Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Post-Christmas Wrap-Up.

Christmas was wonderful. We exchanged gifts at my parents' house with my sisters' kids on Christmas Eve-Eve and the kids spent the night there that night. Josh did clean up while I braved the crowds to finish my shopping. On Christmas Eve, the Elves dropped off their standard Christmas pjs and a movie off on the doorstep. The evening we had dinner with Josh's family and then my parents spent the night as usual. BubTar woke at 3:30am on Christmas and sat watching Rudolph on the sofa with my mom until 5am when we let him wake KayTar up. Then it was present-palooza at our house, followed by present-palooza at Josh's parents' house. Then we were DONE. The rest of the day was spent playing with new things and vegging out. KayTar and Josh took a nap at some point, but BubTar never did! Our friends came over that evening for a gift exchange, which KayTar slept through (though we tried to wake her) and when she woke up to find she had slept through their whole visit, she was devastated. We let her open her gift, but she was still sad so we let her call them to say thanks, but she dissolved into those pathetic sobs while on the phone which only served to make both her and our friends quite sad. Oops. We decided to distract her with dinner at iHOP (one of the only places open on Christmas Day) and all was well. I'd list what everyone got, but you know...those pesky burglars have my electronic equipment, which has the address to this blog, so I'm not going to advertise our new things. I will say that our new alarm system is now set-up. YAY!

Break is quite nice, I've been on a rigorous schedule of sleeping in, GuitarHero-ing, Tony Hawk Ride-ing, Words With Friends-ing, reading, laundry, television and movie watching, and attempting to get this house back into some sort of post-Christmas order. We're also playing catch-up on all the things we've been putting off...last week BubTar saw the dentist (no cavities!), today KayTar sees the dentist, and tomorrow she gets her flu shot. Such fun holiday activities. I think my course schedule is set for next semester, though I desperately want to trash it so I can shoehorn Human Physiology into it (which just opened up again), but no matter how many different ways I try to work it in, I either fall short on hours or end up with way too many. I think it will just have to wait for another term. Cancer Bio will have to be enough for me, I suppose.

Christmas made me miss my camera desperately, but here are a few passable point and shoot photos...











Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas from the 'Tars!


The Outtakes:







Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Where's my t-shirt?

A friend called me from campus yesterday, she looked up my grade for me and I got my C! Never have I been so pleased with a C.

A couple of days ago, I was signing BubTar's progress report and we had the following exchange:

BubTar: I didn't make any grades below a 93!
Me: I wish I could say the same!
BubTar: What do you mean? What are your grades?
Me: Right now I have 3 A's, 1 C and I'm hoping for another C.
BubTar (taken aback with a hint of disdain in his voice): But Mom...a C is just average!

That's my little overachiever. ;) I explained to him that since the majority of my class had F's, a C wasn't too shabby. I think I'm more than fine with being merely average in organic chemistry...so long as I don't have to ever take the first part of it again!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I survived!

I don't know if I passed, but I lived through the semester. I sort of look like this now, though.

Image from The Secret Life of the American Chem Major

I know that I made A's in US History, Music, and Biopsych...and I know I made a C in organic lab, which was actually a miracle. My lab professor was the biggest douche-canoe known to man. Lab has been an absolute nightmare all semester, even though I always successfully completed the experiments. The professor was outrageous; he quizzed us over material that is never covered in class, he made it impossible to get higher than a B on a labs that were executed largely without error, he docked us a full letter grade once for not stapling our papers although there is no stapler in lab...all while reminding all of us that he is a "cool guy" and telling us daily how "lucky we are to have [him] for a professor". I've never been in a course where the professor is so universally disliked by the students. The class average on the final was a 36. It was rough. Oh well, let's call it preparation for all of the horrific residents and attendings I'll have the pleasure of working under during my training. 

As far as lecture goes, I studied my heart out. I worked through 228 pages of material between yesterday afternoon and my test this morning. If it goes badly, I will not be able to say, "Oh, I should have done more." Whatever the outcome, I know I put the work in and tried my best.

