Saturday, October 26, 2013

"It's His Dream, Not Mine"

The Red Sox have had a pretty great season.  The "winning-est" team in baseball.  We had such a great time watching them play against the Yankees in July at Fenway Park.  It didn't hurt that they won.  Reed has apps for MLB on his phone and on his iPad so that he can always be checking scores.  Although he loves everything about baseball, the stats seem to pull him in the most.  I think he's watched Moneyball about 100 times.  As in. . . he watches it EVERY night as he is drifting off to sleep.  So he's probably seen the beginning about 400 times since it was released on January 10, 2012.  Yeah.  He's a nut.

We were psyched that the Red Sox won the ALCS last week.  We watched all the games and yelled at the TV, thinking that would help their performance.  So glad they won.  We already knew that the Cardinals were in the World Series and Ed mentioned that he would love to take Reed to a game.  He started looking at tickets and to get to Fenway for Games 1 and 2 would have required a home equity loan.  Holy smoke.  $1700 for a standing-room-only ticket?  No way!  We aren't THAT crazy.  Then he got thinking about going to St. Louis.  He and his business partner, Kyle, kept teasing each other about going to the game.

I realized that things were getting more serious, so I had a talk with Parker about the game.  We have gone to a lot of different ball parks and watched a lot of great baseball as a family.  I told him that Dad was thinking about surprising Reed by taking him to a World Series game.  I asked him if he wanted to go or how he would feel if just Dad and Reed went.  Parker didn't miss a beat.  He answered, "He should just take Reed.  It's his dream to see the Red Sox play in the World Series, not mine.  I'll stay home and get ready for my hunting trip next week."  I reported the conversation to Ed.  That was about 4:00.  Things escalated when Kyle called Ed at about 9:30 to ask if he had bought tickets yet.  Ed realized that Kyle really wanted to go and the gig was up.  DiAnna (who just happens to be Civil Science's resident travel agent) was called and set loose on getting plane tickets for four to St. Louis.  Ed started researching and buying the game tickets and I. . . I fell asleep.

When I woke up at 11:30pm the plane tickets and game tickets were bought and Ed was hunting for hotels with no luck.  Everything within 50 miles of St. Louis was booked. . . until we got smart and started looking for Saturday night AND  Sunday night.  Then we found a few openings.  Ed was actually on the phone booking a room when it disappeared but at the same time I was able to score two rooms at a Red Roof Inn.  That was at about 1:15am.  Then we started looking for rental cars and thanks to our Costco membership we got a pretty good deal.  Finally at 1:45am we slept.

Reed had the math test from hell on Friday for third period, so we didn't dare tell him about the trip because we were afraid he would lose focus.  At 11:45 I went to the school to pick him up.  He didn't want to leave and miss his Wrestling Conditioning class but I told him that Dad had asked me to check him out.  I kept the topic on other things on the ride home so that he wouldn't ask anymore questions.

When we arrived at home, Ed was waiting for us and he handed Reed an envelope.  Reed opened it and stared at the first page.  Then he stared at the second page.  They were both boarding passes- one to Minneapolis and then one to Chicago.  Then he turned to the third page and his mouth dropped open.  After about 10 seconds he said, "What game is this for?"
Ed replied, "Game 3."
"That's tomorrow." Reed responded with a questioning voice.
"You are leaving in about two hours.  You are packed but you need to take a shower!"  I said.

At that, Reed danced through the house.  As soon as he got to his room we could hear him yelling, "I'm going to the World Series!!!!!!!"  He was ready to go in about 10 minutes which is when he looked at me and asked where Parker was.  I told him that Parker wasn't going.  He had decided that it was more important for Reed to go.  Reed was a little upset about that, but the excitement soon won out. Just a couple of minutes later they were off on the big adventure!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Pain Relief with Cranial Sacral Therapy

Some people will think I am a total nut, but I have a friend who is a healer.  Had she been born in the 1600's and lived in Salem, she probably would have been hung.  She is by trade a massage therapist but has branched out into Cranial Sacral Therapy.  She is trained and certified and I tell everyone I know about her..

