Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Coming home and another scare

The day after surgery, the 18th, I'm sure I slept a lot and have no clear memories of. Same with the 19th. My healing seemed to be going well with the exception of a fever that seemed to come on every night but would be gone in the morning. By the morning of the 20th, I was feeling pretty good. Keith was with me and we were pretty optimistic I would be going home the next day. Wound care came just about every day to treat my knee, arm and hand. They used topical antiseptic which typically numbed the area pretty well but for some reason that day, I was having a lot of pain while I was being treated. Unfortunately, my nurse that day was a jerk. Really, with the exception of this nurse and one night nurse I had great nurses. He made it a point to stress how nursing was just a step for him to becoming a PA and he felt like he was above the job. The PT's who take care of my wounds were really great women and the one working on me that day noticed my distress and decided to take a break after working on me for a bit. She sent her assistant to ask for more pain meds for me and my nurse came back to say he wouldn't give me any. He felt that one Vicodin every 6 hours was plenty and I had taken it a few hours before so I would have to wait. 

My PT decided to call it quits for the day because she felt that I should have the medicine and didn't want to cause me any more pain. Within about a half hour I started to have chills. I told my nurse I was cold and thought I might be running a fever. He came to take my temp which was around 103. I asked for a blanket and he told me no, that I needed to sweat the fever out. I asked for more pain meds, he told me no. My whole body at this point was hitting misery. My foot was always in pain but it was really escalating with the fever and I could not stop shaking. My podiatrist Dr. Dworkin came by to check on me. He told me my care was now under Dr. Schnur but that he wanted to see me. He asked my nurse for my chart and after looking it over and asking him several questions he bossed him around a bit and got him to get a few things to try to help my fever and pain. I was elated when shifts changed and I found out my night nurse was Georgia, a really sweet woman. She checked my temperature which was still high and rushed off to get me extra blankets because I must be freezing. She called the doctor to get me more medicine, drugged me with benadryl so I could sleep and told everyone to stay out of my room and let me rest. 

When I woke in the morning, I was sad to see Georgia was gone, but happy to have another favorite nurse Ashley for the day. I was still running a fever and feeling pretty awful. It was the day of my Grandma's funeral and Keith was working so I was alone. My kids couldn't visit because the night before, the doctors came to tell me that my white blood cell count was low and I would have restrictions now. No eating raw foods, no fresh flowers, no little visitors and a sign on the door to warn everyone to glove and mask up. I started getting anxious about my condition which only increased when the doctors came to tell me that my liver functions weren't very good and they couldn't figure out what was causing my high fever and none of the meds were bringing it down. They decided to try switching my antibiotics and we started asking people to pray. I thought I was out of the woods but now I was scared for my life. 
Saturday Selfie. I was trying to decide if I should skype family, after seeing that I looked as bad as I felt, I decided not to.

My sweet nurses Ashley and Sam came and asked if they could wash my hair for me. Ashley didn't have many patients so she checked on me often and stayed to chat with me throughout the day. It was such a lonely and scary day but she really helped bring some happiness to it. Dr. Dworkin also cam e by again. He said he cared about me, couldn't stop thinking about me and really hoped I would be well- the feeling was mutual, I felt so lucky to have him as one of my doctors. Georgia was my night nurse again. She took good care of me and early Sunday morning, I woke to her taking my BP and temperature which was finally under 100. I was so excited and hopeful again that I would get to go home soon. The doctors came in and told me that if I was stable all day, they would consider letting me go home Monday.  I made it through Sunday gaining more strength and was able to go down the hall on my crutches before my leg told me to quit. The problem wasn't my right leg at all, my foot made my left leg feel about 200 lbs, the longer it was down the heavier it felt. I was tired every time I had to get up and use the bathroom. I was weaning off of pain meds pretty well and excited at the prospect of being in my own home again. 
Sunday board
 I made it through Sunday without any issues and by Monday was feeling good enough to feel restless. OT came and made me go up and down the stairs with one crutch and one leg, then had me do it again when Keith came so he knew how to help me. Every step was so hard and I knew I would never take walking for granted again when the time came for me to be able to. We asked the OT just about every time they came when they thought I could bear weight on my leg again. They said it could be as long as 3 months, but hopefully closer to 2.

My nurses came and helped me take a shower, my first shower since the accident! It was tiring but so heavenly. Keith helped me into my clothes which hung on me like bags. I hadn't realized how much weight I lost but I know it was at least 20 lbs. if not more. When the time came to leave, I was a little nervous. I was used to round the clock care and I was nervous for my wound vac to leak or another fever to peak. All that fear dissipated when I got home and was surrounded by the noises and smells of my own home. 
Getting to hold my babies again!
Keith's mom had been caring for our kids since the accident. When we found out how severe the injury was and that I would need my foot elevated all but 30 minutes of the day (which was basically the amount of time I spent going to and from the bathroom) she extended her ticket. We were so appreciative and it relieved a huge burden from us-not having to try to hire help around the holidays. I tired easily but after a few days home, was able to stop taking my percoset on Thanksgiving. 

