Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Making the Best of It

Hailey is really starting to get around very well on her crutches, which is impressive considering how big and heavy her cast is. We are still using the wheel chair for some things - I took her to her follow-up appointment today in it because I thought it would be too much walking without it.

However, she has been having a little fun with it and her younger sisters. The other day I caught Ashlynn in her lap and Lauryn standing on the back. I didn't get a picture of that, but I did get a picture of this:

Sunday, July 18, 2010


Hailey turned a corner on Wednesday or Thursday. Suddenly (it seemed) she could move around without excruciating pain. She got her crutches on Thursday and she can get around with them a little. Her cast is so big and so heavy that it is hard for her to go very far still. I'm sure she'll build up some strong arm muscles by the time this is over. She's getting from the couch to the wheel chair by herself and wheeling herself around the house. She started eating at the table with us again - we just took the arms off the wheelchair and it slides right under the table. She hasn't had any pain meds in several days.

She had a follow-up appointment and x-rays on Thursday. He said it couldn't look better a week out. He ordered the crutches and said to come back in another week. If those x-rays look ok, she'll come back in three more weeks, at which point he'll put her in a short cast (one that stops below her knee). If the x-rays taken at that appointment look good, he'll order it to be a walking cast. I figure she'd be in that one 2-3 weeks, for a total of eight weeks in a cast - virtually all summer.

Right now I am just thankful that her pain level is so much less. I'm sure it will be harder to keep her entertained now that she's feeling better, but that's still easier to deal with than the pain and the tears.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Not tooooo bad

This afternoon I had to go to our local IRS office for an audit. We received notification back in May or June that we had been "selected" for an "evaluation." Doesn't that make a person feel special? What was especially interesting was all the paperwork they wanted us to bring. Did they want to see pay check stubs, bank records, etc.? No.

The wanted to see our kids' birth certificates. They wanted to see medical or school or other records that had our kids' names and our address on them as documentation that they lived with us. They wanted to see records of other income we had to support these kids, like alimony, child support, welfare, VA benefits, or anything else. They wanted to know how we spent this money. They wanted to know how much these dependents made and how much they contributed to the household budget. (I got a gooood laugh out of that one). Oh, and of course, our returns for the audit year (2008) as well as the year before and the year after.

So they only things we could gather of all that were the birth certificates, some insurance records that showed our kids received mail at our address, and the returns. Unfortunately, Kelly was unable to get out of the class he's in for work so I had to go BY MYSELF.

Fortunately it wasn't as bad as I thought. I was thrown for a loop though when he told me that he had already pulled a lot of financial background on us. He was telling this to me reassuringly, because everything looked fine - in other words, we don't spend more than we make or live above our means. (Duh!) But I had, naively, not expected that. I wanted to start calling the guy "Big Brother" though I doubt he would have appreciated it. This bothered me more than anything else, though it shouldn't have surprised me.

The whole meeting took 30 minutes. He made copies of the documents he needed to, and didn't even look at the other 2 returns. They only discrepancy we had was our bank sent us a document reporting one amount of earned interest for the year but reported a different amount to the IRS. Lovely. I showed him the documentation they sent us, and he was a little perplexed as well. However, the difference was a small amount and would have made no impact on the amount of tax owed or return received so he said it would be pointless to pursue it at this point. As relatively painless as it was, I hope not to have to do that again.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A look back

In one of the myriad of ways we are trying to help Hailey pass the time, we have pulled out old home videos that we haven't watched for years. They cover roughly the years from 1998 - 2003 or so. Plus they've watched the video of our wedding and their uncle Tony's wedding. My kids have gotten a kick out of this. Here's a smattering of what I've heard the last two days from the kids:

Your hair looked funny, Mama.

Daddy's glasses were hideous. (OK, I started that one.)

Granny's hair looks funny.

What is that weird outfit Daddy's wearing? (BTW, it was wranglers, cowboy boots, and a western shirt.)

Granddad looks so young!

Aunt Sarah's hair looks funny.

Ashlynn looks just like Kora did! (We've been saying that for two years.)

Nana's hair looks funny.

Your voice sounds different, Mama.

Ooo, Granddad had a moustache!

Hey, I remember that toy!

Look, she's wearing the same dress Lauryn is right now!

