Archive for August, 2015

Last week was a good week. We got excellent news from Ben’s doctor. He managed to stay the entire week at school without coming home early. Everyone else in the family had a great week at school too. We thought that we were nicely slipping into an awesome school routine.And although today was not a disaster, Chris and I both agreed we hope that this was not a sign of things to come.

There was a lot of stuff going on at work so Chris decided to leave me at home this morning instead of waiting with him at work to make it easier for him to take me to occupational therapy. He comes home at noon and no sooner does he walk in the door then he gets a call phone call from Ben. Ben left his ID tag at home. Since this was the first offense Chris agreed for this one time to bring it up to school. No sooner did he hang up with Ben then we got a phone call from Madie. She called because she was sick. Chris agrees to pick her up early from school. So he and I grabbed a quick lunch to eat in the car while we made the rounds to drop Ben’s tag off at school and to pick Madie up from school.

We drop Ben’s tag off, we picked Madie up, and then Chris left us in his office while he went to his meeting. 10 minutes into his first meeting the nurse from Ben’s school called. She says he just walked into her office complaining of being dizzy. Since this boy rarely goes to the nurses office to complain about not feeling well we knew that this was real. His blood pressure was fine but with Ben the symptoms of dizziness can be caused by any one of his health issues. When I asked Ben  what he wanted to do, he said, “I want to stay at school. If you pick me up, you will take me home and look me over and end up finding something seriously wrong. And then I will wind up back in the hospital. ”

Ben didn’t get to bed until 10:30 on Sunday night. So my thought was that he was just tired and that if he laid down in the nurses office for a little while the dizziness might go away. The nurse thought that was a good idea. Unfortunately 15 minutes later I got a phone call from Ben and he told me he wanted to go home. He was pretty mad because in science class they were doing a bubblegum experiment. I asked him if he wanted to stay for that and he said no. He was so dizzy he was worried about falling over.

So two kids are down for the count tonight, we told Ainsley to suck it up because we needed at least one kid to go to school. She agreed. As long as we picked up her new cello tomorrow and bring it home, she agreed to remain healthy. She will make a good lawyer one day because she certainly knows how to draft an agreement in her favor.

Despite everything, I managed to get dinner on the table and the kids in bed early. Ben and Ainsley were asleep by 7:30, and Madie by 8:30. So hopefully with that much sleep under their belt, everyone will feel better by morning.

More importantly, Chris and I agreed to not let this day affect the rest of the school year.

Today was supposed to be a day of joy because there was Blue Bell ice cream on the shelves again. The best part of my day was when the church secretary offered to pick up two gallons of ice cream for us. When she got to be store, they were rationing the ice cream to two gallons per person. She was buying for us and her family. When they stopped her, she said she used both the “I am buying this for my pastor” Card and the “my pastor’s wife broke her arm and can’t drive” card and they let her!!!!! It was awesome!!! I got to rub it in to all of my family that I had ice cream and they didn’t!! 

So thank you Ida. Your ice cream has cured our blues away, and I am sure that it cured our children’s illnesses as well. That is just how miraculous and wonderful Bluebell ice cream is.


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“Go be a normal kid. ”
After the crazy summer that we had. . . Open heart surgery, hospital stay, weird fever, hospital stay, weird fever that wouldn’t go away, hospital stay, bizarre rash, no hospital stay, ambulance ride for mom, broken elbow, surgery for a new bionic elbow, long summer of convalescence. . . We don’t expect good news. We hope for good news, but we don’t expect it. Then no one is disappointed.

Today was a day of awesome news. The echo of his heart showed trivial and minor leaking in his aorta,  mitral, and pulmonary valves. His blood pressure is good. His inflammatory markers are now within normal range. His kidney function is good. He still has a fistula but it hasn’t changed and is not currently causing problems.

So Dr. Altman said . . . 

  1. No more heat restrictions.
  2. As soon as your 12 weeks post surgery is up, go to PE. When you’re not in PE go exercise.
  3. Be active. 
  4. Go play.
  5. Have fun.
  6. And most importantly. . . Go and live a normal life.

He still has to be careful. He can’t lift weights, or play contact sports. He still has to drink plenty of water. He still has to take 20+ pills a day. He still has lots of doctor visits to go to. He is still under the careful watch of  cardiology, renal, and GI departments. He just went to school yesterday wearing a 24 hour blood pressure monitor, and it’s hard to be normal walking around sixth  grade wearing medical equipment. But the reality is he is as close to normal then he ever has been.