Monday night, we had a bit of a lively evening around here. I was studying (organic, what else) when I heard a very familiar sound over the monitor. Mt. Saint KayTar was about to blow. I ran to the kitchen for a bowl and dashed up to her room, seconds too late. She was already covered in vomit, but I caught what I could. When I looked in the bowl, I was shocked to see a couple of teaspoons worth of bright red blood mixed into her bedtime feed. Yikes! Josh and I hypothesized that it was a nosebleed draining posteriorly and collecting in her tummy, but I emailed the pediatrician to be on the safe side. She said we could watch her for the time being, but if it continued we need to go to the EC. But guess what? I had a final the next morning! Oh noooo. So I emailed my professor to let her know about the situation and possibility of being stuck in the EC some test time, just in case. My professor said I could take the exam at another time if necessary, but thankfully, it all worked out in the end. No more bloody vomit! Just when I think that kid is out of surprises, she pulls a new one out.

I'm officially on break now. Such sweet relief, though I fully expect to be B-O-R-E-D in 3-5 days. Oh well, such is life.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Burgled on a Tuesday.

I don't know if that is the correct term for it, but it is more fun to say that "burglarized". So yeah, that happened yesterday.

I'm sort of out of school right now, as this week and next are finals weeks and I only have three interspersed over 10 days of school. Since I usually volunteer at the kids' school before class on Tuesday, I went in with them and stayed longer than usual just because I could. It was a nice morning of sorting books and helping the counselor and librarian make hot cocoa and pass out gingerbread cookies to the classes that would come through. Just as I was about to leave, KayTar spotted me and asked me to have lunch with her. Actually, she sort of begged and threw in a "But I've been waiting ALL OF KINDERGARTEN for you to have lunch with me!" Who can say no to that? So I stayed, though my tummy was grumbling since I had skipped breakfast, and then when BubTar spotted me in the cafeteria, I stayed for his lunch, too. After all the lunching was over, I left the school and swung by Dairy Queen for a quick lunch to bring home and eat before it was time to turn around and go pick the kids up.

As I pulled up to the house, I reflexively reached up to my garage door opener and hit the button and started to pull into the driveway...then I saw it. The front door was wide open. I guess I'm an optimist, because I sort of thought Josh might have accidentally left it unlocked and the wind had sucked it open or something. However, I'm not an idiot, so I stopped short and called Josh before pulling into the drive. He said, "I know I locked it. Leave and call the cops." My stomach sank a little. I asked him to call the cops and meet me at home, because the last time I called the cops it was because I thought I heard a gun shot and it turned out to be a squirrel getting fried by a transformer on the power line. I didn't really want to make another unnecessary call, which I was really hoping this would be. I parked at the end of the block, so I could watch the front door in case anyone came out. They didn't. A few minutes later I saw a police officer enter the house, so I pulled up in front of it. He said, "Is this your house, ma'am? Was this bag here when you left this morning?" He pointed to a duffel bag on the floor in the entryway. The bag Josh brings to the shooting range. It definitely had not been there when we left. Then I knew.

Josh pulled up moments later and we both sat in my van while we waiting for the officers to clear the house. I hoped our dog was alive. I was so worried that whoever had done this had shot her. I hoped the presents and tree were still there, I didn't want the kids to learn there are real Grinches in the world. A few seconds or eternities later, the officers called up inside. Penny was fine. The presents were under the tree. The house was in disarray. Josh's guns were gone (he's a hunter and he likes to go to the range for fun, he had more than a few, some had been handed down to him, even). My camera, my beloved camera, was gone. My favorite lens, gone. Our living room TV was gone. We went into the bedroom, it had been ransacked. Our TV was gone. My laptop and iPod touch, gone. Every time we noted something else that was missing, my stomach dropped lower. All of my favorite non-living things, gone in a blink. The laundry basket was gone, too, I suppose they needed it to carry things out.

Our house had been locked up tight, but it didn't matter. They must have known our schedule, because it seems like they took their time getting inside. First, they borrowed a hammer from our tool shed and pried off the sheet metal scratch guard from the backdoor, hoping for a hole there, I guess. Then they tried to use the same hammer, OUR hammer, to pry open a back window, bending the frame in the process, but getting nowhere. Finally, they used OUR hammer to shatter the window, reach in, and unlatch it. Then they climbed through, gathered up our things, and walked out the front door in the middle of the day. Just.like.that.

