Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Tomorrow is the big day, it will be time to start packing soon! Here's what the 'Tars bring to the hospital with them.

For KayTar:
Lalaloopsy doll
Pillow pet
PJ bottoms
1 change of clothes to go home in
Leapster and games
I Spy Bingo
Color sheets/projects from school
Tiny Disney Princess dolls/accessories

For me:
Via coffee, creamer (sometimes the floor coffee sucks!)
Clif bars (for when I'm stuck in the room at mealtime)
iPod touch
Change of clothes
Study materials
Hoodie (it is often a bit chilly)

I think that is about it! KayTar and I are pretty good at entertaining each other, so I don't know that she'll ever play with her princesses or Leapster, or that I'll ever study, but there is usually some downtime and I like to be prepared just in case.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sleepover in the Hospital

KayTar had her follow-up endocrine appointment on Friday. It was a bit surprising. The attending said it was time to go ahead with the inpatient fast. Then the fellow said, "How is next week for you?" which is REALLY surprising, as I don't think we've ever had any appointment, inpatient or outpatient, be scheduled within a week. I was expecting it to be scheduled for summer or maybe in early 2011! Nope, it will be Thursday and Friday of this week. Hopefully it will only be Thursday and Friday, but they'll keep her as long as it takes to get her glucose to bottom out. I don't predict that it will take long, but there is a chance it will because her energy expenditure in a hospital room will be considerably less than a normal day at school having music, PE, recess, ect. 

In case you are wondering, this is what a controlled fast consists of:

*We will call the hospital on Thursday morning to find out when they will have our room ready.
*She will get all her normal feeds on Thursday, but following her bedtime feed, she won't receive anymore nutrition until her glucose bottoms out.
*She will be monitored and have glucose checks every 1-2 hours.
*Once her glucose is below 50 (I think...there is a chance they said 40, but I can't remember precisely), they will draw critical labs, which sometimes test positive for things that are negative under normal circumstances.

Sounds super fun, right? Starving your kid for a couple of days? Gah. However, this is one of the only times it works in our advantage that KayTar doesn't really get hungry like other kids...initially she will be okay with it, I think. Problems will arise when her glucose starts to drop and she starts to feel it and panic. I'm not looking forward to that AT ALL. I'm also a teeny bit worried it might trigger an episode and I don't want to ruin her record!

When she has labs done or testing that is unpleasant, we always let her choose a reward. Her request for this hospital sleepover was a LaLaLoopsy doll, preferably Jewel Sparkle.Yesterday I went to FIVE stores and none of them had Jewel Sparkle or her second choice Crumbs Sugarcookie. My mom and dad had gone to the country for the day, so I asked them to check the stores they passed, after 3 stores, they found Crumbs Sugarcookie, so they bought it for her. KayTar was so happy! She said, "Well, I'm all ready for the hospital now!" Mission accomplished. Now, if only I felt as ready as she does!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Game Two.

BubTar is at his second game of the season right now, the first away game, and I'm here at home with KayTar who keeps having such major large pull-up blowouts that we cannot leave the house. He got a ride with his best friend's family, which made his day, but I feel terrible about missing it! Josh is at a mandatory scout leader training session today and my parents are out of town. Fortunately, my mother-in-law went so he had a couple of fans in the stands!

He just got home and they did great! They almost didn't get to play because they only had 6 players, but they did and they tied/won (depending on who you ask)! My boy got two hits and made it all the way around the bases for the first time today, too...and I missed it! It is a shame that parenthood does not come with omnipresence. 

Friday, September 24, 2010

Mornings with KayTar


KayTar is home sick today and I don't have class, so I thought it was the perfect time to play around with my camera, and try my hand at shooting some photos in manual indoors. They are far from perfect, but I really enjoy the glimpse of our everyday life that they provide!

Thursday, September 23, 2010


If I had written this post on Tuesday night, it would have been titled,

"Student-Motherhood: This Sh!t is Hard."