We spent Thanksgiving at Marc and Allie Issaic's. They took care of all the food and it was so nice to have a little normalcy and spend time with good friends. Over the next  week and a half, some my time was taken with doctor's appointments. I had to go to infectious disease once a week to pick up my antibiotics and had follow up appointments with my plastic surgeon. I liked to spend time with each of the kids in my bed, reading them books or playing games. 
On December 2nd, the wound vac came off. It relieved a lot of pressure and it was so nice not to have to carry it around with me or worry about it malfunctioning. We took a trip to Costco- my first store outing to fill a prescription and commemorate the happy occasion.

The foot after the wound vac came off
By my birthday on December 3, I was feeling pretty good and getting around decently on crutches. My friends set up a birthday lunch and when they came to pick me up, Julie presented a beautiful and delicious Oreo birthday cake. I was so touched and the lunch really lifted my spirits. When I got home, Keith took me to Mockingjay. We have a theater nearby that has reclining seats so I was able to go and elevate my leg without any issues. We both liked the movie and went home afterwards to enjoy dinner with the kids. 

That night, we started my antibiotic drip as usual around 8 PM. Joan and Keith were upstairs putting the kids to bed and I was talking to my parents. A few minutes into my drip, I started to cough. Emmett was fighting a cough so I thought maybe I was catching it. The cough started to hurt though and I was having pain and tightness in my chest. After a few minutes of that, I told my parents I needed to go, that I was having chest pain. I called for Keith and he came down to check on me. I told him how I was feeling and he decided to call the infectious disease docs who were in charge of my antibiotics. After a few minutes, I couldn't stop coughing and was really starting to struggle to breathe. Keith hung up and dialed 911. We were both panicked, knowing I was at risk for blood clots. Keith had helped his mom when she had a pulmonary embolism and said I was acting just like she was so I had him really worried. The ambulance was so fast but when they came I was wheezing and barely breathing. An EMT came to me and immediately sat me up and started coaching me through breathing. It was easier to breathe sitting up but the pain in my chest was still so intense. I was shaking and sweating and completely unable to use crutches or a walker so they fireman carried me out the door and onto a stretcher. Once in the ambulance, they hooked me up to an EKG and some oxygen. It didn't occur to me that I might be having a heart attack until that point but my symptoms certainly matched up. 

They took me to Parker hospital where the doctors and nurses were all very efficient and kind. It's a bit of a blur but they ran some tests (that iodine is seriously cold), gave me some morphine and waited until I was stable and the results all came back normal. There was no explanation for it all and they told me to follow up in the morning with my regular doctor. 
Warming up and glad to be alive
My doctor got me in the following morning and after explaining everything and taking a good look at my history, she felt I probably had experienced an esophogul spasm which mimics a heart attack. It's kind of rare but can happen with people who have a weakened stomach lining (which I would from all of the meds I had been on). I had been having a lot of reflux so the explanation made perfect sense to me. 

That night, we started my antibiotics as usual and I wasn't even worried. Infectious disease told us the antibiotics I was on didn't normally cause a reaction like mine. Within about 5 minutes though, I felt the familiar chest pain and cough. Keith immediately stopped my drip and I bent forward and tried my best to breathe through it. The reaction was much less intense but I wasn't able to calm down for about 20 minutes. Afterwards. I went to the bathroom and Keith had to carry me back to the bed, I was so weak. Infectious disease had me come in the next day so they could figure out what was going on. The nurse in charge of me told me he had seen this before and wanted to try to slow my drip way down. We were there for about 2 hours while I received my antibiotics but I didn't have a reaction which was great. Slowing down my drip seemed to solve the problem. Occasionally, I would experience a bit of chest pain but nothing severe and slowing my drip even further always solved the problem. 


Tuesday, February 2, 2016

A couple more surgeries and a gross wound pic

My second surgery was Saturday November 14th. surgery was scheduled for early in the morning which was nice because I could eat normally the day before and try to sleep. I woke up early on Saturday morning in tears. For reasons I can't explain, I was scared and emotionally overwhelmed. I truly felt that I might not wake from the surgery and could not stop crying from when they wheeled me down to the OR waiting area an hour before surgery until I went in. I was cold and shaky and couldn't really talk to Keith and Joan who came to wait with me. Joan ended up reading Ann Romney's book I had picked up at the library before the vacation. There are some funny moments in the beginning and it helped ease my tension. My nurses were also so kind to me and tried their best to make me comfortable with warm blankets and pain meds. 

I don't remember much of this day, I was out before they got me into the OR room and came to again when they were reattaching the wound vac. When I got back to my room, they hooked me up to the good pain meds and I'm assuming I mostly slept. The surgery had gone well and Dr. Dworkin let us know that he wanted a plastic surgeon to cover my wound with a skin graft to protect my bone and encourage healthy skin growth. He told us he sent a picture to the best plastic surgeon he knew, Dr. Schnurr.

