Thursday, August 31, 2006

Don't know if we're on the mend, but we're definitely at the end

Jack's fever remains, but it hasn't gone over 102 since Monday. Jamie and I have made an executive decision: no more doctor's visits unless:

  1. The doctors have a plan for new tests or approaches, instead of running the same tests for the eighth time and looking for trends that aren't there
  2. Jack's fever goes to 103 or higher, in which case we will probably just admit him to the hospital until this gets figured out

Our family just has no more energy or patience for this futile process of diagnosis. We've watched our son be poked, prodded and catheterized multiple times over the past two months and we are still completely lacking in even a hint of a diagnosis or solution. So their turn is over -- we're going to give Jack's body a chance to beat this bug on its own. We told the doctors this today and they understood and said they felt comfortable with this plan.

Also, here's an update on my other family members:

  • Jamie's father was admitted to the hospital today with severe abdominal pain. He's pretty sure it's a gall bladder attack, and it wouldn't surprise me if he had surgery tomorrow. He lives three doors down from us, so we will be able to help him and Jamie's mom if he's homebound for a while.
  • My grandfather had a recurrent bout of pneumonia and the doctors think they discovered a root cause -- hiatal hernia. He had some internal bleeding but it has stopped, and the hernia is not even the kind they need to operate on. It should heal with time and medicine, and hopefully that will stop the chronic pneumonia that has slammed him for most of the year.
  • My mom's recurrent bout of bronchitis seems to be clearing up. She was experiencing a constant cough and some lethargy but all symptoms are improving.

That's about it on the health front right now. Jamie and I are obviously dealing with some tiredness, but other than that we're healthy, and grateful.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Illuminating? No. Eliminating? Hopefully soon.

The high-level summary of today is that after six hours of ultrasounds, catheters and blood samples, the tests showed no identifiable serious health problems. His spleen still has some punctates (very small lesions), although they haven't increased since two weeks ago, and the spleen itself is actually smaller than last time. Liver, stomach, etc... all organs look good.

Here's the confusing part:
  • He had fever over 103 degrees each of the past two nights. Went to the pediatrician on Monday and was measured with 102 fever. Had blood taken and showed no abnormal results, even for white blood cells. How can that be when his body is clearly fighting something?
  • Today had more blood taken and still no abnormal blood results. His lymphocites were a little high (these fight viruses), but they were very low on Monday... and the picture gets murkier.
  • So it doesn't look bacterial, because the antibiotics haven't helped. It doesn't seem viral, because the lymhocites are too low. Not fungal, because his condition hasn't worsened over the past six weeks. He doesn't seem sick enough for the serious non-infectious diseases like leukemia, hepatitis, and others I won't name. But we're testing for them now anyway.

Anecdotes of the day:

  • During the ultrasound, Jack was laying on his back while the technician moved the probe around his belly. He was fussing a little, but trying to watch Sesame Street on the television in the room. All of a sudden Elmo came on the screen to sing a song, and Jack started doing this awesome shoulder/hip shimmy thing. The technician asked, "Is he dancing?" Yep, he was.
  • During the catheterization to get a clean urine sample, he kept pushing the tube back out against the nurses. The boy's got some good PC muscles. One of the nurses said, "Whoa, this boy's strong."
  • After the tube of pain, Jack got dressed again and walked around the little exam room. When he spotted the doctor (a small European woman) he stopped, looked her in the eye and did this weird hunching thing with his shoulders. The doctor asked, "Did he just size me up to get revenge later?" I think he did. Given his strength and lack of fear, he probably thinks he'll be ready to take on the whole hospital by his second birthday.
  • Our phlebotomist, Reggie, was super cool and nice. He was voted "Super Star Employee of the Month" in March, and I can see why. When he came in to take the blood, he had 12 empty vials with him. I'm not exagerrating. Jamie and I looked at that and asked, "How much blood is OK to take out of a 24-pound child?" Reggie shared our concern and called the doctor. He only filled half the vials today -- we'll do the other half on Thursday. He filled those six vials in about 30 seconds.
  • TCH is an amazing place that people come to from all over the world to have their kids treated. And in general it's a positive, happy place, with the architecture and people really working to make it so. But there are still some really, really sick kids there. After six hours in the building, you overhear a lot of conversations about "Billy's epidural" and "Taylor's transplant". Can't help but have the conflicting emotions of sadness for them, and gratefulness that Jack's illness seems far less serious than the majority of patients there.
  • Samantha stayed with friends again (thanks, Burns family!) while we spent the day at the hospital. So many people have stepped up to help us during this time and we truly appreciate every single gesture. I felt very strongly about being with Jamie and Jack today and once again someone was there to make it possible.

