Friday, January 29, 2010

Day 210

Nicole is going to Special Needs Mutual. What a program. There are many people there who has special needs like Nicole. All different levels of needs. There are about 120 "kids". Each "kid" has a buddy. Nicole's buddy is Callie. What a great person she is. She just put in her mission papers so in about 1-2 months Nicole will get a new buddy.

PROM 2010!

What a night! Nicole was queen of the prom. John escorted her in through a lit arch while they announced her name and well as John's. She was smiling from ear to ear.

There was a live band and a photographer. Even Miss Lehi was there. What a cute girl she is. Nicole had her picture taken with her, also.

John purchased her a corsage and flowers to hold in her arm. She was beautiful and she felt beautiful. Enjoy the pics we took. Priceless.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Day 209

Nicole went to the U today for wound care and to have her open areas checked. Unfortunately, her left shoulder hole is even deeper. Even though we have been packing it for two weeks. Now I will be packing it twice a day to try to stimulate the healing from the inside out.

PT also made her another new splint. This one keeps her left arm at a 135 degree angle. Very uncomfortable but needed to keep that arm stretched out. When she has it on she reminds me of the time when our Schnauzer, Jetta, got stuck on the sticky mousetrap in our kitchen. Her front right leg was stuck on the paper and when she tried to get it off she got the whole thing stuck to the side of her neck. So here she is, right arm stuck to the side of her neck. Sad but funny.

The doctors are not too happy that Nicole and I are going to Kansas next week but I think I can handle anything that comes my way. Christian said, "That doesn't surprise me that you are going. Since when have you always followed the doctors directions to the letter." That was a wake up call. I feel as though I do but sometimes, as a mother, I know what is going to work better.

I need that time with John plus I need to take care of some business in Kansas. Nicole and I are also going to go to Kansas City one day to see Ladd and Sarah and the kiddos. I am so excited for this time. I love spending time with them and Sawyer is getting so big pictures I have seen lately that I feel I am missing out on his growing up. Nicole and Lauren will have some bonding time and Sarah and I will be able to catch up. Can't wait.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Day 208

Christian invited John to see the Jazz vs. Suns tonight. What a great time they had together. You can see it by the smiles on their faces.

Christian has been able to see many games this season. He received 2 tickets for 3 different games for Christmas. He was pretty excited. Then the lucky dog was able to get several other sets to other games. What a happy guy he has been to see his beloved Jazz, up close and personal.

So far the best game I think was when the Jazz played the Cavs. They won at the last second by the rookie shooting from the 3 point line.....Swoosh. Pretty rocking!!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

DAY 206

This is my view from my comfy seat at DIA.

No one here as you can see. I can't count how many times I have been at DIA over night.

They have these great bars and stools where you can put your laptop and plug it in along with your phone. This is where I was sitting for a few hours while I waited for John to get here.

I have learned to take my blanket and travel pillow just in case John is way layed. I wish I could have taken a picture of myself resting in this great chair I found in the Southwest Airlines area. It looked like a easy-boy but it didn't recline. So comfy. Too bad other areas don't offer them. If I am way layed again I will for sure come back to this area. Comfort, warmth, security. That is all I need. And the bathrooms were right there too.

I was so happy when John text me and said he was only 10 minutes away. I made my way on the train to the baggage claim. My knight in shining armor was there, waiting for me, smile a mile wide just for me. When I emerged from the airport he leaped from the van, arms open wide to encircle me with him.

The drive back to SLC was uneventful for the most part. Even though John hadn't slept much, he stayed up talking to me and catching up. Just he and I, breathing in each others spirits. Nothing is better than this moment.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Day 204

This week has been filled getting ready for John to come to town Saturday. When he is not here I let a few things slide like, I might not vacuum each week or dust. Or any number of things. It just isn't quite the priority when there are so many other things that need to be taken care of.

Like today for example. Priority, watch the snow falling lazily from the sky blanketing the frozen ground with soft magical flakes. Defiantly a priority.

I finally took down our tree. It is all boxed up and put away. The ornaments are a different story. At least the are all sorted by item ready to be wrapped and put in their snug little boxes. The rest of the decor is also down but not put away. I guess I will do that today amongst the myriad of other things that need to be done. Cleaning, an appointment, Costco, D.I. for a donation, wound care, laundry and of course....shoveling the wet stuff outside. All in a days work.

