small detour, we enjoyed spending the rest of the evening with Jeramie's family. We grilled out, relaxed on the couch, and Ethan even got in a little Harley time with PawPaw!


Saturday afternoon, we headed out to to the DBAP with some friends for Ethan's 1st Durham Bulls baseball game. We were SO excited to take him! Partly because it would be our first real outing, with a real crowd of people, as a family, for the first time since the fall. But also because there's just something fun about taking a little boy to his first baseball game. Ethan really enjoyed all the people-watching, and he and Jeramie made it onto the big screen during the 7th inning stretch! We couldn't have asked for better weather, or better company, and we're looking forward to many more games this season!


Sunday didn't exactly go as planned. Along with the baseball game, we were also very excited about going to church, as a family, for the first time in months. Well, wouldn't you know that Ethan woke up Easter morning with a snotty nose, red eyes, and sneezing all over the place. We thought it would be best to keep him out the nursery one more week, and we'll hopefully try again next week.

We ended up making the best of it, though, and went to lunch at Cracker Barrel with some good friends of ours. We left feeling very full, emotionally and physically. Thanks, John & Dana, for spending your Easter with us!


It was a great weekend, indeed. An empty cross and an empty grave ... oh, happy day!

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