Warning: Graphic Image
My foot after 2 debridement surgeries

Dr. Shcnurr told him that he could do it but wouldn't be able to get me in for at least a week, possibly two. He still wasn't sure about my toe, we would have to wait and see how my healing went. The next day, I was in a lot of pain but because it was Sunday, Keith spent a lot of the day with me and the kids were able to visit for a while. Our home teachers came to administer the sacrament which felt like living water. I was so grateful for it. Most memorable from that day was a phone call from my dad. My Grandma Pearson had passed away quite unexpectedly. She had been in the hospital, sick from Salmonella and her body had shut down over the week. My heart was broken that I couldn't be there to see her before she passed and that I wouldn't be able to attend her funeral. I have many fond memories of visiting my grandparents farm in Arco, Idaho every summer. My grandma grew raspberries and had a beautiful garden and flowers. She was an incredible cook and I loved her wit and strong spirit. I'm grateful she didn't suffer long but she will be missed.
Jay and Sue Pearson

Verl and Sue Brower on their wedding day

4 Generations- me with my dad, Grandma Sue and Great Grandma Pauline Wixom

My nurses heard of my loss and were extra kind. My podiatrist expressed his condolences and how sorry he was that I couldn't travel for the funeral.

By Sunday, my IV had been moved several times. I had been receiving constant fluids, antibiotics and pain meds which were causing my veins to blow. When a vein has had enough, the medicine will start to burn and my vein feels as if it is on fire. Cherise and one of her boys happened to come just moments before this happened for about the 3rd time that day- each time seeming more painful. I won't forget how she held my hand while I cried and massaged my good foot to distract from the pain. My kids also came right at that moment which was unfortunate because I missed some precious time with them. I didn't want them to see me in pain. At that point, Kenzie was handling everything the best. She wasn't acting out at school and when she came to visit, she was attentive and sweet. Clara wouldn't come near me. I knew I made her nervous so I didn't push her. Emmett wouldn't tolerate me very well either. I ended up bribing them with the treats so many friends brought to give me a hug. The kids would bring pictures and fill my room with their sweet noise. When they left, my room felt so empty and lonely.
Pictures from my kids

I had a handful of visitors that I really appreciated. The hospital they took me to, was not the closest to our house. It was about a 25 minute drive and with it being the holidays I knew people were busy and I recognized that sacrifice. My good friend Cherise came with a basket of goodies for me and the kids. She washed my hair a couple of times and kept me company on several occasions. My friends Julie and Daciana also brought a basket of goodies and entertainment. Jessica, a woman I hardly knew, came by with treats and a basket filled with scents to make my room smell good. My RS president came a few times, did my hair, kept me company and organized my room which was badly needed. My friend Lisa came by several times. I know there were others, I wish I could remember them all. I also had friends helping Keith and my in-laws by bringing meals and providing rides and entertainment for my kids.

My RS president Jennifer helped wash and braid my hair

On Monday the 16th, I was feeling better. I still needed a lot of help getting to the bathroom but I wasn't so heavily medicated. We thought I would be on my way home in a couple of days, after my home wound vac came. I also got my PICC (peripherally inserted central catheter) line which I was initially excited about because I was tired of being poked and dealing with my veins blowing. The PICC procedure unfortunately was another painful and kind of horrifying experience. The nurse started on my left arm. The left arm is preferable because it's closer to the heart, but mine had been through some trauma from the accident and was a bit swollen. I knew something was wrong when my chatty and super friendly nurse stopped talking as he was threading the catheter through my arm. I could hear the panic in his voice when he went to get another nurse. The second nurse came in and immediately clamped his hand around my arm. It was so painful and he apologized and explained that an artery had been hit and he needed to apply heavy pressure for at least 20 minutes. He pulled out the catheter and nurse #1 left. Nurse #2 started talking to me to distract me and we found out that he lived near me and was a member of the Church. He was also head nurse of the PICC department and that eased my worries. I was unusually calm as he put a PICC in my right arm. He was so fast and gentle, I didn't realize he had put it in until he told me he was done. The mess up left my arm with a lot of pain and swelling which he said would leave a nasty bruise. Also unfortunate was the fact that now that I had a PICC in my right arm, my blood pressure cuff had to go on the left. I was near tears every time my BP was taken for several days and it hurt beyond my hospital release.

Photo taken on the 21st. The circle is where the catheter was inserted. You can see the beginning of my bruising
The rest of the day went fine and Keith was with me that night when we got a surprise visit from Dr. Schnurr. He came in and abruptly said that he would like to do a skin graft and he would be available the following night. We were so excited to hear that I wouldn't need to wait and we could get my healing started. He told us he couldn't make any promises. He would take me back to the OR, clean up the wound a little more and decide if it was ready for a graft. If it looked good enough for a graft, he would use donor skin which my body would reject within a couple of weeks but would still promote healing. He would follow it with a skin graft of my own skin. If we were lucky and the wound looked really good, he would use my skin for the graft, a piece of my thigh or butt.

I remember being overwhelmed with surprise and gratitude that he was willing to perform the surgery so quickly for me and that I had a chance for a graft. I didn't really let myself hope for a graft of my own skin but Keith and I were both optimistic. Tuesday was a bit difficult. I couldn't eat and wasn't feeling well at all the last few hours before surgery. The surgery ended up starting about an hour late because Dr. Schnurr had been in surgery all day. I didn't feel nervous going into it, just really optimistic. This time, the anesthesia didn't kick in as quickly. I vividly remember getting to the OR room and having to move onto the operating table. I was surprised at how cold and sterile it was in there and was grateful to feel myself slipping into the sweet dark sleep where I had a momentary respite from my reality and constant pain.