A couple of years ago I went to her because I was having headaches.  CS Therapy involves a light touch on the body- very non-invasive.  As her hands drifted by my ankle she asked if it hurt. I told her it was a little sore since I had twisted it the previous week.  She "released" it and said it would find a way to exit my body.  It came out my ear.  Weirdest thing ever.  It hurt like heck for about 10 seconds and then my ear and my ankle were fine.

This friend, whose husband happens to be our Home Teacher, agreed to come to my house to work on Parker after his massive knee surgery. She sat on the couch and held his bad leg while carrying on a conversation with us.  She said it was pulsing, but Parker didn't notice anything.  He was relaxing, though.  Then she went to his good leg, explaining that the good leg was now doing a lot more work.  As soon as her second hand touched his leg, he startled and almost yelled, "Can you feel that?"  She smiled and asked him what he was feeling.  He said that it felt like his muscles were untwisting.  She responded that she was feeling the same thing.  After just a couple of minutes he looked over at me and told me that his pain was at a 1.  For the first time since the surgery.  And that he wanted to sleep.  For the first time since the surgery.  (Narcotics make Parker nervous and antsy. . . not sleepy.)  He drifted off to sleep and she sat and touched his legs until they were calm.

After that first experience Parker was a believer and asked me to call her when things got rough.  I think it has made all the difference in his healing because it relieved his pain and helped him sleep.  He also said that he felt stronger afterwards- which was evident in his movements.  When he got up after that first treatment, he nearly sprung off the couch.

All I can say is that this therapy is wonderful- as long as you have a healer!  Give it a try.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Essential Oils and Knee Surgery

Parker had knee surgery three weeks ago and it was an extensive surgery- complete with scraped cartilage, a new tendon made out of his hamstring, and his tibia broken and screwed together.  This boy of mine HATES taking medicine. . .especially anything that blurs his mind.  Since this is not our first rodeo on the knee surgery front (he had one last November for a totally different problem) I decided to look for some alternate therapies. I have not been a proponent of Essential Oils, but I figured that it couldn’t hurt.  I bought the following oils from Spark Naturals and made up the recipe after a bit of research.

5 drops Cypress (regulates blood flow, calms)
5 drops Birch (relieves pain in muscles, bones, and joints, promotes bone repair)
5 drops White Fir (relaxes muscles, aids natural defenses, anti-inflammatory)
3 drops Lemongrass (relieves tension, promotes ligament health)
10 drops Wintergreen (relieves pain and spasms)
1 teaspoon Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (skin healing properties, carrier oil)

I mixed these oils together and stored them in a small container.  It is pretty easy to make a batch because the Spark Natural bottles all have a dropper top, so I wasn’t worried about quantity.  At first I could only get to the boy’s foot, so I put it on both feet (the arch and under the toes) at least three times a day.  As the bandages shrunk, I got closer and closer to his knee until I was going right around the steri strips.  He said that it really helped with his pain and would sometimes ask me to put it on.  He was off the narcotics on day 5 which really surprised his doctor (who had prescribed 90 Percocets and 10 Oxicodones) and off Advil on day 10.

Now we are at day 21 and he still has some swelling, but not much pain.  He has three large scars and two smaller ones that I would like to minimize, so now I am trying something new- an EO balm that he can apply anytime.  Here’s the new recipe:

10 drops Tea Tree (skin healing properties)
15 drops Birch(bone growth)
15 drops Lavender (skin healing properties)
15 drops White Fir (anti-inflammatory)
30 drops Wintergreen (pain)
1 teaspoon (scant) Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (skin healing oils)
½ teaspoon beeswax (product hardener)
½ teaspoon cocoa butter (skin softening, product hardener)

This made enough to fill two chapstick-type containers.  The boy can apply it directly to the scars to promote healing and alleviate itching.  It is easy for him to keep with him and he even likes the smell!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Back to normal?

It has taken a few days, but things seem to be getting back to normal at our house- just in time for it to go haywire at the Rice's.  Dania will have knee surgery tomorrow.  Both Ed an I are just exhausted today and we haven't done anything.  I feel like half the blood has been drained from my body and I can't even get out of my own way.

I felt pretty crappy in the middle of the night last night and then once I was awake, I could not stop re-playing the events of Wednesday.  I have critiqued and torn apart everything that I did.  I wish I had acted faster and more decisively, but at the same time, I know that if I hadn't done the things I did, the outcome might not have been so positive.  I finally found myself standing in his room just listening to him breathe.  It is a beautiful sound.

