Archive for February, 2008

Break a leg (please don’t!)

Sunday, February 24th, 2008

Too late!  Friday afternoon, during an annoying bout of light snow which completely covered the treacherous ice on our driveway, Joe took a tumble and snapped both the tibia and the fibula of his right leg.  He was just running out to help our “house cleaning supervisor” drive out of our driveway, so of course, he wasn’t wearing a coat or anything.  Thankfully, this very kind woman stayed, trying to drag him closer to the house, and going in to check on the kids, because I was at work.  One of our most excellent neighbors happened to walk by with his dog at that time, and he has some EMT training because of his volunteer fire department work, so he came down and helped get Joe covered with blankets and had our helper call 911, and then me. 

I guess this is my first family emergency, but I cannot even begin to describe the size of the pit in my stomach when my receptionist stuck her head in the exam room and told me I needed to come to the phone because there was an emergency at home.  I was actually a bit relieved when I heard it was Joe that was hurt and not one of the kids.  My staff were wonderful – Dr. P volunteered to take my last 2 appointments of the day and handle emergency call, and Renee picked up her stuff and came right home with  me to watch the kids so I could go to the hospital.  The road were “greasy” but we got home alright, and I met the ambulance leaving the house, so I dropped off Renee, called the hospital to verify which one he was going to, and then took off.  I got there shortly after he did. 

The ER doc and nurse came in shortly after I did, and when they lifted Joe’s leg to put on a temporary splint to stabilize it for radiographs, it was pretty obvious from the way his foot dangled that the leg was broken.  They already had him on pain meds at that time, so it wasn’t quite so terrible for him.  There were a number of “ice falls” that afternoon, so it took awhile to get through x-ray, but the pictures weren’t pretty.  The poor orthopedic surgeon on call had several cases to review when he came in, but he was very patient.  He is the same doctor who took care of my arm when I fractured my radial head a couple of years ago, so we were very lucky to see him.  He explained that Joe had a spiral fracture resulting from planting his foot on the ground and then falling while twisting his body.  The tibia is fractured a bit above the ankle, and the fibula is fractured much further up, near his knee.  Since the tibia is the major weight-bearing bone, that’s all they repair.  There was enough displacement of the fracture that simply putting on a cast would have resulted in the leg healing shorter than the other leg, if at all, so he recommended a surgical repair to be done Saturday morning. 

Joe stayed in the hospital Friday night awaiting his surgery.  Priscilla offered to see my Saturday morning appointments so I could be with Joe in the morning, and Auntie Renee took the kids at her house.  He went into surgery around 1PM, and was done around 3PM.  An interlocking nail, consisting of an intermedullary pin stabilized by 4 transverse screws was threaded all the way down his tibia from the knee.  It took some manipulation to get a small “butterfly” fragment of bone and the distal fragment threaded onto the pin, so there is considerable swelling at the fracture site, and the doctor wants to wait for it to go down before he sends Joe home.

He was pretty loopy last night, but felt more like himself today, except for that horribly painful leg.  He’s got good meds, and good people looking after him at the hospital, so he’ll get through it just fine.  I’m guessing he will be a worse patient at home, when he can’t get around to get things he needs.  We are hoping he’ll be discharged tomorrow sometime.  He was getting up with a walker to go to the bathroom today, and they should be training him to use crutches tomorrow.

Many of the nurses are former students of his, so he is fortunate that he is a much-beloved teacher rather than the “weed-out” professor.  They all seemed to be very happy to take care of him.

How will he watch the kids while I work this week?  When will he be able to drive and resume his classes?  Will he be able to make his trip to Wichita next week?  Dunno.  Stay tuned.  Meanwhile, enjoy some hospital shots!  Just be thankful I didn’t think to bring my camera yesterday when he got out of surgery!  Note that he is no longer wearing his Elmo t-shirt that proclaims, “Tickle This!” on the front.  He had to trade that in for an classic open-back model.

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“How are the kids handling all this?” you might query.  “Baba who?” they reply, when I ask them if they miss him.  Seriously though, they don’t really talk about it, nor do I think they really understood why he wasn’t around before I took them to see him today.   They were confused and upset.  Their schedules were horribly disrupted, and Anna wasn’t sleeping well or eating for Auntie Renee.  Will goes with the flow a little better, but he never really knows what to expect from minute to minute anyway.  Anna had a really rough day yesterday, so when we got home late last night, she and I had a picnic on her bed, and she ate about a pound of Goldfish, so at least her tummy was full.  We all had a good night’s sleep last night, and we didn’t rush around this morning.  I took them over to the hospital to see Baba at lunch time, and they were very glad to see that he was still around.  They didn’t seem to be too freaked out by him looking so puny.  Anna wanted to kiss his booboo to make it better.  I had to keep them from getting tangled up in all his lines, but they weren’t afraid to get close to him. 