Your dresses look weird.

Mama, you! You! You! (This was Ashlynn while watching our wedding video.)

But we are all in agreement that we had the cutest girls ever. However, the girls got a little grumpy when we asked them, "So what happened?"

Friday, July 9, 2010

Update on Hailey

Hailey is doing very well today. She never did have too much pain yesterday (perhaps from the pain meds I was giving her) though she did get the nausea again. Thankfully they had given me a prescription for that, which made her sleepy. So she had a good night. Today she is either watching videos or making paper dolls. She is still in a bit of pain when we have to move her to the bathroom, but the cast seems to be helping that. It's not hurting her as much to move. She's still got the leg elevated, and will have to keep it that way for a few more days. But over all she's in good spirits and enjoying all the care packages she's received. I'm sure the boredom will set in at some point, though.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


Hailey's procedure went well this morning. The doctor was very pleased with how straight he was able to get the leg (though that phrase just makes me weak in the knees), however the swelling had not gone down as much as he had hoped. So he ordered a device like this to connect to a cuff that goes around her cast to provide continuous cooling to help reduce the swelling.

She did get sick from the anesthesia, but seems to be over it now. In fact, she wasn't happy that she couldn't have the pizza a friend had gotten for her sisters for lunch. The cast goes from her hip to foot. The test will be in a couple of hours when the numbing shot he injected into her leg wears off. We'll see how much pain she's in then from all he did to her leg.

We have to keep her leg elevated for a few more days and keep this cooler filled with ice. Then I take her in on Thursday for a follow up which will involve x-rays. Hopefully the swelling won't cause them to have to re-do the cast.

As I write, she's sitting happy on the sofa, drinking sprite and watching the Muppet Show on DVD. Her parents are quite tired, as WE did NOT get the good drugs the last few nights! ;-)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Nightmare Day

Yesterday morning (Tuesday) the girls were out riding their bikes. We normally go out there after breakfast and ride unless we are going to the pool that day. My good friend Vivian called, so I was sitting on my front steps watching some kids ride and others sit on the driveway and draw with a new bucket of sidewalk chalk I had just bought.

Hailey, my 7 year old, rode over in front of our house and started making a 360 turn to her right to go back up the street the way she had just come. At that point events start blurring a little. I saw her fall onto her left side, landing on her left hip and leg with the bike landing on top of her. She immediately started screaming. I told Vivian, "Igottagobye," as I started running towards the street, throwing the phone into the grass.

Hailey was screaming in agony, holding her leg. She was screaming things like "It hurts, I think I broke my leg!" I was looking for road rash where she had landed, so I kept trying to look at her left leg, just sure that the skin was all off in a bloody mess. But she was holding her other leg, shaking and screaming. Then I got a look at the leg she was holding. It was obvious something was wrong because of the odd swelling that was already occurring (though thankfully no bones were protruding).

Trying to calm her down so I could get her into the Suburban, I had the other girls get the bike put up while I tried to carry her, scooping her up from the asphalt and somehow getting her into the car. Then I had to get a trash can since she felt like she was going to be sick (I felt a bit like it myself), threw on decent clothes, grabbed my purse and got out the door, being so thankful my oldest child is old enough to keep the kids for a while.

Once we got to the pediatric urgent care clinic and got checked in, they fortunately had a wheelchair. But any movement sent her into spasms of agony. She looked awful too. She was sweaty from the bike riding and the shock, her skin was an odd grey color and clammy, and she had the shakes really bad. She was also in old mismatched clothes she had thrown on to bike ride in, her hair was in a messy ponytail from the bike helmet, and she was in tennis shoes that needed to be thrown away, they were so worn out.

Though we were all fairly sure it was broken, they needed to do x-rays, but just moving her was so painful. They had no IV pain meds at the clinic, but she was so nauseated, they couldn't give her oral pain meds yet. So before we x-rayed her they gave her some anti-nausea medicine. We then managed somehow to get her onto the x-ray table but could not get her leg straightened out. So we had to take the pictures with her knee bent. After the first film, the doctor pulled me aside and showed me the x-ray. It was broken in two places and part of the bone was displaced. She wasn't sure if it would need surgery to put a pin in or not, but it was bad enough they couldn't cast it there. She told me she was probably going to send me to an ER, calling an ambulance to transport her. What she really needed was better films, but she needed to be drugged to do that, and they could do that in the ER and not the clinic.