Reed doesn't remember anything from hearing that they were administering the first dose of morphine to when he woke up in the ambulance.  What a blessing that is for him.  I almost wish I could say the same.

But, if I didn't remember, I couldn't learn.  I'm not sure what the lesson is for me from the events of the last week and month.  I know that I have taken more time to just sit and watch TV with my boys and to try to really pay attention to the stuff they are into.  My house is a mess.  We've eaten a lot of fast food.  But we are all still here and we are all happy.

A friend of ours, Rialeen Peck, died this week after a hideously long battle with pancreas cancer.  She was given blessings and miracles to see all of her children married, but she did not make it to see the birth of her grandchild which is due later this month.  I missed the funeral because I was playing nurse, but I hear it was wonderful.  She was well loved.

Yesterday Ed and I took a Concealed Carry Weapons Class.  It was not the first time we had taken it, but I feel a lot differently about things now than I did 10 years ago.  I also went to Gunnies and bought a new pistol.  I ordered it a couple of months ago.  It is a Ruger LCP380 with Crimson Trace laser.  I'll have to go shooting sometime soon.

Now I need to go to bed.  The exhaustion is growing.  I hope I'll be back to normal in a couple of days.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Batter Up!

This was written by my awesome husband.  I posted my feelings last night and I want to have his here as well, so that when we print this blog the stories are saved.

October 10, 2013 at 9:49pm
Some things I want to remember about yesterday's trauma.

- Medical professionals have training but that doesn't make them smart.  In an office setting, the Dr. may be calling the shots from a distance, sort of like a football coach.  He stands off to the side calling the plays to his assistants. Even the assistants have assistants and as you get farther away from the Dr., the skill level and competency of the employees is viewed as less critical and thus the stage is set for crisis.  The young man who brought Reed to us in the recovery room was not competent.  I suspect he knows less about medicine than I do.  He certainly wasn't aware of or following any kind of reasonable protocol for the discharge of patients following surgery.  Reed would still have crashed, geography wouldn't have changed that, but the crash would have taken place in the Dr.'s office where at least oxygen could have been provided to improve his oxygen situation.

- We need to resist the urge to follow the direction, spoken or implied, offered by those in the right outfits just because of their position.  This presumption of expertise by role is what allowed Reed to be basically lifted out of the wheel chair and placed into Kaye's car.  He wasn't able to stand and didn't help with the relocation from the wheelchair to the front seat.  We even talked about how we would deal with him once we got him home.  While we had the expert in the right outfit to help us at the Dr's office we wouldn't have that help at home.  He suggested we hold him up, one on each side.  For some reason that made sense at the time.  How stupid I feel now about taking that direction from a runny nosed kid.  Those of you who know me well will recognize this as a rare lapse of guard.  Always, always, always question authority.

-To understand the intellectual capacity of the average person, call 911 to report an emergency.  The assumption of the 911 dispatcher is that the caller is dumber than a box of rocks.  They don't act that way for no reason folks.  Think it over and be scared for our country like I am.

- Sometimes the most important person in an organization is the person answering the phone.  I already knew this but it was certainly reinforced yesterday.  If you want to appear inept, make the right choice for your phone attendant and you will accomplish the goal.  If I could point to the moment where my fire was lit to make this Dentist learn from the mistakes of his office, it was the phone call foul up.  It took longer for the Dr.'s desk staff to get the answers to the simple question, "What did you give him?" than it took for the ambulance to arrive in my driveway.  Really.  I have the timeline of events logged by the calls I made from my cell phone.  I was on the phone with the dispatcher for 6 minutes, until the EMT's arrived. It took 8 minutes to get the Dr.'s staff to answer the question.  Eight.  The Dr. was 10 steps away from the counter where the call was taken.

