Thursday, April 26, 2012


If all's quiet on the blog this weekend, you can safely assume that Ethan's fever has broken (which it has) and that Mama is sipping on a drink in NYC (which I will be).

Thanks again for your prayers - I really can't say it enough.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

ER Visit #2

Well, we found ourselves back in Duke Children's emergency department last night.  It all started yesterday afternoon when Ethan had a strange "episode" involving shivering, an odd breathing pattern, and a slight color change.  I was driving at the time - he in the carseat in the back - and I was about 50 feet away from pulling over and dialing 911.  He was acting completely normal through it all, though, which made me think it wasn't quite as serious as my adrenaline was leading me to believe.

Jeramie and I were "tagging out", as I had a meeting to attend at Duke, so I met him at his work and he and Ethan headed home.  Ethan appeared to be fine on the ride back home but by the time they walked through the door, he had spiked a fever of 105.  Jeramie immediately gave him Motrin and by the time I got home later that evening, he seemed back to his happy self.  I left again to run a couple of errands and was half naked in the dressing room at Target when Jeramie called.  The only thing I heard before hanging up and throwing my shirt on backwards was "you need to come home".

I raced back to the house and found an extremely lethargic Ethan, whimpering and moaning with every breath.  He wasn't all too warm, but he was shivering uncontrollably - teeth chattering and all.  Jeramie had been in touch with Dr. I throughout the evening and he told us to specifically keep an eye out for the shivering.  When Jeramie called to tell him what was going on, he didn't hesitate in telling us to take him to the hospital.

In the 30 minutes it took us to get to Duke, Ethan's fever had spiked back up to 105 (with Motrin still on board).  We were in a room in a matter of minutes and the team instantly started their talks.  The first thing to be ruled out was pneumonia, especially after last week.  While we were waiting on the chest x-ray results, the nurses came in to insert an IV and take some blood.  I can't express how proud I was of Ethan during that whole ordeal.  For starters, the nurses were phenomenal and knew exactly what they were doing.  Ethan fussed enough to let us know he didn't like it - but not a single tear escaped his eyes - and his bravery was rewarded with two Krispy Kreme doughnuts from the cafeteria, courtesy of Nurse Tammy.  Have I mentioned how much we love Duke?

Then, we waited.  And took a bazillion laps around the ED in the little red wagon.

All the tests came back clear - the chest x-ray looked great and his white blood count was normal.  Some blood was sent off to be cultured, and we should know if anything grows on those by sometime tomorrow.  After some discussion, we decided to do a viral panel as well, the results of which we should also know in the next day or so.

The most comforting and encouraging thing to see was how Ethan bounced back in between doses of medication.  If there was some sort of bloodstream infection brewing (which we were all preparing ourselves for), the doctors assured us that he would not be eating doughnuts and walking around the ED at 1:00 in the morning.  All signs seem to point to yet another virus - yes, the "v" word, which is quickly becoming a cuss word around these parts!

We were discharged around 2:00 this morning with instructions to keep Ethan hydrated, rotate Tylenol and Motrin, and follow-up with his pediatrician.  I took him there this afternoon and asked that they test him for the flu.  It was the only thing that hadn't been immediately ruled out and my gut was telling me that was it.

The test was negative.  While that is ultimately a great thing, I sure do wish we could put a diagnosis on all of this.  The pediatrician we saw today made mention of how many high-fever cases he has seen lately, and even the ED doctors commented on the extra-active viral season this year.  That at least makes me feel a little less alone (and crazy), and encourages me to think that we're on the upswing of all this mess.

I'd love your prayers for Ethan tonight - that his fever would break; that he would remain comfortable throughout the night; that no bacteria would grow on the cultures. 

Thanks, y'all.  Your prayers and words of encouragement are priceless to me.

Monday, April 23, 2012

A Weekend Down South

Do y'all remember this post about the first time we met the Carter family? Ever since then, Shannon and I have been trying to find another time to get our families together, and it finally happened; as soon as I heard about the Hope for BraveHEARTS golf tournament, I started planning our trip to South Carolina!