We told the kids last night. BubTar said, "Did you check my books? Are they all still here?!" KayTar said, "Are my stuffed animals okay?" After we assured them their prized possessions were safe, BubTar suggested we dust for prints in the kitchen and KayTar went upstairs to check for tracks in her bedroom. BubTar watched A Series of Unfortunate Events on DVD last night, after it was over he said that at the end it says that when unfortunate things happen there is always more good than bad and he said, "Like tonight, even though the burglars came, I felt a lot closer as a family after that talk." This morning, KayTar was walking around taking inventory of what they didn't take. Baby powder, check! Deodorant, check! Blankey, check! We've got good kids.

I'm glad we weren't here. I'm glad I stayed for lunch with the kids and didn't come home and surprise them. I'm glad this didn't happen on Monday when I was home studying and showering all by my lonesome during that time slot. I'm glad they didn't take any necessities or the kids' things or the presents (they actually set them aside nicely, so they didn't get trampled). I'm glad they didn't break anything except the window. I'm glad they didn't make more of a mess than they had to. I'm glad they left the Wii and the desktop computers (especially the one with my photos on it) and that Penny is fine. They just took our toys. Mean kids will do that, I guess. Last night we had to *gasp* watch TV in the living room before bed on a borrowed TV...and I had to *gasp* walk into the study to check my email. Such hardships! ;) How will we survive? We're just lucky to have those nice things in the first place.

I'm irritated about small things. They broke my deodorant. My iPod was my alarm and my cell phone was a poor and annoying replacement (though, as I complained about that this morning, Josh pointed out that my alarm had probably woken them at 5:15 this morning and I hope they had trouble finding it to turn it off!). I couldn't find my chapstick last night because they had knocked it down in their search for expensive things. Stupid things that remind me bad guys were in our house. I have a final tomorrow, but didn't feel safe enough to stay here today so I went to the library to study. I like to study in my pjs while listening to TV, not while being politely silent in the library. I was a little worried that they might come back for things today, knowing what was left and that the window is an easy access point, since they broke it and all. Today has been fine, though, and we're home now just like normal. You know, life goes on...but yeah, we're definitely getting a security system after this!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

School Pictures 2010


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Beware of Auto-Correct

I'm sure everyone on the planet knows about the website Damn You, AutoCorrect! by now. I find it outrageously hilarious, like laugh-until-I-cry-every-time-I-read-it-hilarious and once-it-made-me-laugh-so-hard-that-I-had-an-asthma-attack-hilarious. If you haven't seen it before, you are missing out.

The reason I bring this up is that I had my very own auto-correct incident a couple of weeks ago. When KayTar was having those issues with hypoglycemia during her last illness, I sent the pediatrician an email and ended it by saying, "I just wanted to touch base with you..." However, my iPod thought better of it and decided that what I actually wanted to say was "I just wanted to touch ass with you." and promptly changed my wording. Luckily, I gave my email a quick once over before sending it and I caught the errant auto-correction before I inadvertently and inappropriately hit on our pediatrician, because as much as I like her...I don't really like her in THAT way. ;)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Pictures from Thanksgiving











We'll be back to regularly scheduled programming soon...but for now we're buried under a mountain of end of term work...multiple papers, looming exams, you know the drill. Don't worry, we made time for enjoying the holiday, eating plenty of delicious food, and a little Black Friday shopping, too. Hope your holiday was wonderful, however you spent it!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Outed!

Well, it finally happened. After roughly 4.5 years of secretly blogging, I have been outed...by a DOLL, no less. I always thought it would be medical information that finally did it, because whenever I toss a few of KayTar's medical issues into a search bar, my blog is always on the first page of results. But no...it was not medical information, it was a Jewel Sparkle Lalaloopsy doll that did it in the end.

My mom (hi, MOM!) was searching the internet for the doll that KayTar really wants for Christmas and guess what she found instead? THIS BLOG. I was quite surprised when she called me and said, "I was looking for that Lalaloopsy doll KayTar wants and guess what I found?! YOUR BLOG!" It was bound to happen sometime, in fact there were times I had wondered if people secretly knew about my blog and were secretly reading it as I was secretly writing it. Josh was just thrilled that HE wasn't the one to spill the beans. He is a terrible secret keeper and it is impressive that although he's known abut the blog all this time, he's never accidentally mentioned it.

