Monday, September 30, 2013

A Run of Bad Luck

Poor Charlotte can’t seem to catch a break.

She has been on the particular IV antibiotic that she is currently on for two previous hospitalizations– each time for 3-4 days.  This go-round she had 7 days of of the antibiotic; 5 in the hospital and 2 at home.

Then this happened…

Allergic Reaction

Yep, an allergic reaction.  A VERY uncomfortable one.

We are discontinuing use of the current antibiotic, and we’re going to try a new one for 7 more days.  It’s another one that she’s been on before, so we’re praying that it works this time too!

And hopefully I’ll have something to blog about other than Charlotte’s medical updates soon!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety Jig

We are finally settled in back at home!

Charlotte wasn’t able to get the picc line on Thursday due to some car accident victims that got brought in and needed attention.

We were pushed back to Friday around lunchtime.  Charlotte had a wonderful child life specialist work with her to make her comfortable with being put under anesthesia again.  Charlotte loved pretending to be an elephant with her mask!


The picc line placement went well, and Charlotte was back in our room by 4pm.  She complained about not feeling good, and I thought that she was going to throw up a couple of times, but her tummy finally calmed down.

It wasn’t long before Charlotte’s doctors came to visit us, and then by a little after 7pm, we were on our way out of the hospital!

It was so nice to see both of my kiddos playing together at HOME on Saturday morning!


Charlotte’s medical supplies and antibiotics were delivered Saturday afternoon, and a nurse also came by to teach me how to administer Charlotte’s antibiotics through her IV.  I’ve given them to her twice already with no issues, so hopefully the rest of Charlotte’s time on antibiotics will go easy.

She will finish up with antibiotic treatment on Wednesday, and will have the picc line removed on Friday along with a follow up ultrasound to check her kidneys.

Thank you all for your sweet words, messages, and prayers throughout this entire ordeal.  Hopefully we will be seeing doctors a lot less frequently now! 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

An End in Sight--But Another Trip to the OR First

Charlotte has done great today.  She is acting more and more like her normal self.  Minus all of the dancing and prancing around (she's still really weak and isn't walking much yet) and being a human garbage disposal (she has only eaten a few bites of food since Saturday morning).  But at least we're getting somewhere.

More art projects!
Right now the game plan is for us to be discharged on Friday.  Charlotte will go home on a full 10-day course of IV antibiotics.  But to do that, she will have to have a PICC line inserted tomorrow in the OR under general anesthesia.  We have been told to expect it to take about two hours.  Jarrod and I aren't very excited about Charlotte having to make another trip down to the OR, but we are thankful that it's looking like we'll be home soon.  

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Turning the Corner

I think that we finally may have turned the corner with Charlotte.

The labs are showing that her kidney function is getting better, her urine output has increased, and although she still has fever, it's not as high as it had been.

Charlotte is still really weak and can't walk around yet, but we took a wagon ride down to the gift shop this morning where Charlotte picked out a pretty princess balloon.

She was then taken down to radiology for an x-ray to see why her belly has been so distended.  It showed that she had an ileus (bowel obstruction) which has already started resolving itself.  (Ha! And we just thought we had another 4 months before we had to change poopy diapers again!)  

After getting back from radiology and trying to hook her IV back up, we found that the IV line had blown.  It took three tries to get a new one put in.  Not a fun early afternoon!

This evening Charlotte got out again to go visit the therapy dogs and to do an art project.  She should sleep good tonight!  Now if only Mommy's sinuses would quit acting up so she could get some good sleep too....

Charlotte's urine culture results still aren't back, so we don't know what type of bacteria is growing.  Once we do, we'll be able to figure out a course of action for getting out of here.  First we need to see a bit more improvement in her kidney function and see her fevers taper off.  Right now, the doctors are hoping that we can go home Thursday or Friday.

I cannot thank you all enough for all of your kind words, thoughts, and prayers.  They mean the world to us!  

Monday, September 23, 2013

"I Don't Like Being Sick"

We've heard all kinds of stuff out of Charlotte in the past 24 hours.

"I don't like being sick."
"I don't want to throw up anymore."
"Why doesn't Trenton ever throw up?"
"I don't want to be in the hospital anymore."

This girl is so tired of always being sick.

And tired of getting medicine.

Yes, she has resorted to covering her mouth while she sleeps in hopes of not being given any more medicine.  And no, we don't leave the towel like that.

Charlotte had blood work done and a urine sample taken when we got to the hospital yesterday, more blood work done this morning, and an ultrasound this morning.

