Monday, November 30, 2009

Iowa week four recap

Week 4 = yellow casts
So, last Sunday and Monday, X-Man and I were in Iowa. I've been meaning to update you all but have been so busy. Here's a recap:

Sunday morning Ben and Little Lou dropped X-Man and I off at the airport. We got there about two hours before our flight took off. When we arrived, TSA had us wait in a glass box so that they could test X-Man's casts for explosives, drugs, whatever. They wanted him to sit in a seat by himself, but he completely lost it. One of the TSA agents said I could hold him in my lap - so I chose to listen to him. They were very nice, I'm glad that they do all that testing even if it is a little inconvenient. After all the security stuff we had about an hour and a half to wait for our plane. We treated ourselves to some Starbucks and watched planes.
Our first plane

X-Man loved looking at books during our flights

Our first flight was to Chicago O'Hare. I cannot believe how big that place is, seriously, I think it's bigger than my hometown. HUGE. We had a three hour layover. We got some popcorn and ate lunch (Ben packed our lunches for us). Then, we spent about an hour watching planes and reading books (one of the families at our church gave us boxes of books last week, so those were life-savers!). Unfortunately, the layover was during his normal naptime so he was very restless. We walked up and down our terminal for a half hour or so to burn energy. People stared - it still bothers me. Some people asked "what happened?!", that used to bother me a lot, but now I see it as an educational opportunity.
Watching planes in Chicago

Our second flight was to Cedar Rapids; when we arrived, we took a shuttle to the Ronald McDonald House. Our driver was nice.

We played for a while at the RMH and then ordered dinner. I didn't meet anyone new this week, there didn't seem to be a lot of people in the house. We spent a lot of time in their extensive library reading books, so maybe we were to sequestered to meet new people.

On Monday morning, we walked to the hospital. It was pretty cold, but the hospital is only maybe a half mile away so it wasn't too bad. Once we arrived, we played for a few minutes in the waiting room (it will be a miracle if we don't end up with H1N1 by the time we're done with all his visits!) and then went back to the cast room. He immediately started crying and saying that he wanted to keep his purple casts. We sang to him and talked to him - he still cried. Once they were done taking off his casts, he was fine. The skin under his casts was so dry - he scratched his legs and they began bleeding. Poor guy, we need to remember to bring his eczema cream next time.

Next they took us back to the examination room. We read books and he continued to scratch his legs. As soon as Dr. Morcuende and his team entered the room, he began crying again, so they left for a few minutes. When it was time to get new casts, X-Man was very upset. We tried toys, books, bubbles, etc. Finally, we discovered that the alphabet song kept him from crying so we sang that twenty times. One of Dr. M's med students/residents is from China and one is from Japan, nurse Maria jokes that the residents could learn their ABC's in English from X-Man.

Dr. M said that he thinks only one more round of casting should be necessary, maybe two on his right foot (YAY!). It's so nice to have an end in sight. I'm so glad that we were able to avoid surgery.

After our appointment, we watched the self-playing piano in the lobby and then headed back to the RMH to play and get our daily chores done.

The shuttle service took us to the airport and we headed home. X-Man did very well on all four flights (two each day). He loved singing and looking at books.
Waiting for the shuttle at the RMH

All in all, we had a great visit - better news than I imagined. I feel so blessed; just all that is going on makes me so thankful.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Heading to Iowa in the morning!

Tomorrow, X-Man and I will be flying to Iowa. I'm a little nervous because I get a little bit of motion sickness in planes; I also get scared with take-offs and landings. Luckily he's flown before, so hopefully he can help me to be brave!

I try my best not to complain, but I am disappointed in the airline industry. We're trying to find tickets for November 29 - 30 and December 13-14, but all the tickets are $200 more than other weeks (that's $400 more for two tickets). It's so frustrating! I'm trying to brainstorm what other options we have. We're thinking about maybe staying out there for a week so that he can get two sets of casts in one trip.

At any rate - we're still feeling incredibly blessed to get to see such a wonderful medical team. I have more things, people, etc, to be thankful for than ever.

When we return on Monday, I'll have an update on our visit. Hopefully they'll tell us that we only need to come out one more time - that would solve our traveling dilemma!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Iowa - Week 3

Yesterday Little Lou and I dropped X-Man and Ben off at the airport for week three. I was a little worried for Ben because when I got X out of the car and into the stroller, he (X) informed me that he would like to ride a school bus (there was a church bus in the parking area) before he rode the plane. I told him that he needed to ride the plane first.

According to Ben, X-Man did not like security. They let him stay in his stroller, but patted him down (I'm glad to hear that he didn't like some strange man patting him down!). They found out they went to the wrong terminal, so they had to go back through security. This time Ben had to carry him through, but luckily, X-Man wasn't patted down this time. He did well waiting to get on the plane. Ben said they watched planes and talked about which plane they were going to ride.