I don't have any real reason for keeping the blog a secret, I just liked the privacy it afforded me. I tend to be a bit self-conscious, in fact if Josh comes into a room when I'm writing a post I close it down and finish it later. In the past, I've told him he is welcome to read the blog (he doesn't) but not to discuss it with me later. In the early days of the blog, I was very worried about KayTar...everything felt so serious all the time...I needed the privacy to work through the weight of it on my own. Now, I don't really need it anymore, I just kept it a secret out of habit. I guess now I'll have to decide if I want to tell everyone, as I'm sure there are people (friends and family) who would like to keep up with us this way, or keep it a pseudo-secret until they stumble across us on an errant Google search of their own!

All I can say is KayTar better be getting that doll for Christmas (Yes, I'm talking to YOU, Mom)! ;)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Better/Worse.

I woke up at about 5:30 this morning to KayTar calling me from her room. She wanted me to take her temperature, so I did, along with checking her glucose. Her temperature was just 100.6 and her glucose was 52. I think she was a little diaphoretic from the hypoglycemia, which she related to a feverish feeling. I set up a 4 ounce Pedialyte feed and told her to go back to sleep, 5:30 is too early on a Sunday. I went back to sleep for a bit, too. I assumed that the Pedialyte would fix things rather easily, as it had yesterday. When we woke up, her glucose was still 52 (or perhaps it had risen a small amount and then fallen again)! I gave her another 4 ounces of Pedialyte, this time with her tablespoon of cornstarch, but her response was very sluggish. As a point of reference, yesterday her glucose levels were rising by about 10 points at every 15 minute check. This morning, it took 30 minutes to go from 52 to 54. She was feeling hungry, so we gave her a jar of corn and sweet potatoes since it has the biggest carbohydrate punch of any of the baby foods she will eat. She tolerated it well and about 30 minutes after, she numbers finally got up into the 60s. Yesterday, we went from 47 to 90 in an hour, today it took about 4 hours to get from the 50s to the 60s. She's back in her normal range now, but it took a long time to get there. Tonight we're going to do an intermittent Pedialyte feed to see if that will prevent the overnight hypoglycemia.

For some reason, this virus is having a particularly nasty effect on her glucose levels. She's been sick loads of times recently and none of those viruses have caused her numbers to bottom out like this one has. The last time we dealt with this was April, I think! I suppose certain viruses cause more of a metabolic strain, causing everything to get a bit wonky for her. Even though this virus has been little more than a fever, symptom-wise, I'll be glad to see it go!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

More effective than coffee!

This morning was the first Saturday morning in quite a while that we didn't have to be up, ready, and out the door by 8:45am because of baseball. Regardless, BubTar was up at 6:30am because he wanted to start reading the new Wimpy Kid book he picked up last night. KayTar woke up about 7am and called down to us, still snug in our bed, and we directed her to go read in her brother's room with him. She did and we stayed cozy in bed, though not quite asleep anymore. About thirty minutes later, KayTar started calling me. She had come down to the living room, asking me to get her chicken nuggets from the kitchen...which is NOT that far from the living room. I said, "Can't you just get them?" She said, "I'm trying, but my legs are too wobbly!" I was up in a FLASH. Wobbly legs is one of her chief complaints when she is hypoglycemic, and she has been feverish since yesterday morning...making hypoglycemia a definite possibility.

I checked her glucose and it was 47. Then I felt like a real jerk for lazing around in bed like I had, especially when she said, "Well, I slid myself down the stairs because my legs wouldn't work and I was trying to drag myself to the kitchen, but I just couldn't." We ran in 2 ounces of Pedialyte and rechecked her glucose in 15 minutes (in the interim, I rushed to get ready in case we were going to have to go to the hospital), it went up to 60. We repeated the Pedialyte and glucose checks every 15 minutes until she'd had a whole 8 ounces plus a tablespoon of cornstarch. Luckily, she tolerated it well without any vomiting. After that, her glucose was back up to the 90's. Whew. There are few things that can instantly shake me from a sleepy stupor without the aid of caffeine, but this is definitely one of them. I don't recommend it, though, just stick to coffee.

The rest of the day has gone pretty well with 4 ounce feeds of Pediasure, but she vomited up her most recent feed which was a 6 ouncer. I'm not sure what we will be able to get in her before bed...and I don't know how her numbers will be in the morning. Wish us luck!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Leftovers.