Tuesday, as luck would have it, was one of those clusterflucky days that seem to crop up when you have something really, really important going on. For me, that really, REALLY important thing was taking a history exam in the morning, and then studying for organic chemistry for the rest of my life, or until 8:30 am on Wednesday, whichever came first (because let's face it, it might kill me). KayTar had an iffy morning, very congested, but she had no fever, so we decided to send her. I sent the nurse a quick email to let her know the specifics and hoped for the best. After completing my history exam, I skipped Music, so I could get home to study, and on my way home I got a call from the school nurse. KayTar had vomited in the cafeteria during lunch and she was chilling with her BFF the nurse. They were wondering which meds to give, basically, because KayTar had decided she just needed a little rest with the nurse and then she could go back to class. I told the nurse my best guess on the proper meds for this situation (which was mucus/cough-induced vomiting, not VOMIT-vomiting) and said that if they were sure she felt well enough to stay, I'd let her. I went home and studied until it was pick-up time. In the evening, KayTar was much worse. Coughing, vomiting (still from congestion), diarrhea (HA HA, chronically constipated kid suddenly has the runs, and I'm changing diapers left and right instead of studying. SO HILARIOUS.) Josh and BubTar were committed to a Cub Scout engagement that night, so that left me with my books and the sickie. It was like ping-pong...chemistry-KayTar, KayTar-chemistry, chemistry-KayTar..."Mom, I pooped my pull-up." "Mom, I threw up on the floor." "COUGH, COUGH, COUGH-GAG." all evening. Then the boys got home and Josh had a paper that was due in AN HOUR that he hadn't typed or proofread yet. I abandoned my studying to get BubTar fed and ready for bed while Josh frantically typed his paper. Once his paper was done, he took over the kids and I went back to the book. I put in 11-12 hours into studying, but I was interrupted approximately 2.5 million times. It was hard and frustrating and there were several moments when I wondered what the hell I was doing, but I kept at it. In the morning, I got up a little earlier than usual to go over a few things I was still struggling with remembering and went through my index cards a few times. I had serious doubts that I was retaining anything. I dropped KayTar off at my mom's house and went to take my exam. I still don't know my grade, but I can say that when I started that test, I was relieved to see that I recognized/understood nearly all of it. There were 3 that I was fairly unsure of, but the rest I either knew or was able to reason my way through. I did not leave class with that dreaded, "OMG, I just totally bombed that." feeling I experienced once or twice in general chemistry. I really hope I did well, because I worked hard for it.

As difficult as Tuesday was, and as difficult as so many days have seemed lately between school and sick kids and other minor crises, I can't help but recognize how lucky I am. I'm lucky to have a goal that I'm so passionate about that I can torture myself like this and feel like it is all worthwhile. I'm lucky to be in a partnership where we both support each other in our educational endeavors. It makes it tough sometimes, balancing our unique kind of family life with TWO parents in college when one has a full time job, but it also adds a level of understanding to our relationship that we wouldn't have if we weren't both going through similar struggles. I'm lucky that I not only have great family support within my marriage, but in my family in general. My kids are so excited about me pursing this, they love that I'm going to school so I can become a doctor. They are always asking me about what I did in school and how my grades are, just like I do with them. My parents help out so much with the kids, especially watching them when they are home sick and I have to go to class. I absolutely could not be doing this without all of that support. I still think I'm certifiably insane to be doing this, but at the same time I can't imagine NOT doing it...and that makes me pretty lucky, I think.

PS: I changed the blog title, in case you were confused when you saw this in your reader.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


I've been studying organic chemistry for 10.5 hours already today. After I post this, I've got more to do. KayTar is sick now, of course...lots of vomiting, wheezing, and pull-up changing around here today.

Help! Send C8H10N4O2...preferably with a splash of OH group for good measure. ;)


Saturday, September 18, 2010

The rest of the week.

This was definitely one of those weeks. Monday was decent. Tuesday was the day of KayTar's hypoglycemic incident and the killer GPS debacle. Wednesday KayTar had a very wonky day, in retrospect I think it was repercussions from the hypoglycemia and altered feeding schedule on Tuesday. Thursday morning I woke up with a fever and body aches, hauled my butt to class (which is an hour away) anyway, only to discover my first class was canceled and the professor hadn't let us know beforehand. AGH. Friday was mostly fine, until the afternoon when I received a letter from the kids' insurance company saying that they were no longer eligible. I nearly lost my shit when I opened that letter. KayTar is almsot 100% dependent on her enteral feedings. Enteral feedings require tubing, bags, syringes, and PEDIASURE...4 per day on average. All of that is very, very expensive out of pocket and KayTar's insurance basically keeps her alive at this point. Without enteral feedings, she would not get enough nutrition to survive. So I called the company in a PANIC, and the customer service representative said, "Whoops! That letter is incorrect. Your children are still covered and you will be receiving a corrected letter in a few days." I could have tongue-kissed that lady, I think. WHEW!

