Several Things All at Once

First of all. . .

An update on Joan & Kathleen. I don’t think I had gotten to blog that shortly after Joan was put into the hospital, Kathleen came down with a fever. Here is the update from Daddy/Husband Mike as of today:

Joan had her finger x-rayed yesterday, and the results were not what we hoped for. The infection did compromise her bone, and so she is in for a much longer treatment. It will be an additional 3 weeks from today on the antibiotics. The good news is that she continues to do well and is eating and gaining weight. I don’t know what else might be in store for her, so please pray for her healing and that we find our way to the easiest road to recovery.

Kathleen was admitted to Women’s Hospital of Texas last night. Her own infection turned out to be the same MRSA staph, and when she went to her doctor yesterday, they took one look at her and made arrangements for her to be admitted. When we got to the Women’s Hospital, they had a bed ready for her and her doctor saw her immediately. Again, upon examination he called for a CAT scan and asked a specialist to come in and examine her that night, rather than waiting for the morning. When the specialist came in, he examined her and liked what he saw, so they put her on antibiotics. The CT scan revealed that she has an abscess that they need to address. It will be a couple of days before they know what course of action they need to take. Please pray for her speedy recovery.

As we can all imagine–and some of us have experienced first hand–having a baby or child in the hospital is bad enough without you having to be in a different hospital altogether while you have ANOTHER child at home. Please, DO pray for Mike, Kathleen, Joan, and Patrick and all of those taking care of them during this more than trying time.

Secondly, our computer is dead. . .died. . .dead. We are hoping to recover some of the stuff to dump onto a new hard drive–kind of like an organ donor I suppose–but I can’t blog from home and history had shown that once I blog from school, they will block my access to this. I’m shooting the works today.

Third, as has gone the computer, so has one of our chickens. Rainbow and Heart joined our family 5 1/2 years ago, and this morning Tony found that one of them (as we’ve never been able to tell them apart) has gone to her great reward. This is old in chicken years. We’ve not yet told the children, so please send kind, uplifting thoughts our way as we have to break the news after school.

Moving right along, I’m (so far) loving teaching 8th grade. I am sure that there will be trying times (like grading 150 essays), but so far, the kids are good–even the ones that are frequent fliers in the A/P office–and I’m enjoying my new team.

And, finally, what has to be undone and redone has still not yet begun at the house site. What with the rain, etc. the company has not been able to complete the slab at another home, which means that haven’t been able to work on ours. This is tiny compared to bone infiltration by a drug resistant form of staph, and I know it, but I wanted to keep you all informed.

If I’ve not commented on your blog–it’s ’cause I can’t get to it. I miss you. Truly I do.


Update on Joan

Well, they have determined which antibiotics are NOT effective on Joan’s strain of staph, so now they can give her the one that is. She is in “isolation” which means a private room. This is good since Kathleen (mom) can have her own sleeping area and bathroom as opposed to the general sleeping quarters/waiting room/public restroom. Because the baby is so tiny, her veins are not sustaining the IV’s very well. They will have to put in a central line as early as tomorrow, and that will involve anesthesia. Also this strain of staph evidently “likes” to get into bones, so they will have to do ANOTHER x-ray as the one the other day is now void since they’ve figured out the actual strain of staph.

She is still eating well and gaining weight, so other than the fact that she has a life threatening infection, she’s living the life of a newborn. 🙂 Please, please keep them in your prayers as I know you are.

Some things

First of all, Joan’s staph IS drug resistant which means she got it from the hospital or doctor’s office. YIKES. She is, however, nursing like a champ and doing well other than being isolated in a hospital room. There is still no word on how long she will be in the hospital. The infectious disease doctors come tomorrow. They are on antibiotic #3, so hopefully this will be the one to take care of the staph. It’s not in the bone, but they are awaiting tests on blood, urine, and lumbar fluid. Her Momma is with her, and as I told her Daddy today, they will never forget it but Joan will never remember it.

Now, Melanie. . .this one’s for you and Maggie. . .and Maggie’s new kennel.

The rest of this just cracked me up. . .
more cat pictures

more cat pictures

Um, come to think of it, from what I KNOW of Maggie, these are a running commentary on her as well.