When I came to, I was sicker than normal. On the positive side, my surgery went as good as it could have. Dr. Schnurr had covered the wound with a graft of my own skin. I couldn't seem to dwell on that though, I felt too awful. My day nurse had me order dinner before the surgery and told me she would tell night shift to put it in the fridge for me. When I got to my room, my dinner tray was sitting on my table, cold and about 3 hours old. I found that my night nurse was one I hated. I'm positive she was new and training because she never anticipated my needs, she was incredibly loud throughout the night and forgot a lot of my requests. Keith couldn't stay with me because it was so late and he needed to go home to sleep for work in the morning. It was a bad night for me, I was angry to be alone with a bad nurse and have to experience the pain and overwhelming nausea that always followed surgery.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Accident- Bahamas and a few days after

I've started writing my experiences in my journal but thought I might want to share here on the blog for those who are curious about all that has happened this month. This is more painful for me to document than I originally thought and I had to stop to cry many times as I wrote in my journal. For that reason, I likely won't be quite as detailed but this story deserves to be told:)

The last week of October and the beginning of November were just crazy for me. We had Halloween, Kenzie's birthday party, I was in charge of Super Saturday and I was preparing my house and arranging my schedule to leave my kids for over a week with my in-laws. Keith was also working a lot to prepare to leave. I was about as stressed as I've ever been and to top it off, hadn't been sleeping well because I had been sick with a cold, stomach bug, then another cold for the month of October. In fact, the first night I slept a few hours straight was the night before we left for our trip.
I preface with all of this because despite being sick, I was exercising a lot. Our gym had a cycling challenge to attend cycling class 15+ times in a month. My friend Breea and I decided to take it. I was cycling 4-5 times a week for about an hour and getting in really good shape.

Thursday the 5th, I went to my last cycling class with my favorite instructor Angela. Angela is so good because she's inspiring. She has a motto she repeats in every class, "You can do anything for one minute." She pushes my wimpy butt to try my hardest and always gets the best results out of me.
So in class, I was still fighting my cold, but on the mend. I was feeling really energized and so grateful that I could be in Angela's class. I said a silent prayer of thanks for my body and for feeling strong and inspired. Immediately I was hit with the thought that I was in this cycling class for a reason. I was going to need my strength and this new found ability to endure hard things as I was going to be going through something painful. Well that scared me, especially because I don't typically get promptings that strong.

Two days later, the Saturday we flew to Ft. Lauderdale, Clara came into our room at 6 AM in tears. She didn't want us to leave and was having a hard time cheering up. I was feeling really tense myself and not excited like I should be. I chalked it up to stress but couldn't shake the feeling that we shouldn't leave. I was stressed about it at Super Saturday and even shared my concerns with a few of the women there. Saturday was a rush but we had good weather and made it to Ft Lauderdale right on time, about 11 PM Eastern time. We didn't stay up late so it wasn't surprising when I woke up about 6 AM Sunday morning. We ate breakfast, got ready and went down to the hotel lobby about 10:30 to wait for the cruise shuttle. We also went ahead and pre-paid for our shuttle home (I want that $20 back:)

We were both in shock when we got to the port and saw the cruise ships- so much bigger than we had expected! We boarded the ship in swimsuits and made our way straight to the surfing simulator. Keith and I both had a few turns then went to the boogy boarding side so we could be in the water longer than 5 seconds before wiping out.

We spent the rest of the afternoon trying out all of the free food on the ship. I thought Keith was crazy for it at the time, but I'm glad he got to do it. We had late dining and really enjoyed the other two couples at our table. Late that night, we went to a 3D showing of the Avengers. I was worn out so I left halfway through and went to bed. When we woke up, the ship was in port and we had a beautiful view of Nassau, Bahamas. Did I mention our room had a balcony? We really enjoyed it while we had it. We had a short port day, the ship was leaving at 2 PM so we didn't waste a lot of time getting up, eating breakfast and packing a bag. We didn't have any excursion plans in Nassau but we had talked about getting a scooter.
Our ship, Allure of the Seas docked in Nassau, Bahamas

We only took $50 cash with us and managed to get a woman to rent us a scooter for that amount for several hours. Keith was really hesitant about renting one, but I had talked to several people who had rented scooters on vacation and didn't have any reservations. It honestly never crossed my mind that we were being a bit reckless, especially considering we were dressed for the beach in flip flops and swimsuits. After I persuaded Keith a bit, we hopped on the large, beat up moped with no instruction except to stay on the left side of the road. We decided to go to Cabbage Beach first- just down a bit from Atlantis. It was gorgeous and we enjoyed a couple hours of beautiful ocean and sunshine. When it started to get crowded, we left and decided to spend a bit of time exploring the island before going back to port. A couple of times, I got nervous as the roads were full of potholes and the moped obviously didn't handle turning as well as it could have. We didn't stay out long before Keith told me he really didn't feel good about driving the moped anymore. I agreed and we started back towards port. Right as we decided that and turned around, Keith had trouble going around a corner and we almost crashed. We shakily laughed it off and I tightened my helmet as I hadn't bothered to do so before.

