Okay, so we're all still alive.
And, we've had no more "initially scary, but ultimately just-plain-odd" ailments. (Hurray!!)
Instead, we have had:
A visit from Gramma and the baking of festive cookies...
The stray chat with an old friend...
The opening of gifts...
The subsequent wearing of gifts...
And really, just loads of gratitude that we're all still healthy and happy.
I hope you all are feeling oh-so-very much of the same.
One might think that being home for the holidays would afford loads of time to blog-- and yes, to read the blogs of others.
Alas, that has not been happening.
The family will simply not allow it.
Soooo, to those of you still checking in-- I promise a return to my (somewhat more) regular blogging schedule upon the conclusion of Joseph's winter break.
In the meantime, thanks for staying tuned!
Friday, December 29, 2006
Okay, so we're all still alive.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
On Monday, Evan's doctor told us that most children with Transient Synovitis have it for at least a week-- while some kids recover in just a few days.
Well folks, my little girl is some kid.
Not only is she able to stand again-- but she's also walking, skipping, jumping and running.
All without pain.
Thanks to everyone who sent positive thoughts our way-- it helped knowing you were all out there thinking of my little one.
Now, I've fallen behind in my blog reading, and discovered just today that I've been tagged by Allison and Scott Strumello for my top five holiday songs.
So here now, a late entry for this meme:
1."Linus and Lucy" from Charlie Brown's Christmas.
Geez, that Linus can play! And you should see us doin' those cool Peanuts moves...
2. "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen"
I loved singing this song as a kid.
Still love to sing it.
3. "You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch" and "Welcome, Christmas" from "How the Grinch Stole Christmas."
(It's a tie, what can I say?)
Gets me every time.
4. "Santa Baby" by (the fabulous) Eartha Kitt
This is the original 1953 version. I love this song, and laughed when I saw that Allison & Scott both had it on their list (you two must hear Kitt's version -- if you haven't already -- and I promise I'll give Madonna's rendition a listen... ).
5. "(We Wanna See) Santa Do the Mambo" by Big John Greer.
It's not just for the holidays-- I run to this song year round.
If I don't get the chance to post before Christmas-- have a wonderful holiday!
Monday, December 18, 2006
After a thorough exam, X-rays of her leg and pelvis (in which she had to hold her leg in a horribly painful position) and a difficult, but necessary, blood draw (to rule out a septic infection and leukemia), we discovered that Evan does indeed have Transient Synovitis (inflammation and subsequent pain in the hip joint).
In Evan's case (as is common for many kids who get this thing) the pain is referred to the thigh.
Now, this condition usually occurs during or after a recent viral infection-- an infection that "triggers a process that leads to an immune response that affects the joints."
Triggers an immune response? Inflammation?
I'm not going down that road.
I'll just say that this thing is supposed to go away on its own-- usually within a week to ten days, sometimes longer.
That Evan needs to avoid putting weight on that leg-- no problem, since she's afraid to move it, let alone stand.
That we have to give her regular doses of ibuprofen, and carry her until she is without pain.
And hope she's better in time for Christmas.
Last night Evan limped into the living room, complaining of pain in her left leg. She sat down next to me on the couch and let me look at it.
No redness, no swelling.
"Honey, did you fall down? Did you bump into anything?"
"No, Mommy. It just hurts when I walk-- right here," she said, pointing to the top of her left thigh.
When I pressed on the area -- at first gently, then more firmly -- it wasn't tender at all. But when I tried to move her leg, Evan cried out in pain.
"Honey, it's gonna be okay-- we'll just have you rest that leg for a while," I calmly told her, hoping she couldn't hear a trace of fear in my voice.
While Ryan sat with her, I went online to see if I could find out what was going on.
After about 10 minutes, and reading of several frightening possible causes of "sudden acute pain in one leg," I think she has something called Transient Synovitis.
She has a cold (a respiratory illness is usually a pre-cursor).
She is in the high-risk age group for this.
Internal rotation of the leg causes the most pain for her.
If this is what's going on, then it should resolve in a week to ten days.
Now, some of you might think she's simply having "growing pains." This is unlikely, given that those usually occur in both legs, and do not inhibit mobility.
Also, I don't think this thing is what the nurse at her doctor's office thought it might be-- a swollen lymph node (there's no swelling or tenderness anywhere-- including the location of her lymph glands).
Of course there are the other possible causes-- the ones I won't even type here, because I'm tearing up just thinking about them.
Today, she can't even stand. And I'm worried sick.
We go in at 2:30 this afternoon to have her checked.
Saturday, December 16, 2006
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Back in September, as some of you may remember, Joseph began "going out" with a girl.
Well, I thought I'd take a few moments and (finally) bring you all up to date on that situation...
One afternoon, the week before Halloween, Joseph climbed into the backseat of our car, buckled his seatbelt and said:
"Mom, it's over. 'A' broke up with me."