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On a funny note, Will has picked up a goofy line from some video he’s been watching.  I haven’t actually heard this in the movie, but I think it comes from a Wiggles DVD involving the late Steve Irwin, the crocodile hunter.  Will is speaking a lot of English, but not much of it is very clear or understandable yet.  So when this popped out of his mouth, as clear as day, we were all shocked and amazed.  He says, “Would you like a snake?”  Of course, it makes us laugh, so he says it over and over again.  He doesn’t seem to have any idea what a snake is, but it just gets funnier and funnier.  He has begun varying it, and now will ask if we would like assorted other things, like a “big snake” or a “mama snake.”  This morning, he got going, and asked me, “Would you like a Will?”  I said no, I already had one.  This was absolutely hysterical to him, so he’s used this one all day.  Here he is in the hospital, trying it out on Baba.

And because I am so far behind with my blog, here’s a lovely little item left over from a week ago that I haven’t gotten around to posting yet. Perhaps it will lighten your day a bit. I know it does mine!

Of parties and snow

Sunday, February 10th, 2008

We’re finally getting our snow back.  I’d say after this week, we’re back up to about 2 feet on the ground, so it looks much fresher and cleaner again outdoors.  It seems pretty typical (in the almost 7 years I’ve been here) for us to have a lull in the snowfall in January, and to have a much more significant snowfall in February.  We’ve had several days of snow this past week, getting 6-8 inches each time.  Our plow guy is going to have a much more lucrative winter this year.  The good news is that it’s much warmer than the last couple of years, so hopefully, our oil bill will be lower.  I’d say that’s a good bet; they didn’t even need to fill our tank in January.  Apparently, it has to read below 60% full before they even bother.   Never fear, they filled it just this week.  Total cost:  about 17% of what our little family can expect to receive as our portion of the much-ballyhooed economic stimulus package (or ESP), assuming we didn’t earn too much money this year to qualify.  I’m hoping that perhaps Joe might provide an editorial discussion of the ESP on his blog, because we’re SO excited about it.  Joe thinks it’s only fair that in order to stimulate the economy, the gov’t should give us back our own money, but I find it a bit disturbing that in order to do that, they have to give us back our money which they do not currently have.  Seems to be sort of a circular black hole of financial mismanagement in my opinion.  ANYWAY, back to the snow, of which I have a couple of photos.  Height is always difficult to scale in photos, but our little almost-buried mailbox is of standard height.

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2-10-08-1.jpg Anna wearing another new little outfit she got for Christmas, along with her much-beloved cowboy boots from Aunt Ina.  She talks about Aunt Ina all the time, and everytime we get out a new outfit, she says it’s from Ina!  She’s always hoping to talk to Aunt Ina on the phone, too!

Joe and I were trying to figure out how much Anna had grown since we’ve had her home, and neither of us could remember how tall she was when she came (bad parents – we aren’t even making little marks on the walls!)  Here are a couple of interesting photos, side by side, of Anna standing in the same place, wearing the same boots.  The first is from January 2007, and the second is from last week.

1-4-07-6.jpg 2-10-08-2.jpg She’s about half a head taller now.

Last night we attended a Chinese New Year party given by a family that I know from my clinic.  They adopted their little girl from China about 3 years ago, and there were several other families there with Chinese children.  It was a lot of fun to meet other folks from the area with kids around the ages of ours.  The oldest girl was about 5; the baby was 20 months old, and had been home for 10 months.  Will was the only Chinese boy.  The host family is matched with a little 1 year old girl with some possible developmental delays, and they are hurriedly paperchasing, hoping to get to travel to pick her up this year.

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There was fun, Chinese food, lovely decorations, dessert and even fireworks (out in the snow!)  The kids had a great time, as did we.  A big thank you to the Kern family for hosting such a lovely party!

Anna – Live!

Sunday, February 10th, 2008

Here are two videos of the young banana, who has now dubbed herself “The Monkey King,” after the trickster of Chinese children’s stories. He plays a prominent role in the “Big Bird in China” video we’ve watched several times. She is usually the baby monkey king, and I am the mama monkey king. Sometimes, she morphs into the baby monkey king duck, which produces some very interesting animal sounds (I’ll have to try to catch that on video sometime.) In any case, we have had numerous discussions of what monkeys eat, and we have decided upon “gapes” and “gamanas.”

I debated whether or not to post the next one, because it might be embarrassing to her grandma, but Anna and I have written a little ditty called, “The Gassy Girls,” celebrating one of nature’s necessary demands upon our bodies. The words are as follows (and remember that I am not terribly creative when it comes to lyrics!):

Here we come, the gassy girls,
Anna and Mama, the gassy girls.
Here we come, the gassy girls,
To make a yucky smell!
(Always followed by Anna saying, “oops, sorry bus! I said, sorry bus!” I have clarified with her that she is actually saying “bus” and not “boss.” I don’t know what she means by “sorry bus,” but she thinks it’s hysterical. I think it may be related to the very first Junie B. Jones book, in which she has to ride the stinky, smelly school bus.)