Taking a turn driving. We crashed about 20 minutes after this was taken.
 We were about a mile from port where the traffic picks up when we hit a pothole. The pothole veered us off to the right and the moped seemed to gain speed as we headed straight for a curb. I knew we were going to crash and I also knew I couldn't do anything about it. I think we both swore and then it gets really fuzzy. My next memory is that I'm lying on the ground and my foot feels like it's on fire. I held it up to look at it and immediately started to go into shock as the blood and torn up skin registered. I was yelling and aware that Keith was close by. It seemed within moments we had people stopping and asking if we were ok. I remember a woman and man talking about my foot, that I was losing a lot of blood and they needed to tie it off. Keith gave up his shirt and kept apologizing. My body was going numb and I started to black out. One of the women who stopped was a nurse. She held my hand and kept me conscious. The pavement was hot and hard but they kept me lying down in case my spine was injured. The angels who stopped called the ambulance and helped us get in contact with the cruise ship. The ambulance took 45 minutes despite the fact that the hospital was just 5 minutes away. I was in so much pain and remember wishing so badly that we had crashed in the US, not a foreign country.

When the ambulance finally came, we were put on stretchers. Neither the police or the EMT's were friendly. In fact, the EMT's seemed annoyed with us and when they transported us to the hospital, they didn't lock our stretchers down. I thought we were going to die on the way there as we were jostled all over the place. The day had turned into a nightmare. With the direction of the people who had helped us, we went to the doctor's hospital. It would cost more but our care would be better. When we got to the ER, they took their time seeing us.

They tended to Keith first and I felt so afraid and alone. I was still in so much pain but they didn't seem to have any urgency in helping me. Keith and I both had road rash along the left sides of our bodies, but his was a bit worse than mine. He had taken a big chunk out of his knee and had road rash all along his stomach and arm. I had also gotten my knee pretty good and my left arm and left hand. They opened the curtain between us and made me watch Keith get his wounds cleaned out so I could know how to do it at home before they treated me. They made it seem as if he was so much worse off than me and that I would have to be his caretaker. After what was probably an hour, they took me back for x-rays and after almost 2 hours, finally cleaned out my wounds. They said they were going to give me some strong drugs and they must have because my memory is fuzzy and Keith and I both think I passed out-the first time I had relief. When I came to, they were working on cleaning the gravel out of my arm. They hardly bothered with my hand, wrapping it up with gravel embedded in it and decided it was time for us to go. They were so vague about my foot, when I was discharged they simply said it would need stitches. The icing on the cake was the note written on both of our discharge papers from the doctor which reads "fit for travel by air, land or sea." He told us we would be fine to get back on the cruise ship and have our wounds tended to by the ship doctor. We debated it for a bit. We both had painkillers and antibiotics but neither of us really felt good about trying to catch up to the ship. The vacation already felt ruined. Though we didn't know it at the time, that decision saved my life.

They wheeled me out to the front office where Keith was paying the bill, over $5,000 no negotiating. We paid with our credit card then rode to the only hotel with an elevator- the Hilton. We were lucky that we had gotten in touch with the cruise line because they sent their port agents to gather our luggage from the boat and to fetch us from the ER. The port agents were kind and did their best to make sure we could get back to Denver. The front desk helped us find a flight from Nassau to Florida. We were able to google hangout with Keith's sister Katie who helped us change our southwest flight so we could get to Denver the next night. We were both so miserable that night and we laughed and cried about the loss of our vacation and the pain. Somehow, we managed to sleep and we helped each other hobble around to get ready the next morning. We left for the airport early. A different port agent took us to the airport. She was very kind and sympathetic.

The airport wasn't bad, we got through quickly because we were both in wheelchairs. We arrived several hours before our flight and about an hour before we were supposed to depart, I had an airport attendant help me to the bathroom. When I was in the bathroom, the woman sitting next to Keith asked if we happened to be the couple from America who got in a moped accident. It turns out that her son works for the local newspaper in Nassau and was just coming home for lunch when he saw us crash. It happened right by their house so he came out to take photos of us. She was really nice and asked if she could send her son more info and a picture. We were all smiles and joking because of the pain medicine and morbid hilarity of our situation.

We started getting anxious when the Jet Blue flight didn't arrive on time. We ended up leaving more than 30 minutes late and when we got on the plane we were met with more waiting. Our plane had too much fuel to land safely and the airport wasn't approving flight plans to burn the fuel. We waited longer and started panicking when we realized our connection was going to be really tight. When we finally took off, the pilot informed us that our flight time was doubling to burn fuel.  We were going to land with only 30 minutes to our connection. As soon as the plane landed, Keith booked it for the Southwest Terminal and the man who was pushing my wheelchair took me to baggage claim. He listened to my plight and decided that although he was supposed to be clocking off he would help us as best as he could to catch our flight. We sped from one end of the airport to the other to catch Keith. When we got to him, he told us Southwest wouldn't allow us to get on the flight because we weren't within 30 minutes of departure. It was also the last flight of the night so they couldn't help us. So we regrouped, and went to Jet Blue. We figured, it was their fault we missed our connection and they would have to help us. No such luck, they were horrible. They wouldn't take responsibility for the delayed flight, lying about the time and telling us it was our fault for booking a connection too close.