From all of those, it looks like Charlotte has a urine infection that has moved into her kidneys.  The doctors said that someone who has been on antibiotics for so long (Charlotte has been taking maintenance antibiotics every night for quite some time now), can have bacteria brewing that never turns into an infection.  But if something interferes with the normal chemistry of things, like surgery, the bacteria can jump at the chance and cause an infection.  We don't know exactly which type of bacteria we're dealing with yet since urine cultures can take up to 48 hours for final results to come back, but preliminary results do show that there is something growing.  

So bacteria plus normal swelling from surgery can cause a mess - as they have in this case.

Charlotte's blood work has shown that her both her potassium and creatinine levels are higher than normal.  This means that her kidneys are not functioning properly to get these substances out of her body.  The kidneys are also not keeping up eliminating the fluid that Charlotte is taking in (by IV), so she has some fluid retention going on too.  She is being given a medication to lower the potassium levels, and will have more blood work done tonight to see how well the medicine worked.  The doctors have also put Charlotte on a stronger antibiotic since her fevers have not started dropping.  

So, that's where we stand for now.  

Thank you all for your support, words of encouragement, and continued prayers.   

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Change of Plans: Discharged then Readmitted

As some of you already know, Charlotte was discharged from the hospital yesterday afternoon.

She was so excited!

She had a great day on Friday.  She and I went to hospital preschool, checked out books and a movie from the library, and went to the playroom to play with the Stanford women’s soccer team. 

Charlotte complained cried and screamed about pain as her meds wore off, but as soon as she would get a new dose, she was fine.

Jarrod spent the night with her Friday night, and they had a really good night.

Yesterday morning, Charlotte’s surgeon came by, was happy with her progress, and told Jarrod she could go home in the afternoon.  I came back up to the hospital, picked everyone up, and we headed back home.

Charlotte complained about pain at home and didn’t eat any dinner, but we didn’t think too much of it.  I was up with Charlotte in the middle of the night, but figured that it was to be expected after major surgery.

This morning, Charlotte came in our bedroom, and I put her in bed next to me.  She laid with me for a while, and then went downstairs to sit with Mimi.  Again Charlotte didn’t want anything to eat – just some milk to drink.

And 20 minutes later my mom and Charlotte both had vomit all over them. 

Over the next few hours, Charlotte threw up three more times, and started running a fever.  I called the on-call urologist and went over all of Charlotte’s symptoms.  Charlotte’s surgeon called me about 30 minutes later, and after hearing Charlotte’s symptoms and asking me some questions, told me to bring her back up to the children’s hospital to be readmitted.

We are still waiting on test results, but we do know that Charlotte is extremely dehydrated from not being able to hold fluids down.  She has thrown up once since we’ve been here, and is on strictly IV fluids (plus meds) for the time being.

I’ll update once we find more out, but in the mean time, we could use those prayers again.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Under the Knife

Today was the big day for Charlotte.

We were up and out the door early this morning to get to the hospital for our 9:45am check-in time.  We thought that allowing an extra hour for traffic would be plenty of extra time.  We were wrong.  Factor in horrid traffic along with a little girl who needed three potty breaks along the way, and we were just pulling into the hospital at 9:45.

After checking in, we were taken back to the pre-op area.  Charlotte had her vitals taken, got changed into hospital clothes, and was given a cocktail to make her “happy” so that she would be okay leaving me and Jarrod.

I’d say it worked.

All of Charlotte’s doctors, attendings, etc., came by to tell us what their part in her procedure would be too.  Everyone was great and made both Charlotte and Jarrod and me comfortable with what was about to happen. 

Once Charlotte was wheeled out of the pre-op area, Jarrod and I were taken to the surgical waiting room where we were shown how to read the status screen.  We could keep up with her progress throughout the time we were separated from her.

The cafeteria was right across the patio from the waiting room, so Jarrod and I went outside to eat lunch and soak up the sun.  I read some, and Jarrod worked on a final for class before we headed back inside the waiting room.

About 3 hours after Charlotte was rolled away from us, her doctor came into the waiting room to talk to us about her surgery.  He said that everything went great!  She has a 2 – 2 1/2 inch bikini line incision that has a drain in it while she is in the hospital (thankfully seeing it when dressings have been changed hasn’t made my stomach queasy).  The drain will come out when we leave the hospital, and the stitches will dissolve on their own.  She will also have some bladder spasms (think Charlie Horses of the bladder), but is being given medication to help with those.  The doctor told us to also expect red urine for about a week.  All things that this mommy can handle as long as it means that we’re done with constant UTIs and kidney infections.

About 30 minutes after the doctor left, we were taken back to the recovery room to see Charlotte.