I had several leftover photos from September and October, so I figured it was about time to post them, as it is now November! I went through and posted captions for all of them and then Blogger decided to ignore my save and I'm not rewriting them...so now you're on your own. The photos are pretty self-explanatory.












Monday, November 08, 2010

All better!

KayTar's swallowing issues got progressively better over the weekend and I daresay we're back to normal now! I think that she had either inflammation in her esophagus from the vomiting last weekend or perhaps some anxiety triggered by all of that, but whatever the cause, it seems like things are functioning properly again and I am so glad.

The whole thing really took me by surprise. Things have been steadily improving for KayTar for so long now that the thought of something deteriorating without warning was really frightening. It reminded me that although we know so much more about KayTar than we used to, we still don't really know the underlying condition that has triggered any of her symptoms or what the long term prognosis is. I have faith that the amazing improvements we've seen will continue, but when things like this happen it reminds me that there are no guarantees. Honestly, there are no guarantees in parenting of any kind, but it is especially true when dealing with a child who has special medical or developmental needs. The moment you discover that something is "wrong" with your child, you lose the ability to envision the future the way you always have. As things with KayTar have changed so much over the past couple of years, I've begun to take things for granted again and believe that this steady uphill climb will continue to be an uphill climb. When she started to have trouble swallowing, I suddenly felt the ground shift between my feet and somehow we were suddenly going downhill without warning. It is a relief to know that it was simply a small dip in the terrain rather than a permanent change in direction, but it reminded me that out here on the road less traveled, there isn't a road map and we've just got to take each step as it comes.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Dysphagia.

That is the fancy word for difficulty swallowing...it is also happens to be KayTar's brand new issue, apparently.

Yesterday, I noticed that she was chewing up a bite of her solid food, then spitting it back out. She did it at snack and at dinner, and both times she stopped eating afterward. She said the food was getting stuck in her mouth. I asked her what she meant and she said she was spitting it out because it wouldn't go down her throat. I asked her about her meals at school (breakfast and lunch) for the past couple of days and she told me the same thing about each of them, she tried her food, chewed it, but spit it out because it wouldn't go down. She was with my mom during the day on Monday, so I called and asked if she had seen KayTar eat any solids. She said she had given KayTar chips and guacamole, but she couldn't say whether she ate any chips or just the guacamole (which is a pureed consistency). I also talked to the pediatrician, who said that if it continues to be an issue, we'll need to see the ENT/get an upper GI with a swallow study done.

I emailed KayTar's teacher and school nurse, so they could keep an eye on her at meals. Although I think it is very unlikely because of how cautious KayTar is with food, I'd hate for her to choke and not have mentioned this issue to anyone in advance. At breakfast, the teacher sat with her and encouraged her to try her pepperoni, which she did...but she picked it back out of her mouth because it wouldn't go down. At lunch, she successfully ate a few bites of garlic bread and a pepperoni. At snack, she tried pepperoni again, but it got stuck and she spit it out. After school, she wanted to try bacon bits, so I gave her one and it went down fine...but the subsequent ones got stuck and then she was done. Trying to get some more information about what exactly is happening, I gave her some options to explain what might be happening:
1. Was she trying to swallow, but the food was getting stuck?
2. Was she swallowing, but then the food was returning to her mouth? (she has reflux)
3. Was she chewing her food, but losing track of where it was in her mouth, causing her to spit out her food? (she seems to only eat with one side of her mouth, which made me wonder about this)
4. None of these...something different that I didn't mention.
She maintained that she was TRYING to swallow, but the food was getting stuck. I'm perplexed. I don't think it is behavioral, because these are foods she likes. She could simply says she was done and no one would make her eat another bite. She's never mentioned anything of this sort before. She is fine with liquids and she ate a stage 2 jar of peas this evening without issue. I'm hoping it resolves itself soon, but I don't know how likely that is...probably about as likely as her participating in a swallow study. (Seriously, how do they do swallow studies on kids like her? I think there is about zero chance she'll willingly drink the barium and we can't put it in her g-button because that defeats the purpose of a SWALLOW study.)

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Best Laid Plans...

This weekend didn't *quite* go as planned. Let's take it one day at a time...