As long as the results of the 24 hour blood pressure monitor are also good, then we are steady as she goes in regards to medication. No changes for a while. She feels our family has had enough medical intervention in the last three months that we need to take a break. So we don’t have to see her until December!

So the day was good. Papa Lake drove us to the medical center that day. So Papa Lake, Ben and I joined aunt Sarah, uncle Dave and Megan at IHOP for a celebratory pancake dinner. We are so thrilled with the good news.

Our next medical appointment is for my arm. So we hope the good news continues and I will be able to drive again!

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My . . .  how time has flown. 

First day of school 2015. Madie is in eighth grade. Ben is in sixth grade. Ainsley is in fifth grade.  
 Way back in 2009.  
Ben’s first day of kindergarten and Madie’s first day of second grade.

Ainsley’s first day of preschool.

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First day of school

I have a love-hate relationship with school. I love the schedule and routine that school provides. But I really miss my kids.
This was a crazy summer. This was the first summer in years when I wasn’t working. So despite everything that went on this summer the kids and I got to spend a lot of time together. And since we couldn’t go anywhere (due to Ben’s Quarantine and my broken arm), most of that time was spent at home. Usually when The kids and I have time together at home, I like to organize and purge. The kids loved the fact that my broken arm and lack of stamina shortly after my surgery prevented us from doing anything productive. They loved telling me to go sit back down and bringing me ice packs or drinks, anything to keep me sitting and not cleaning/purging/organizing. Crazy kids! They are pretty dang smart at avoiding heavy work. They prefer to do it on their own then have mom with them directing their work. I have no idea what that’s all about😉. And frankly I was too tired to argue! 

Now they are back at school, and I miss them tremendously. 

Madie is at Peet Junior High in eighth grade. She’s taking all pre-AP classes, is in chamber Orchestra playing the violin, is in theater troupe again this year, is taking algebra I, and has signed up to do peer tutoring as well. Plus she is still in Girl Scouts where they’re working on their big trip to Washington DC this summer. And of course all of her church activities. She is pretty booked solid. So when she came to me yesterday asking to sign up for Christian youth theater and private violin lessons in the evenings, I think I about died. Of course, she can handle it but I’m not sure that I can!!

Ben is in sixth grade at Bozman intermediate school. He has an awesome teacher and we are hoping for a really great year. Ben was so sick last year at school that he didn’t participate in any of the extracurricular activities at school. We were doing good just to get all of his work done. But this year we told him he had to join one club. So we will see how that goes. He is also doing Boy Scouts and this is his first year as an official Boy Scout versus a Cub Scout. And he is also starting confirmation at church this year, so that will be a whole new experience for him. 

Ainsley is in fifth grade at Bozman Intermediate. She actually has a male homeroom teacher which will be a new experience for her. She has already told us that she wants to sign up for a ton of activities at school this year. In this case, she is a lot like her sister. She has decided to quit gymnastics in order to try new things this year. She is in Girl Scouts still and of course she also has all of her church activities. And I almost forgot her weekly art classes. She loves to paint and create!

So we are no longer in elementary. They are all growing up so fast. I don’t think that I am quite ready. But the truth is we are closer to Madie  graduating from high school than we are from her starting kindergarten. Yikes. 

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Quote of the day 

“Mom, you didn’t post a quote of the day today, “says Ainsley. “It’s not a quote of the day if you don’t post one every day.”

OK, Ainsley. Now that I know you’re checking up on me, I will work harder to post more.

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Quote of the day

“What do you mean plaid and plaid don’t go together?” Ben protests. 

“I mean . . . You can’t wear a plaid shirt and plaid shorts just because they are both a plaid pattern.”

