Wednesday, March 31, 2010

She's out!

We had a long but good day that ended with our leaving the Children's Hospital, hopefully for good! Blair did well all day today -- so well that she hardly napped at all.

The morning started with Blair's doctor coming in right after we woke up. He wrote orders to discontinue her IV and told me that we would go downstairs to the regular floor (from the ICU/stepdown floor) and maybe get to go home soon. How soon? Maybe this afternoon. 

So we waited.

And waited.

We had such wonderful care during the entire hospital stay, and today of all days we had a nurse that was especially thorough. Very nice. And very thorough. We finally got down to the regular floor around 2pm. That was well after Blair's doctor came by to see her again at lunch and instructed the nurse to get her IV out. 

Several doctors came by the third floor to check on Miss Blair. They were all so wonderful to her during our time there, and they were very pleased to see how well Blair was doing. Blair was also in regular Blair form because her daddy was there. She had woken up calling him, and she was so happy to see him.

After about 2 hours on the third floor, we were released to go home. We are thankful for Blair's doctor; no other doctor would have released her so quickly, but he knows us and knows that we are capable of handling oxygen at home.

Blair will be on oxygen for several days to keep her oxygen saturation up and let her body continue to heal. The oxygen will help her lungs to not overwork themselves and keep her from breathing too rapidly. She's going to finish up some steroids and hopefully be wide open in no time. (She's already close to wide open, but she's got baggage - her nasal cannula slows her down a bit!)

I have some pictures, but a real bed is looking mighty good right now, so I'll get to them tomorrow!

Speaking of tomorrow... it's back to school for me! (I missed three tests this week. Ugh. Where on earth will I put those on my schedule?!) We'll be back to regular blog programming soon. I have growing chickens and watermelon vines to write about!

I want especially thank all of you for your continued prayers for our family. With much prayer and faith, we will hopefully one day be on the other side (the healed one) of chronic lung disease.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Yay for bottles!

Miss Blair has had such a great day and is now off of high flow oxygen! We see once again how powerful prayer and God's healing hands are. Blair drank some Pedialyte in one of those tiny hospital bottles and downed it in a matter of seconds. After a little while they let us give her some milk. She was whimpering and signed "milk please" when we were getting it ready and signed "all done" after she drank seven ounces. She wanted more shortly after. She may get to have real food before too much longer.

 Drinking her juice.

The next step is to see how she does tonight on the regular nasal cannula. We have the high flow in the room still in case she needs it. If she does ok on the regular flow oxygen, there will be more of a chance of taking her home sooner than later. Since we have oxygen at home, we don't have to wait for her to be completely weaned. 

Hey, my pacis go on here!

 Ok, that's enough! I want them back now!

It's great to see Blair in a better mood, talking, signing, and playing more. She will still watch TV though, which is a sign that she's not completely herself! Notice that my mom is always holding her. I don't know what I did, but it is rare that Blair wants me -- hurts my feelings!

Better today?

After a night of good solid sleep, Blair may be a little bit better today. She put a big smile on when the nurse came in with a toothbrush -- making her daddy proud! She's also played with some puzzles and watched TV. (She hardly ever does that at home because she can't keep still!)


 
She likes Barney!

Set her paci down long enough to do a puzzle.

Photography by Blair. She's got talent, no?

Respiratory is going to try again to wean her off of the liter flow. If they can get it down to 4 or 5, they said she can eat. They will make a feeding tube decision this afternoon. Right now, it's down to 6 liters, and we don't see any signs of fast breathing or her working harder than she was on 8 liters. So that's a praise! Maybe she'll be eating this afternoon.

 Two pacis required.

 Three preferred.

Blair's doctor ordered a cystic fibrosis test this morning, but thankfully she had one, among others, in the NICU, and they were all negative. I'm glad we don't have to go through that waiting again. We've been told that Blair is a really rare case in that she has taken so long to recover from the pneumonia she had when she was born. I guess it's just hard for the doctors to believe there's not something else going on. We are just thankful for God's miracles.


 Holding her arms out for Gigi to hold her.