The Carters generously opened their home to us and some of my favorite memories from that weekend involve sitting around their table, talking about life.  On more than one occasion, my eyes were wet with tears as I watched Ethan and Derrick play together.  Those boys love each other in a way that we think we understand, but probably don't.


Of course, the golf tournament had its perks, too! Jeramie got to enjoy a beautiful day on the golf course with a great group of guys, and Shannon and I were able to spend some time chatting in the sun (sans kids!).  The weather was perfect, the turnout was great, and the amount of money that was raised for the pediatric cardiology department at MUSC was amazing.  Jeramie and I felt honored to be a part of such an awesome day!

Our view from laying in the sun on Hole 4...

Once the tournament ended, the kiddos joined us for dinner, then spent some time doing a little golfing of their own.

Of course, the night couldn't end without some late-night tricycle riding.  I really wish I had taken some videos, because these two monkeys riding in circles all night long was beyond funny!

I continue to stand amazed at all of the good that can come out of a bad situation, and I think it's safe to say that we're all looking forward to the next visit.  Thank you, Carter family, for making us feel so com-fa-ble!

Friday, April 20, 2012

SEVEN Days!!

One week from today...

Celebrating our 30 years of awesome...

Bring it!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

X-Ray Results

Ethan's pediatrician called us last night (like, upwards of six times because I had forgotten my phone at home) to share the results of Ethan's chest x-ray.

Once again, my jaw dropped as Jeramie relayed the message to me - the doctors "can't rule out pneumonia" based on the x-ray images. It's not an obvious case, but there are things showing up on yesterday's x-ray that haven't been present on images before. In his pediatrician's opinion, it very well could be "brewing pneumonia", which we plan to stop before it can get any worse.

So, a 10-day course of antibiotics it is ... Ethan's medication list hasn't been this extensive in a looooooong time. Your continued prayers are greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Well, I guess the saying is true - there is always a first time for everything.

I took Ethan back to the pediatrician this morning for a re-check from yesterday.  His oxygen saturation levels weren't great (reading in the low 90s; normally 98-100), so he received another in-office breathing treatment.

(By the way, thanks for the prayers last night.  We were able to get Ethan to take two breathing treatments without much of a fight and we all slept really well between them!)

His numbers only came up slightly after the treatment today, so the pediatrician ordered a chest x-ray and a RSV swab.  As the doctor was walking us out, giving the orders for the x-ray, the nurse walked up with the results from the RSV test.

Our jaws dropped when she told us it was positive. In the first year that Ethan doesn't receive the Synagis shots, and in the last month of cold and flu season, he comes down with RSflippin'V.

This new diagnosis doesn't change his current treatment much, aside from a few more doses of Prednisone and Albuterol (FANtastic).  We will need to watch him closely over the next couple of days, however, as it's possible things can get worse before they get better.  I called our local medical supply company faster than you can say "pulse oximeter" to get a prescription filled for a home PulseOx monitor, and I hope to have that sweet piece of Heart Mama heaven in my hands by tomorrow.

As history goes over the past three years, this has thrown a wrench in some long weekend plans, but I'm already feeling better after a parking lot pity party and a talk with my Mama.  She said there'd be days like this after all, right?

Monday, April 16, 2012

ER Visit and Follow-Up

Hey friends.  I'm in a bit of a funk tonight, so this is going to be short and to the point.  If you've been following along on our Facebook page, you already know that Ethan was in the ER last night for breathing trouble.  Long story short, he was diagnosed with croup, given a dose of Decadron, monitored for a few hours, and we were sent home around 1:00 this morning.