- The soft reply turneth away wrath.  The Dr. called tonight.  He won't forget the conversation for a long, long time.  I pulled out all the stops to push the man into a corner.  He willingly went.  I was almost disappointed that he didn't offer resistance.  After a rough start he changed the direction of the conversation by acknowledging his role in what occurred and stating that he felt responsible for what happened without qualification.  Now, time will tell if that is just a line of bull stuff, but he said it.  What was I to do?  I punished him for 10 minutes about the failure of his office staff to follow any kind of reasonable procedures.  He instantly agreed that things hadn't gone according to the protocol of the office.  I don't doubt that tomorrow morning when that office opens, the first item of business will be some staff training conducted by the Dr.  So, I'm still pretty angry and plan to make the Dr. learn a lesson that he won't forget, but I've got a little bit less steam up than I did yesterday.  If you're curious, I don't think this is worth a pile of cash and that isn't the point.  The people who do this work are licensed and required to operate within the parameters of those licenses.  Just like the Engineer's that work for me are responsible for the work they put their stamp on, whether they actually did it or not, the Dr. is responsible for the conduct of the people in his responsible charge.  A third party review will not be easy on him under the circumstances but based on his conduct on the phone, he will take the advice and improve his practice.   I know, right?

- Some of you probably think you have the best neighbors but you're wrong.  I have the best neighbors.  My phone went dead trying to respond to the concerns and petitions to help.  When I looked up and saw Ro Minervini watching from across the street, I knew that prayers were already on their way.  As more joined Ro I knew the conversation was about my son, about his condition, and I know that urgent and heartfelt petitions for his safety were spoken and unspoken to each other and to the Almighty.  Sometimes I feel guilty for enjoying our little cloistered corner of the world so much.  Yesterday I was profoundly grateful for my neighbors and friends in Carlson Heights.  You are our family and we love you back.

- My wife is an elect woman.  No panicking weakling here, just the tough and tender mother of three boys, turned awesome young men.  Kaye has her moments where people get her down, usually the mean and stupid variety that seem to be sprinkled liberally through public education, but she is rock solid in a crisis.  A little shakey after, but never during.  I think Colby figured out that the frilly dainty girls aren't the kind you marry by watching his Mom.  No, the kind you marry cut the heads off snakes and carry laser sight handguns in their Coach purse.  And they direct Church Choirs.  And they constantly learn and do new things.  And they have and show unshakeable faith in things that are yet unseen, but true and testify of it.  And so it is with Kaye.  I love you just as you are.  

- Our Rice family connection is tight.  Who get's the call in a crisis?  Dan and DiAnna.  The Psalmist wrote that a friend that is near is better than a brother that is afar off.  We love our near and far brothers and sisters and family, but this bond of friendship and family tie we have forged with the Rice's is what the Psalmist was talking about.  In the day of calamity, a friend that is near IS better than a brother afar off.  There are no words more.

- Reed is strong.  He is for sure in pain today, but he is not taking more than Advil and Tylenol.  Like his brothers, he is a tough kid and knows that while into every life a little rain must fall, it won't rain always.  In a Family Home Evening a couple weeks ago we talked about a favorite scripture of mine in Hosea.  Chapter 6 Verse 1 if you're interested.  The scripture presents the simple idea that sometimes, for things to be fixed, they have to be broken.  We were talking that over in the context of Parker's tibia which was split like a log, on purpose.  The Dr. had to break it in order to bind it up.  Some blessings are as sunshine and and some as rain.  Reed isn't happy about what happened, but he won't be dwelling on it either.   Reed's life is a perennial baseball game.  No crying.  Batter up.  On the way out of the hospital last night he spotted a guy in a Yankee's polo.  He stopped and picked a fight with the guy about the Red Sox v. the Yankees.  He is doing just fine.  

Respiratory Arrest

This morning Reed had an appointment to have his wisdom teeth out at 11:20 at a dental office down the street.  Our regular dentist does not do wisdom teeth and he recommended an oral surgeon, but there was a longer wait, so I went with this place.  He was a bit nervous, but nothing unusual under the circumstances.  I was not worried because Parker had his wisdom teeth out at the same place two months ago and because Reed has been under general anesthesia before with no issues.

It seemed to me that the procedure was taking a long time, but not so out of the ordinary that it raised a red flag.  When I saw the hygienist, who told me that she would be watching his vitals, come out to get another patient, I figured he was done and sure enough it was about 5-10 minutes later that they asked me to move my car around to the back to pick him up.  Ed had left for a few minutes, but arrived back just as I was in the recovery room.  As soon as they rolled him in we both gasped.  He looked terrible and his face was already swollen.  He could not hold his own head up and after watching the assistant be somewhat awkward about it, I stood and had his head resting against me. The assistant told us that he had been a fighter and that they had to use some extra medication to calm him down.

