Saturday, March 31, 2012

Hanging in the Hospital

Well, it turns out we are no longer hanging out in the hospital, thankfully.  This is what I was doing when I wrote the title to my post and got no further than that.  It was all sort of a whirlwind week and a bit.  We had found out from Selah's allergy and asthma specialist in November after her Halloween 3-day hospital stay that something didn't look right about her chest X-ray and she was sent for a CT of her chest to see what was going on.  The doctor called us back and said it looked like something called bronchiectasis (very basically, lung damage due to inflamed and thus enlarged bronchial tubes that don't return to normal) and referred us to the pulmonologist.  This particular doctor, Dr. Welch, was really a godsend because he really listened to me where others hadn't and began to track down her actual health problem instead of just labeling it asthma, sinus infections, etc.  He and Selah's pediatrician also had her to a sweat test and blood work to rule out cystic fibrosis; they both came up negative.  We finally saw the pulmonologist on a Monday about 2 weeks ago and spoke to her about beginning physiotherapy at home and having a few procedures done in the near future to try and diagnose the cause of the bronchiectasis.  She also explained to me that I should be more cautious about Selah getting a virus than I would my other children as it more easily became an infection in her lungs.  So, wouldn't you know it, that same evening she and her older sister, Isabella, both came down with a high fever and chills (some sort of 24 hour flu), but Isabella was better in less than a day and Selah's fever came right back.  So, to be cautious, I called the pulmonologist to ask what the best course of action would be and the nurse called back to say I should take her to the ER at Children's Hospital expecting to be admitted.  This was definitely not what I was planning on hearing and, of course, there is never a good time to hear that your child is about to be admitted indefinitely to the hospital.

By the time I had Selah prepared to ride into town with her grandparents to meet her Dad who would take her to the hospital, the nurse had already called me back again to say that we would be admitted directly to the hospital and skip the ER altogether.  This, was a blessing, to be sure, because waiting in the ER can be very wearing, but it also really made us realize that this was maybe more serious than we had thought.  Even on that first night that we arrived, the doctor told us that she would be staying for at least 7 days and up to 14 days.  Hospital stays are never easy between work schedules, caring for the siblings of the sick child, school schedules for the kids, and lots of extra driving to and from the hospital.  We were very fortunate to have both sets of grandparents right here, close by to help at a moment's notice.  Other friends stepped in and helped, too with our other kids, groceries, meals, hospital visits, and most importantly, all their prayers.  As I mentioned before, the Ronald McDonald house was also a huge blessing while we were down there.  Mostly, I was the one that did the day shift at the hospital with Selah, and my hubby would take over for the afternoons and evenings because Children's was closer to his work than our house is.  Words to those 9 days for me:  stressful, exhausting, monotonous, educational, emotional, torn between hospital and home, praying.

Initially, the doctors felt that Selah had a condition called PCD (primary ciliary dyskinesia), a rare genetic disease, which would have meant that her cilia didn't work properly in her body to expel excess mucus.  Two days after she was admitted, Selah was put under and a ciliary biopsy was taken from her nose, a broncoscopy was done in her lungs (as well as "lavage" - cleaning her lungs out), and a PICC line was put in (a more long-term solution to IV's because it can stay in for many months as opposed to a few days, if necessary - hers was taken out before she came home).  From these tests, we found out that Selah doesn't seem to have PCD because her cilia are functioning properly and that the structure of the inside of her lungs seems normal despite the inflammation in there.  What that left us with, though, is still not knowing the cause of the bronchiectasis.  Also, we found out, that there was still another genetic test that could be run to determine if Selah has any of the rare strains of CF; this was certainly not the kind of suggestion I wanted to ponder, but I know it is still better to know the truth even if it does turn out to be this.  The results won't be ready for 4 weeks at minimum and the waiting isn't all that enjoyable.  But, at the same time, whether or not we get conclusive answer as to the "why" of Selah's condition, we have the "hows" of treating it and keeping her healthier in general.  This mostly involves the twice daily respiratory therapy using the Smart Vest, a device that inflates with air while being worn by the patient and jiggles their torso to loosen up secretions so that they can be coughed out.  If Selah gets a cold or minor virus, the frequency of treatments each day can be increased, and then antibiotics might also be necessary to keep infections at bay.  This is just the beginning of our respiratory therapy road, but we seem to be settling in well - Selah most of all.  And seeing her back to her active and happy self is priceless!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

#MarchPhotoADay - CatchUp #1

18 : A Corner Of Your Home
Our new respiratory therapy corner for Selah.

Her SmartVest and Luv Pup pillow pet.

 19 : Funny
We saw quite a few people sledding on their boogie boards while up on Palomar Mountain.  This struck me as very funny!
20 : Before/After

21 : Delicious

One of the favorite parts of my day - my cappuccino!