Short-term plan:

  • Jack will go to the pediatrician again tomorrow to have his TB skin test examined (it looks fine) and make sure everyone is caught up and on the same page. I doubt we'll do a lot more tests tomorrow, but don't put too much value on my medical forecasts.
  • Thursday we'll go back to TCH to finish Jack's blood tests. These are the biggies (leukemia, HIV, etc...) that we're almost positive aren't the problem, but it will be nice to elminate them as possibilities (hence the title of this blog post).
  • That will make four days in a row this week of going to doctors. We may take Friday off for good behavior. As long as we can behave.
  • I noticed that some of my muscles (trapezius, glutes, neck) were really sore all day today. And I haven't been to the gym in six days. Stress and its impact on the body are so fascinating. I have a whole blog post ready about that topic. For later.
  • If I had the doctor write me a prescription for "two week vacation, full body massage and 12 hours of sleep per night", do you think my company and the health insurance company would go for it?

Monday, August 28, 2006

Same old story

Last night was a tough one with very little rest. Jack woke up around 10pm (very unusual) and started fussing. Jamie took a turn first to try to soothe him, then I tried later. We both failed. Took his temp and it was already over 102. Gave him some Tylenon and called the nurse, who said if it got over 105 we should call again. Jamie let her know that if Jack's fever got over 105, after our long history of this problem, we would go straight to the hospital.

He slept on and off and eventually the fever got to 103.5, but never higher. He had another round of blood tests this morning and of course the results were the opposite of last time, and overall they were inconclusive. The rest of his exam was perfectly normal (joints, organs, sinuses, etc...). He's just cooking.

This afternoon he was settled around 102 degrees and we're schedule to go back to the Infectious Diseases department of Texas Children's Hospital tomorrow morning for more tests. They will start with blood work and an ultrasound, then we may move up to a CAT scan for a better look. After that there's pretty much nothing left except biopsies... but what to take a sample of? Nobody has a guess where this fever is coming from, and I'd rather not have them take random slices from him.

If he just stayed at a low-grade fever constantly, it would be one thing. But after six weeks of this, to still be having spikes above 103 degrees is downright scary. We don't want any more nights like last night, so our prayer is for this thing to finally show itself and allow a diagnosis.

The whole situation has gone on so long and worn us so thin that it's always there, lurking in the background. I'm often just a little more impatient with Samantha and Jamie, just a little more strained and raw in every conversation, and by the time we get the kids to bed there's hardly emotional or physical energy left at all. Jamie has helped encourage me to stay in the gym and get my workouts done, which have helped immensely. But what battle am I preparing for? We don't even know the enemy.

I'm taking off from the office for a while tomorrow to either go to the hospital with Jamie/Jack, or stay home with Samantha (she actually started a low-grade fever today as well). I'll try to post an update tomorrow afternoon or evening. Thanks again to everybody for their support through comments, emails, calls and prayers. It is getting us through!

My grandfather was admitted to the hospital today due to pneumonia (recurred several times over the past year); please remember him as well.