The doctor came in and told us that things had gone well.  All the normal stuff.  The teeth were deep still so they had to work harder and he would probably be sore for a few days. Blah, blah, blah.

It seemed that the assistant was anxious to get Reed on his way even though we expressed concern that he didn't seem ready.  We were given a bag of "stuff" and the assistant wheeled him out to my car.  Reed could not stand or move on his own, so the assistant muscled him into the car.  Ed left just before me to drop off the prescription at Walgreen's and I headed for home.  I was trying to get him to talk to me but about halfway home he fell asleep.  I turned the corner into my neighborhood and soon saw my neighbor out for a walk with her kids.  I waved and then I looked over to Reed.  That is when I noticed he was very gray and his lips were blue.  I sped into our driveway, slammed the car into park, and ran around to the other side of the car.

I immediately felt for a heart beat and his pulse was strong.  I could not wake him up.  He was totally non-responsive and he wasn't breathing.  I moved his head around to try to open his airway and he gasped a bit but there was so much crap in his mouth that it sounded awful.  At about that time Ed drove in and immediately realized what was going on and called 911.  Just then the UPS man arrived to deliver some boxes.  Dispatch wanted us to get him out of the car and on the ground.  The UPS man and Ed got him out and I slightly rolled him to his side so that he wouldn't choke on the blood in his mouth.  My neighbor who I had waved to offered to call 911 when her son told her that Reed was on the ground, but Ed was already talking to them.

Just then the first two police officers arrived.  The first officer thought he might be chocking on the gauze so we were trying to get it out when the ambulance arrived within 30-45 seconds.  EMT Paxman took control of the scene.   Ed called the dentist office to see what meds they had given Reed.  He was put on hold and then told that the doctor was unavailable.  There was some strong language when he had to call back, but finally the EMTs got the information that they needed.  They administered NarCan and were expecting him to wake up rather violently and had warned us to not be alarmed.  That did not happen.  We were loaded into the ambulance and headed to American Fork Hospital.  That is when I realized how many emergency personnel and neighbors had gathered.  I was pretty shaky by then.   Before we got to the hospital he had 2 nasal doses and 4 shots of NarCan and he was finally coming to.  I have never been so happy to hear him cough just as we got to the hospital!

In our time at the hospital he went through several "phases" but continued to improve- except for his breathing.  We had to keep reminding him to breathe.  He was hooked up to monitors and when they started going off they would scare him awake and he would breathe.  Around 4:30 they decided to release him, but then he had several breathing episodes in a row, so we stayed.  The monitor continued to go off- but mostly when he was asleep.  Around 6:30 the doctor decided that he thought Reed might have some sleep apnea that was being worsened by the swelling but that he thought he would be fine.  He was released around 6:45.

And now he sleeps.  And I do not.  I'm sitting right next to him so that I can hear him breathe.

I am so grateful for the people in our life.  DiAnna Rice was at the hospital almost immediately.  Our Bishop came and helped Ed give Reed a blessing.  A Lehi PD detective who has been a long-time friend came to make sure that everything was OK,  And the very first officer who arrived on scene went to the dentist office, got the list of meds, and brought two copies to the hospital.  Another police officer called Ed this evening to check on Reed and to make sure that we knew that calling 911 was the right thing to do.  His oxygen levels were below 50% when they arrived and he would not have woken up on his own.  How scary is that?

I know that Ed is really angry with the dentist's office.  I didn't deal with them, so I'm not. . .yet.  He felt like time was crawling when he was on the phone with dispatch and I felt like it was flying by because I was totally focused on making Reed breathe.  I think we were both pretty calm in the face of an emergency.  I did not get shaken until the EMTs started working on him.  Ed was a rock, like usual.

You always hear that you shouldn't take anything for granted.  I try really hard to live by that advice.  It will be a little easier tomorrow with today's reminder of just how fragile life is.  How very glad I am that we are sealed as a family for eternity!
Reed just wanted to get home and snuggle with Clark.  And Clark was happy to oblige.