Yesterday afternoon, prior to the insurance panic, I was at the kids' school and I had some VEEEERY interesting conversations with the nurse and librarian. Turns out that KayTar's episode of hypoglycemia on Tuesday and her legitimate visits to the nurse on Wednesday opened up a whole new world to her. She discovered that the nurse's office is sometimes a pretty happening place...sometimes there are other kids hanging out there...some kids get cool stuff like ice packs and warm buddy bears and band-aids! Even when those awesome things aren't happening, the nurse, who she is buds with, is ALWAYS there to chat with. So on Thursday, she started inventing reasons to leave her classes to visit the nurse. By Friday, the reasons she was leaving class were NOT the reasons she was giving once she was at the nurse! On top of that, she is making pit-stops in the library to chit-chat with the librarian and the kids who are having library time. Basically, she's using the fact that everyone is cautious about her medical issues to get out of class for social hour. OH MY. She isn't in trouble, and everyone involved is kind of getting a kick out of it because it is just soooo KayTar, but we're brainstorming about how to curtail it. It is tricky because she DOES have legitimate medical issues and we do want her teachers to be cautious of her symptoms...but we don't want her getting a free pass whenever she feels like taking a walk around the building! We've got some ideas (giving her one "emergency" nurse pass per day to cut down on frequency, but if she uses it then she won't have time for library/AR testing time in the afternoon to make unnecessary trips less appealing, written passes with specific instructions on where she is/is not supposed to go while out of the class to help her focus, ect.) that we plan to try out next week, so I'll updating about it again later.

BubTar had his first baseball game this morning and THEY WON! He is enjoying it so much more than basketball and hey, they actually WON, that never happened in basketball. As soon as the game was over, we rushed home, changed KayTar into her dance gear, hooked her up for a tube feed in the car, and raced to class...barely making it. During dance class, I met another mom who has an undiagnosed kiddo. It was so NICE. A large percentage of the class is made up of Down Syndrome kiddos and all of those parents chat with each other, but it is a bit of an insular it was nice to have someone to swap the frustrations of being one of the undiagnosed ones with. Having a perpetually undiagnosed kid comes with its own set of unique struggles, one of which is the fact that it is pretty tricky to find any sort of support system that can really empathize with you about it!

PS: I'm making some layout changes around here, so it may look kind of like a construction site for a bit. Hopefully it will be back to some sort of normal in the next week or so. Also, I love the new post editor in Blogger, if you haven't switched yet, I recommend it.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wonky Day.

Oy vey! KayTar had quite a strange day today! I think she made at least 4 trips to the nurse and it seemed like the nurse and I were communicating via email nearly all day.

Let's go back to last night and start there. KayTar tolerated a Pedialyte feed yesterday afternoon, and a half and half (Pediasure/Pedialyte mix, not the kind you put in coffee) feed before bed. She didn't vomit anymore, even after the Zofran wore off. This morning, I gave her another half and half feed because it is gentler on her system and she is more likely to tolerate it well. The downside is that it doesn't hold her over as long. I sent some baby food veggies in her lunchbox labeled "Breakfast", and emailed the teacher to let her know KayTar needed to eat those at breakfast to give her glucose a bit of a boost mid-morning, because it is one of the only remaining carbohydrates in her diet.

KayTar did eat about half of the jar, but I guess it wasn't sufficient. During PE, she freaked out a little, saying she was very hungry. She only does this when her glucose dips and she starts to feel is like mild panic, not typical hunger. She went to the nurse and ate a couple bites of the tuna from her lunch and felt better. The nurse didn't check her glucose at this time. Next, she went to music and complained once again. It is important to note that KayTar HATES eating and LOVES school, especially her extras, so this wasn't a ploy to miss class. Because it had only been 30 minutes and it was pretty close to KayTar's standard glucose check and pump feeding, the nurse decided to let her finish music and then check her out after. It was earlier than her regularly scheduled glucose check and KayTar's glucose was 63, which is a little low, but not in the worrisome range quite yet. She got her tube feed immediately and all was well.