We're praying for a good day today and bottles this afternoon!

Monday, March 29, 2010

PIMCU Day 2

We're still holding steady in the PIMCU. We had an okay day. Blair was up to looking at books for a little while a few different times today. She felt really crummy this evening though. We think she is just super tired and has a hard time getting comfortable. Because of her IV, she can't sleep with those hands under her tummy like usual. After a bit of a fight, she is finally sacked out in her crib.

Not much on toys but she would hold the disposable toothbrushes!

The respiratory therapists think that her lungs sound pretty good. They tried to wean her off of the 8 liter oxygen flow, but her respiratory rate climbed back into the seventies, so she's back on 8 liters at 40% right now with a respiratory rate around 60, which is acceptable. They usually intubate when respiratory rates are above 70 for more than a couple of days, so we would much rather her be on a high liter flow for a little bit longer to keep her off of the ventilator. She will wean when she's ready. We are hoping that her stamina is better than average since she is somewhat used to having to work to breathe. Who knows. The oxygen was weaned to 30% during the day, but when she went to bed, her saturation dropped, and they had to increase it.

She hasn't had fever all day. Today's x-ray looked about the same as yesterday's, which is better than worse. She still mainly has some haziness around the airways and some in the right upper lobe, which the nurse said they see a good bit with RSV. (Blair has a "cousin" virus of RSV we think.) The doctor said no food today, and I'm pretty sure that was the source of some of tonight's fussiness. I know she wants something to drink. Her liter flow has to be decreased to 2 before she can eat, so she may have to have an NG tube tomorrow for tube feedings. We really don't want that, but then again, we'd rather an NG tube with 8 liters than a ventilator. If the 8 liters will keep her off of the ventilator, than an NG tube will have to do!



I think that just about sums it up. Brad was here for most of the day today, and Blair was so happy to see him. She wants him or Gigi over her mommy most of the time! She swaps quite often. When she gets ready, she points to the person she wants, holding her little hands out in front of her like she's trying to catch something. She's a sweet one for sure.

With Gigi.

We know that God is taking care of this baby. Please pray that He continues to do so and that we see improvement tomorrow.

The Children's Hospital

We admitted Blair to the Children's hospital last night. She's in the PIMCU, the intermediate care unit, which is basically a step down from ICU. They can monitor her much better and provide her with care we can't give her at home. Our low flow oxygen is just not enough to keep her from working too hard to breathe. Her pulmonologist rounds here, so he is involved in her care, for which we are thankful. He was a consult in her care even in the NICU and is very good.

Her chest x-ray showed no pneumonia, just slight haziness (congestion) around the main airways and into the smaller ones, which is very virus-like. Her labs looked okay. She tested negative for RSV and flu, so her doctor thinks that she has respiratory virus kin to RSV. This would basically be a cold for most people. She went downhill fast from begging to go outside and playing yesterday morning. She is not herself, but we are hoping that we have seen the worst already. Right now they have her on high flow oxygen and IV steroids. She rested fairly well last night except for the times when she was bothered.

She really checked out the IV in her hand, which is completely immobilized on a board. She looked at her other hand and turned both hands over to see the other side. It was like she was thinking, "Wow. It's a good thing I only have one of these. Otherwise, how in the world would I hold my paci?"

We know that she is in God's hands, and that he will take care of her. Please do pray for her recovery. We are especially prayerful that she will remain in this unit with oxygen therapy and will not have to be put in on a ventilator in the PICU.

I will continue to update as we know anything more. Right now, we are just letting her rest.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

ER Round Two

We were back in the ER yesterday after what I thought was an allergy issue turned into a fever of 101.3. I talked to our NP, and she suggested that we go check it out. We were both scared that Blair might have pneumonia. Blair was breathing between 60 - 80 times per minute like last time. Her fever was 102.2 when we got to the hospital. They gave her some medicine and an oral steroid and sent us home because her x-ray looked fine. That's the good news. The bad news is now we have her home, she's still breathing hard and fast, and it's scary. Her oxygen saturation monitor went off all night last night, and I had the oxygen on as high as it would go. I did everything I knew to do including raising the head of mattress up with a pillow. I end up having to go in there and stir her just enough to make the saturation go up (it's supposed to be at least 90%, but hers will go down to 86 or 87 sometimes), but it goes right back down after a few minutes. Brad or I usually end up holding her, which does help, but it doesn't do much for our sleep!

