Saturday, December 31, 2016

celebrations

So many fall birthdays! I am grateful to live near Liz, she is a good friend, running partner and sister! She has helped me during many hard times. Hopefully Amanda can come join us soon, then it would be a party!
We were asked to sing in Sacrament meeting, so I accompanied Lily, Jack and Isaac for them to sing "I am a Child of God."  It was sweet and simple, they are brave kids!  Luckily Jackson got the urge to cut his hair AFTER church though, since this happened within an hour of getting home.  Luckily for us Mindy had some clippers and she helped me fix it before school the next morning.
Lily forfeited the shopping spree for a birthday party this year.  She wanted to go swimming in the overflowing (so harder to heat...) hot tub.  The girls lasted a long time in there and then watched a movie, giving me a peaceful afternoon to make lava cakes for their dessert.
Lily has good friends from all over, which is wonderful except that they are from all over so she doesn't get to see them as often as she would like. She is like me and clings to one or two at a time, and steers away from groups.  She was pretty excited to turn double digits and I sadly realized that her life at home is more than half over.  !!
The big 3!  I did flower cupcakes decorated with princesses, My Little Ponys, and Paw Patrol.  So fun to see her big smiles and each and every present that we gave her.  She talks more and more every day, loves to be tickled and chased.  Love the happiness that toddlers bring to homes, although I am unfortunately done with the tantrums and don't give this girl as much patience as she probably deserves.
Still haven't potty trained yet, I have no memory of Lily or Isaac, and Jackson was done in a week, so I feel I have no experience to learn from.  Like NO memory, like I am a first time mom who is utterly clueless.
Lily's meets have begun. So fun to watch, although after going to the first one with Isaac and Ada, decided we wouldn't be hanging around the entire 3 hours every time....
And then this happened, described by Nathan for the time period of December 7-12:
My Dad, Jinks, had a heart attack last Wednesday evening. He went in quickly and was OK afterward. Testing suggested deeper problems and an open-heart bypass surgery was scheduled for Friday morning. I got the news Thursday morning. After flying and then driving the 2 hours from Vegas to St. George, Eve and I got to the hospital 10 minutes before the end of visiting hours and were able to join the rest of my family in seeing my Dad and wishing him luck.
The surgery on Friday went longer than expected, requiring 9 grafts (a nonuple-bypass?) instead of the planned 5-7. Surgery "couldn't have gone better" and we were told to expect him conscious by that evening. There are apparently protocols for post-surgery of this type before someone leaves the ICU, and they need to be conscious and following directions to work through them. He was expected to leave the ICU on Saturday night, and spend 4-5 days in the hospital before going home.
As of now, he hasn't woken up and is still in the ICU. He has what I'm calling "pain episodes" fairly regularly when his pain medication seems to be wearing off. These are calmed when new pain medication is administered. Friday evening the episodes were bad enough that the ICU nurse was worried about him causing further damage to himself and potentially pulling out some of the many tubes still in place. She requested a "sitter" which is basically a CNA who literally sits/stands right next to my Dad's left arm to catch him from hurting himself during an episode, and to request the attention of his ICU nurse when necessary. Friday night, the sitter never seemed to actually sit. She stood next to him constantly until after I left the ICU at 3am. A succession of sitters taking 12 hour shifts was still in progress when I left on Sunday.
Watching the staff try and wake him wasn't fun. Helping them try and wake him wasn't fun. The pain episodes are really difficult to watch because of the pain in his voice when he yells and the nonstop yelling. On Friday evening I would step outside his room when a few of them started, and noticed that other nurses and doctors in the ICU would eventually be drawn in by the noise and offer help. I started rating his episodes by the number of nurses he could draw into his room. His highest score before I left was 5.
We still don't know why he won't wake up. His eyes have finally opened a few times, but only during a pain episode, and only for a bit, and he has never recognized where he was or anyone in the room. During one particular pain episode he was yelling "Goddammit" over and over, and my Mom kept responding with "Just say Gosh Darnit, honey" and after a few rounds of this he switched to "No Goddammit", hinting that on some level he may have heard her. Responses like this were rare and I only witnessed a few on Saturday.
My sisters Sabrina and Liz are local and continuing to coordinate visits along with my Mom. Amanda is visiting soon. There are tests planned to rule out potential reasons he hasn't woken up, and the advice from his doctor is to be patient. 
Such a crazy week.  So much time at the hospital.  A lot of worry but a lot of peace.  Christmas had a beautiful spirit and feeling, so much time to reflect at the loving childhood my dad helped provide for me.  I worried like crazy, I broke down and sobbed more than once, I stressed about the worst possible outcome, and always came back to the blessing, when Adam said Dad would have more time to enjoy his earthly blessings.  It gave life to the feeling of hope that would thankfully creep in whenever I thought of an uncertain future.  The feeling of relief at Liz's text that he was awake and responding was incredible, that was a long time for him to be asleep!
The highlight of that pretty dark time was having Eve here - and Nathan too.  He took over so much time at the hospital and kept Mom company at home.  Also texting is another world entirely when he is in town.  I am grateful for my family, we care about and love each other a lot.
Isaac and Jack are taking a break from gymnastics!  Adam is never a fan when the kids want to stop something but I am glad they feel confident to try other things (soccer for Isaac and basketball for Jack).
Santa!  Because of the two week period of no normal Christmas preparations, that morning snuck up way too soon.  Lily and Jack tried to catch Santa with a handwriting forensics exercise with Adam and I.  Lily gently told me I could return 3 of her unwanted gifts.  Jackson cried when he saw Lily got an old unconnected phone.  Isaac was still looking for presents 5 minutes after we said that was it. Adam got me a vacuum that I returned when I saw the price tag.  I wrapped up a pair of pants that he had picked up himself.  Maybe someday we'll figure out the sweet spot of giving, but this year it just wasn't in me to invest the time and effort.
Christmas break had the bonus of Amanda being here!  Besides the stress of her micromanaging mom and dad's diet and exercise, it is always more fun when she is around.  Also had some fun talking genealogy with Tyler, it is super awesome to have an awesome detective to help get past the bumps in the road.
This bear at Fiesta Fun after laser tag was a popular photo-bombing spot and more of Jack's silliness.
We finally went ahead and started taking Isaac to a food therapist.  It has been good, lots of good tips, and lots of progress made to help him not be so scared of food.  Memories surfaced from Jack's speech therapy, it is always humbling to have a professional direct your child in a way that you were unable to do on your own.

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