A Christmas not soon forgotten…

I should have known this Christmas was going to be a trying one about a week before Christmas Day. My wife, Kelli, woke up sick on Tuesday morning and called in to work. After things did not get better, she went to the doctor. Merry Christmas, you have the flu! Wednesday night my daughter, Avery, woke up in the middle of the night sick with a fever.

For the next few days I tried to avoid my family, as my wife insisted, and keep myself from getting sick as well. As Friday rolled around everyone seemed to be improving. We went to my father-in-law’s house for Christmas Eve and had a good time. Christmas morning Avery woke up feeling pretty crummy. I was excited to see my 3 year old dig into everything that “Santa” had brought her. No such luck. She opened all of her presents and looked bored or disapointed throughout most of the time. She started feeling better and later in the morning we went to my parents for Christmas Day, where Kelli spent half the time in bed.

On the way back home (before making the evening trip to my mother-in-law’s house) Avery starting coughing really bad and could not stop. She started telling us she couldn’t breathe. Thankfully, we had her nebulizer with us and the car has an electric outlet. Unfortunately, the nebulizer was too much for the outlet and it would run no longer than about 10 seconds at time before having to be shut off and turned back on a couple of times. During this process we are trying to keep Avery awake as she told us, “I can’t keep her eyes open.” About that time I looked back and saw her eyes starting to roll back into her head; she really couldn’t breathe. It takes a lot to freak my out, I am definitely the calm parent, but his most assuredly got my juices flowing. A couple of run red lights and speed infractions later, we arrived at the emergency room.

On the 10 minute ride the hospital Avery managed to cough up a HUGE ball of mucus. Yes, my wife had a handful of snot. Merry Christmas again! She seemed to be breathing better and coming around but we took her in for observation anyway. They checked her out and said all was fine, but recommended using the nebulizer more often. So, we finally made it home and Avery crashed pretty hard for about an hour and a half. Everyone, though tired, seemed to be doing pretty good, so we decide to make the short trip to Nana’s house. We all have a good time and start the trip home when… You guessed it, the coughing starts back up. The same scenario from earlier in the day flares up and we start heading back to the hospital, rather reluctantly on my part. We got her to cough another big ball of stuff out and got in touch with her pediatrician. He didn’t think there was an reason to go back to the hospital either and told us how to clear things up. The rest of the night went smoothly. On Tuesday she went to the doctor for her follow up where he said he believed that she had bronchitis, coupled with some other type infection which caused the increased production of mucus, coupled with an asthma attack. Ah, the joys of parenthood. And then on Sunday, we received even more great news. My grandmother was admitted in the hospital with congestive heart failure. She is doing better and will hopefully be back home this weekend.

All in all, we managed to have a pretty good Christmas despite all of the craziness. Though there were a couple of trips to the hospital involved, God blessed us. He took care of everyone and reminded us what Christmas is truly about. It’s the day we remember what God did by sending his only son, Jesus, to this earth in a plan to die for our sins. Though Santa Claus if fun for the kids, I’m personally glad that my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, is the one that is real.

The Doppelgänger Experiment

So, how exactly do you explain death to a 3-year old?  If you have an answer, please let me know.  Recently, I could not come up with an answer myself, so I chose to bypass the issue.  Let me explain…

My daughter has, or had, a pet hamster named Eleanor (a reference to the Beatles’ song, “Eleanor Rigby”).  My wife and I aren’t quite sure what happened, but the poor little thing was discovered dead on Wednesday night of last week.  My daughter was asking to give Eleanor a treat before bed when my wife found the hamster’s lifeless body lying in the cage.  Yes, this is very sad… I loved that hamster.  My wife told her that Eleanor was “sleeping” and she could give her a treat tomorrow.  My daughter begrudgingly agreed and went to bed.  Shortly after, I received a phone call, while still at work, of the grim news.