Nicole is doing amazingly well. She is healing and coming right along. Right now with her arm in a splint it is hard for her to dress or do much for herself but she has a great attitude. There are many times during the week when I just sit and watch her. I look deep in her eyes. I see a new Nicole. I see someone with new knowledge. I see a sweet girl who loves everyone and the only thing she wants in return is love.

When we are out and around other people who don't know us I see the curiosity on their faces. "I wonder what happened or don't go by her." It makes me wonder how many times I have thought those very thoughts when I have seen people different then me. I hope when I am around others I will be more loving and accepting.

When John comes in town life is so crazy busy. Clinic, family, friends but mostly catching up with each other. I so look forward to the time he is here with us. He blesses our home with his presence. Even though life is busier, life is better.

He is my best friend, my confidant, my lover, my blessing given to me by a loving Heavenly Father who knew John is what I needed in my life to help me through all life would throw at us. All the joys and the sorrows. The hills and the valleys. He makes me happy.

We lovingly brought these two children into our lives. I know people do it everyday but when it happened to us I was amazed. I still am amazed. What joy they have brought into our lives.


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Day 200

I can't believe it has been 200 days since July 4th. What an amazing journey. All I can say is GOD is in charge. We can make choices/decisions that send us on a path but that path has a map. We may not have that map but God does. If you listen close the Holy Ghost will whisper you the directions to follow.

Today, Sunday, is not starting out like I wanted it to. I love it when Sundays bring tranquil time. Actually it is quiet here but it was the no sleep that has no agitated. NO sleep brings me headaches, lack of energy, lack of good spirits, and down right orneriness.

We are not going to the U to get Nicole's other splint. When I called this morning, Walter said to just take off the splint we have, prop her up good and wait until tomorrow. Also to wash the area with baby magic to help remove the residue from the splint. Hopefully that will help and I can get a nap this afternoon.

I was hoping to refinish my kitchen table and chairs this week before John comes into town. I am staining the top a dark brown to match my cupboards and painting the legs and chairs black. I have never done this before and have been perusing many websites for tips. Then I realized I only have about 10 more hours of studying to finish up 3 courses I have been taking. That won out. What a monkey off my back that will be.

Nicole was in no position to go to church today so needless to say I needed to stay home, too. I guess I will read the Sunday school lesson and the Relief Society lesson tonight. That will give my week the needed boost it needs. I did get out of bed and put 'dinner' in the oven that I ate at noon, Nicole was asleep and Christian had oatmeal. Who wants oatmeal over roast, roasted potatoes and carrots and a muchroom gravy. I guess he can warm it up for dinner. I am done cooking today.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Day 199

Today, Nicole and I went to the U to have her check up. 5 days post op. Everything looks great except her left arm. The area where they did a flap and double Z-plasty has opened up. Not so big but about the size of a dime and it is about 3/4 inch deep. New tactics we have. I am going to re-dress her each day and take out the packing. Yes, I have to pack it everyday with dressing material. No big deal. At least it doesn't gross me out. I am not sure if anything will anymore.

PT made her a new splint also and even though in theory it should work, it actually is causing more pain and discomfort as well as more spots that are breaking open. Definitely going in the wrong direction. Tomorrow I will go back to the U and get her old splint. Even though it is not the best it is better then this one.

Christian had an eventful evening. After bowling and shooting pool with friends he had many episodes of nearly passing out and even one episode where he was standing up but no one was home. When he came to, his legs just went out from under him and he sat right down on his backside. He said later it felt like someone had a switch connected to him turning it on and off. One second he felt fine then the next he felt like he was on the down side of a roller coaster. Back and forth.

Anyone heard of those symptoms? Too bad he didn't have his monitor on. He needs more pads. I hope when the pads come something like this happens again. Even though I am sure it is scary for him, we need this recorded.

So grateful he was with people who care about him and didn't just send him on his way alone. Thanks Nat and Spencer. Love you guys.

Looking forward to the Sabbath tomorrow. I hope Nicole is able to go and if not she is OK to leave at least for sacrament meeting.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Day 197

I just couldn't stand my pantry one more day. I couldn't find anything, there were out dated items and things were falling off the shelves. So, I just jumped in with both feet.

9 am started taking items out of the pantry. I can't believe how much junk is in here. Out dated chips, crackers, soup even. Sad to see all of this thrown out. I also just bought some oatmeal. When cleaning I found 2 boxes of the same oatmeal I just bought. What?! I did find yummy cookies that I thought were already eaten. Bonus! I also made a list of everything that I saved so I know what is there and what I can make a meal out of.

1:30 finally finished but the cleaning bug was not out of me. So I moved on to the spice cupboard. That was a two hour job. You may be wondering why 2 hours? Well, I have many, many spices and other items I add to spice things up. Everything is finally back in alphabetical order. I know, I am neurotic about that kind of stuff. I also made a list of what is there too.

3:30 moving on to the other cupboards. I can't believe how much I am getting done today. Arranging and re-arranging.

5:45 I realized I haven't made dinner. Oh yeah, we have leftovers. Chicken Parmesan with fettuccine Alfredo. Awesome! Christian made the Alfredo sauce. One of his best. He is quite the chef.

So nice to have all of that taken care of. I can't wait to start on the food storage tomorrow as well as the freezer.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Day 196

Replay of Monday

When Nicole got out of surgery the doctor came in to tell me how things went. At that time he informed me that she was still on restricted visits. WHAT?! Are you kidding? But he assured me I could have 4-5 hours instead of 2. I could be okay with that.

When I went into Nicole room after our talk the nurse said I could only have 2 hours and I told her what the doctor said. She will find out, she said. When I left she still didn't know the answer but was going to call me later.

Instead of calling me she told Nicole and told her to call me and tell me only 2 hours. What a coward. Nicole was all upset, as she should have been. Well, the momma bear in me reared. I immediatly called to the unit to talk with the doctor which they informed me was gone. I left a message. The message....

If he wasn't going to hold to his word then they could get her ready to go home first thing in the morning. I was taking her home.

Tuesday morning

Nicole's nurse called and told me she was being released. Good. I am NOT going to play their little game. I know it sound hard BUT this i s no time to be restricting hours. She is doing exceptionally well, the doctor even said so. SO, here I am up early for wound care and all the other things life entails for our family.


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Day 195

Another early morning. Today is the day Christian has his tilt table test to see if the diagnosis is for sure. No food or drink after midnight. Christian has never had to do that before. He and I went to IMC for this test. They asked us to be there at 8am. We arrived on time, waited for 5 minutes in the waiting room before going back to the testing area where we waited 2 hours before they even got things rolling.

The actual test only last 10 minutes, it was the setting up that took the longest. IV, ART line, medication. Once all was in place the test began. Unfortunately the test was negative. I couldn't believe it and neither could the doctor. We thought for sure this was it.

We are not back at square one but we are several steps backwards. Christian will be put back on the monitor and he will need to try to get himself to pass out so they can capture it again. They will be looking for signs for a possible pacemaker. That is not something to look forward to but if this all ends bring it on.

I know he is pretty sick of all the tests, poking and prodding. He is my healthy child. He is the one who doesn't really get sick, only had a broken finger and a torn tendon. Oh how I hope they find something soon.

It was nice to spend the entire day together but I wish it was for different reasons.

God, give us some answers, please.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Day 194

Today is Nicole's first surgery post ICU. Several things will be done. I pray for steady hands for the doctor as well as a clear mind so his knowledge will flow freely.

8am surgery starts. I was a little teary this time. I usually feel relieved when a surgery is impending. One more down. Today a little apprehensive. The surgery nurse explained this one will be about 5 hours. I suspected it would take long as there is so much to accomplish. She also told me she would come out at around 11 and let me know how things are going.

11am update. Nicole is doing well. She is almost done actually. Maybe one more hour.

Noon Dr Morris emerges from O.R. Everything went well.

He revised her trach area. opened part of it as well as took new, good, healthy tissue and added it to the area and closed 5 layers.

The area at Nicole's left axilla area was going to get a skin graph. Instead Dr. Morris did a flap along with a double Z-plasty in the front and a single on the back. That procedure consists of making small cuts in the scar tissue so the tissue will open up and move better.