Then we went back in for another x-ray. After getting her back into the wheelchair, I thought she was going to pass out. When she would look at me crying while this was happening, well, I can't describe the agony and heartbreak I felt. At that point they did give her some pain medicine as the anti-nausea meds had kicked in by that point. Also, the doctor got her an appointment with a pediatric orthopedic surgeon at 1:30 so we wouldn't have to go to the ER. But they did need to splint her first. After that I started making phone calls, including one to Kelly, whom I hadn't really had time to call yet. He immediately left work and came to meet me at the house.

On our way home, I stopped to get Hailey something to eat (mistake #1). Kelly carried her into the house while we made plans for the rest of the day. We then climbed back into the truck to head up to the specialist office. Thinking the worse was behind us, I didn't think about grabbing a trash can. Well, that was a BIG mistake (#2). She got sick on the way, and we had nothing with us. So we had to turn around and head back home and clean her up - without giving her a shower, and clean the truck up somewhat, though not thoroughly since we needed to go. Then we climbed into the Suburban and headed to the specialist.

They got her back and elevated the leg, iced it, and showed us the x-ray. The break was even worse than I had originally been told. Besides the two breaks, there is a long vertical crack from the bottom break all the way down the bone. And there was nothing they could do for a couple of days. They wanted her under general anesthesia to set the bone and cast it, and they couldn't do either until the swelling went down some.

So we are set to take her into an outpatient surgical suite in the morning (Thursday). At this point they don't think they will need a pin, but she will have a hip to foot plaster cast. The nurse ordered us a wheel chair with elevated legs, as she won't be able to get around on crutches in the first cast. They are doing a plaster cast instead of a fiberglass one because of the type of break and the way it needs to be molded - I don't quite understand all the details but the plaster gives him some options the fiberglass doesn't, though she might get a shorter, fiberglass cast in a month to 6 weeks.

The rest of the day was spent trying to get her settled in at home, going to three different pharmacies trying to find one the had her prescription in stock, and trying to clean up the truck. Needless to say, Hailey slept fairly well on drugs, Kelly and I did not.

So for now, even after the cast is on, our downstairs living room will be her bedroom. Our house is not wheelchair friendly, so it is going to be a challenge just getting her around in the next month. So between seeing one of my kids in severe pain, ruining the back seat of our new truck, and dealing with all the logistics for the next month or so, I am feeling quite overwhelmed. I am dreading tomorrow - not the procedure itself, but the amount of pain she will surely be in the rest of the day.

We still aren't exactly sure how she broke the leg. I saw her fall and know she landed on her left side - she has a few scrapes from that. But the top leg is what broke, so we speculate she must have gotten it tangled in the bike frame or slammed it into the frame somehow. And while she has been in more pain than any child should, she has been a trooper. Though I don't know if she'll ever get onto a bike again.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Conversations with a 2 year old

Well, conversation may be a bit of a stretch, but Ashlynn has definitely been jabbering away for quite a while now. And some of her speeches have us rolling in the floor, where as some are very sweet.

In the latter category, the other night she was sitting in my lap while I was watching a sad video on the computer. I was crying, and she kept looking up at me with a very concerned look on her face. Finally, she reached up and rubbed my cheek, and said, "Es wong, Mama?" (What is wrong, Mama, for those of you who don't speak 2-year-old-ish.)

But one of her sayings that has us cracking up every time is the way she says, "Excuse me." She'll bump into someone or try to get past one of us, look up at us completely serious, and say, "Skew me."
Picture taken by Hailey, our 7yo

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Now where are my high heels?

We measured Kora this morning since everyone keeps asking if she's as tall as I am yet. That depends on what shoes we are wearing. I am 5'7". As of this morning, Kora is 5' 6.25" - a whole three quarters of an inch shorter than I am, thank you very much. I'm gonna enjoy it while it lasts, which won't be much longer. She's grown over an inch since March! And the orthopedic doctor who treated her broken leg last fall said to expect her to keep growing for approximately another 2 years.

I feel short already.

And wasn't it last week when she looked like this?
And now she looks like this: