Thursday, December 30, 2010

James' Diagnosis

I know I should be posting about Christmas but I'm too tired and sick to download the photos and then write a post about them. Instead, this post is about the non-Christmas related events that have been happening around here, mostly about James.
We had a very interesting week leading up to Christmas. Adam got a call out of the blue from the man he had been working with for a year to get THE job that he was officially rejected for a few months ago. Another position has opened up in the company in Utah and this guy called Adam and invited us to attend a Christmas party at his home where several other reps with the same company would be in attendance. He seemed pretty excited about us coming and for the opportunity for Adam to network with these guys. We were so excited to have been invited and I was less excited about actually attending. I really had no desire to go and make small talk but I was, of course, ready to put on my party face and make a great impression. The night we were to leave for said party, this guy calls Adam and says he's really sorry but he didn't check with his wife first before inviting us and she was really upset because she had planned for a specific number of people. Basically, he was uninviting us. WHO DOES THAT? Anyway, so we canceled our plans and they had a nice conversation about him setting up a meeting for Adam with a really good contact in the company after the first of the year. So, it wasn't that bad. The guy is still going way out of his way to try and help Adam land this other job. It's pretty flattering actually considering this guy really doesn't even know Adam that well but has been so impressed with him that he really wants to work with him within the company. At least we have a ray of hope that a better job is in the works for us. It's pretty frightening to even get our hopes up because it honestly was like dealing with a death after we didn't get that job. It was one of the hardest times of our married life. Hopefully, 2011 will be a good year for us.
Anyway, moving on to James. So, a few days before Christmas James started screaming again from tooth pain. I called our dentist and of course he was out of the office until January 3rd. I talked to the receptionist for a while and explained the situation. She said, "Well, I would just be really surprised if there is anything wrong if you just had him in a couple of weeks ago and the doctor thought everything looked good."
Me-- "Well, how do you explain his screaming in pain, then?"
Her-- "Oh, I don't know I just do paperwork."
The conversation ended with her saying she would call the dentist and she would call me right back. Yeah, right. I could tell by her tone that I wasn't going to hear from her. So I asked her if she could at least recommend a pediatric dentist and she said no that I would just have to call around and good luck because everyone was probably already gone for the holiday. I felt like screaming at her, "Merry Christmas to you too, you heartless jerk!" Oh yeah, and she also said I would have a hard time since he's on Medicaid and most doctors aren't taking any more Medicaid patients. I was already starting to panic enough as it was without her telling me all of this.
I went to the Medicaid website and started calling all of the pediatric dentists on the list (only about 15 total). Every office I called either didn't accept Medicaid anymore or they were closed for the holidays. I was freaking out. I have a child screaming in pain and no one would help us because he's on Medicaid. Why should my child have to suffer just because he's on Medicaid? It's not his fault that they don't reimburse enough to cover costs. And there was no way in hell I was going to take him to the butcher shop known as Small Smiles. The reviews I've read about that place are chilling.
Finally! The last dentist, Dr. Larry Meadors, answered the phone and cheerfully said they could see him the Monday after Christmas. I was so relieved that someone was willing to help us.
I took him in on Monday and they took x-rays (first dentist office hadn't done x-rays in over a year) and the x-rays showed that his tooth was almost rotted and needed to be pulled and a spacer put in for the permanent tooth. His molar on the other side needs to have a pulpotomy and there are two other really small cavaties that need to be filled. Finally, some answers as to why he has been screaming in pain. Poor little guy. I would venture to say that he has had problems since Halloween with this but our family dentist seemed to think everything was fine.
Dr. Meadors wants to put him out and do surgery at the hospital since he's so little and there's quite a bit of work that needs to be done. The crappy part? The hospital initially set his appointment for February 3rd! The soonest they had an operating room. There was a cancelation so now his appointment is January 13th which is still three weeks away. We are supposed to just ride it out on codeine until then. I feel so frustrated and helpless. He's not really sleeping unless he's doped up and he's cranky and tired during the day. I'm thankful we at least have a plan in place but I pray there will be another cancelation so we can get into the OR even sooner. I hate seeing him suffer. I am absolutely powerless to alleviate his pain other than with codeine and a lot of times he still screams for another 30 minutes until the medication starts to take effect. My poor little James has been suffering all this time.
I asked Dr. Meadors why he has all of these problems when we brush very faithfully twice a day and I'm the one doing the brushing. He said some kids just have weaker teeth than others.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Fam Update

I just realized that I haven't posted anything in a long time that has really been going on in our family. A while ago I started noticing that James has been increasingly tired and lethargic. I didn't really think it was anything until it wouldn't go away. He has been agitated, irritable, and chronically fatigued. I thought maybe he had mono or an elusive infection of some kind so I took him to our family practitioner. The doc examined him and couldn't find anything outwardly wrong with him so he ordered a blood draw and then referred us to a pediatric cardiologist after he detected a normal-sounding murmur.
His blood work came back normal according to our family physician.
A few days later James was complaining about a tooth that he has had worked on before and I thought immediately that that must be the root of his problems. I took him to the dentist on Monday and the dentist was very pleased with the way his tooth looked and didn't even charge us for the visit but called it a "follow-up" appointment (best dentist ever!). I left with mixed emotions. I was certainly happy that his tooth was fine and no more work was required but I was also wondering what was wrong with him.
We also met with the cardiologist on Monday and an ultrasound of his heart was conducted. She said the murmur that our family physician had heard was a thickening of his aortic valve that makes a strange sound when his heart pumps. She said that at this time it isn't restricting blood flow but it will need to be checked every two years or so as he grows as it will continue to thicken as stiffen with age. She said the likelihood of it ever restricting blood flow is fairly small which is good. However, she wants to monitor his heart for 24 hours (EKG) this Friday just to make sure his heart impulses are "firing" correctly.
She also said that his thyroid levels on his blood test were borderline low and they will recheck in a month to make sure that he really is a little low on TSH and not just some fluke. This diagnosis makes the most sense to me. Thyroid problems run rampant in my family including myself, my father, and my brother. It would also explain his chronic fatigue and somewhat restless sleep. Although a hypothyroid person my feel fatigued all of the time, it actually inhibits sleep. I can personally testify to that. However, I guess we will see what the second test reveals. Although I would never wish that diagnosis on my child, I'm hoping that's what the problem is-- it's easy to treat, it's not life-threatening, and it would finally explain why my little man is so, so tired all of the time.

As for Ruby, we moved her into James' room which has helped with bedtime immensely. I no longer have to lay down with James while he goes to sleep which I actually didn't mind because it only took about 5-10 minutes. It has also helped with James not getting up in the night to come into our room. I guess he was just lonely and scared and wanted a little company. Ruby has adjusted well to the change and I think it has sort of brought them closer together. They have been playing more together the last few days.
Ruby is growing so fast and has transformed from a baby into a little girl seemingly overnight. She ends many of her sentences with, "right, mom?" or "right, James?" It's pretty adorable. She is like her mom in that she loves to make people laugh. She's always making these crazy faces with her eyes rolled back in her head and then she laughs and laughs. She seems much more carefree than James.
Adam started working nights I think two weeks ago now? Something like that. It's been pretty sucky adjusting to the new schedule. I know the kids miss him and I feel like I never see him. I have felt like a single parent since he started this new shift. I'm grateful he has a job but I really hope it's just temporary until something better comes along.

Post Script--Music

After writing my entry on music, I laid in bed last night and couldn't stop thinking about some of my musical obsessions over the years and when I say obsession I mean I bought at least two albums from one artist or group. Here are some of my musical loves throughout the years:
Neil Young
Bob Marley
Clumsy Lovers
Ani DiFranco
Sarah Maclachlan
Alison Krauss
Ryan Adams
Bare Naked Ladies
The Beatles
Rolling Stones
Garth Brooks
Tom Petty
Elton John
Michael Jackson
Ben Folds Five
Violent Femmes
Green Day
Built to Spill
Ray Charles
Lyle Lovett
The Cure
Ben Harper
Modest Mouse
Paul Simon
Johnny Cash
Beach Boys
Talking Heads
I also went through a classic rock phase in high school. Every morning senior year I had the Eagles, CCR, or Steve Miller blasting.
I love classic country as well along with classic jazz and blues along the lines of Etta James and Billie Holliday, Patsy Cline.
There are so many music loves. I almost don't want to publish this list because it's definitely not comprehensive. I've only listed some of the artists that I have multiple albums of.
You may wonder why I chose to blog about something that no one really cares about other than myself. Here's the reason-- music was such a huge part of my life before I got married. My friends and I talked about music and books a lot. We spent a lot of time on the weekends going to concerts or hanging out in smoky bars to hear a favorite band play or to dance the night away. I guess one of the reasons I decided to start a blog in the first place was so that I could have a place to write about who I am both as a mother as well as the non-mother part of me. Some days I feel so disconnected from my non-mother part of who I am and sometimes I miss it. This is who I am outside of motherhood and I hope to be able to pass on my passion for music to my children.
Who are some of your music obsessions?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Avett Brothers - I And Love And You

My favorite song right now. Lead singer is pretty hot too.

Music Geek

I love music. It is one of my absolute favorite things in the universe. In saying that, you are probably thinking, "Doesn't everybody?" Yes, and that's what makes it so great. I would have gone insane years ago without music. Any time in my life when I felt sad or depressed, angry or happy I would turn to a wide selection of music and work out my emotions. It's amazing how you can be instantly transported back in time simply by hearing the first few notes of a particular song.
I guess I consider myself a bit of a music geek, not a musical talent or prodigy as I am neither of those things but rather a respectful admirer of the power of music.
I started taking piano lessons when I was about seven. That was the year my parents bought a piano and me and my older brothers all started taking lessons. I am very grateful that my parents did not let me quit lessons even though I wanted to many times. Finally, in eighth or ninth grade my dad said I could quit as soon as I could play all of the hymns in the hymnbook. Well, that became my goal and, unfortunately, I did quit shortly after since neither my dad nor myself recognized that hymns aren't exactly the height of piano playing ability. At any rate, it put a lot of my focus on the hymns and primary songs and that has been a huge blessing in my life. As I practiced, I would sing all of the verses in my head and now I know many of the hymns including all of the verses. Hymns or arrangements of hymns are still my favorite pieces to play because of the spirit I feel when I play them.
I lacked a lot of confidence growing up and so I never pursued sports or other extracurricular activities other than choir. I sang in choir throughout elementary, junior high and high school not that you can tell by my voice, believe me, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.
This past Sunday our ward choir participated in our annual Stake Choir Christmas concert. It was so great to be able to participate and to sing Christmas carols. I love Christmas and the music is a huge part of that especially Handel's "Messiah." I honestly can not imagine music any more beautiful than that.
A chapter in one of my favorite books, " A Natural History of the Senses" is devoted to music and discusses it's effects on us emotionally, physically, and socially. It's fascinating reading if anyone is interested.
Anyway, that's it. Love music and life would seriously be dull without it.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Lessons I Learned as a Boy

I love this video! Makes me cry every time especially when I hear Pres. Hinckley's voice start to crack. I miss him!

Tree Detail

This year I decided to add a few more ornaments to the tree. I was having a hard time deciding when I came across an article in one of those cooking/housekeeping/decorating type magazines. The article was about how to decorate a tree using inexpensive materials. One of the ideas was to string real ribbon candy and hang it on the tree. Now, why didn't I ever think of that? I love the look of ribbon candy although I detest the taste of it. And the best part? I only paid two bucks for 12 pieces. Not bad. Oh, and they look pretty on the tree.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Great Read

I have been reading a lot more lately. For some odd reason, I am on a John Grisham kick which is kind of strange for me because I typically try to avoid a lot of mainstream books. However, I have found a guilty pleasure in his books. They are like brain candy-- super easy reads, entertaining, and requires almost absolutely no thought.
This past week, I decided to take a break from Grisham and picked up Bill Bryson's new book instead titled "At Home: A Short History of Private Life." I could not put this book down. It's non-fiction and contains the short histories of nearly everything--bathing, sewers, children in Victorian England, gynecology, architecture, clothes, corsets, etc, etc. Utterly fascinating. Each page was filled with seemingly incomprehensible details about private life primarily during the Victorian (1840ish-early 1900s) era. All I can say after finishing this book is thank goodness I did not live back then. I can't imagine a more disgusting, dirty, filthy, loathsome existence and I am so thankful to live in this modern age of cleanliness. One poor district in London during the 1800's, had six inches of excrement on tenement front "lawns" and another three feet of it in the basement. They didn't believe in bathing because they thought dirty, clogged pours actually kept you from getting sick. One man reportedly after death had not bathed in so long that when they took his undershirt off, it actually took patches of skin with it. Oh, and don't even get me started on the corpse problems. Apparently, the stench was so horrific at most churches (coffins were stacked in the basement and that's how churches made most of their money. One large church had around 20,000 coffins in the basement alone!) that several people fainted during services. Eventually, people stopped attending church altogether.
Anyway, a fascinating, engrossing book. I really hated to see it end. So if you are looking for a good read, I highly recommend this one.
What good books have you read lately?