My friend Rob came through his nut-ectomy (I'm sure there's an official name, but it escapes me) with flying colors. So far the test results are great and show that his cancer is the less-aggressive type. Read this post for an inspirational look at a man facing down a challenge, written the day before his surgery.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Breaking news -- cat scratch is not the culprit

So we got a report today from the medical lab that all the cultures for cat scratch have finally come back... negative. It takes weeks to run these cultures, so in the meantime we've been treating it as cat scratch because the liver/spleen sonograms showed punctations, a classic sign of cat scratch. But now we know that's not the reason.

Now Jack is coming off the medicines he's on, since they were targeted to cat scratch and they don't seem to be working anyway.

We are starting all over again with no guesses of what Jack really has. The doctors (we've dealt with four different ones now) think it's probably viral. That doesn't work for me -- I want a positive diagnosis on something. Now.

Thanks for your thoughts and prayers.


Two very tired parents

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Jack and Sam today


Jack went back to the Infectious Diseases department of Texas Children's Hospital today, and we got good news. Even though his fever isn't down, they said that it's positive he's not feeling any worse. That may not make much sense, so let me put it this way:

Jamie and I were worred about what might be wrong with Jack's immune system, because after five weeks he still has fever.

The ID groups said that it's amazing what's right with Jack's immune system, because he's far less sick than many kids with cat scratch disease. They said it's not uncommon for kids to be in the hospital for quite a while and receiving intravenous antibiotics to help them fight the bacteria. Jack hasn't needed that.

Bottom line: we feel much better today, although Jack is simmering as always. His lack of other symptoms and his general demeanor signal that his body is going to beat this thing on its own.


Tonight was my turn to put her to bed, and she decided to read to me tonight, instead of the other way around. She chose "Guess How Much I Love You', a favorite of ours from about a year ago, although it's back in the reading rotation lately.

Get this... she didn't miss a single word. She can't read yet, of course, being 3 years old, but she had the entire book memorized precisely. She knew when to turn the page, and even when to look from the left page to the right page. Every noun, verb and inflection was right on. To illustrate my pride, I present the entire text of "Guess How Much I Love You', all in a single paragraph. This is what she recited from memory tonight (hopefully this isn't some kind of trademark violation):

Little Nutbrown Hare, who was going to bed, held on tight to Big Nutbrown Hare's very long ears. He wanted to be sure that Big Nutbrown Hare was listening. Guess how much I love you, he said. Oh, I don't think I can guess that, said Big Nutbrown Hare. This much, said Little Nutbrown Hare, stretching out his arms as wide as they could go. Big Nutbrown Hare had even longer arms. But I love you this much, he said. Hmm, that is a lot, thought Little Nutbrown Hare. I love you as high as I can reach, said Little Nutbrown Hare. I love you as high as I can reach, said Big Nutbrown Hare. That is very high, thought Little Nutbrown Hare. I wish I had arms like that. Then Little Nutbrown Hare had a good idea. He tumbled upside down and reached up the tree trunk with his feet. I love you all the way up to my toes, he said. And I love you all the way up to your toes, said Big Nutbrown Hare, swinging him up over his head. I love you as high as I can hop, laughed Little Nutbrown Hare, bouncing up and down. But I love you as high as I can hop, smiled Big Nutbrown Hare -- and he hopped so high that his ears touched the branches above. That's good hopping, thought Little Nutbrown Hare. I wish I could hop like that. I love you all the way down the lane as far as the river, cried Little Nutbrown Hare. I love you across the river and over the hills, said Big Nutbrown Hare. That's very far, thought Little Nutbrown Hare. He was almost too sleepy to think anymore. Then he looked beyond the thornbushes, out into the big dark night. Nothing could be farther than the sky. I love you right up to the moon, he said, and closed his eyes. Oh, that's far, said Big Nutbrown Hare. That is very, very far. Big Nutbrown Hare settled Little Nutbrown Hare into his bed of leaves. He leaned over and kissed him good night. Then he lay down close by and whispered with a smile, I love you right up to the moon -- and back.


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Quick update

Jack still has fever, usually around 100.2 or 100.6 degrees. There's been no noticeable change since he started the antiobiotics a week ago, but the doctors want to finish the 14-day round of medicine before going back to the drawing board.