Little Joan Marie is Sick

So, I told you about Joan the other day. . .and her little finger got worse. First thing Monday they took her to the doctor AGAIN where she was diagnosed with staph. She was already on oral antibiotics, so she was admitted to Texas Children’s Hospital immediately. Her stay will be 7-30 days depending on whether or not it is a drug resistant strain. Having done the NICU dance with both of my babies (6 days with Victoria and 3 with Thad), I know that Kathleen is frantic and tired and probably a little ticked off at the world. At least I was.

There are several blessings in that her mom was already here for the month, and we have such great hospitals here. But she just had a c-section, and she wants her baby home, and she is worried about the one that is already at home. Please pray for Joan, her parents Mike and Kathleen, and big brother Patrick who is 4. Pray also for Grandmother Mary who is in charge of Patrick. 🙂

Somebody else’s baby.

Our friends recently had a little girl. By recently, I mean about two weeks ago. Her name is Joan Marie, and she has RED hair, and is skinny, skinny, skinny, and STUH-RONG. We went to see her today after church. She was nursing, and then I changed her diaper and and held her while her momma took care of her belly button and put a band-aid on her finger which has a little infection from an “ingrown” nail of sorts. It took BOTH of us to get the band-aid on.

She screamed throughout the large majority of our first 15 minutes together, did little Joan Marie. So, I asked her momma if she could still be hungry and her momma said the bar was closed. I finally took her up to her GLORIOUSLY decorated room, which was dark-ish and quiet and had a rocking chair. Victoria followed, but no one else did. I did not blame them.

Their rocking chair is the EXACT same one that we have, so it was mighty comfy and familiar. I plunked myself and the screaming Joan Marie down, and we rocked and rocked and rocked. And Victoria watched. And Joan screamed. And we rocked. And lather, rinse, repeat. But after a few minutes, the silence and and the dark and the rocking took over, and Joan got quiet, then she got sleepy, then she fell asleep.

And Victoria said, “You’re gonna have to teach me how to do that.”

It’s nice to know I haven’t lost my touch.

And it was also nice to leave her there and take my two potty-trained children who no longer need naps to go out to eat lunch.

If I were a composer. . .

If I were a composer, I would compose the “Back to School Dirge.” (Alas, I just went to itallicize the title of my dirge and found that my little bar of things with which to fiddle is gone. Egads!!! I will be forced to emphasize words with capital letters only.)

I’m not quite sure how it would sound EXACTLY–this dirge ‘o mine– but it would include some DEFINITE sound effects such as:

the washing machine and dryer
the scanner booping noise at Wal-Mart and Target
the sound of a child who says, “No. These are too tight.”
the sound of a child running in their new shoes
the sound of jangling school doors that are locked for lunch while parents try to register
the sound of WEEPING from parents of kindergarteners and seniors
the sound of WHOOPING from parents of all other school-aged children
the sound of the clock tick-tick-ticking away the last few hours until inservice begins

Normally at this time of year, I’ve made something new for my room. This year–Zilch.

Normally at this time of year, I am either really excited or really depressed. This year–Zilch.

Normally at this time of year, I have Great Educational Plans. This year–Zilch.

This is the oddest beginning of a school year EVER. It is like no other. I think I am informationed, activitied, lived out. My summer has been like a long afternoon nap where you wake up and think it’s 5:00 A.M. but it’s really 5:00 P.M., and this school year, right now, feels like the rest of the evening after that. I think we can attribute this phenomenon to death of a parent/building a new house/selling an old one/having strange, unexplained swelling/sudden job change/not knowing what to expect in the new job-itis. But it’s not bad, this new sensation. It’s kind of like my two lives are melding into one–my school year life and my summer life–we’ll see how long this lasts.

For now it is time to:

1. Play Legos with Thad
2. Fold clothes
3. Drink a Diet Coke
4. Wash more clothes
5. Pack Victoria and Thad to be with Ed and Ruthann for the next three days. It will be nice to not have to cook every night, but oh, I will MISS them. They make me smile.

Things You Would Have Heard at My House this Morning, etc.

“When Daddy is through wrestling with the snake, he can come and watch the crab explode.”

Victoria standing in front of an open cage that was inhabited by the 8+ foot snake that Daddy was wrestling WITHOUT BATTING AN EYE, but screaming when a bug ran across her shoe.