The good thing is that this time she feels better, and she has not needed oxygen during the day yet except for naps. She's still playing and in a pretty good mood, despite her loud breathing that scares me to death! She has been begging to go outside, so we did go out for a bit this morning, and she is sleeping now. (She asked to get in her bed!) She does seem a little better as of lunchtime, so I hope that the improvement continues.

It is a mystery to me how a baby who stays home all the time can pick up a virus like this. They are everywhere though, so I guess it's really not that difficult and we should be thankful that this is only the second one during her almost 18 months. It could even come from me not washing my hands after getting the mail. It makes that bubble boy's bubble in that episode of Seinfeld seem like a really attractive option for us! 

Like always, we appreciate your prayers. We are praying that she is back to herself soon!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Blair


My beautiful bird legged babe,

 
balancing on beds
 

and breaking up dirt "rocks"


on a beautiful, breezy day.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Waiting

Rows and rows of plastic covered watermelon beds glistening in the afternoon sun. They'll be warming little baby watermelon plants very soon!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Faster than Blair

Brad and his infinite wisdom: "Those chickens are 'bout the only things that grow faster than Blair." 

And that they are. My little chickens are twice the size they were when we got them last Saturday. We've already had chicken drama too. Never a moment without drama around here! I don't know what happened -- either I dropped the light on her or she got pecked -- but one of our little ones has a hurt toe. At the site of blood, all the other chickens started pecking her! So I had to separate her, and I've been putting Bag Balm on her toe.

My little gimp chicken. She's a Wyandotte. They are beautiful to me, and I want her to make it! What should I name her?!

She's getting better, but I've tried to put her back in with the others, and there's at least one that goes right for her toe! Mean little jokers!

 Speaking of mean, this is the boss lady. She needs a name too -- they actually all need names. At one week three days old, she's mean!

That's boss lady on the left and another Production Red in the center. Then, on the right is the assistant to the boss lady, a Barred Rock. She puts the others in their places when the boss lady is taking a break. (ie right now! Doesn't she look like she's eying me?!)

Whoever knew chickens were so fascinating to watch. Its okay if you think I'm crazy. Brad thinks I'm crazy too. He wants me to kill the gimp chicken and get it over with.

 One week, three days old and getting feathers!


I'll be glad when they are old enough to not be in our dining room! I change the boxes every day, but they could be changed twice a day. They make the biggest mess!

 They scratch the food out onto the paper within minutes after I clean the box.

They are really sweet when they sleep though. They pile on top of each other!


 Here they are almost one week old.

Since I had a big test this week, this post is late, and the chickens already look so different. They have lots of feathers now. They are two weeks and one day old today. I'll take more pictures and post an update! It'll be no time before we have eggs -- sometime in mid-summer hopefully!

URL

You may or may not have noticed that my blog now has its own URL. Look up in the address bar and you will see... www.acrossthebranch.com. The old URL still works, and it will get you to the right place, but I'm proud to have this little southern phrase as a real live, registered web address! Yay!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

We like pink!

But not pink eye! Blair has pink eye. She woke up yesterday with a watery eye, and it got worse over the course of the day. Thankfully our wonderful nurse at the doctor's office got some medicine called in, and today Blair is already much better!

Watching Baby McDonald (the only thing she will actually watch) with her bath towel. This baby loves a bath towel. You can hardly even tell she has pink eye.

Never still for very long!

Now only if we can can get through this nasty pollen, we'll be on our way to summertime, watermelons, and hopefully a few outings with Blair!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Best Compliment

--Are you Cuban?
--No. I'm American.
--You're American? You speak Spanish very well!
(translated to English by ME!)