Pictures for my public

Saturday, February 2nd, 2008

Since the outcry for pictures has become deafening, I’m going to post some new ones interspersed with my usual witty commentary.

2-1-08-1.jpg Anna in her new fuzzy shirt from Aunt LaQuita, wearing her slumber bag/backpack, and carrying her harmonica.  She’s currently obsessed with backpacks, and can turn just about anything with straps or arms into a “backpack.”

sscard.bmp A small bit of news:  I applied for Will’s Social Security Card back on January 5.  The SS Office makes a big deal out of getting cards to you within 10 business days, and if you haven’t received it within 2 weeks, you are instructed to call and query your office.  MLK day fell within our two weeks, so I waited a few more days before pestering them, but when it didn’t show up by the end of the next week, I started calling.  It seems he had a SSN issued, but his card simply hadn’t shown up.  Nobody knew where it was, but in our normal government bureaucracy, the only solution was to reapply for it, dragging all his precious irreplaceable documents back in to demonstrate his citizenship.  I waited another 2 weeks before taking that step, but yesterday, it was a slow day at work, so I drove all the way back home at lunchtime, in an ice storm, to collect all his documents, and then headed over to the SS Office to restart the process.  I was just trying to convince the clerk that this should not count as one of his 10 lifetime replacement cards (yes, you can no longer request unlimited SS cards – apparently all those little pieces of blue paper are a huge drain on our Federal budget) since he never received the first one.  As she is researching that, my cell phone rings, and it’s my receptionist telling me that Joe has just called to tell her Will’s card showed up in the mail.  That very day.  Of course.  I was assuming that it was lost in the mail for 2 weeks, but when I studied the envelope at home, I noticed that it was post-marked January 28.  Three full weeks after I applied for it.  And after my first inquiry into its whereabouts.  Hmm.  I wish one of those times I waited on hold for 15 minutes on the phone to talk to a live human being, they had simply told me they were requesting an official status check, so I could have quit worrying about it and not spent an extra 45 minutes driving and 2 gallons worth of gas to collect all his documents again to reapply.  Sigh.  At least he has his number now, so we can use him as a deduction on our taxes.  ‘Cause that’s the only reason we adopted him, you know.

On a recent outing to West Lebanon, while we were waiting for an estimate on some car repairs, we visited an Italian restaurant, and the kids enjoyed manicotti and rigatoni alfredo.  On the way home, they assumed their normal positions in their car seats.  I need to install some of those in the house somewhere.  Perhaps I could mount one on each of their beds.

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Back on the home front, we have found that an evening session of sitting around the table making Play Do (or Do Do, according to Anna) creations is often just the wind-down activity we need to get in the mood for bedtime.

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Anna and Mama went to our favorite hair stylist on Thursday and had our usual beauty treatments.  Anna’s hair is too fine to be long, and the dry winter air was creating so much static in it that it was usually just flying around in a halo in the general vicinity of her head.  Since she steadfastly refuses to allow her hair to be put up in barrettes or pig tails, there’s no reason to have it growing out.  So, we opted for a pageboy cut this time around, and it is absolutely adorable!

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Will has had a couple of experiences recently that indicated it was time for him to have his hair cut as well.  In fact, on Thursday, he and Joe were at the car repair shop waiting for something to be done on my car, and Joe was failing to keep a close enough rein on Will.  He was across the waiting room getting into some sort of mischief, and the receptionist came sprinting out from behind her desk, yelling at Joe, “Don’t let her touch that!”  I’m sure his lengthy curls were partly responsible for this mistake, but it might have been compounded by the fact that the Baba can’t tell the difference between Anna and Will’s clothes, and he had put a pair of Anna’s jeans on Will that morning.  Usually it doesn’t matter that much, but this particular pair had some lovely decorative stitching on the back pockets, a low slung waist, and very flared legs.  They looked pretty girly.

Since there was no way I could manage Will at the hair salon while I was getting my hair done, and inspired by my friend Teresa (who adopted her son from China the same time we did) who recently posted about her efforts to cut her new son’s hair at home, I decided we should give it a try.  Should the worst happen, I could always put the 1/2 inch guard on my fancy pants grooming clippers and give him a buzz cut.  So, this afternoon, we stood him on the toilet in Joe’s bathroom and started in on his hair.  I’m sure it’s not the most even job in the world (lining that curly hair up evenly is HARD!), but I think it looks better, and a little more boyish than it did. 

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