My wife and I talked it over and came to a decision that because we didn’t want to break our daughter’s heart, who also loved the hamster, we would replace her with a look alike.  When I arrived home from work that evening, I cleaned out the cage and sadly put Eleanor to rest.  I woke up the next morning and immediately went to the pet store to purchase another Chinese Dwarf Hamster.  The only problem was that Eleanor was older than the hamsters available at the pet store; this means I was going to be buying a hamster noticeably smaller than the late Eleanor.  I figured it was still worth a shot and selected the larger of the two.  I came home and welcomed the new Eleanor (dubbed Eleanor II to my wife and I) her new and larger home.  Eleanor II is more timid than the original Eleanor, but she eventually made herself at home.

Now for the test.  Before bed that night, my daughter was admiring her pet, when all of a sudden my wife thought we were made.  My daughter exclaimed, “HEY!…  I think we should give Eleanor a treat.”  My wife breathed a sigh of relief, as she later explained, gave Eleanor a treat, and put my daughter to bed.  I asked my daughter the next day what she thought of Eleanor, to which she informed me, “Eleanor is the best hamster in the world!”  Though I feel a little bad, thankfully, the terrible situation seems to have come to a good ending.

So what do you think?  Did we do the right thing, or should we have taken the chance of crushing her young heart?  Who knows, I am just glad “Eleanor” is doing fine.

Let there be wheat!

Well, this is my first post here.  I will start by saying that being a parent is a tough thing.  It’s rewarding, but there’s a new challenge every day.  My daughter, Avery, is 3 years old; a few weeks ago, it seemed she had gotten sick and no matter how many medicine or nebulizer treatments she took, it did not get better.  Finally, her doctor decided to send her to get some blood work done to check for allergies.  The results were unexpected to say the least.

My wife and I were told that she was allergic to milk, wheat, egg whites, and peanuts.  As shocking as the news was, the most difficult thing was trying to explain it to our daughter.  How do you tell a 3 year old that wants a peanut butter sandwich and a cup of milk everyday for lunch, that she can’t have any part of the meal?  I’ll just say it was a difficult process.  On top of constantly having to tell her she cannot have something because it would make her sick, EVERYTHING has one of the products in it.  If you finally find something without those things, plan on paying an extra $5 or so.  Ouch.

We decided to see an allergist who could hopefully narrow things down, and maybe open up some more foods for her again.  In the mean time, our 3 year old would inform us that, “The doctor said I can’t have that,” to everything she decided she didn’t want to eat.  She’s too smart for her own good sometimes.  Needless to say, it was a rough two weeks waiting for the appointment with the allergist.

Finally, the day comes.  After talking to the nurse and doctor, the nurse enters the room holding three trays.  First, she has my daughter take off her shirt, and begins to draw small lines all over her back.  Forty-two of them to be exact; any clue where this is heading?  In the trays were forty-two separate poisoned needles.  Well, not “poisoned,” but each had a different substance to check for allergic reactions.  There was everything for common food allergies, to weeds and pollen, to animals.  Each line on her back got a separate needle prick.  Thankfully, she took it like a trooper with no complaints or crying.

The results of the test were a little confusing to me.  The doctor said NONE of the spots where showing a reaction, except for the histamine which is used to be sure there are no medicines in your system that may influence the test.  He then informed us that children sometimes produce anti-bodies that could be showing up on the original test.

To cut this thing down to the point, we were told that she could have wheat and eggs, but to stay away from milk and nuts.  We are now working on a “trial and error” basis over two week intervals to see if we can further narrow down the problem.  After we told her she could have bread again, you would have thought we gave her a pony.  For lunch she had a hamburger, minus the meat, then she had some cereal for a snack, and a few vegetables with crescent rolls that were her dinner.

Bottom line is, though it was a tough situation, God answers prayers.  Even if it isn’t quite the full answer you want.  It’s awesome to be able to give the kid a piece of bread again if she wants it.  Parenting is full of new and difficult situations, and at 3 years old, I’m sure ours are just starting.  Look to God and don’t let the bad news get you down.  Wouldn’t trade that little girl for anything…