WHAT a wonderful compliment from a Hispanic woman! I was ecstatic!


Let me back up a little.... I finally got to speak Spanish at the hospital yesterday!


I had had one other opportunity before when there was a Hispanic baby there, but one of the nurses was very snippy to me when I told her I spoke Spanish. I was thinking that I could help out with the parents, and one of the other nurses had already said that they might need me. But this other nurse (in a whiny, making fun of me voice): "Ooooh, Ashlee speaks Spanish. Then she can talk to the baby and comfort the baby, and the baby can tell her what's wrong." She was not being nice -- the baby was too young to talk.


Yesterday, however, was much different. I was so excited that I had two different opportunities to work with Hispanic people yesterday at clinicals. I was in the room of a patient who was watching a cooking segment on the morning show on Univisión. They were making coffee candied nuts. They looked so good. The patient and I looked at each other, and I said, "Qué ricas!" -- Yum! She asked me if I spoke Spanish, and I told her I did. After listening to the show for a few more minutes, I asked her (in Spanish) if the chef was Cuban. I was curious to see if I recognized the chef's accent or not -- sometimes I can recognize them and sometimes I can't! She said that the chef was Cuban, asked me if I was Cuban, and told me that I spoke really good Spanish!


I would like to clarify and say that I do not sound like I'm a native Spanish speaker. I have decent accent, but not a native accent. In hearing my Spanish, one cannot tell I'm from south Georgia, but one can tell that I'm not Hispanic. Maybe the one or two things I had said to this woman sounded really good! Regardless, it's always a compliment when a native Spanish speaker tells me that I speak Spanish well. That and being asked by another nurse to translate for her with another family made my day! Now that the word is out, maybe I'll get more opportunities to help out!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Dirt

The day after Brad asked me if we were going to have to have a sand box happened to be the day that this happened for the first time.

Ironic, huh? I guess we might have a sand box one day!


Hey, what is this?




Here puppy.













Up close and personal







Yay for entertainment! We love outside!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Boo Boo

Blair has a boo boo. She fell outside this weekend and scraped her face and busted her lip a little bit. This is the first injury we've had with actual blood! Of course it scared us to death, but she calmed down quickly and refused ice. She took a paci (of course) and was back on the move in no time!

It's not too bad, except she looks like she's been in a fight. This was the day after it happened.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

"They're some poopin' little jokers, aren't they?"

So said my husband, as he looked into the chicken box after the ride home from picking them up. Then, "Aaaaashlee, what have you gotten into? I'm not cleaning up poop, and I'm not getting eggs every day." He loves me.

I got some baby chickens on Saturday! They were hatched Wednesday, March 10. I'm supposed to have all hens (pullets). I got three Silver Laced Wyandottes, three Barred Plymouth Rocks, and two Production Reds. Aren't they cute?!


The plain black ones are Barred Rocks and the stripey ones are Wyandottes.

These are all multi-purpose (meat/laying) hens that lay various shades of brown eggs. The Production Red is a cross between a Rhode Island Red and a New Hampshire Red (and maybe another breed). The Production Reds are supposed to be the best brown egg laying hens. I mostly got them because I had all black ones and wanted a few that were a different color!


Barred Rock hen
Photo: Wikipedia


Production Red
Photo:
rapplsfarm.com


Silver Laced Wyandotte
Photo: brbpoultry.co.uk

Eight chickens is a lot. I really hope none die, but then again, I don't know what we're going to do with them if they all live! And, I'm supposed to get two more when the Ameraucanas come in next month! We'll figure it out. My sister wants chickens, so maybe she can take some if I end up with too many. My other sister takes in all sorts of animals, so I bet she would take them if she could talk my dad into it. She's even supposed to get a dairy cow today. It's her new "project."

Here are our babies! Aren't they cute? They are hanging out in my dining room in a box until they are old enough to go outside to the big coop.



Blair liked them of course!


Peeking in.


Brad let her touch one, but she tried to squeeze the chicken's head, so we put her back.


More please!

We'll see how it goes.... Gus sure is curious!