Me screaming as Thad tricked me into watching the CARTOON crab explode by not TELLING me it was going to explode. It was on Poptropica which is a game on which is a free, educational website with lots of games. Thad and Victoria LOVE it. There was a little crab that he was clicking on, and it was sort of dancing, and I said, “Oh, that crab is dancing.” And then it BLEW UP. All the little black line drawn pieces of it went KABLOOEY all over the beach. I guess it was no worse than an anvil falling on Wyle E. Coyote’s head, but it took me by surprise and the little crab eyeballs went flying across the computer screen.

The smoke alarm near the front door going off NOT because Victoria and I had garlic toast for breakfast like we WANTED due to a 10:30 showing of our home (Sarah, I KNOW that the thought of garlic toast for breakfast is grossing you out), but because it is so hot and humid that the heat and steam from outside triggered it when we left the door open for too long.

Me divulging womanly secrets to Victoria. . .this morning’s lecture was about the many merits of NAME BRAND Windex versus generic or store brand window cleaner for cleaning mirrors. I’ve used ’em all, and it’s worth the extra to get REAL Windex and good paper towels. (I use Sparkle, because they are also very cute.)

Victoria quoting her favorite Looney Tunes lines at random.

Me explaining to the children BOTH definitions of the word trifle as well as describing the dish that holds a trifle. (Victoria was reading Chrysanthemum to Thad and it says, “She felt a trifle better. . .”).

Thad waxing poetic, profusely, and AD NAUSEUM about the many, many, many Lego sets he already owns and hopes to own in the future and what he will do with them and what movies he will make about them when he grows up and what color the hair is of the people he will hire to be in his movies and how he will have to get a black wig because to be a Secret Agent Leader you must have black hair if you are a boy and brown hair if you are a girl and he will never have black hair because his is blond and. . .at that point I got out of the car to fill it up with gas. When I got back in the commentary was still in full swing.

“When I am done rescuing the past, then I can rescue the future.” (Guess who said this.)

On a different note, the good thing about taking the teaching position someone else has vacated is when they leave their files for you.

And also, the bad thing about taking the teaching position someone else had vacated is when they leave their files for you.

While our house was showing, we took all of the animals to school, and I worked in a my room a little bit. I have NEVER, NEVER, NO NEVER, EVER, EVER started teacher inservice without my room being done. Never. Not even once. Not even when Victoria was a baby. Ever. We start inservice on Monday, and 95% of my stuff is still in boxes. The 5% that is NOT in boxes is furniture or the smidgeon I unloaded today.

Part of my limited time today was spent unloading the 8 drawers of filing cabinets in my new room. The drawers were PACKED. PACKED. Some of those things I will be very glad to have–for instance the tests for “The Ransom of Red Chief” by O. Henry and research notes for Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. But 4 files of Christmas puzzles has NOTHING to do with my new language arts curriculum. Although I am sure they are fun. I just want EXACTLY what I need. ‘Cause I have files of my OWN to put into my cabinets. Which were full of all the stuff the other gal left. Which I had to unload so I could move the filing cabinets to the other side of the room. (For the record, I left all of the filing cabinet drawers in my old room completely empty except for 1/4 of one DRAWER in which I left lesson plans, copies, and tests for the curriculum the new teacher will need.)

On the way out of the building I saw some parents, a very pretty, very 6th-grade-looking girl and her little sister standing in the middle of the science hallway staring at her schedule. It was after orientation, so I was pretty sure they were lost. I stopped to help, chatted with them–they are from California–just moved here. Although they didn’t say it, they are scared to death and so is their girl. I know this because I’ve seen the look over and over and over for the past 17 years. It is the same look you will see on my face this time next year when Victoria begins middle school–even though I have nearly 20 years experience in middle school. Their first child going into middle school. . .and in a new state. . .and in a huge building is more than daunting. I explained what I could, generally chatted, then left.

It was a very, very nice reminder of why, for all of it’s frustrations and inconveniences, I like being a teacher. I like knowing that maybe they left just a little less scared having had someone tell them that their child’s schedule looks great and that she has the best reading teacher in our building for reading this year, and that she does, indeed, have lunch even though it’s not on her schedule, and that everyone else in 6th grade–even those who have been in our district since kindergarten–even those who have had older siblings attend our school–all start out brand new on the first day of middle school. By the way, the girl’s name is Lindsey. She could probably use some prayers. And so could her parents.

And so could I. 🙂