Fries are done

Saturday, January 26, 2008

"When your family does something, they sure do it with flair!"...

... A direct quote from our pediatrician this week.

Flashback, 2 weeks: Carina has her 18 month appointment. Finally, she weighs over 20 pounds (21 to be exact) and is generally doing great. Oh, wait a minute, she has double ear infections. (The girl hadn't complained at all! I guess it was a good thing we went to the doctor.) The check up wouldn't be complete without 4 vaccines. One of these, the MMR, was one I was dreading and purposely put off until now, due to how poorly Dante reacted.

So, we go about our business for a week or so, and we think Carina is looking pretty bad with 3 falls to her face this week on concrete. We schedule an appointment to have both kids ears checked to ensure that the infections have cleared up. While we're there, we are told that their ears look beautiful! (Whew). Oh, and look! Carina has a few small red dots - textbook reaction to the MMR shot earlier. "Expect it to last about 5 days."

That night, Carina is fussy all night long, with Chris and I going in to help her back to sleep a few times. In the morning, I turn on the light...Oh My! She is covered in tons of red spots - and not small ones either! She's also running a low grade fever. So, I call the office and talk to a nurse. "No problem, this happens. She won't be itchy, it just looks bad." By the time I get home at 4:30 in the afternoon, and she has been sleeping on and off all day, I am about ready to take her to the hospital - Her whole face is swollen and she's covered in hives! I call the office again, they ask around, talk to the doctor, " It's OK. Just give her some benadryl and tylenol. This does happen, but she will be fine." I feel guilty now for not pressing the issue, but I trust them. The benadryl does NOTHING to combat how itchy she is. We are up all night long and looking pretty scary. I call the practice in the middle of the night and was called at 6:30am with a "come in at 8."

Dr. Patranella walks in the exam room and says, "Wow. The nurses said it was impressive. Boy, when your family does something, they sure do it with flair! I see a case like this maybe once every 5 years." (great.) So, she gave us a prescription for a medicine that not only stops the itching, but should help the anxiety she has from it. "The good thing about measles is that it is very predictable. She should have this for about 5 days. Rarely it could be 6 weeks...but almost always 5 days....don't need to call or come in unless she has a 105 can sure count that she's not going to get the measles now!...imagine this plus a high fever and brain swelling - that's what measles are.(She had it as a child.)"

The kicker here is that Chris and I were scheduled to go to Orlando for a business trip for 2 days on this day! We went ahead to Orlando and mom and Uncle Mike came to the rescue. She is doing better, but now her skin looks all mottled and scarred. It is smooth to the touch, but looks like she has scales of red and purple! I swear I just wanted to cry every time I looked at her. But, through it all, she was still being her silly self when she could be. Dante was apparently very nice to her the whole time ("Carina has polka-dots!") and she got to hang with Nonni, so life is good.

I guess we should have posted sooner about this next news: Dante had his one year CT scan..."See you in May!" Yippee!!!! His AFP came back at 2.3!!! All good signs. We weren't as excited this time for a few reasons. The way the results were written up made it sound not so good, even when it generally was. We met a new oncologist, who seemed nice, but doesn't know us at all and told us to come back in 6 months. The other 2 doctors had been saying it would switch to 4 months, so that made us a little uneasy. Dante has been having some behavioral problems at school, and they seem to be related to his hearing loss.

We're scheduled for an audiology appointment this week. He'll have ear molds made and have a different type of hearing test performed. The last test we had was such a drop off in his hearing that we were all shocked. Then 2 days later, we find out he has an ear infection, which means those results are probably worthless. He's definitely having a harder time telling what people are saying, unless they're looking at him or the room is quiet. He does a pretty good job of interpreting, but I catch him on things like- me: "...weekend." Dante: " sweetbay?" Most of the incidents at school have been during transition times, which makes me think he's not hearing all the cues to change modes. I made a visual chart for his class of their daily schedule to hopefully help with this. I also found out that he qualifies for some assistance through the public schools, so I will be researching that as well.

We will be moving forward with hearing aids at this point. Funding is an issue that I am trying not to think about. They are expensive and insurance does not pay for them. The program I was shown to apply for assistance to have them paid in full? I make $2000 more than the qualifying income. Bummer. They are going to give us a loaner set at first to get him used to it and try it out. In the meantime, we'll be trying to find some other organizations that assist in paying for them.

On a more positive note, tomorrow we are off to a Gasparilla party with the entire crew and then Ryan's birthday party on Sunday. The kids are still happy and making us giggle everyday with new quotes. "When Carina is grown up like me, and has blue eyes, and new shoes, she'll be able to use the potty like me!" "With your hair combed like that, you look just like Uncle Mike" " No, I don't, because I'm naked."