I've still got tons of blog ideas in my head, but no time or energy for them at the moment. Thanks for your support in Jack's situation -- we just really want the little guy to feel good for a change.

By the way, two people out there owe me something, and it's time to collect!

1) Uncle Bob, please send me the link to your friend's blog. He sounds like a true renaissance man.

2) Dad, I need that link to the website for downloading the audio files of your chorale practice.


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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

What the #@!$ is going on?

Several people to add to prayers lists tonight:

  1. My friend Rob, who has been such an encourager with regular emails and prayer throughout Jack's health issues, was diagnosed with testicular cancer. He had a consultation today and I haven't heard the end result and treatment recommendations yet, but this just came out of nowhere.
  2. A co-worker of mine was called to the hospital today to discuss his girlfriend's pregnancy test... something came out very weird in the results. All the doctor would say is that it's either nothing or it's extremely serious, and only .002% of pregnancy tests show this result. I have no idea what that means, but my co-worker probably found out today.
  3. My mom has bronchitis. Not fun.
  4. Jack is taking antibiotics but they're causing some stomach troubles. Still constant fever. He also seems to be having some joint pain and general fussiness, which is normal for cat scratch disease. This could last another 2 to 4 weeks, but hopefully will end much sooner.

That's it -- nobody else gets sick this week. I'm officially putting all this crap "on notice".

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The "insurance companies" on the list might seem a little random, but I'll probably explain it later. If I don't get struck by lightning in my sleep.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

We're home!

24 hours after Jack was admitted to Texas Children's Hospital, we have already returned home with a clear diagnosis, two prescriptions and a big sigh of relief.

Until this morning everything was extremely confusing and fuzzy. Even the Infectious Disease specialist kept saying things like, "This is odd" and "This is very strange". Jack just didn't fit the symptoms of anything they could think of. Not what we wanted to hear.

This morning, though, they did an ultrasound on Jack's stomach and found small perforations on his spleen, and possibly a few on his liver. This finally signalled one thing -- cat scratch fever. Yep, it's not just a Ted Nugent song... apparently this extremely rare infection can hit just about anybody. After some initial research, here's the bottom line on cat scratch fever:
  • No link between cat scratches and the usual symptoms (fever, fatigue, headache, swollen lymph nodes, red areas on skin) until the 1950s. Even then, they had pinned it on the wrong bacteria, and not until very recently was bartonella finally singled out as the culprit.
  • It is usually spread from kittens and not adult cats (our cats are more than 6 years old).
  • For some reason the West coast has an abundance of cats with the bacteria, with 40% or more of kittens carrying bartonella.
  • Transmission to humans is extremely random and rare. In the words of the Infectious Disease specialst this morning, "A cat could carry the bacteria and scratch 19,000 people. One person would get cat scratch disease. And we don't know why." Because of the rarity, no studies have been possible to examine which antibiotics might be effective.
  • Even though there is seemingly a link between cat scratches and symptoms, no evidence of the bacteria has ever been found on the claws of cats -- only in their blood. It's possible that the disease actually gets transmitted by fleas or ticks, but it remains a mystery. Jack never had any visible scratches on him over the summer, so who knows... fleas or ticks may be the real cause after all.

Weird, huh? The human body almost always fights off the infection with no long-term effects, but we were given two antibiotics for Jack anyway. The doc admitted that they are "guessing" at which medicines really work on bartonella, since not enough people get it to even make formal studies possible.

I told the doc I would search the PubMed database tonight for more info, and he perked up and said I would discover that most of the papers on the subject were written by... you guessed it, Texas Children's Hospital. Were we in the right place or what?

We are soooooo glad to be home -- last night was pretty rough for Jamie, trying to get Jack to sleep in a strange place while he had an IV stuck in his hand. It's impossible to explain to a 14-month-old what's going on. At least he'll never remember any of this!