Later in the afternoon, she started to complain of being exhausted and was very insistent that she needed to lay down, so she went baaaack to the nurse. The nurse checked her glucose with a different meter that was handy and her glucose was 83, which is firmly in the normal zone. There is some variation from one meter to another, but I doubt it was a 20 point or more difference in readings, so I'm guessing that she was probably somewhere in her safe range, if not exactly in the 80s. KayTar said she thought she was going to vomit, but thankfully she didn't. She laid down for a bit and went back to class when she felt a little better. I picked the kids up via the front office today instead of the line because I didn't want her out in the heat and the sun after a day like this. When we got home, I checked her glucose and it was back down to 57 (her third verified low number in less than a week). I gave her 4 ounces of Pediasure, rechecked her glucose and it was 106, then gave her another 4 ounces shortly after...her glucose was 86 not too long after that, still a good number, and she kept all of her Pediasure down. Success!

I'm not sure WHAT was going on today. I have a suspicion that it is glucose related, but most of her readings today were not in the danger zone. I think that her levels might have been jumping/dipping more than usual, causing some unpleasant side effects. Perhaps she is at a deficit from the lack of regular feeds yesterday? I honestly don't know. I think that the extra energy she expends at school is coming into play, too, but I'm not sure what we need to do about it. We'll see how tonight and tomorrow go, though. I hope we find a solution and get her crazy little system back to equilibrium soon!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

One of THOSE days.

Yesterday morning sucked, so last night I did extra prep and woke up earlier to make sure this morning wasn't a replay. Everything went off without a hitch! It was a splendid morning, but once I was at the kids' school organizing book shelves, I started to feel a familiar tightness in my chest. I thought it might pass, so I ignored it for as long as I could, but it started taking considerably more effort than usual to breathe, so I took a couple of hits from my Ventolin inhaler. It helped a little, but not quite enough, so I left a little early so that I would have time to run by the house to take a Benadryl and a couple of puffs of Symbicort before heading to my classes. The thought of all of the walking (all the garage stairs, the trek up to my building, ect) in my current state was incredibly unpleasant. Long story short, by the time I got to school I was breathing much easier...however, I nearly passed out in history class from the Benadryl and I'm pretty sure my eyeballs drifted back into my head of their own accord at least a few times. I got some Starbucks before music class and managed to stay conscious for it.

During music, I got an email from KayTar's school nurse. Her pre-feed glucose reading was 58, but she was asymptomatic. I asked her to recheck it when her feed was through and she did. It was 113. Kind of a jump, but much better. After class, I was walking to the car talking to Josh about KayTar's low reading (her second in as many weeks), when I got a call from the nurse. KayTar had vomited up her lunchtime feed. I asked her to dose her with Zofran and told her that I would call my mom to pick her up. When she gets hypoglycemic, sometimes she doesn't tolerate her feed. I jogged up all the stairs in the parking lot and instantly regretted it. Stupid lungs. Once I got in the car, I realized that my gas gauge was on E. Crap. While I waited to get out of the garage, I called the nurse back for a bit of info...was she coughing before she vomited or was it straight up puke? It was the latter. We briefly discussed how we might handle her asymptomatic low numbers in the future. (I'm still not exactly sure what caused the vomiting, but I think it was glucose related...she has no fever and hasn't vomited again. She seems okay now, but that could be the Zofran talking.)

Once I was out of the garage, I asked my GPS how to get to the nearest gas station. It directed me further into the city and I obeyed, it drove me right into a traffic jam. When I finally reached my destination, IT DID NOT EXIST. I asked my GPS for a second gas station, and headed towards the location. It directed me into a not so great part of town. I turned down a road that had a busted up, abandoned boat in the middle of the street that had been tagged with graffiti. It was no bueno. Then I reached the supposed gas station and it DID NOT EXIST! I had a few choice words for Dr. Corday (my British GPS) at this point. She drove me into the ghetto for nothing! I wasted gas on two separate wild goose chases. I was out of patience by now, so I called Josh and told him that my afternoon had suddenly become a clusterfLuck and I was getting on the freeway and if I ran out of gas, he'd have to come save me because I was not getting off the freeway until I saw a gas station with my own two eyes. Thankfully, I made it to a gas station in time and did not need rescuing...but I turned off the AC to conserve gas and it was not pretty. Fall does not exist here.