Friday:
I did enjoy a lunch date with Josh, but I did not finish that paper. Literature reviews are like 200% more painful to write than a regular research paper. It definitely didn't get done on Friday. We did go to physical therapy and the pediatrician's appointment (and get a script for oral steroids and a switch from Qvar to Advair in an attempt to curtail all the wheezing), but because of that KayTar missed out on trick or treating with her class. She was a little bummed. However, when we were at PT I got a call from the metabolic clinic saying that they were going to test her for VLCAD (she had considerable elevations of C14, C16, and C18 in the acylcarnitine profile in her critical labs) and they needed my signature so they could round up some of her DNA (which I assume they have lying around the lab at this point; blood, CSF, muscle tissue, you name it!) and run the test without having to traumatize her yet again. So between PT and the pediatrician's appointment we went by the hospital to sign the forms. KayTar was in her costume from school and it just so happens the hospital was having a fall festival on the main bridge! KayTar had time to play a few games and it totally made up for missing trick or treating with her class. YAY! After the pediatrician's visit, we spent two hours at Walmart waiting for her prescriptions to be ready. Ugh. I was fighting a cold and by the time we were home for the day, everyone kind of collapsed into bed.



Saturday:
BubTar won his last baseball game of the season, so we blew off martial arts and went to get ice cream with a teammate instead. KayTar skipped dance because of her "uncontrollable coughing" as she said. After that we came home to do a little party prep and give KayTar her feed, while the boys ran to get party supplies from the store. Then we went to a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese. After that we came home so the kids could put on their costumes and we went to the fall festival. It was fun at first, then KayTar started acting a little off her game. She wanted to lay down on the bleachers instead of play. Then she told me she was going to vomit, so we rushed to find a bathroom. She didn't throw up, but she was fading fast...so I called Josh to meet us at the entrance/exit. He carried her to the car and she started to get limp...EPISODE limp. Uh-oh. On the way to the car, BubTar was so upset about missing the helicopter candy drop. He was all, "This is the worst day of my life." Then we heard the drop was in 5 minutes over the loudspeaker, so I told the boys that KayTar and I would hang out in the car so they could go back for the candy. KayTar was very lethargic and she started vomiting at this point. Good thing we keep one of those blue plastic emesis bags in the car...and an extra bucket. The boys came back 45 minutes later and then we headed home. Once we got home, KayTar perked up...just like she does after an episode...and we dosed her with Zofran and assumed the rest of the night would be business as usual, except she wouldn't be sleeping over at my mom's house like we had planned. We still had a few friends come over for game night, but it did NOT go as planned. KayTar continued to vomit in spite of the Zofran. She spiked a fever. She had a headache. We incorporated a game of KayTar Ping Pong into the festivities for game night, which meant Josh and I took turns dashing upstairs when she needed us. We put her in our bed and I spent most of the night up with her. It was rough.

Sunday:
Nothing went to plan on Sunday. KayTar was still sick and I had my paper to work on. While Josh did party prep, I worked on my paper. When it was party time, KayTar and I went to my mom's so she didn't get the guests sick. While there I worked through a chapter of biopsych in the textbook. When we got home, the boys went out to sell popcorn and I took my quiz...which was over a different chapter than the one I studied! Ack! I still did okay on it, but really hated that I wasted that time studying the wrong material. The boys went to a fall festival and trick or treating while KayTar and I stayed home. She was resting, I was working on my paper and doing laundry. It was kind of a bummer of a Halloween for the girls this year. Though, I did finish my paper!


Over the course of the night, my cold morphed into bronchitis and I woke up to an asthma attack at 4am on Monday. The kids had the day off on Monday, but I still had school (bummer!) so they spent the day with my mom. KayTar seemed to be back to herself, but yesterday she vomited up two of her feeds and I'm not exactly sure why. I think her system isn't quite back to normal from Saturday, but she made it through the school day Tuesday. So did I for that matter, but I'm sure feeling rough. BubTar started vomiting last night, poor kid. Vomiting is such a non-event for KayTar, because it happens so often for her, that I forget what it is like for kids that aren't used to it. Poor BubTar is pretty miserable. Last night, KayTar exclaimed, "It is a rare occasion! I'm not the sick one!" She was a little excited about that, actually. The 'Tars are a bit of a mess at the moment, but hopefully we'll all be over our respective illnesses soon and things will be back to normal around here!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Report Card Time!