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First of all, this isn’t Kath. It’s her beloved younger (yet taller) look-a-like sister Deb(ra). With a little investigative work, I was able to hack into Kath’s account here. I can not reveal my source but just trust me, everything can be bought in that house. You can rule out one being though, Rosie. That cat has some fierce loyalty to her human momma. She wouldn’t budge on any secrets.
The reason for my hack is to update you faithful blog followers from around the country (and I would even guess world) about a fund set up to help the Lake family. 
As you might know by now, they have had several medical emergencies this summer. If you are now just reading Kath’s blog, I will give a very brief synopsis. In June Ben had open heart surgery, had extended hospital stay, went home, had fever of unknown origin, had another hospital stay, went home, fever again, weird rash, hospital stay, went home. Whew. That was just Ben! Kath was with Ben through all of that THEN the day after Ben came home the final time Kath tripped and broke her elbow. A week later, she had surgery to repair it. So there is the extremely short version of Lake Summer 2015. Sounds a little tiring! 
A member of their church set up a GoFundMe account to help them with medical expenses and those costs associated with having major medical events. Kath never asks for help. She broke her elbow and wanted to drive herself because she didn’t want to ask for help. (Shame on her and she totally got in trouble for even THINKING that was a smart idea.) 
As the baby sister (37 going on 9 here), I keep things a little light hearted around the dinner table during tough times but in all seriousness the Lake Family is loved by many members of multiple communities. Kath would help you without asking if she saw the need. She is there in the blink of an eye and it is killing her to rely on others for so much help. Chris is the same way. On many occasions he has been there for my family without a second thought. 
Many have asked what they can do to help but you love too far away to make dinner or mow their yard.. So if you feel inclined to donate, here is the link:
BTW, Ben LOVES green beans! He is the master of food! I don’t know what that kid won’t eat!
I do know that the entire Lake family appreciates all of the support this summer with cards, letters, phone calls, emails, and prayers. They are forever grateful for the love and support they have received. On behalf of the Lake family, 
Thank you.

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So much has happened.

Over the last few weeks, life has been a little crazy. I finally had surgery on my elbow. And what we thought would hopefully be a surgery to screw the broken bones together ended up being a total replacement of The radial head of my radius. We haven’t seen the x-rays yet. I go in next week to the doctor and I have requested to see the before and after x-rays. Chris and I are in a contest to see who has more metal in their right arm. I never wanted to be in this contest, but since I am, I really want to win.
Ben and I have been hanging out a lot together. I can’t drive so I don’t get to go anywhere. And he can’t leave and be with groups of people, so he doesn’t get to go anywhere. We are two peas in a pod. The sweet thing has been that he has taken to sleeping in the living room with me just in case I need someone. Like Chris after his accident, I have been regulated to the La-Z-Boy to sleep at night. One, so I keep my arm elevated. And two, so that I don’t rollover on my arm at night. Ben has been doing a great job of taking care of me. My other children have done a great job too! When Ainsley and Chris went to church camp, Maddie was home and took pride in taking charge. I was very proud of her. When Ainsley got home from church camp, she didn’t want to feel left out so she would come and sit on my good side and snuggle with me. Instant medicine! 

I am finally at the point in my recovery where I feel really good. So good, that I think I can get back to regular routine. I think, “I don’t need medicine. I’m OK to not elevate my arm. “Of course then I pay for it later that evening. My arm swells up, I am in a lot of pain, and it takes several hours of patience, ice, and propping up my arm to finally get on top of the pain. I need a new mantra. Instead of “suck it up! “I need to say, “slow and steady! ” Remember it is a marathon, And not a sprint. 

Poor Chris, he can’t wait for life to get normal again. Trying to work, be a chauffeur, and take care of his family, is a huge burden. But he is doing an excellent job.

 The positives of me being down and out is the following:

  1. Maddie is learning to do the laundry. I have been reluctant for years to allow her to do this, but she has been wanting to learn for a long time.
  2. Ainsley is learning how to braid and fix her own hair. 
  3. She is also learning how to unload the dishwasher and put all the dishes away. It requires her to climb on top of the counter due to her small stature, but she’s doing great!
  4. Ben has learned how to dose out his medicine. Since I can’t unscrew the lids, he puts all his medicine in a cup and then I check it. He is also learning how to help me take his blood pressure. Since this is a two handed job, he puts the stethoscope in my ears and holds it in place while I pump the blood pressure cuff. We are certainly a sight!
  5. All of the kids are learning to be independent at fixing their own lunches and snacks. 
  6. We are cutting down on our outside activities, allowing the kids and I to spend more time together.

I think we will look back on The summer of 2015 as a time where we as parents let go of a little and allowed our children to grow up a lot. Of course, I will look forward to the time a year from now where I will get to reflect on this summer as a memory and that I will pray to never repeat it!!!

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