The last areas were on her trunk. Scar tissue was released and there was actually a skin graph needed there which was taken from her leg.

On paper it doesn't look like much but in reality it was quite a bit of work. All things to make her life easier in the future. Now if she can get mobile soon we can leave soon. Dr Morris first thought she would stay in for 4-5 days. Now he is saying she might be in just 2 days. I guess only time will tell.

I am still amazed at the technology we have in this world today. God has blessed us. Even 20 years ago this event might have taken a different turn. It is amazing what devices have been invented as well as procedures for things like this. We are truly blessed.

What will tomorrow bring in your life? I hope it is one of happiness and joy. Smile just because you can. Laugh like your life depended on it. Love everyone.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Day 193

Today I was asked to speak in church. My topic.....moving forward spiritually in the new year. WOW! What a topic. There are the usual things to do to build our testimonies as well as build our spiritual tanks. Things like prayer, fasting, tithing, service. Even though we so those things day after day sometimes they get monotonous. Okay maybe not monotonous but mundane or passive. I tried to give a different prospective on things we do daily or weekly to help build our spiritual tanks. I felt good about what I presented and can't wait for John to hear it live (when he comes in 2 weeks).

As I was preparing I reflected many times about this past year and how many times I prayed for strength and to be spiritually uplifted and sustained. I was building my spiritual tanks as I was using them. I know I realized at some point last year that is what was happening. If I couldn't build and constantly refill them I think I may be in a total depression now. It is hard to keep them full at all times. Those tanks dip and wane but I needed to be vigilant to keep it in the forefront of what was going on in my life. Don't get me wrong, there was certainly times when my tanks were dangerously low. At those times I just reach down for all I was worth and filled them. Slowly sometimes but consistently working to put back.

This is a journey for me. I find new things each day that helps me. Seeing the splendor of what God created, sending a note to someone or making a call, giving service to someone in need, reading uplifting material, smiling, eating well and getting enough rest. Many more things are available and can be incorporated. I never think, 'Oh this is going to build my spiritual tank', but I know when I do something and I feel better it is working.

Preparing for Nicole's surgery tomorrow. Getting items together we both will need as she will be staying 4-5 days if all goes well. She is having revisions on several areas as well a skin graph on her left arm. Dr. Morris indicated this surgery will be several hours. I pray all goes well.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Day 192

Robin's egg blue. The sky is finally clear today. It is magical to me when the sky is clear and all there is is blue as far as I can see. It is almost as good as seeing a rainbow after a blustery storm. To me, it screams goodness, mercy, happiness. Happiness, That is really the feeling. Maybe that is why my favorite color is blue. HAPPINESS!

The small things in life are becoming great joys. The baby steps Nicole is taking, some turning into giant leaps. A cup of Mexican hot chocolate in the perfect mug, sitting by the perfect fire. (Any fire is the perfect fire.) Cooking in my kitchen with my kids, laughing and joking. Watching movies snuggled in my favorite blanket, Toka near by always ready for attention. Laying on Christian's bed, listening to his life's dreams. Oh how I love that.

I was reflecting today on just how far we have come in the last year. Not just with Nicole but us as a family. I have fallen just short of my temple attendance goal which I will do better this year. John and I set goals each year on where we want to be at the end of the year, spiritually, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. We certainly have been stretched on these goals this year but that is a good thing. I an not one for resolutions but goals, I am there.

This is my year to go through things and perge, perge, perge. We are going to be lighter, more organized and less cluttered. I already have my list going as to what needs to be done, who is getting donated to, items that for sure are getting donated and by the way, when is the best time to have a garage sale in U?

I can practically drive to the University of Utah with my eyes close. I know just when to get out of the carpool lane in time to catch the belt route. Which lanes seem to run fast then others and what time to leave to miss rush hour.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Day 191

Tuesday Christian and I will be at IMC for more tests. When these are done it will be definitive. Either it is Neuro-Cardiogenics or it isn't. If it is he will be put on new medication which may take a while to regulate and he will be on it the rest of his life.