BubTar got all A's, as usual. His teacher said, "BubTar is a joy to teach this year. He has so much knowledge to share with the class. Congratulations on making the All A Honor Roll this first nine weeks!"

KayTar got all S's (for satisfactory, the other option is a U for unsatisfactory) and her teacher said, "KayTar is very intelligent. She provides comic relief and shares many interesting facts with the class! I really enjoy having her in class this year. Thanks for all your help at home."


****
We've got a busy weekend ahead. Today, I am writing a 5-7 page literature review on speech and communication in autism spectrum disorders, I took a lunch break to go on a quick date with Josh, now I'm off to pick KayTar up and take her to PT and a pediatrician's visit for her prolonged post-viral cough and wheezing. Tomorrow, BubTar has his last baseball game of the season, then KayTar will go to dance while he goes to martial arts, then we'll meet up for a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese, then head to a Fall Festival before dropping the kids off at my parents' house and coming home to host game night. Sunday, we are hosting a Halloween party for the cub scouts and attending another Fall Festival, plus trick or treating...as well as finishing up this paper and completing a chapter of biopsych. Whew, I think I'm tired already!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Blurg.

This weekend I worked my butt off studying for the organic midterm. I probably logged 24 hours worth of study time. Guess what? I FAILED. I haven't seen my grade yet, but based on the amount of guessing I did...I failed. It was like freaking GREEK. I just cannot get NMR spectroscopy to click and that was the majority of the test. I can look at an NMR spectra and determine the various groups, but organizing them into the correct molecule just isn't happening. I'm hoping the rest of the class did as poorly as they think they did (I didn't talk to a single person who thought they had passed, even the guy who loves this stuff and wants to work as a chemist.) and there will be a major curve...otherwise, I'm screwed.

I studied so much this weekend that I missed BubTar's double header baseball game. I had to keep KayTar home from her dance class. We missed the big fall festival at my school. The kids didn't get to have any friends over and we didn't do anything really. It was me and my books all weekend. Now it feels like wasted time. If I was going to fail the test, I might as well have enjoyed my weekend and my kids. I know, I know...it is important that I put the effort in and if I hadn't, I'd be kicking myself over that, too. Either way, it sucks.

I'm about 99% sure that I have an ulcer. Upper middle abdominal pain, below my ribs and above my belly button...it gets much worse when standing, so I think it is probably gastric and not duodenal. It does NOT feel good. Walking up to school today, the pain was climbing all the way up into my chest and radiating toward my back, too. It made it a bit hard to breathe. Not pleasant. I'm self-treating with Zegerid, which has helped with previous ulcers, but if it doesn't help quickly, I predict a trip to student health services in my near future.

Today was supposed to be KayTar's field trip to the farm, but we had to miss it because she has been sick. Yesterday she seemed like she was on the upswing and her fever broke in the morning, but she vomited before bed, so we decided not to push it. I feel bad about it now, because she's done great today and I think she could have gone and been just fine, especially since I was going to tag along. Bummer.

The only bright spot in this bleak, guilt-infested, grump of a post is that I got my midterm grades back for history and music and I got a 102 and 103 respectively. My history professor gave me a lot of wonderful comments on my essay, too. At least I'm competent at SOMETHING, right?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Oh, that KayTar.

Yesterday was supposed to be KayTar's hospital follow-up appointment with endocrinology, however, I had midterms...so I called 3 separate times to cancel it and reschedule. I attempted to get in touch with a Real Person, but it is increasingly more difficult to speak with a real person in the hospital clinics, so I settled for leaving a message each time. After midterms yesterday, I came home long enough to have lunch before heading to the kids' school to help with Book Fair. The phone rang and it was the endocrinologist. She said, "KayTar was supposed to have a follow-up appointment today, is everything okay?" I explained I had tried to cancel it several times, but evidently no one had been checking messages. Halfway into our phone conversation, I got a call on the other line from the scheduler, she had FINALLY check her messages, just a tiny bit too late. It all worked out well, though, because we did the follow-up over the phone and it saved me about 3 hours.

Long story short, 4-5 out of 20 items on KayTar acylcarnitine profile were abnormal and she had a small elevation of her free fatty acids. For those of you who are not native speakers of Medicalese, this indicates that KayTar probably has an underlying metabolic condition. Based on these specific labs, it is likely to be a fatty acid oxidation disorder, but no one knows at this point. In fact, all of this may lead nowhere in the end...as we've found to be the case more often than not. Her lab results received an automatic flagging in the hospital system and the metabolic clinic was alerted, so we'll be following up with them as well. I'm glad they did get a bit of a lead from that horrible, horrible study, though...it makes me feel just a little less terrible about all of it.