When I finally got to my mom's house, KayTar was looking pretty good. The Zofran had stayed down and she seemed herself. We left, stopped at the store for some Pedialyte for her and lunch for me, and headed home. When we got him it was after 2pm and I usually leave to pick BubTar up at 2:30pm. There wasn't time for me to give KayTar a slow Pedialyte feed and leave in time to get him, so I asked my mom to pick him up for me. She agreed, so I set up KayTar's feed and fed myself. I kept expecting to hear them at the door, but I didn't. My mom usually picks him up in the front office to avoid the pick-up line, but I figured she just went through the line this time. Then it got later...and later...then it was past the time that I usually get home with the kids, so I called my mom, thinking that she had decided to let him hang out at her house for a while...but SHE HAD FORGOTTEN TO PICK HIM UP! Oh geez. She left right away to get him, but a few minutes later I got a call from the school saying he was waiting in the office. Poor guy. WHAT A DAY!

The kids' school has an open house tonight, but I don't think we're going to make it. I still don't know what is up with KayTar's vomiting and we don't like to share our germs with others. It is only 4:30, but I think we should call it a day right now...just to be safe! ;)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Baseball and Ballet!

Fall activities have started in the 'Tar household!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Breaking News: Five year olds are not reliable historians.

Every day, on the way home from school, I ask the kids about their day and also ask if anyone got in trouble. If they get in trouble at school, then they have consequences at home. A conduct mark is just a line on a sheet of paper, unless there is something to back it up. Usually, they lose one privilege per conduct computer time, TV time, and so on. On Wednesday, KayTar said, "I got a conduct mark!" I asked her why and she said "I was talking to the teacher at story time without permission." This is plausible as she struggles a lot with raising her hand before speaking...this is actually in her IEP goals for the year. She went on to say, "The teacher said that the next step is calling your mom or whichever parent freaks you out the most." I said, "Well, KayTar...because you didn't obey the rules at school today, you won't get any computer time." She gave the obligatory "Aww, man." and that was the end of it.

Yesterday, I visited her classroom and I casually made mention of the conduct mark to her teacher, who said, "What?! KayTar didn't get any conduct marks!" Evidently, during story time another little girl was interrupting and the teacher took that opportunity to explain acceptable behavior to the class, as well as what the consequences WOULD BE if they did this. It was all hypothetical! Except, KayTar is crazy literal and didn't grasp the fact that it was hypothetical. She thought she was getting a conduct mark, which she then reported to me as fact, which I took at face value and handed out a consequence...for NOTHING. Whoops! I guess that means she has 1 discipline credit stored up for if/when she does make her first infraction at school!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Letter to the Teacher 2010

I send a letter with KayTar on the first day every year outlining all of her...ummm...uniqueness. I normally post it here when school starts, but for whatever reason I didn't get around to it this year. So here it is, better late than never. I can't explain how victorious it felt to put those nasty episodes at the END this year and be able to say she "used to have neurological episodes"!


Hi! My name is KayTar. I'm so glad to be in your class this year! My mom helped me write this letter to tell you a little bit about me that might help our year go more smoothly.

I can read almost anything that follows the rules of phonics. I even read big words out of my mom's college textbooks! I learn very well from written word, especially because I don't always hear verbal words or instructions as well. When I watch TV at home, I like the captions to be on, so I can follow what is happening. I think it would help me a lot if my reading skills were used in class to help me keep up with what is happening in our room!

I can't hear with my left ear. I used to wear a hearing aid, but my hearing got worse and it stopped helping. Because I don't hear as well without it, make sure you speak clearly to me. If you are helping me do something, stay on my right side. It is hard for me to filter out background noises and I might have a harder time focusing, especially if the room is noisy.

I wear glasses to help me see clearly. I am nearsighted, so my glasses help me to see things that are farther away. I like to be very close to what I am looking at usually, because my eyes work best when I am up close.

I am a little slower than my friends and I get tired easily if we are walking long distances so I might need extra help. Sometimes I fall down, because I'm not always steady on my feet, especially when I am distracted. I often have a difficult time keeping up with the class when we have a fire drill and I might need 1 on 1 help from a grown-up when that happens.

Some days I am very light sensitive and can't bear to be out in the sunlight. I have magic lenses in my glasses to help, but some days they don't help enough. If my friends are going outside and the sunlight is bothering me a lot, I might need to go sit in the nurse's office or with another class while my friends play outside. Other days it doesn't bother me as much and I enjoy playing outside with my friends very much!

I have asthma and if you notice me coughing a lot or coughing so hard that I gag/vomit, I need to be given 4 puffs from my Albuterol inhaler with my yellow spacer mask.