If the tests come back negative the Cardiologist will look at all the results form all doctors we have been to and then he will decide which way to proceed. A pacemaker might be in the plans although he absolutely will not do it unless he is for sure without a doubt knowing this will solve it. I guess I am grateful we have a doctor that just doesn't jump to an easy fix. Especially when the fix might not be the right one.

At least Christian and I both feel this guy knows what he is talking about and we feel comfortable with him. He doesn't act like he is the end all beat all to doctors.

I feel we are at least going down the right road right now. I hope Christian feels the same way.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Day 190

We are facing Nicole's first post hospital surgery, Monday, January 11, 2010.

Nicole will receive another skin graph to her left axillary area as well as revisions on her chest, left arm and neck. She will be staying in the hospital 4-5 days. We are hopeful with these revisions, Nicole will have better and more mobility with her left arm and neck. We are looking forward to Nicole being able to lift her arm over her head without the axilla ripping open and for her to be able to tip her head backward as well as side to side without difficulty.

Nicole is looking so forward to these revision. As she heals, she will be able to exercise more as well as her PT should go better. She will me able to gain the flexibility she so wants.

There are many things we just take for granted like cutting a steak or washing one own back, all things Nicole has accomplished this past week. Each day is like watching a toddler do things for the first time. Remember what is was like when your child first learned to walk or feed themselves or even tied their own shoes. Those are the kind of moments we are going through. Each thing we come up against is a new challenge to find a way to accomplish the task. Just as though she was doing it for the first time.

Nicole is optimistic and happy these days. She has a great attitude about all that is going on which in turn helps me to have a good attitude.

She is still battling C-Dif. We will be see the doctor for that today, again. Hopefully he will have a new game plan.

Christian and I are seeing his cardiologist today. We are hoping for good news there as well. Tune in tomorrow for the results.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Faith Promoting

John and I stopped to get gas at a Love's station in the middle of the night. I ran in to pay for gas and use the restroom. I just had my wallet with me. I sat it on top of the toilet paper holder which I promptly forgot about and left it there. When I got back into the van I just crawled into the back and went to sleep. About 3 hours later I awoke with a start remembering I left my wallet at the gas station.

I called information for the number and was connected. No wallet was turned in. I hung up and said a prayer that who ever had my wallet could please leave it where someone could find it and return it to me. There was quite a bit of cash in it plus my credit cards. I could deal with never seeing that again but I really wanted my drivers license back.

About 10 minutes passed and my phone rang. A phone number from Canada?

Is this Angela Carlston?
This is your home and auto travel company. Did you leave your wallet at a Love's station?
Yes, I did.
Well ma'am. Someone picked it up and they want to return it to you. Here is their phone number.

Holy smokes! Are you kidding? I couldn't believe it.

I called the woman who related this story.

I was sitting in a truck stop waiting for our travel companions to catch up with us. We are tandem running from a conference in Texas to Utah. When our friends arrived one of them had stopped at a Love's station to use the restroom. She went into the stall and saw your wallet. She had every intention of leaving it with the cashier but when she went to the front she felt impressed not to leave it and to take it with her.

When she opened it in the car she saw your drivers license was from Utah and knew I was headed there. She gave it to me to see if maybe I could find you. I opened your wallet to find anything that would help me. That is when I saw your travel card with a phone number, so I called.

I was grateful and elated. She told me she would over night it to me. I asked her to take out some money to pay for it and some for her time and trouble. "I wouldn't hear of that". She said. "I am just glad your wallet landed in the right hands."

The 2 days later my wallet arrived via Fed-Ex. Everything was there including a note from this nice woman.

Can it get better than that? There ARE wonderful people in this world. God is good.

Day 187

I wonder.....

I wonder about so many things everyday. Like......

How many colors are there in the world?
Why may favorite cookie is Chocolate Chip with Walnuts.

Where do all the seashells go when nothing is living in them anymore?
What would I do without the gospel of Jesus Christ?
Why was I born at this time of the world and not in pioneer times? (Well, I do know that one. I am not as strong as they are.)
Why do I get such a thrill swinging on the swings at the park?

I also wonder why am I blessed beyond measure? Stuff happens, oh well. When stuff happens I try to think, 'What can I learn from this?' Usually the stuff that happens is growing, learning and testing experiences. I use them in future times to deal with the other stuff that happens. I am glad stuff happens.