Thank you all for your prayers. We are looking forward to a healthy, fun-filled and relatively boring autumn. :)

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Friday, August 11, 2006

Taking off the kid gloves

Jack is now being admitted to Texas Children's Hospital for observation and more tests. They anticipate his stay will be 48 hours or less, which would be nice.

This is one advantage to living in Houston; I'm fairly confident that he is in one of the absolute best places in world when it comes to pediatric care. They will look at every possibility (Kawasaki syndrome, cat scratch fever, rare disorders, simple virus, etc...) until we have the answer.

Jamie will probably stay with Jack at the hospital tonight, and I'll probably stay home with Samantha. If it works out that way, I'll try to post an update tonight after Samantha goes to bed.

Here's part of the lyrics to my favorite song right now -- you can bet I'll be singing it in the car a lot today:

"Praise You in This Storm" by Casting Crowns

I was sure by now, God You would have reached down
and wiped our tears away,
stepped in and saved the day.
But once again, I say amen... and it's still raining.
As the thunder rolls I barely hear
You whisper through the rain, "I'm with you".
And as Your mercy falls I raise my hands
and praise the God who gives and takes away.

Chorus: And I'll praise you in this storm
and I will lift my hands.
For You are who You are,
no matter where I am.
And every tear I've cried,
You hold in your hand.
You never left my side.
And though my heart is torn,
I will praise You in this storm.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

One step at a time

Jack has an appointment with the Infectious Diseases department of Texas Children's Hospital on Friday at 10:30 am. We just keep taking it step by step.

I read this passage from "The Message" translation this morning and loved how it rang so true and personal to me right now. I pray that my response to tough times is always like this:

2Cor7:10-11 (The Message) You let the distress bring you to God not drive you from him. The result was all gain, no loss. Distress that drives us to God does that. It turns us around. It gets us back in the way of salvation. We never regret that kind of pain. But those who let distress drive them away from God are full of regrets, end up on a deathbed of regrets.
And now, isn’t it wonderful all the ways in which this distress has goaded you closer to God? You’re more alive, more concerned, more sensitive, more reverent, more human, more passionate, more responsible. Looked at from every angle you’ve come out of this with purity of heart.

Blessed are the pure in heart, right? :)

P.S. -- Taking a cue from my friend Rob, I've enabled comments for everybody. So until the spammers get me, feel free to leave a note if you'd like!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

We're poorer, tireder, and just as clueless

Jamie took Jack to Texas Children's Hospital (TCH) this afternoon for his tests. He had a chest X-ray, which showed nothing helpful. He also had three new blood tests done, which showed only elevated white blood cell count, something we already knew from the three CBC tests last week.

Next step is an appointment with the Infectious Diseases (ID) unit at TCH. It will either be on Friday or next Tuesday, so obviously we are pushing hard for Friday.

Jack's fever was 101 again tonight before bed, but he was sweet as always. I just want the little guy to be well. Last night I brought up the idea that maybe our digitial thermometer was off, because every time he was in the doctor's office his temperature was normal. Jamie looked at me and said, "Fine then, YOU try it out." Did I mention it's a rectal thermometer? I gladly tried it anyway and it read my temp as normal. I would've tested 500 of those contraptions last night if it would take Jack's sickness away. And still none of this explains the high count of white blood cells... he's clearly fighting some kind of infection.

And so we press on, praying, loving each other and trying not to panic. In the meantime at least we're getting to learn lots of new acronyms. Since we had three CBCs last week, I figure the ID at TCH won't do another on Friday, although they did do a CRP today ASAP which came out A-OK.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Time to put the smack down

So Jack's fever ain't going away. Now it's time to start checking his internal systems and potential issues, starting with a chest X-ray. This should give us a look at the lungs, heart and some lymph nodes.

The chest X-ray is also non-invasive and fairly untraumatic, at least as much as possible for a 13-month old. From there it will get a little more difficult if we don't get an answer.