I don't like to eat much, so at lunch or snack time I might choose not to eat. My mom will send something that I like every day, just in case. The textures of some foods might make me gag, either by sight or touch. I try my best not to touch these foods or get too close, so if I ball up my hands or say "No!" it means it is probably the kind of texture that will make me gag. If it gets too close to me I might push it away from me to protect myself. I need to go see the nurse at lunchtime every day so that she can put my special feeding backpack on me, so I get all the special things I need to be strong and healthy, even though I don't like to eat or drink them! The nurse will also check my glucose to be sure that my body has exactly what it needs every day!

My lips and tongue have gotten VERY big a few times and my doctors aren't sure why this happens, if you notice my lips swelling, or if I say, "My tongue hurts." it means I'm having an allergic reaction. Take me to see the nurse immediately. I need to have 1.5 teaspoons of Benadryl per my g-button. If I have trouble breathing or stop breathing, I need to be given my EpiPen Jr. Call my mom immediately if I have signs of an allergic reaction.

My colon doesn't work quite right and I have to take medicine to help it out, because of this, sometimes I have potty accidents. Some days I might wear a pull-up to school and some days I'll wear underwear. My mom will keep an extra pull-up in my bag just in case. At bathroom breaks, it might help if you reminded me to try to use the bathroom even when I say I don't need to.

I used to have neurological episodes that made me feel very sick, if I have one of these at school I need to go to the nurse to be given 1 tsp of Zofran through my g-button and I'll need you to call my mommy right away. Usually I need to lay down some place dark and quiet when I start to feel sick, too.

These things might help you know that I am starting to feel sick:

* I might say, "I feel spinny." or "Everything is shaking." or "My eyes feel sick."

* I suddenly look very tired. I might lay my head on the table or close my eyes. If I'm standing up, I might hold on to something for balance and close my eyes.

* I might stop responding to you. Sometimes I get very quiet and sometimes I make noises like I am in pain. It might seem like I am slipping in and out of a deep sleep, too.

* I won't want to stand up or walk. I probably won't move at all, because it makes me feel worse.

* Sometimes my eyes do funny things. You might see them wiggle, roll, or twitch. Sometimes they get stuck over to the side, and sometimes I can't open them at all.

* When I get sick, sometimes it hurts my tummy and I start to vomit.

* I might be in a lot of pain and the lights might really hurt my eyes.

It is important to remember that all of these things don't happen every time I get sick, but if you notice even one of these signs, please call my mom so she can come and get me. My doctors aren't really sure how to stop these episodes, so I have to go home and rest in my bed until it is over. Sometimes they can last a very long time, up to 18 hours.

I'm so excited to be in school this year and I know I will have lots of fun in your class!

Your new student,

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Stuff in my purse

Riveting title, no? Well, I'm at school 30 minutes early with nothing to do and no laptop, so I figured this would be a fine way to waste time!

1. Keys/pink pepper spray
2. Epi-Pen Jr (for KayTar)
3. Ventolin inhaler (for me)
4. Polka dot umbrella that I purchased today after getting soaked twice yesterday
5. GermX hand sanitizer
6. Paper printout of class schedule
7. Wallet
8. Special K chocolate chip protein bar
9. Cellphone
10. Chapstick
11. Pen
12. Emergency OTC meds (Imodium, Advil, Benadryl, Excedrin, Advil Cold)
13. Feminine hygiene products
14. Random receipt from Kohls
15. iPod touch (which isn't in my purse since I'm using it to write this)

How about you? What do you keep stashed in your purse?

PS: Both kids are back in school today. Hallelujah!

Saturday, September 04, 2010

A Day in the Life: Pediatrician Edition.

I spent the day yesterday shadowing our fabulous pediatrician. Beforehand, I worried that it might be a little awkward, following someone around all day without contributing anything, but it turned out to be a really enjoyable experience! I'm looking forward to doing it again next month.

We saw a lot of kids, of who were there for well-checks, URIs, EIs, rechecks, and one patient who came in for a rule-out of a fairly rare who loved the doctor, hated the doctor, and were ambivalent about the doctor...and they were all adorable. I got a lot of smiles from all of those cuties. It was a busy day, though not unpleasantly so. It was a nice pace. We spent roughly 10 minutes (my guesstimation, I didn't pay attention to the actual time) with each patient which seemed the perfect amount of time, and from 9:30am until about 1:30pm there were not any lulls. Then we went to lunch, visited a baby in the NICU at the hospital, and came back to clinic and saw a few more patients before I morphed back into a parent when BubTar arrived for his 3pm appointment.