"Oh... are you upset?"
"Are you kidding?!" he said, as if I were insane for asking.
"I was pumpin' my fist in the air. Mom, she wanted me to spend all of my time with her. She didn't even want me to play four square at recess."
Needless to say, I was very glad to hear this.
You see, not only was the young lady making unreasonable demands of my eleven-year-old, but she'd also given him Axe "smell like a hunk of man candy" Body Spray for his birthday.
Further, the girl was calling the house constantly.
In fact, one evening she called several times during dinner (we never answer the phone while we're eating), without leaving a message. When we'd finished our meal, she called yet again.
This time, Ryan picked up the phone, asked her if she'd been calling, and then very firmly requested that if no one answers, "please leave a message rather than calling back repeatedly."
The next day at school she was very upset-- telling Joseph that his dad had "yelled" at her.
Joseph's response: "He didn't yell at you; he just asked you to leave a message. It was kind of annoying that you didn't... "
Sooooo, I suspect Ryan's little rebuke may have played a role in the break up.
Anyhow, my boy -- once again, a free agent -- felt it was time to approach the girl he really liked-- 'N'.
But when I picked him up after school the next day, Joseph informed me that it wasn't going to work.
"Mom, " he said, in a pained voice, "'J' told me that A told N not to go out with me."
"Well, they are good friends."
"I'm just really, really mad at A. She's tryin' to control my whole life!"
And so for nearly a month my son pined away for the lovely N.
Until he stopped.
Sure, he continued talking with her at school, making her laugh whenever he could. But for the most part, he just enjoyed hangin' with his buds, playing four square, "dueling" his friends with his Yugioh cards.
Basically, just being a kid.
Which brings us to yesterday-- when everything changed.
Moments before the school's winter concert, N walked up to my son, flanked by several girlfriends, and with a shy smile said:
"I just want you to know that I like you."
This photo about sums it up:
Shortly after the concert, Joseph told me of this new development.
"Does this mean you two are 'going out'?" I asked.
"No... I'm just gonna flirt with her and stuff," Joseph said, sounding very, very pleased.
So now-- it really begins.
Friday, December 08, 2006
I push open the heavy glass door, stomp my feet to release the snow that's stuck to my boots, step inside and stand still a moment-- letting my eyes adjust to the bowling alley's dim lighting.
"Oh Sandra, I'm so glad you could make it," Ms. W says, as I walk toward a crowd of over a hundred fifth graders-- and try to spot Joseph among them.
"Sorry to be so late," I tell her.
"That's fine, we just got here ourselves-- this weather is terrible."
Looking around, I see kids all over the place, wrestling with their coats, struggling to take off their boots-- many appear excited, while some look as though they'd never seen the inside of a bowling alley.
What a cool idea for a field trip.
I'm assigned to Lane 4, where Joseph will bowl with three classmates.
As I make my way over to our lane, bowling shoes in hand, I see the four boys already there: Joseph, scouting out a ball, while his fellow bowlers sit on chairs attached to a small table-- the three of them laughing, as they manically glide those chairs in and out.
"Hey-- are you guys ready to bowl?"
The threesome looks up, smiles and continues messing with their chairs, while Joseph continues looking for the 'right' ball.
Scanning the place, I see that every lane is occupied by four kids and at least one teacher or chaperone.
"Attention, please!" announces the voice of Mr G (the P. E. teacher) over the speaker system.
"I know you're anxious to get started, but listen-- I want you all to remember what you learned in our bowling unit: step forward, follow the arrows, and whatever happens, no swearing. Okay then, let's bowl!"
The place suddenly erupts with the CRACK of 30 large bowling balls connecting with wood.
I stand behind the boys, offering encouragement as each one starts out with two gutter balls.
"It's all right. Don't worry about that-- you guys are just warmin' up. Take your time."
And before long, they all start making good contact with the pins.
Now, I'm so caught up in the boys' progress that I don't really notice the woman chaperoning the girls in Lane 5-- until she comes up behind me and asks softly, "Are you Joseph's mom?"
"Yes," I respond, half paying attention.
"He is just a beautiful boy... just adorable."
"Thank you," I say, giving her a quick smile, then turning to watch Joseph knock down eight pins, pump his fist and prepare for his next roll.
"Really-- " this mom continues, "he's just beautiful."
"Which one is yours?" I ask.
"Oh, mine is T -- right over there," she says, pointing to a tall, slender girl with a magnificent head of cornrow braids and the same large, dark eyes as the woman standing next to me.
"Thank you... but that Joseph is just so cute... really, really adorable..."
That's when I turn and look directly into those dark eyes of hers-- and for the first time, notice the tears collecting along her lower lids.
"Yes-- we think so, too," I say quietly, now giving her my full attention.
"My daughter told me about your talk, about Joseph's diabetes."