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Here's To A Great 2008!

Happy New Year everyone! Our run up to the holidays was hectic, but enjoyable. Since school didn't let out until the 21st, it didn't leave a lot of time to get ready, but that was good - not as much money spent! The best part is that we have so much time after Christmas to relax and enjoy time with family and friends. My mom often talks about the year we celebrated Christmas a week early and how relaxing it was. Everyone else was rushing around and we were done and just hanging out. We even all went out as a family a day or two before Christmas to eat and play together. Just what it should be. This year was pretty close to that.

We decided to go ahead and give Dante a haircut. His hair was adorable but getting a bit crazy. The one day we had the heater on his hair straightened and you could really see how long it was; and the mullet-do was coming through. Aunt Laurie came over and did a great job of making him look like a big boy. Now, everyone keeps asking what happened to his hair. It grows so fast, I'm sure it will be crazy again in no time.

This year Dante was a huge help in making cookies. He took his job very seriously measuring and mixing and making sure all the reindeer cookies had antlers...I went a little crazy and made 6 different kinds of cookies and had designs on others. I just couldn't decide!

While we were making cookies, I noticed that Dante was especially non-responsive when I would give him directions. Now, I know that he's 3 1/2 and all, but I would even say "m&m's" and he wouldn't respond. (Dr: "Wow, that's actually a pretty accurate test of a 3 year old's hearing.") We were all starting to get mad at him and then I realized that he was not just doing it on purpose. We were starting to get worried, since his hearing is already diminished. He and Carina had also had a nighttime, and sometimes daytime cough, since around the 15th. So, I took them to the doctor and sure enough, Dante had fluid in his ears and the doctor said that was why he was having trouble hearing. So, both kids were put on medication to improve the infection and it seems to be working. Now only the typical 3 year old ignoring is happening....

Dante has been super cute all through December. "It's Christmas-time at school now." "It's Christmas-time at home." "It's Christmas-time at Nonni's house." "Is it Christmas-time at Jen Palmer's house too?"

We did our new tradition of driving around to look at lights on December 23rd this year. Dante was hysterical - "Look at that!" every 20 seconds. My mom and I were starting to get silly - "Look Dante - brake lights! They're red - Look at that!"

We had Christmas Eve dinner at our house with Chris's yummy spice-crusted salmon with lime-orange salsa...mmmmm. And of course, lots of cookies for dessert! The kids got some new Dora and Sesame Street ornaments and were very excited to add them to the tree.

Dante's present to us was that he slept in. We went into his room on Christmas morning and he was sitting in bed reading a book!

The day of presents started from there, but it was pretty tame for a while. Carina was happy with her Sesame Street magnadoodle and Dante was very excited about his battery-powered Percy and bumpy track! They played well together most of the morning. It was funny to see how they gravitated towards each others gifts instead of their own all day long.

Carina would have been happy with just her new pajamas or socks that she was showing off to all.
Dante got 3 new shirts and every time he opened one, we had to help him change his shirt.

I know that many of us get caught up in buying on Christmas, but I was glad that we didn't go overboard. They were having the time of their lives playing with the new toys and it was more than enough.

The real craziness started when we first went to Great Grandma Yvonne's house to open presents, and then on to Nonni's house afterwards for Christmas dinner and still more presents. Nonni had a play cottage/kitchen for Carina and a Diego tricycle for Dante. They were just going nuts and having a blast! We got to spend Christmas with Uncle Mike as well, so that was fun for all.

The next day Aunt Melissa arrived with Hunter, Madison and Megan, who we hadn't seen in a long time. It took next to no time for both our kids to warm up and never leave their cousins' sides. It was a fun visit with tons of play time. We played with the cousins' Wii that they got for Christmas, went to the beach, had a cookout, played some Candyland and other games and just hung out. Boy, was it nice to have a break from the constant watching of the kids when they were around! They were so good with them.
We went to dinner and Megan took care of Dante, helping him make a mess with spaghetti. I know it was driving her crazy, but she stuck with it. Hunter and Maddie advised Dante on his computer game. My back got a break from carrying Carina too! They are getting to be so grown up and all have great personalities. (If not a little too attached to their cell phones...) We sure do miss them and hope to see them again soon. (Nonni has a bunch of our photos of their visit, so I will add them later!)

On New Year's Eve, we got to get together with some good friends at the WMNF New Year's party with Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue, a young group from New Orleans that had the whole eclectic crowd on their feet throughout the night. Even Dante had an eventful New Year's Eve/Day spent with Nonni.

Upcoming events this month - Dante has a CT scan (one year mark) mid-month, as well as some other tests for follow-up. Also, new audiology tests and fitting for hearing aids soon. Carina has her 18 month appointment next week. We'll keep you posted!