22 : Kitchen Sink
While I was at the hospital over the weekend, look at what my husband installed for me - the new kitchen sink fixture.  Yay!
23 : Moon

24 : An Animal

Ronald McDonald House

Wow!  It's been a while since I've had a chance to sit down and post anything.  It's hard to find the time to write with people in and out of the hospital room, and then I tried using my kindle fire to do a blog post, but it wasn't working for me.  So, here we are, finally at home again.  I will post next about Selah's health and a bit about our stay, but for now I wanted to tell everyone I know about a super, easy fundraiser going on for the Ronald McDonald House Charities sponsored by HP. 
While we were at Rady's Children's Hospital in San Diego for the last 9 days, the Ronald McDonald house was a huge blessing providing free meals, coffee, showers, etc. Until April 15th, you can e-mail them an eSmile (1 per day) and HP will give them $1 for each e-mail sent. An e-smile is : a cute photo, a funny phrase, words of encouragement, anything to bring a smile to our families' faces. I just sent my first one today and will keep it up until April 15th. If anyone feels like doing this, it is quick an really helps families going through a hard time. This is the e-mail address:

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Photo Challenge Delay

I will finish this photo challenge, even if I end up going into the beginning of April.  Right now, I will have a few days delay.  My second child is in the hospital right now because sickness for her is complicated by a lung condition that she has that is under investigation at present.  We are thankful for the good care she is and will be receiving, and that her doctors are making every effort to find answers to the questions marks about her health.  This has and continues to be a bit of a wearing and tiring process, so my blogging will have to be sporadic until things normalize again.  We appreciate all prayers for Selah for her good health!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

#MarchPhotoADay - 14 : Clouds

Inevitably, when I am prompted to take pictures of clouds for a photo challenge, it is a day with a perfectly blue sky and not a cloud in sight.  Given, I am a day behind on the challenge, but nonetheless, it seems that Murphy's Law is in effect when it comes to me and cloud pictures.  So, I was remembering back to a picture my hubby took when we were on a plane coming back from running the Rock N' Roll San Jose 1/2 Marathon in the Fall of '07 and decided to "cheat" and post that one instead.  It's great how pictures can bring back the fun memories of times past. 

#MarchPhotoADay - 13 : A Sign

The store where the girls won the 2 free black chicks.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Chicks Progress

It is hard to believe how fast chicks can grow.  We got them when they were 2 days old and now they are 2 1/2 weeks old.  Besides being loads of fun, we hope they all turn out to be hens (rather than roosters) so that we'll have a bunch of good egg layers in another 16 weeks.  Check out their growth in the pics below.  :-)
2 days old

1 week old.  We have 2 Black Australorps and 3 Rhode Island Reds.

1 week old - This one's name is Belle and she is our biggest chick right now.
2 1/2 weeks old and curious about the camera in their faces.

The Rhode Island Red in this picture has the biggest crown so far and the blue paint from her shipping crate as a chick (we think)  is finally wearing off. 

2 1/2 weeks old.  Learning to roost.  

 The girls have all named their own chicks, except for Dakota, our youngest (who I helped with naming her hen and her chick).  By my daughters birth order, here are the names of their chicks:  #1 - Chicky "Chiquita Banana", #2 - Rosie, #3 - Belle, #4 -  Mama Odie, #5 - Dixie Chick. 

#MarchPhotoADay - 12 : Fork

Amazing what I find in the door of my van - even a fork!

Friday, March 9, 2012


Our second daughter's name is Selah, a word that can be found in the book of Psalms in the Bible.  The exact meaning of this word in Hebrew is unknown, but it is thought to be a musical term that means to "pause" or to "reflect".  It is no surprise then, that our own Selah is our most pensive child. 

#MarchPhotoADay - 9 : Red

#MarchPhotoADay - 8 : Window

A view through a window when I was with my daughter on her field trip to Sea World.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

#MarchPhotoADay - 7 : Something You Wore

This is an item I wore today and have been wearing since Christmas.  Thanks to my Dad for buying me a pair of these warm LAMO boots that have solved my cold feet problem in the winter.  I am one of those people that perpetually has cold hand and feet except for on the hottest days of the year, hence my constant use of this item in my wardrobe.

#MarchPhotoADay - 6 : 5PM

My typical weekday 5 PM - homework and supper prep.

Monday, March 5, 2012

#MarchPhotoADay - 5 : A Smile

#MarchPhotoADay - 4 : Bedside

Yep, I'm still at that stage with my youngest.  The items I most likely have close at hand at my bedside are for my almost-2-year-old.  Baby powder for bad diapers and Orajel for middle-of-the-night 
screaming from teething.

#MarchPhotoADay - 3 : Your Neighborhood

This was one of those weekends that was busy from start to finish.  I barely had a chance to sit down at the computer, much less blog or post pictures for the March Photo A Day Challenge.  Having a smartphone with the Instagram app would make it easier, but alas, I am still in the Dark Ages of a "dumb"phone instead on which I only make phone calls.

It was a little difficult to get close to this house because it is on a curve in the road with very little shoulder not far from my house.  The local word on the house is that it is owned by someone in the Disney family and was built by the Disney's.  Apparently, it is supposed to have some resemblance to the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland.  I don't know if that is true, but it makes for a fun story for a house that we see every day.

This is the sight that greets my eyes every weekday afternoon - my 3 darling school-aged girls getting off the bus and excitedly coming to tell me the details of their day.

Friday, March 2, 2012

#MarchPhotoADay - 2 : Fruit

 Fruit . . . Potential
2 pear trees, 3 nectarine trees, 2 asian pear trees, 
and 1 anna apple tree

Thursday, March 1, 2012

#MarchPhotoADay - 1: Up

March Photo A Day Challenge

My friend, Janene, is game for all sorts of challenges when it comes to blogging and photography.  I'm not nearly as disciplined or creative as she is, but I'm going to join her in this March photo challenge that was created by another mom blogger at
This should be fun . . . now let's see if I can keep up, day by day.  :-)

Here are the prompts and they are open to interpretation, which is a good thing in my case because I usually need to improvise and figure out a picture that can be taken close to home and that isn't time consuming.