Last night at 10pm Samantha came downstairs, claiming that she had to go peepee and "couldn't reach the light in the bathroom". Uh... she has a nightlight in her bathroom. Jamie later translated for me and explained that Samantha couldn't reach the light in the downstairs bathroom, near the den where we were sitting. So why did Samantha need to come downstairs in the first place? I'm sure we'll never know.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Simmering nicely...

Jack's fever is still not gone. It was 101.2 tonight when we put him to bed, although he had a very happy and playful day. He is acting totally normal except the fact that he's a hot potato. Absolutely no other symptoms have surfaced, so we have nothing to go on. We're not inclined to do more tests as none of the prior ones have helped at all. And of course, now the medical bills are piling up, especially after two ER visits during vacation.

Yesterday Jack vomited a little while sitting on the couch and playing -- it just came from nowhere. The doc said he may have overexerted himself after having fever for so long. He took a nap and woke up happy as usual.

This has been such a strange and exhausting time. Yesterday while coming home from church, we saw some guys playing baseball at the field by our house. They clearly were from the semi-pro league (the Houston Men's Amateur Baseball League, or HMABL) that I used to play in. I said, "You know, one day the kids won't be sick anymore." Jamie smiled and agreed that one day that would be the case. And so we keep on.

Couple of other tidbits:

  • At one point today Samantha called out, "My panties are a little bit wet." Jamie said OK, and next thing she knew Samantha came around the corner totally, stark naked and holding some shorts on a hanger. Not a shred of clothing on her. Shirt, shorts, socks... nothing. What can I say, the girl likes to be dry.
  • When I came home from my one-day business trip to Phoenix recently, there was a limo driver in the baggage claim area holding up a sign for "Sam Cowart". Sam is a linebacker for the Houston Texans, having previosly played for the Buffalo Bills and the Tennessee Titans. I knew my mom would've been proud if I'd chatted up the driver and waited to meet an NFL player, but I was too tired and didn't have it in me. Maybe next time. At least I did get to meet rookie quarterback Vince Young (and his posse) at the airport a few months ago.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Jack's update -- holding pattern

We took little Jack to the doctor again first thing this morning, as the doc had requested. Jack ran a little bit of fever last night (100.8), but slept fine and is fever-free so far today.

After a full regular exam (ear, nose, throat, joints, abdomen, etc...) he checked out completely normal. He then had a blood test which showed high lymphocytes, seeming to indicate a virus. But this is the opposite of his results from the other three blood tests this week, which all had high but balanced white blood cell count, indicating possible bacterial infection.

None of the "major" concerns (leukemia, meningitis, immune cell deficiency, etc...) seem to fit, because every few days the fever goes away. This wouldn't usually happen if he had a really serious illness.

Bottom line: we're no closer to figuring this thing out. Or even knowing if there is a "thing". Or if it might be over and Jack won't run fever again until he's a senior in high school. We just don't know, and there's so little to go on that it wouldn't make sense to run a battery of tests trying to find the needle in the haystack.

Plan of action: He's off all medicines now, hoping that if there's something going on that it will come to the surface and make diagnosis possible. We have copies of all Jack's recent charts and doctor's visits at home now, and if the fever spikes again we'll probably just grab all the paperwork and head to the ER. Until then, the doctor wants us to talk to him every day with updates.

Thanks for your prayers!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Health update, and kiddie quotes

Health Update

Jamie, Samantha and I are all well and healthy. Jack's fever has been over 103 several times this week, and even tonight it never got below 101. He was catheterized yesterday to get a "pure" urine sample and the lab results should be back tomorrow. According to the doc, if the tests come back positive for a urinary tract infection, then we'll have to do a renal ultrasound (shoot dye into his urethra and track the flow to make sure the plumbing is okay). If it's not a UTI, then we're back to square one and that's a kinda scary thought. He's been on at least four different antibiotics over the past six weeks, yet his fever continues. My thanks go to all of you praying and thinking about us, especially my friend Rob who mentioned it on his blog.