I had managed not to cry the whole day, but seeing my sweet little girl still so out of it and hooked up to monitors almost did me in.  Not to mention, she was laying on her Nanny Pillow.  When we visited my grandmother about four months before she passed away, Charlotte fell in love with Nanny’s little pillow.  Every time we visited Nanny at the nursing home, Charlotte grabbed it and hugged it.  So before we came back to California, Nanny told Charlotte that she could have it.  Charlotte now sleeps with it every night and requested to bring it to the hospital.  I know that Nanny was close during Charlotte’s surgery today.

We spent quite a bit of time in recovery room before a bed opened up for us upstairs.  Charlotte was still pretty groggy most of the time we were in recovery with her, but she did have some juice to drink to help with soreness from the tube that had been in her throat during surgery. 

We are now in a shared room.  I feel kind of sorry for the teenage girl that is in the other bed.  I don’t think Charlotte has been quiet for more than a 5 minute stretch since we’ve been up here.

Charlotte didn’t want to eat much for dinner – some goldfish crackers, a couple bites of mac & cheese, and a little fruit.  She also was complaining a LOT about pain.  And if you know Charlotte, you know that she’s tough.  So when she says something hurts, it really hurts.
Jarrod laid down in bed with her and put on a movie to try to get her to calm down.  About halfway into the movie, Charlotte vomited everywhere.  But now she’s saying that she feels better, so that’s a plus!

After the room was cleaned up and Charlotte’s bedding, clothes, and dressings were changed, Jarrod headed back home for the night (only one parent is allowed to stay the night in shared rooms).

Hopefully Charlotte and I will get some good sleep tonight.  Charlotte is already talking about wanting to go to take a wagon down to the playroom tomorrow.  When her doctor came by this evening for rounds, he got her all excited by telling her that they do arts and crafts projects in the playroom!  I can see us spending quite a bit of time down there!

Trenton stayed busy today too.  He had his first pre-k field trip.  The class went down to a local beach, checked the sea lions out, built sand castles, and ate lunch.  And my mom chaperoned.  What an awesome Mimi! 

I know that Charlotte had all kinds of prayers being said for her today, so thank you!  It is great feeling knowing that so many people are in our little girl’s corner!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

‘Twas the Night Before Surgery

‘Twas the night before surgery
and all through the house.
Not a creature was stirring
not even a mouse.

Ha!  Yeah right!

The kids were up an hour and a half past normal bedtime, and I have a feeling I won’t be able to sleep much tonight.

Tomorrow morning Charlotte will be having bilateral ureteral reimplantation surgery at the children’s hospital about an hour and a half away from here.

I have been told that we can expect to be away from her for about 3 – 3 1/2 hours while she’s being prepped and in surgery.  Then we will have about a three night hospital stay depending on how Charlotte’s recovery goes. 

But hopefully after this surgery Charlotte will be done with hospital stays and urinary tract and kidney infections.

January 2011                                 April 2011                                        April 2013

So if you could, please say a prayer or send good thoughts our way.

I’ll try to post an update tomorrow night or Friday morning to let everyone know how surgery went.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Soccer Mom

This kid has made me an official Soccer Mom.


Trenton has had three weeks of practices, and Saturday was his very first game.

He was psyched (and trying his best to psych out the opposing team).


Let me tell you – this kid has absolutely no poker face.  You can tell exactly what he’s feeling/doing/concentrating on based on his facial expression.

Whether it’s chasing down the person with the ball


or concentrating on trying to get the ball himself.


And I’m sure that you can’t tell if the Purple Dragons (yes, those uniforms are lavender) won or lost…


But there’s always next week!


Monday, September 9, 2013

Weekend Project

Between watching football on Saturday, we rearranged our living room.  I was really happy with the new furniture setup, but I was left with a blank wall above our loveseat.

So where do I turn for decorating ideas?

That’s right, Pinterest.

I had pictures taken of Trenton and Charlotte two years ago when we were back in Texas, and I had always meant to have canvases made out of a couple of the images.

But I never got around to it.

Insert Pinterest, and I found a perfect tutorial for DIY canvases.

I was out the door to buy supplies as soon as the clock hit zero in the Aggies v. SHSU game (anyone else looking forward to A&M v. Alabama this week?).

I picked up canvases at Michael’s (40% off last week; this week they are buy one get one free), along with some burnt umber canvas paint.  I already had Mod Podge and foam brushes at home.  Then I went to Wal-Mart to pick up my pictures.

I got home and got right to work after telling the kids goodnight.

DIY Photo Canvas
(Two 8x10 canvases and one 11x14.  The next time I do a canvas project I will use kitchen towels rather than bath towels.  I had some trouble keeping towel fibers off the canvases.)

After spreading a layer of mod podge on the canvases and sticking the photos on top of them, I went and grabbed a shower.  By the time I was done, the mod podge had set, and I was ready to put a coat of mod podge on top of the prints.