And before I can tell her that it's all right -- that he's doing just fine -- she says:
"I have diabetes, too-- I've had it for five years. Type 2."
"Oh, I'm sorry."
"It's all over my family-- my dad died last year from the complications. It was horrible."
"I'm so sorry."
Just then Joseph calls over:
"Mom! Did you see that?! I got a spare!"
"Bud, I missed it-- "
He looks crestfallen.
"But I won't miss your next one," I tell him, trying to smile.
All the while the mom standing next to me stares at Joseph with that same sad, knowing expression.
Turning back to her, I tell her that he's doing really well, that "he's got an insulin pump-- "
"He needs insulin? Oh, God."
And now I desperately want this woman to understand that he's okay-- that down the road, he's gonna be okay.
I try to get the words out, but again she continues:
"I just can't imagine a child having all of this to deal with... and those complications... "
Then she wipes her eyes with her two index fingers, slowly shakes her head, and returns to Lane 5.
And I just want to scream:
NO! NO! NO!
He is NOT gonna be like your dad.
Shaken, I hear the sound of many pins crashing down, and turn to see my son leap in the air, as a classmate gets his first strike.
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Recently, as some of you may recall, we had a bit of a situation at school involving a bully.
I did indeed telephone Joseph's teacher (Ms. W) about this classmate-- the one with the unhealthy interest in my son's medical ID. She addressed the issue immediately-- sitting "L" down and calling the boy on his actions -- then scheduling our diabetes talk with the class shortly after.
According to Ms. W, the boy felt quite badly about what he'd done.
On the day of our talk, Joseph and I were to speak just half an hour before the kids would leave for home-- and thankfully, there were no other speakers scheduled. (That's right, this time I would not be following the Governor's wife.)
When I arrived, stepping quietly to the front of the classroom, I was immediately struck by the fact that this was a much bigger class than last year's group-- both in size and number.
Even their desks looked bigger.
Scanning the room, I saw many, many new faces-- and I noticed L sitting right up front. I lingered on him for just a moment longer than the rest -- giving him a serious, knowing look -- as I placed our black backpack on the desk in front of me.
Then I heard a chair scrape across the floor, looked up and saw Joseph making his way quickly forward.
Once by my side, he shot me a smile, then turned to face his classmates-- nodding and making eye contact with many of them -- while I pulled out his meter, a syringe, a bottle of insulin, an infusion set and The Calorie King.
Then I took a deep breath, looked up with a smile, and jumped right in:
"Well then, let’s start at the beginning, where diabetes starts-- in the pancreas.... anyone know where that is?"
Hands shot up, and Joseph called on each of them.
Together, we drew diagrams on the white board of a pancreas, the bloodstream, and a cell-- illustrating how insulin "unlocks" the body's cells, allowing glucose to get in so the body has fuel for energy. For growth...
And when I turned and asked them all what happens if your pancreas can't make insulin anymore, a pretty girl with large brown eyes responded immediately:
"Then you die."
For a brief moment, I stumbled. It was very strange-- almost as if the girl had hit me.
No, that's not right.
More like she'd hit my son.
Everyone was very quiet-- including Joseph.
And then I found my voice.
"Well, uh, yes-- but not if you can get insulin from someplace else."
And so we were back on track. Discussing the ways that Joseph can receive insulin, with him lifting his shirt to reveal his pump, his infusion site; talking about carbs and why Joseph must count them; explaining highs and lows-- and the dangers of both.
Yes, it was all going really well-- until the bell rang signaling the end of the school day.
And while none of the kids seemed anxious for our talk to end (they clearly had many more questions), Ms. W reminded us all that their buses were waiting.
"Everyone, you need to gather your things... now, I'm wondering if Joseph would be willing to answer questions tomorrow, after lunch," she told the class. Then turning to Joseph, "How do you feel about that?"
"Sure, that'd be great," Joseph told her, looking very pleased.
So the next day, when he called from the classroom during a late afternoon snack, Joseph held out the phone so that I could hear a chorus of voices shout: "HELLO!"
Then we figured out his bolus together.
"How did your Q & A go, Bud?
"Great, Mom. They all asked a lot of really good questions-- like if I have to sleep with the pump on and if it hurts. Stuff like that."
He paused for maybe two seconds, and then:
"Mom, it was good."
And as we ended our call, I heard another kid trying to get Joseph's attention, followed by those voices again:
Yup, it was very good.
Saturday, December 02, 2006
This morning I woke up early, threw in a load of laundry, booted up the laptop and discovered I was nominated for three Diabetes O.C. Blog Awards.
I am honored-- and in very fine company.
Please visit all of the nominated blogs-- there are some amazing, inspiring stories at each and every one.
Also, yesterday I was flabbergasted when I discovered that Art Sweet nominated one of my entries for a Perfect Post Award. I never realized these awards existed, and am glad I do now-- otherwise I never would have found this post... or this one. If you'd like to read more, go here.