I was now in tears. I was panicking now, I knew I was not in good shape and that we needed to get home asap. It seemed like no one had flights and no one would help us get on one. I pulled out my phone and found a flight on Spirit. Online, the flights were showing up about $500 a piece. We were so frustrated but didn't have any other options to get home that night so the kind men pushing me and our baggage accompanied us to the Spirit ticket counter. The tickets ended up being so much cheaper and we had over an hour before the direct flight, giving us time to eat.

The flight felt so long. I was in a middle seat and halfway through I was slammed with nausea. The next two hours were miserable and when we landed in Denver, I wanted to kiss the ground I was so happy to be home. We got in late, almost midnight but Keith's dad was there waiting for us. We drove home exhausted and crashed on the couch. We should have gone to the ER immediately, but again, we didn't know how bad my foot was. In the morning, we waited to see the kids and send Kenzie off to school before we left for the ER. Keith's dad drove us and we told our sob story to the staff. They were so kind and again, I think I cried because I was so grateful to be getting the care we needed.

They unwrapped our wounds, saving my foot for last. The doctor came in to check us out. He looked at Keith first, scrutinizing his knee. It was too high risk for stitches at that point but he felt wound care and a stronger antibiotic would manage it just fine. He came to me next and told me everything looked good. Then he got to the foot and told us it concerned him a lot. It was a deep wound and I was going to need to be admitted to the hospital. He ordered an IV for me and told the staff to call the hospital. We were both taken aback. Keith asked if he could take me to the hospital. Turns out, I needed to be taken by ambulance as I needed medical attention and antibiotics.

Everything is seriously fuzzy for the next few days. I'm assuming the good pain meds started about this time. That first day I only remember meeting about a dozen doctors and residents and feeling a bit like a spectacle. Everyone wanted to hear my story and I finally was informed of the severity of my injury. My foot was infected, the wound was deep and I was going to need some strong antibiotics for a while. I was going to have surgery the following day, Thursday. I remember meeting Dr. Dworkin, the podiatrist doing my surgery on Thursday morning. I liked him immediately and felt more reassurance when my nurse gushed about him and how all the nurses went to him for treatment. I wasn't nervous at all for the surgery and didn't even know what he would be doing as I was still in a lot of pain and didn't want to know the nitty gritty details just yet.
When I woke from the surgery I had no idea what was going on. They were hooking up my wound vac, a device that suctions a wound to keep it dry. I was surprised that I was hungry and having some pain. When I got to my room, Keith asked if I was ok and told me he was sorry. I was confused, apparently I was told how the surgery went but couldn't remember. Poor Keith had to tell me that it had not gone as well as hoped. My wound was to the bone and they weren't sure I would keep my big toe. It was really disheartening to hear and it was made worse by the pain which shot up with a vengeance. They gave me dilaudid (morphine x10) and then zofran to help me keep my stomach from protesting. I don't remember much of the next day, just a lot of pain and tears every time I had to go to the bathroom which was a lot because they were pumping me with fluids and heavy antibiotics all day long.

Dr. Dworkin came to talk to me about surgery. He needed to do another debridement (surgical removing of dead skin) and then we would see what needed to happen next. Infectious disease informed me that the swabs when I came into the ER and during surgery indicated that I was growing the kitchen sink in my foot along with a mold. Because I had scraped bone off in the accident and the podiatrist had to take more bone off in surgery, they were going to treat me for a bone infection. The doctors told me that had I stayed, I surely would have developed sepsis and died. Had it been just a day or two more, the infection would have continued to spread and I would have lost not just my toe, but my foot or leg.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Walt Disney World

 Back in February, we decided to join Keith's family in Florida for a graduation trip. We had mixed feelings about it because we knew it would cost a lot of money and take a lot of planning. We also had been promising Kenzie a trip to Disney for about 3 years so we felt like going with cousins was a good reason to finally take the plunge. It ended up being so much crazier to plan than I could have imagined and I was pretty much consumed by it until about a month before the trip when all the reservations were made and everything was in order. The girls had a great time but I will definitely be taking a Disney Cruise before I feel up to planning a Disney World trip again.

We flew into Florida around noon so we decided to spend our first day at Epcot knowing it probably wouldn't be very fun for the kids. We started out meeting Katie and Brandon just in time for our reservations at Akershus. It was a buffet with the princess's and a definite highlight for all of us. The girls got lots of Princess time in and the food was expensive good.

We had 3 fast passes and not a lot of rides so we used one to meet Minnie, Goofy and Mickey. The most memorable part of this was Emmett blowing out of his diaper. In half our pictures and for most of the day he was pantless:)

 The shrub characters (what do you call these?) were fun to see throughout the park.

Best part of the day for the adults was the ride Soarin'. The firework show was over-hyped and not worth staying late for.

The next two days were spent at Magic Kingdom with the rest of the family. I think I would have taken a couple more days there if I did it again. It was so fun to watch our kids experience the rides and magic.
 Enchanted tales with Belle did not disappoint
We stayed at the All-Star Music Resort. Rooms were tiny but accommodated our family and we enjoyed the pool. It was really nice to take the shuttle back and forth every day.
 Keith took a trip to Disneyland in High School but I had only been once when I was 8 and totally chicken to go on most of the rides. This was my first time experiencing all the coasters (and I am not a big fan of coasters) so I basically screamed as loud as the kids. Splash Mountain and Big Thunder were my personal favs. You can tell Kenzie was not a fan. Kirk's kids were game for anything.
 Our favorite meal here was Crystal Palace. We booked a later breakfast and got to see the characters numerous times. The food was great and the morning break was nice.
 We didn't end up with a great family photo. I love the one above due to the hair pulling.
 Photo pass was awesome. The photographers aren't great or anything but it was so nice to get ride photos, and random shots throughout the park.
 I'm so glad we fast passed Anna and Elsa meet and greet. Those princess's were all in demand. One thing that bothered me was how little interaction you could have with characters unless you booked meet and greets or character meals. I expected more to be wandering around the parks.BTW both Elsa and Cinderella were super lame. Anna and Rapunzel were adorable though.

 Seven Dwarfs train ride was fun but absolutely not worth the hype. The best part was actually waiting in line. It was really interactive and nice and cool. Clara looks scared to death but she rode with both me and Keith and said she loved it.
 Kenzie was scared to death on Space Mountain. Brave girl, it was the one ride I didn't mind skipping.
We spent a full day at Animal Kingdom. This park was not our kid's favorite and if I were to go back, I'm not sure I would bother with it. We watched a bird show, went on the safari, went on the raft ride and rode the one roller coaster.
I thought I was going to die on Everest. Proof that pictures lie.
Highlight of Animal Kingdom was the character meal at Tusker House. The best food of all the parks and when we finished, we had the park to ourselves for our kids to run in. Kenzie had this awesome attitude the whole day. And we were as hot and sweaty as we look here all. day. long.
The last park day was spent at Seaworld. I was beyond done at this point and my stomach was not happy with me. The dolphin show was good, the others were not worth the time. The adults all loved the rides. 
The highlight was the end of the day. We ended up in the kid's area and it was dead so our kids rode all the rides multiple times. There was also a splash area for the kids to cool off. 

That night, we celebrated Randy's birthday and the next day we relaxed all day at the beach. It was glorious. If I go back to Florida with kids, most of my time is going to be spent at the beach.
 And this is how Keith and I felt at the end. I needed a vacation from this vacation but it was fun to be together with Keith's family.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Time to Catch Up...

I haven't been on Blogger for such a long time. I love having a recorded history of what is going on in our family and the stages the kids are at. I don't want to bother going back and chronologically add everything I've missed so I'm going to write about this current moment in our lives.

Life is so good. I think it's partly a change in attitude but I also think we're finally settling into life as we know it. Work is better than we could have dreamed of. When we were in school, it felt like it would never end. My life would always consist of dirty diapers, no money, a small apartment and a husband who made appearances at dinner and on Sundays. Not that it was a bad life, we were so rich with good friends, an amazing ward and all that we truly needed. But last year was a bit of a refining fire. Life after dental school wasn't at all what we had expected. We were still poor, living in a small apartment, trying to build friendships, and feeling more homesick than ever. I know we needed that year to come around and feel how immense the blessings are in our lives.

Keith has a stable job in which money is no longer an object of stress. We are paying our bills and paying down student debt which feels so good. We live in a safe neighborhood next to beautiful open space in a family friendly city. I get to go to a gym and have wonderful people entertain my children so I can exercise and feel good. I can hire a babysitter and go on a date with an amazing man that is faithful and honest and hardworking. I live in a home that is still small, but beautiful and I am capable of cleaning it. I have made friends with kind, good, intelligent women that I learn from. I attend a Church that teaches my children wonderful values and principles. My children know that they are children of God and that they have purpose in this life. Speaking of those kids:

Mackenzie is 6 1/2. She is growing and learning at such a rapid pace it is hard to keep up. At the beginning of the school year, she only knew how to write her name. Now she is reading simple books and writing sentences. She loves to have fun. She speaks in dramatics. Every day is "the best day ever!" or "the worst day ever!" I am either the best or the worst mom depending on her mood. She is still so good to her little brother and mostly good to Clara. They fight as I think all sisters probably do. She loves movies, anything artsy, playing games and being with friends. She has two permanent teeth on the bottom and about 4 loose at the moment including her top two which makes me more sad than it should. She is tall for her age and has long legs and a lean athletic build. She is a good runner and is making incredible progress with her swimming lessons. She is a good student and earned the highest award in her class this year "The high flyer" for demonstrating excellence in all areas of character. She is still sweetly innocent and sensitive to others. She loves sugar cereal, peanut butter and honey sandwiches and her favorite restaurant is Subway. She is a hoarder and sleeps with a bunch of dolls and animals on her bed. Her favorite is a pink gerbil? she calls bubblegum. She only likes to wear dresses and skirts.