I left them overnight, and yesterday painted the sides of the canvases with the burnt umber canvas paint.  By last night, my new canvases were ready to be hung on the wall.

DIY Photo Canvas

I’m really happy with how they turned out.  Especially since the entire project cost me less than $30!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Labor Day Weekend in Sacramento

With less than a year left in Monterey, we are trying to take in as much of California as we can.

So for Labor Day Weekend, we decided to take a last minute trip to the state’s capital city.



We left Friday evening after Jarrod got out of class and made it to our hotel just a little after the kids normal bedtime.

Trenton and Charlotte were up and ready to get going Saturday morning.

But before we could head out, we couldn’t forget about the most important meal of the day!

Sacramento Breakfast

After breakfast, we walked through Old Town Sacramento to the California State Railroad Museum

This museum is regarded as one of the best railroad museums in North America, and it was easy to see why. 

California Railroad Museum

With a whole room dedicated to how the Transcontinental Railroad made its way thru California, more real (non-replica) historic railcars than I had ever seen, an engine that we got to climb onto to get a lesson in how steam trains work (Charlotte could still give us a pretty good run-down of the process two days later!), a handcar that we got to take down an indoor track, a really cool model train exhibit, and of course some train tables for the kids, there was a wonderful mix of things to keep both the young and the old(er) happy.

DSC_8653_1Handcar RideDSC_8701_1

Do you notice all of the maroon in our pictures?  In case you missed it, college football season is here!  And since Saturday was Texas A&M’s (mine and Jarrod’s alma mater) first game of the season, we were all decked out in our Aggie gear.  And you know that we had to grab a family picture!  You never know what you’re going to get when you give your camera to a complete stranger, but I got pretty lucky this time!


Old Town Sacramento was taken back many years to the time of the Gold Rush this weekend.  And since we had to walk through Gold Rush Days to get back to our hotel, we decided to check it out.


The kids loved panning for “gold.”


They also bowled with wooden bowling balls and pins, tasted dutch oven biscuits with homemade butter (Trenton was sure to tell the lady handing out samples that we have made our own homemade butter), and met some pretty interesting people.


On our way back to the hotel after dinner, we made one last stop in Old Town Sacramento (well, after my stop at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory to grab a couple snacks!).

An old one room schoolhouse.

Old Town Sacramento Schoolhouse

The kids loved playing school.  Then Trenton figured out that his seat folded up.  And he proceeded to get his bent knee stuck in the folded seat.  It was stuck good. One of the ladies working in the schoolhouse mentioned calling the fire department to cut the desk off of Trenton.  The thought crossed my mind that maybe I should run down to grab some of that homemade butter to loosen up his knee.  Thankfully neither were needed, and we were able to get Trenton’s knee unstuck.  There were plenty of tears shed and some bruising, but we made it out alive!

After a good night’s sleep, we were on the go again Sunday morning.

Our little zookeepers were ready to scout out the animals at the Sacramento Zoo.


I loved that the zoo was small enough for us to easily make our way through it without tiring the kids out too much.  And for a small-ish zoo, there were a great variety of animals.

Check out the size of the paws on this six month old tiger!

Does anyone remember what the only thing Charlotte asked Santa for last year was?  That’s right, a giraffe.


The zoo had giraffe feeding time while we were there, and you can bet that we lined up to take advantage of the opportunity!  But Charlotte bailed at the last second.  She said that she was scared because the giraffe’s tongue was not red or pink like peoples tongues.

When Charlotte chickened out, Trenton became a little unsure about feeding the giraffe too.  But he sure was glad that he didn’t bail too!


Fairytale Town is right across the street from the zoo, and after lunch we walked over there.

Fairytale Town - Sacramento

It was a cute little park with a lot of fairytale/nursery rhyme themed play areas.

King Arthur’s Throne


The Little Engine that Could

Fairytale Town - The Little Engine that Could

The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe

Fairytale Town - There Was An Old Women Who Lived in a Shoe

Jack & Jill

Jack & Jill

Owl’s Treehouse

Owl's Birdhouse

After another day out in the sun (Sacramento’s sun is a lot hotter than Monterey’s sun!), it was time to go back to the hotel to relax.

Monday morning, we woke up, packed, ate breakfast, and then drove a few blocks down the street to the state capital.

We walked around outside for a little while checking out the buildings.  I would have liked to take a tour, but I didn’t even check to see if they were open for tours on Labor Day.  I figured that touring a government building wouldn’t really be on my children’s list of fun vacation activities.  Plus, we were all ready to get home by this point too.  But it was still neat to see the capital!


We’ve still got plenty of other places that we want to check out before we move next summer, and we are glad that we were able to fit Sacramento in there!