He slept until 11:15 today (!!) and I was sure he would wake up a different child than he was yesterday.  Not so much.  He continued to cough pretty heavily throughout the day, so I took him to see our pediatrician this afternoon. He was moderately tugging while breathing, which prompted an in-office breathing treatment, which sent Ethan into an anxiety ridden fit.  It is obvious that we've been removed from the "medical world" for a bit, because neither one of us handled today very well.  Our 3:20 appointment turned into two hours in the office and an hour at the pharmacy - not exactly the afternoon I hoped for after a night in the ER.  I'm having a very hard time seeing the big picture right now; I only have middle-of the-night breathing treatments and steroid-induced tantrums in my field of vision.

He goes back to the pediatrician at 10:00 tomorrow, so I would love your prayers for my boy and, quite honestly, for me.  We need rest, healing, and peace of mind over here.  And, a few prayers for cooperation at 1:15 and 5:15 this morning would be lovely, too.

Thanks in advance - I'll be sure to update tomorrow.

(I'll also have a much more pleasant post coming soon.  We had such an awesome weekend with the Carters, supporting Hope for BraveHEARTS! It's my happy place right now, and I'll share all about our trip soon.)

Friday, April 13, 2012

Easter 2012

I've never really put much thought into my "2nd favorite" holiday, but I'm pretty sure it would have to be Easter - following behind Christmas.  I love those two days of the year for what they represent in my faith, and for what the birth and resurrection of this guy named Jesus means for me and for you.  My pastor gave an awesome sermon this past Sunday on why it can be difficult to actually believe that the tomb is empty and Jesus is alive.  If you've ever struggled with believing this yourself, or if you're "just looking around" when it comes to Christianity, take about 45 minutes of your day and listen to this.

After a great church service (baptisms give me the goosebumps), we headed out to my in-laws' house for the afternoon.  In the 7 years that I've known Jeramie, I don't think we've ever celebrated Easter with his family.  Being with them on Sunday was a very welcome change!

My mama-in-law cooked an amazing dinner and set up a pretty great egg hunt for us Ethan.  Doesn't she have the best smile?

Ethan picked up about two eggs before he realized that driving the Gator around the yard would be much more effective.

And, he needed to be quick to keep these two at bay...

Between the six of us, I think we successfully found all the eggs, which were filled with all kinds of goodies!

It was such a beautiful day, so we took full advantage of the sunshine and low humidity and stayed outside for most of the afternoon. I couldn't have imagined a better ending to our weekend than to be with family, celebrating life.

He is risen - He is risen, indeed! Hope y'all had a great Easter, too!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Duke Gardens

As part of our staycation, Jeramie, Ethan, and myself took a trip to Duke Gardens this past Saturday.  It is located on the campus of Duke University in Durham, and can act as a retreat of sorts for families who find themselves at Duke University Medical Center.  In spite of all the time we've spent at Duke, we've never made our way over to the gardens.  However, a couple of weeks ago, I read this post by a friend of mine.  Her photos were a reminder that we needed to visit, and more than convinced me that it needed to be soon! Sandwiches, snacks, and a few outside toys found their way into a picnic basket, and away we went...

On the way to the gardens we were talking to Ethan about all the different types of flowers we would see there.  I asked him what colors he thought they would be and he responded matter-of-factly with "blue".  I was a little nervous that he would end up learning a lesson in disappointment, but I figured if anywhere had blue flowers it would be Duke Gardens.

I wish y'all could have seen his face when he spotted these beauties...

He was so proud, and so excited - even if they did look slightly purple!

The area we spent the most time visiting was breathtaking.  There were flowers everywhere you looked, and I couldn't help but hear Jars of Clay's "Love Song for a Savior" run through my head.

"In open fields of wild flowers..."

There was so much life to take in.  From the buzzing bees, to the visitors, to the flowers themselves, to a 3-year old boy who very well could have never had the opportunity to visit such a place.

I loved every fragrant second of it.

The day couldn't have been more beautiful and the company couldn't have been better.  Duke Gardens, we will be back.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

20 Questions, Part 1 - [alternately titled: Bloggy Fun!]

Recently, Jeramie asked me 20 questions about myself, which were turned into a game that was played with friends over dinner.

It was pretty funny to hear the answers of some of my closest friends (and their husbands!), and I think everyone learned at least one new thing about me in the process.

Over the next four weeks, I'm going to post the questions here in groups of five.  Feel free to humor me by leaving your answers/guesses in the comments section below, along with a random fact about yourself with each answer you give.  I think it will be a fun way to learn a little more about each other, and I'll be sure to post the answers with the next set of questions!

So, without further ado, the first five...

1.  What was my full birth name?
2.  What is my actual birth date?
3.  Who is my favorite singer or band?
4.  What is my favorite song by that singer or band?
5.  What is my eye color?

Happy guessing!

Monday, April 9, 2012


I've not had much to say on the ol' blog lately.  The thoughts are there, swirling around in their usual place, yet not quite ready to fly off the ends of my fingertips.  To be honest, there really hasn't been much time to sit down and just write.  I often get the urge, though, and I imagine for a second that I'm one of those people who says, "I just need to go for a run."  Except that I'm not, and my happy place is in the form of putting fingers to the keyboard, not feet to the asphalt.  I'll get back there soon, I'm sure, but in the meantime, I can at least document what's been going on lately.

-Last weekend, we hosted some dear friends of ours for a long weekend.  This is the same family we went to visit in Ohio last fall, and it was unbelievably good to spend time with them again.  We were able to celebrate my birthday while they were here, too, and that meant so much to me!

-March got a little confused and went out like a lion with the most impressive hail storm I've ever seen! We were amazed by it and stood outside watching those little pellets shoot down from the clouds.  It was crazy!

-On Thursday of this past week, Jeramie got off of work a little early to kick off a long weekend of family togetherness.  I named it our "staycation" and it did not disappoint! We have been a blur of activity lately, doing things with and for others, and we've neglected to spend time with the most important people ... each other. 

Our fun started on Thursday night when we attended the town of Cary's special needs Easter egg hunt.  It was perfect - well organized, not crowded - and was just what my boy, with his special arm, needed.

On Friday, we took our time waking up, then spent the morning dyeing Easter eggs...

...which Jeramie later hid, fresh out of the dye.

After a quick lunch, we headed to one of our indoor city pools for our first swim of the season.  Ethan still needs quite a bit of reassurance in the water, so I'm hoping that with lots of practice he'll become more and more comfortable as the spring and summer months continue.

He sure does make practice look cute though, doesn't he?!

Saturday and Sunday each deserve posts of their own - we took a short trip to a special place on Saturday, then celebrated the mess out of an empty tomb on Sunday.

I'll be back later, but consider yourselves updated on what's been going on lately.

Monday, April 2, 2012

From the Mouth of my Babe - Volume 4

While playing outside one afternoon, I caught Ethan messing with the water hose after I had asked him not to.  I called him out on it and he demanded, "Go in the kitchen ... or ... go play a song on that guitar over there!"

Through giggles I asked "why?" and he responded, "I want to play with the water."


Last week, I made a deal with Ethan in an effort to keep some semblance of a rest-time in tact.  I told him that he didn't have to sleep, but that he did have to stay in his room until his "night-night music" turned off.  (The CD is about an hour in length.)

A few days ago, during "rest" time, I heard the CD player make a funny sound, then Ethan cried out for help.  I ran upstairs to find him standing on the window sill, stuck between his dresser and the window, the CD laying on the floor in front of him.  I helped him down and asked him to get back in his bed, to which he replied, "Nooooo! My music is OFF!"


We were sitting at the table tonight when Ethan suddenly declared that he didn't like his dinner.  About that time, Jeramie had gotten up to get a slice of leftover birthday cake and, of course, Ethan was more interested in eating that.

We went back and forth with him about needing to eat more of his dinner before he could have cake, and he finally picked up a piece of his sandwich.  He looked up at me with puppy dog eyes and asked, with the saddest little voice, "Can you eat it?"


I think someone is experimenting with the art of clever manipulation.

No better place to spit than outside, right? (Thanks to Mike for the awesome photo!)

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