Sunday, September 17, 2006

Taking a break

Tonight has been another hellish time with the kids -- each of them put us through the ringer and we're wiped out.

It's time for me to step away from the blog for a while, as I feel it's not a healthy thing for me lately. If there was some sort of one-time or short-term crisis, perhaps a writing outlet like this would be a cathartic exercise. However, in a longer-term time of struggle like what we've been going through, this blog feels more like a reminder of stress and trial.

My family will still be updated on health issues through email as usual. And when the old adage "this too shall pass" comes to fruition and our family is healthy again, I'll be back to writing the occasional family anecdote or observation of life in these 21st Century United States. But right now those light-hearted anecdotes would feel artificial.

Thanks for your understanding and support. In the words of the governor of California: "I'll be back."

Thursday, September 14, 2006

It just doesn't stop

Jack seems to be feeling well, but now Jamie and Samantha have a stomach bug. Both of them had stomach cramps and the big "D" yesterday, and this morning Samantha began vomiting. She can't keep this up much longer before she gets dehydrated. I'd guess she's thrown up six times in the hour and a half -- we just can't keep anything in her.

I'll be staying home once again. Not that I have any sick days left, but what can you do?


Samantha's vomiting continued most of the day and into the night, and we were able to get a prescription for a heavy-duty medicine to break the cycle. This was a real blessing, as most of the time doctors would insist on seeing us in the ER rather than giving a prescription over the phone. We are very grateful for this solution and hope everyone gets some rest tonight. We still have to take Samantha to the doc tomorrow morning but it sure beats getting an IV in the ER!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Health and humor

Jack continues to do well, avoiding any spikes in fever over the past week. We aren't taking daily temperatures so we truly don't know if he still has a low-grade fever, but we're at peace anyway. He is very healthy, happy and ornery.

Jamie's dad had his gall bladder taken out last Tuesday and came home late Wednesday night. Healing was slow but steady. Then he started feeling ill again over the weekend and has now been diagnosed with a pretty nasty urinary tract infection. When I saw him tonight he was laid out on the couch with a high fever, a lot of pain and no energy.

Don't have time to write much tonight, so here's a sample of some of Murphy's Laws that I had posted on my office door for the past few weeks:

Tell a man there are 300 billion stars in the universe and he'll believe you. Tell him a bench has wet paint on it and he'll have to touch to be sure.

All great discoveries are made by mistake.

A meeting is an event at which the minutes are kept and the hours are lost.

Most problems have either many answers or no answer. Only a few problems have a single answer.

There is nothing so unbecoming on the beach as a wet kilt.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Favorite Movie Quotes #1 -- Comedy

Time for a change of pace. Jack's fever hasn't spiked lately and my father-in-law is still waiting for his surgery, so in lieu of health updates I'm glad to change the subject for a bit.

I'm a film buff. While I don't really appreciate how unimaginative and superficial Hollywood's output has been lately, I still love the whole media of movies. My personal rule is to try to watch films that will improve me as a person. Sometimes, especially in trials, this rule can be met by a good comedy. Laughing uncontrollably for a few minutes sure has a way of healing wounds of the heart.

So here are some of my favorite quotes and moments in comedy movies. These are just off the top of my head, so I'm sure I can put together another list sometime after thinking about it a little more. Happy Labor Day!

Mr. Mom -- "I understand that you little guys start out with your woobies and you think they're great... and they are, they are terrific. But pretty soon, a woobie isn't enough. You're out on the street trying to score an electric blanket, or maybe a quilt. And the next thing you know, you're strung out on bedspreads, Ken. That's serious. "

Airplane -- "We have clearance, Clarence. Roger, Roger, what's our vector, Victor?"

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang -- (The characters are observing women in Los Angeles) "It's like somebody took America by the East Coast, and shook it, and all the normal girls managed to hang on. "

Dodgeball -- "Nobody makes me bleed my own blood."

Caddyshack -- "So I jump ship in Hong Kong and make my way over to Tibet, and I get on as a looper at a course over in the Himalayas. A looper, you know, a caddy, a looper, a jock. So, I tell them I'm a pro jock, and who do you think they give me? The Dalai Lama, himself. Twelfth son of the Lama. The flowing robes, the grace, bald... striking. So, I'm on the first tee with him. I give him the driver. He hauls off and whacks one - big hitter, the Lama - long, into a ten-thousand foot crevasse, right at the base of this glacier. Do you know what the Lama says? Gunga galunga... gunga, gunga-galunga. So we finish the eighteenth and he's gonna stiff me. And I say, "Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know." And he says, "Oh, uh, there won't be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness." So I got that goin' for me, which is nice. "

Real Men -- "I didn't know you smoked!"
"Just after sex, Bob. I used to smoke a pack a day."
"That'll kill ya!"
"Bob, it won't kill you. But it will make you very, very sore."

The Naked Gun -- "It's true what they say: Cops and women don't mix. It's like eating a spoonful of Drano, sure it'll clean you out, but it'll leave you hollow inside. "

Ace Ventura -- "Do NOT go in there!"

Saturday, September 02, 2006

More hospital time

Jamie spent most of the day at the hospital, but not for Jack. Her dad's gall bladder continued to be painful and he was re-admitted as a patient yesterday. Today he met with a surgeon and will have the gall bladder removed on Tuesday. He will stay in the hospital until then.

Jack's fever hit 102.5 last night, but has hovered just under 101 today. The pediatrician's assistant called me today and said the doctor suggested we go see the Infectious Disease group again, and I said "no thanks". If we take Jack back in for more care, it will be to a different group. The ID doctor already admitted she's done everything in her repertoire, and it hasn't resulted in anything useful.

I'm just baffled on the gall bladder issue with my father-in-law. Here's a history of the past three and a half years:

  • November 2002 -- Jamie has severe appendicitis at her 36th week of pregnancy. Both she and Samantha make it through the surgery, and the appendix was described by the surgeon as "detached, gangrenous and necrotic".
  • March 2003 -- Jamie has gallstones diagnosed and the gall bladder is removed.
  • January 2005 -- Jamie's father has severe appendicitis and the appendix is removed. He suffers fairly serious complications (infection spread throughout the abdomen) that cause him pain for months afterward.
  • May 2005 -- Jamie's mother has gall bladder trouble and the organ is removed.
  • August/September 2006 -- Jamie's father experiences severe abdominal pain and is diagnosed with an infected gall bladder. Surgery coming up on Tuesday.

Three appendixes and two gall bladders in three years for Jamie and her parents? I'm an analsyst by trade, and data like this goes beyond statistical coincidence -- there just has to be something going on here. Is it environmental? We live close to many power lines now, and lived right next to a mini electrical facility from 2000 to 2002.

I'm also concerned about the after-effects of these procedures. Humans aren't supposed to miss the appendix very much after it's removed, but the gall bladder is a useful organ in the processing and digestion of food, specifically dietary fats. Eating a good amount of healthy fats (saturates from animal fat, monosaturates from things like olive oil, and polyunsaturates from flax or salmon oils) is an important part of our family nutrition, and those dietary fats serve an important purpose in bodily function. I plan on studying this some more to see what can be done to help Jamie and her parents get the nutrients they need without taxing a system that is one or two organs short in the digestive tract.

Gotta run, and I feel bad for Jamie's dad. Can you imagine being in intense pain on Friday, getting diagnosed on Saturday morning, and having to wait until Tuesday for the surgery? At least he'll get caught up on his reading list.