Samantha's Funnies

Tonight we took a walk after dinner and she looked up and yelled, "Daddy, look! La luna is out in the daytime! Silly la luna!" For those of you not living on a bilingual street, "la luna' is Spanish for "the moon". And it was indeed rising just prior to sunset, which was simply hilarious to her.

Just after that, we had this conversation:

Sam: Daddy, you and Mommy need to go on a date!
Me: Okay, should it be a fast date? Or an all-day date?
Sam: All day. That way I can play with Nana and Gramps and RoRo and PawPaw.
Me: You betcha. I'll miss you if I'm on a long date, but I'll see what I can do.
Sam: (With a worried look) Don't go forever, though.
Me: Don't worry; I promise we'll come back.

Jack's Quotes

He's only 13 months so his quotes are captured quite easily. His entire spoken vocabulary at the moment consists of the following words: ball, uh-oh, out, up. "Out" and "up" are new words this week. The former is for all the times he stands at the door wanting outside (I reportedly did the same thing at his age). The latter is when he wants out of his high chair following a meal.

Luckily he also has learned sign language pretty well which helps him communicate even more. We did this with both children and it's been so useful! Still, I thought about it some more, and just a week ago all he could say was "ball" and "uh-oh".

I realized that these two words could pretty well carry him through his first three or four years of life. "Ball" for when it was time to play. "Uh-oh" for when playtime turned dangerous, destructive, or just plain clumsy. All other communication could be handled through grunting, pointing, crying or laughing. Kinda like the communication of married couples. Especially ones with sick kids. :)

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Vacation wrapup and other tidbits

Vacation Recap

I've decided to cut short part 2 of the vacation summary -- after re-reading the previous post it just smacks of complaining. So I have put myself on notice for "conduct unbecoming a Christian." :)

Bottom line: In addition to the previous post (Friday through Monday), these other things happened during the trip:

  • My 18-month-old nephew fell and broke his shin.
  • My mom was stung four times when a wasp swarm came over her.
  • Our new van got a flat tire.
  • Jamie's medicine for the giardia forced her to wean Jack from nursing. Not his favorite part of the trip, and it caused some sleepless nights.
  • The weather stayed near record-high temperatures all week, until the morning we left when there was a high of 89 degrees. The next day the high was 83.
  • On Thursday my family had a great time at an indoor waterpark! This was definitely one of the highlights of our trip.
  • We loved getting to spend the time with my extended family, and that made it all worthwhile!

Recent News

Jack was treated for his giardia (yes, he got it too) and has finished his round of antibiotics. He also had that 104 degree fever I mentioned, which isn't a symptom of giardia and has left us clueless and confused. His fever went away for a few days, and came back again today at over 102. I'm really concerned that there might be something else going on that the doctors aren't finding, but so far no door has opened to help us find a solution.

Jamie and I are back to healthy living, getting in the gym and eating well. I've been pretty down emotionally lately with several contributing factors (family concerns, job situation, new church home, etc...) but it's amazing how all of it is easier to deal with when I'm exercising. To give you an idea how sparse my workouts have been, I actually lost all remnants of my deadlift scabs (found on the shins of those who deadlift heavy weights and tend to drag the bar up their legs). Gross? Maybe, but it was a sign to me that it's time to get back to putting my body through positive challenges. Both Jamie and I are super-excited and energized by our rededication to keeping our temples tuned up.

Oh yeah, also, when we returned home from vacation, we had a notice from our home insurance company that they were going bankrupt and our coverage would cease in August. Nice. And it will be months until we get our escrow back. Until then, we have to start a new policy and are reviewing quotes right now. They're not terribly expensive in Texas terms, but remember that Texas is #1 in the country for home insurance prices (meaning the most expensive), and we're 40% more than the #2 state. At least there's no state income tax!


  1. Yesterday I saw a sign outside a plumbing store that said, "We are #1 in the #2 business."
  2. I found out that my company's secretary used to be a dancer in MC Hammer's group. Awesome! One day I'm gonna walk into the office while doing the "2 Legit 2 Quit" dance.

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Hammer Time!