Regardless of how the results turn out in the long run, KayTar is doing very well now that we have added cornstarch to her morning feed. All of her numbers have been in the 80-90 range! She was sick recently and although she did get ketotic, she never became hypoglycemic. We're pretty pleased with how well it is working!

Enough medical talk, though. It has been a while since I've done a Quotable KayTar post, so I'd like to leave you with a few of my favorite recent quotes:

"Mrs. M's (the librarian at school) lipgloss makes her lips look so plump! She's like a hot lady!"

At cub scouts on Monday, the scout leader started to do announcements and KayTar piped up, loudly, "Yadda, yadda, yadda..." Josh almost DIED from embarrassment.

When telling my mom that her friends at school don't believe that she got to go to NYC for a photo shoot and be in a magazine, "You know, everyone is SO jealous of me."

While we were in the hospital she said, "I don't really want my skin to get darker, so I'm not going to eat any melons." I asked, "Okay, but why aren't you going to eat melons?" And she said, "Because of the MELANIN!" (she knows melanin is what makes skin darker, and she assumed it came from melons, LOL!)

Last week, KayTar got a conduct mark for kissing a boy in PE. When I asked her why she did it, she said, "Because I was looking for a little romance!" This one takes the cake.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Weekend Update

I spent Friday shadowing our pediatrician. The more time I spend in the clinic, the more certain I am that I could be quite happy as a primary care pediatrician. I really enjoy being in clinic; I love the kids, I love the medicine...its a win-win. It is a very good reminder of why I'm tormenting myself with all of this school business. Earlier this week, I was saying to Josh, "Why can't I just be happy just being a history major or an English major? It would be so easy for me!" I could care less about organic chemistry...or physics next year...but I have to get through them to get to what I really want. I really want to practice medicine one day, and spending time in the clinic reminds me of that and keeps me motivated.

Today has been our first "normal" Saturday in a while (in fact, it has been our first normal week in a while, too!). We all went to BubTar's baseball game, which they lost, and then KayTar and I rushed to her dance class only to find out it was canceled! The Down Syndrome Buddy Walk was today and because a large portion of the class has Down Syndrome and attends the walk, so they canceled class for the day. While we were needlessly rushing to dance class, the boys were rushing from baseball to a trial martial arts class for BubTar. He LOVED it. He gets to attend classes for free for the next month and he's got his cute little uniform and white belt, but then we're going to have to come up with the money for classes or pull him out. It is a really great workout, though, and he really enjoyed it so I hope we can find the money in the couch cushions or something. ;) As of right now, BubTar has scouts on Monday nights and baseball on Thursday night...plus games on Saturday. Martial arts can be as often as daily, but they require two sessions at least each week...so it looks like it will be a Tuesday/Wednesday night event for him...possibly Saturdays when it doesn't interfere with baseball or scouting events. Sometimes I wonder when and how we became over-scheduled, middle-aged (even though we're actually only 27) suburbanites...but such is life with kids!

After we all got home and had Subway for lunch, the kids' went to play at their friends' house for a bit, then the girls came here and the boys went out to sell popcorn together for cub scouts. The girls are sleeping over here tonight and the boys are sleeping over there. I've been studying for midterms next week while the kids are playing together upstairs...and now I'm taking a break to blog, evidently. Josh has a test to take tonight once he is back from popcorn selling, so we'll just be juggling things as usual around here tonight. We had big plans for $1 margarita date night, but it looks like that will be postponed until next Saturday. I'll probably need it more then anyway, as I'll be cramming for organic chemistry next weekend. Eeek!


BubTar, bored in the outfield today.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I feel like I should post today...

But it is one of those organic chemistry lecture/orgo lab/lunch with friend/volunteer at the kids' library to help with Book Fair set-up for 3+ hours/laundry so I have clothes to wear tomorrow/quick dinner/shower and get ready/volunteer at the hospital/prep for tomorrow/get ready for bed/watch Modern Family with Josh/THE END kind of days...so writing will just have to wait!