Clara is 3 1/2. She is still such a sweet girl. A few months ago she was sitting at the table eating a sandwich I had just made for her and she blurted out "You're just like the best mom ever." I cherish that moment. She loves to give her daddy and a hug and a "tiss" before he leaves for work and at bedtime. She is a social girl and loves to be around friends and other people. She is the best behaved in her Primary class (I can brag because her teachers have told me this so many times). She is wise beyond her years and asks intuitive questions. She still likes to push Kenzie's buttons and wrestle with her little brother. She loves to do puzzles, color, do her "homework", play outside, and play games. She is happy go lucky and usually willing to help me out. She is average size and build right now, I think she'll take more after my side of the family. She almost always has a smile on her face. She will eat just about anything and her favorite foods are fruits. She also wears skirts and dresses because in her mind anyone wearing pants looks like a boy:)

Emmett just turned 2. I cannot believe he is more toddler than baby right now. We definitely spoil him still but he is a feisty little independent spirit. He currently loves trains, especially Thomas. He likes books and kicking around the soccer ball. He loves to run outside and chase rabbits. He is such a good little talker, I melt every time he opens his mouth. He likes to make us laugh and adores teasing his sisters. He likes his cuddles and will often say "I hold you daddy/mommy." He is a pretty good eater too but I think his favorite foods are pancakes and waffles. He's the only one I still get to dress. He likes to tease our neighbors cat named Bobby and climb on anything and everything. He is mischievous and with him where there's a will, there's a way. He doesn't like to sit still and amazes my with his energy. He is known to end up in our bed a lot at might because I'm too much of a pushover to make him stay in his own when he calls out for us.

Keith is loving being his own boss. He loves having partners to share his practice with. He works 3 12's plus a 1/2 day for catching up and likes his schedule. I love having him home some weekdays and we enjoy going to the gym together. He is the center of his kid's universe and is such a good hands-on dad. He keeps me up too late binge watching TV series.

I am feeling much more relaxed with the 3 kids. Wednesdays are my favorite. Keith usually has them off and we take the kids to swim lessons. Emmett and I are taking a mommy and me swim class which has really helped him with his fear of the water. After Emmett's lesson, we join the girls in the water and play for a couple of hours while they take turns with their lessons. I have been reading more and am enjoying the increasing independence of our kids. I started taking voice lessons in February- something I have always wanted to do. I love having my own thing to learn and practice. I have made some good friends. Most are older than me and have older children so I'm able to pick their brains and glean wisdom and good parenting advice.

We really enjoy the weather here in Denver. We've been here 11 months now and thought we would be buying a house right now. After a lot of thought and prayer, we've decided to wait another year. The market is still so hot here and our price range is really competitive. We think we've found the neighborhood we'd like to settle in and we know we can wait another year. We had been saving a down payment so it felt really nice to take that money and put it into student loans. We hope the interest rates don't climb too high this year but we have faith that it will all work out better for us to wait even if they do. 

Unshared Birth Story #6

Disclaimer: If you don't like period talk, don't read.

As usual this summer, we made a trip to Utah/Idaho. Towards the end of the trip I started what I thought was my period. We were really busy with Keith in town so I didn't have much time to pay attention to the fact that I only bled two days when I always bleed for 6-7. I should have known then that something was off but we were so busy I just didn't give it much thought. We came home about a week later and I'm usually a little bummed when we get back. It's so quiet and cousins aren't around to play with. Plus, we were still settling in and I hadn't really made social connections yet. Understandably, I was feeling down and irritable. I became so irritable though, my thinking became irrational and I was taking my anger out on Keith and the kids. He said something to me that I can't even remember but which set me off so badly and I knew I was being crazy and overreacting. I hadn't been feeling well either so I had the thought to take a pregnancy test. We weren't trying so I wasn't really expecting much but I knew if I wasn't pregnant, I needed to go to someone for help because my hormones were really out of wack!

I didn't say anything to Keith I just huffed up the stairs and locked myself in the bathroom. On a whim, I had bought a couple pregnancy tests in Idaho because I like to have them on hand. I took the first one and much to my shock I watched a second pink line form to indicate a positive pregnancy. I burst into tears. I was so crazy overwhelmed and in that moment I felt grossly inadequate to raise another child. After calming down, I found Keith (still rightfully frustrated with me) and told him I was pregnant. He didn't believe it and didn't say much. I think we were both in a bit of shock. I decided I needed to take another test just in case the first was a false positive. I was shocked again to find the second test confirmed the first. The next day, I went out and bought a non dollar store test because I was sure the first two were wrong (denial is strong my friends) and found that one also positive.

My mind was going crazy. I felt like I had already lost the baby and told Keith so. I think for him, the baby never felt real. I did bleed in Utah but I tend to bleed a bit every time I'm pregnant, just not to that extent. It had already been a week since the bleeding had stopped though and the tests were all positive. In hindsight, I should have gone to an OB. I was not in my right mind though and decided to wait it all out. It was a long few weeks of crazy hormones, frequent nausea and going back and forth playing mind games with myself (why didn't I go to a doctor?!) After a few more weeks of crazy, the cramping started. Horrible aching in my back and nausea that kept me in bed. I knew I was losing the baby. The next week was long and not nearly as awful as the last experience because I wasn't as far along but it still hurt knowing I had lost something I didn't even know I wanted. It took a couple of months for me to feel ok again and about 6 months later, I'm finally feeling back to my old self. I'm not sure if we'll try for pregnancy again. In my mind, I'm missing a 4th child but I'm not sure I'm ready to deal with any more loss.

Already Shared Birth Story #5

A sweet delivery and an even better recovery. I'm glad I wrote this one down as soon as it happened because I would have forgotten all of the little details:)