Their first plane flew them into Chicago, O'Hare. At first, X-Man was whining, most-likely due to his ears popping, Ben gave him some lollipops and that seemed to solve the issue. He apparently was singing Sunday school songs at the top of his (how cute is that?!) and looking at his books.

Ben and X-Man

Looking at books and eating snacks - what a life!

When they arrived in O'Hare, they had a two hour layover, so they had PB&J sandwiches that Ben had packed. The flight attendant gave him some free trail mix, which kept him busy during the whole flight on the way to Cedar Rapids.

X-Man enjoying snacks - doesn't he look like such a big boy?

They arrived in Cedar Rapids around 3:30 CT and were taken to the RMH by a shuttle service.

As usual, X-Man had tons of fun at the house. Since the weather was nice, they got to spend some time outside in the "red car" (cozy coupe). Because of his casts, he couldn't move on his own, but he enjoyed being pushed around by Ben. Some students from University of Iowa prepared dinner for the whole house. After dinner, they spent some time in the playroom.

After a long night (X-Man protested bedtime) Ben and X-Man walked over to the hospital for an 8:00 appointment. X-Man enjoyed playing in the waiting room but started crying as soon as they took him to the casting room. He cried when they cut his casts off. Then, when they went into the examination room, he cried as soon as they put him on the exam table. And, he cried the whole time. He decided that he wanted purple casts this time (yesterday, when I dropped them off at the airport, he wanted blue and yellow - I wonder if Ben talked him out of the Michigan colors). Dr. Morcuende said that he could see some improvement this week, but that X-Man would likely need 3-4 more casts. I am just so thankful that we're going to avoid a major surgery - I don't care how many more times we have to go, as long as we're doing everything we can for him.

University of Iowa Medical Center

After his appointment, they headed back to the RMH for lunch and met another family of a child with clubfoot; they traveled from Colorado to see Dr. M.

Another shuttle took them back to the airport. X-Man did very well on both flights today (hopefully this means there won't be any issues when I travel with him in two weeks!). I was so excited to see the two of them (so was Little Lou). Unfortunately, X-Man was disappointed that we were going home - he wanted to go back to the Ronald McDonald House!


Friday, November 6, 2009

Getting around

So, my little guy is now walking in his casts! What a tough kid. Please excuse the quality of the photos; every time I tried to take a photo he would stop walking, so I had to be sneaky!

We're baaack!

So we've been out for a while; back in May Ben won a trip with a local radio station, so we decided to spend a long weekend in San Diego. The kids stayed at my parents house and had tons of fun. Since we were out of town (Dr. Morcuende was also out of town this week), there aren't any updates in terms of Iowa trips; however, as usual, God has richly blessed us this week. I'll share some awesome things going on in our life:

1 - We had a great trip. With all the the craziness in our lives over the past month, there's been little time to communicate, so it was good to catch up. It was so strange to go out without worrying about kids menus and whatnot. We also spent a couple hours in Hollywood CA. We saw so many people digging in the garbage and then eating it. It completely broke my heart. I realized that even though we don't have much, we have more than enough.

2 - Our church takes such good care of us! Our church took up an offering for us so that we can fly instead of drive out to Iowa. We didn't ask for this; our church family gave it as a gift. I received a call on Sunday about the offering and was told how much they raised. It was far beyond what I could've ever imagined - I feel incredibly blessed. We will be able to fly out for most of X-Man's treatments and if we have any additional money after that, we will be donating it back to the church so that other people can be blessed in this way. I really don't know what I'd do without our church family. So many people have offered money, food, childcare, traveling companions, and even their cars to borrow. It's just amazing. It really brings tears to my eyes.

3 - Our family and friends are amazing. Just like our church family, people are offering so many gifts that it's almost overwhelming - in a good way. It's amazing that we haven't had a chance to ask anyone for anything - the generosity of our friends and family has covered expenses and fears and so many other things.

3B - Our family and friends are amazing, part B. My parents graciously watched our children and my sisters and brother sacrificed sleep, toys, going out, and even bedrooms to make sure that our children had fun and had some sort of normalcy. Ben and I really needed a chance to just be a couple - and we got that this past week. It was wonderful, of course I missed our children, but we had a lot of fun.

3C - Our family and friends are amazing, part C. Our dear friend Josh housesits for us whenever we go out of town. He's such an amazing and selfless friend. On Friday evening, Ben remembered that he left a can of pop in the freezer; Josh drove over and cleaned up the explosion of pop all over our freezer. And, today, Ben went to get the lawn mower out and noticed that our garage was clean. If you've ever seen our garage, you know that this is a HUGE deal. I'm not sure if Josh did it on his own or if he had help, but it is amazing.

God has blessed us so richly. As crazy as things have been lately, I really do believe that I live an amazing life and am so thankful for it.