Things I learned, in no particular order:

1. I am not used to wearing heels all day. Ha! Obviously, I was on my feet all day and we did a lot of walking and took the stairs quite a bit. It didn't bother me a bit until I was OFF of my feet for a while...then, OUCH. Gotta work on that. ;)

2. Primary-care pediatrics is a lot of repetition. We saw many kiddos that were there for the same well-check, and so you basically repeat the same thing over and over. It isn't a BAD thing, just something that hadn't really occurred to me previously.

3. 4 months old infants are particularly adorable patients.

4. I need to learn more Spanish and get brave enough to utilize what I already know.

5. I can see myself being happy with this sort of career.

6. (which is not specifically related to yesterday) I can survive a week with roughly 3 hours of frequently interrupted a sleep per night, two sick kids, feeling mildly under the weather myself, while keeping up with my coursework and responsibilities, and still manage to enjoy myself.

PS: The pediatrician did a mono spot, a re-swab for strep, and a CBC for BubTar yesterday and all signs pointed run of the mill virus. He has a pretty inflamed throat and very swollen lymph nodes...but his fever broke this morning! I don't know if it will stay down, but it is a start! Also, KayTar seems to have a plain old URI, so I expect her to recover pretty quickly, too.

Cross-posted at Mothers in Medicine

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Worth a thousand words.

Yes, they are both sick. Still.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Yeah, that pretty much sums it up.

BubTar has diarrhea now, which is a perfect metaphor for the week thus far.

Yesterday, his fever was staying in the 102-103ish range...getting as high as 103.8 while on Tylenol/Motrin every 3 hours! He peed once Sunday, once Monday, and once Tuesday...just a bit shy of 24 hour in between, so I emailed the pediatrician to see if we needed to sneak in a quick outpatient chem 7 today...and low and behold, he urinated a second time shortly after I sent it. Perfect timing, right? His fever was so high when he went to bed that I didn't feel comfortable sleeping through the night and letting his meds lapse, even briefly, so I went to bed at midnight and set an alarm for 2am. Then I woke up for the day at 5:30 as usual. Super fun times.

Back tracking to last night, after KayTar's pre-bedtime feed she vomited up about 2 ounces of it. That always raises the "Overfull or getting sick?" question, so we tucked her in next to a vomit bucket just to be safe. She was fine through the night, but this morning she only tolerated half of her morning feed before complaining about being too full and having stomach pains. This complicated the issue of whether she was sick or not, so I took her temp and it was normal. We decided to proceed with the day as normal, BubTar at my mom's and KayTar at school, unless something changed. I sent her with a note explaining her half-feed to the nurse, in case she got hypoglycemic and needed her lunch feed sooner in the day. BubTar and I were late leaving the house due to a number of different issues and I spent the entire day preoccupied with how the kids were faring.

However, I did make it to both classes, orgo and orgo lab, and neither of the kids had crisis situations while I was away. The day hit an all time low as I rushed to the cafeteria to get a quick lunch before heading home, only to discover that it is the first day of a new month...the month after my bank card expired and my new one was not activated yet! DECLINED! Awesome feeling. Even better? When the cashier, who I have never met before, admonished me by saying, "You need to learn to do some things for yourself!" when I mentioned that I thought my husband had already activated our new cards (he texted me about them in class, so I assumed he had activated them both...ass/u/me, I get it.). Then I stood near the register and called the activation number on my cell only to be LOCKED OUT OF THE SYSTEM. I had to abandon my lunch and go home hungry, and more than a little pissed off. On the way home, my mom informed me of BubTar's gastrointestinal distress.

Now it is late afternoon, the kids are home resting. BubTar hasn't peed since last night. Again. He is still running a low grade fever with meds, but at least it is LOW grade now. I count that as an improvement. KayTar is a little snotty, but no ketones in her urine yet and her temp is teetering at 100, but I'm still hoping she magically makes it through the next two days. I have my volunteer shift at the hospital tonight, classes tomorrow, and a shadowing gig on Friday...I'm worried that adding another sick kid (the one that is much harder to treat) to my mom's nannying gig might send her screaming into the night at this point. The Universe is definitely testing my resolve to be a full time student right now...and guess what? The Universe can suck it. ;)