Just a few things for now, just to say "Good Morning" in my little bloggy way.
…We've got more seedlings up…and in case you're wondering, those are dried peas in a sprouting tray up there in this month's banner. Bill planted peas yesterday in the buckets outside, and there were some left, so he decided to sprout them.
…For some reason, I have become sniffly and sneezy and itchy-eyed within the past half hour. I don't know why.
…Over the weekend Bill and his friend John made batches of sauerkraut and kimchee, which are both now fermenting on top of our fridge.
…Yesterday Alex and I hung out at the hospital for 3 hours while he was treated for an asthmatic response to (probably) a minor viral infection or something. The same thing happened last summer, and I thought I'd written about it but apparently I didn't, probably because when we went that time, we were at the hospital for EIGHT hours. From four in the morning until noon. That's a long time when you don't think to bring reading materials.
Anyway, on Saturday Alex had mentioned he sort of felt a little like he felt when he had "the sickness" which is how he refers to that episode over the summer. So I told him to take it easy, and I kept an eye on him, watching for signs of fatigue or shallow breathing, and so forth. He was fine most of the day, but as evening wore on, he became less active. To add to the mix, a friend of his was sleeping over, so while he wanted to play, he tired more quickly than usual. He wasn't in distress; he wasn't struggling to breathe. But he wasn't himself. The friend ended up sleeping in Alex's bed, and I had Alex sleep on the couch so I could hang out in the big chair and basically stare at him all night, counting his breaths per minute and staring at the muscles around his neck to see if he was straining to breathe.
He woke up around ten and we watched an hour of Man vs Food, which is one of his favorite shows. He was chatty and, eventually, hungry, so we had a snack (peanutbutter and pears for him, peanutbutter on toast for me) and then I turned the tv sound down low and we tried to sleep a bit. He was a bit restless, tossing around from time to time, but his breathing slowed and deepend, so I was able to relax a bit and doze off myself.
I woke around five, and Alex soon after, and he was feeling somewhat better. The kids had cereal and a few leftover pancakes for breakfast, and moved back down to the basement to play Wii. And that took a toll on Alex. So I brought him to the ER. This time, though, we were prepared. We each brought a book to read, and I brought a notebook so I could jot down ideas for posts, a grocery list, to-do lists…whatever.
Fortunately the hospital isn't too far from our house, so we got there quickly and were in the middle of our first game of hangman (oh, the notebook was a smart move, as it turned out) when Alex's name was called and the nurse checked his vitals and took down his information. His pulse oxygen level was 92, which was low (as I'd figured it would be), so a little blue ID bracelet was wrapped around Alex's skinny wrist, and we were led to a little room with a curtain, a gurney, a chair, a trash can, a red trash can that I'm guessing was for soiled linens or something, and a portable toilet seat. Alex got up on the gurney, and I parked our coats and my bag on the chair. The new nurse took Alex's pulse and temp and checked his oxygen level again, and then someone from registration came in to confirm all the info in their computer and, of course, to take care of the financial portion of our visit.
We had a variety of people flowing in and out of our little roomlet, and every one of them was kind, professional, and efficient. It's going to sound weird, but we actually had a pretty good time there. Well, Alex didn't so much enjoy the dose of prednisone he had to drink, and he wasn't fond of the three nebulizer treatments he had, but as far as trips to the emergency room go, this was on the "Good" end of the spectrum. I knew they'd take good care of him. And we had fun, Alex and I. We played a ton of rounds of hangman, and neither one of us ever lost a game. We played other word games, too, all designed by Alex. Toward the end of our hospital visit, we played a sort of noun-based word association game. We had to take turns just saying nouns, and the rules were that you could not repeat a noun someone had already said, AND, most important, you could not say "Ummmm…" during the game. This one was a blast, just bouncing nouns off each other, eyes locked in combat, determined "you're going down" grins on both our faces. After a long, long time, through two visits – one from the nebulizer nurse and one from…someone else, I've forgotten which person – it was Alex's turn. He was lying back on his pillow at that moment, and he gazed up at the ceiling and said "…um….." and then he looked at me, eyes wide, and I looked at him, eyes narrowed. Then we both laughed and he declared me the winner. Another version of the game involved verbs. Still another – one peson would say a noun and the other had to come up with an adjective to describe the noun. Or – verb and adverb. Tons of wordy fun. Really.
Alex had x-rays taken of his lungs, too. One of the nurses wheeled him from our spot in the ER to the x-ray lab, and the two women there got a kick out of the shirt Alex was wearing – it's black with spine, rib and arm bones in white. Pictures were taken, and Alex was wheeled back to his room.
His lungs were clear, so no pneumonia or anything like that. Toward the end ouf our stay, the doctor came in to let me know about that, and to tell me what I'd kind of figured out – that he's just one of those kids who will occasionally have an asthmatic response to something. He doesn't seem to have asthma, though I've been wondering lately if he might have some indoor allergies. I'll be making an appointment with his pediatrician to discuss this. I'd just like to know.
I have moments – as we all do – where I wonder if I'm doing a good job. Sometimes it's as a person…wife…sister…human being. Most of the time it's about my performance as a mother. Am I feeding them right? Teaching them manners? Raising responsible citizens of the world? Teaching them compassion? Patience? Encouraging them to work hard and be passionate about things? It's not that I lie awake nights worrying about this (I use nighttime to worry about other stuff – I try to strike a balance with my worrying), but it'll hit me now and then, usually when Julia's being stubborn and whiney in a store or Alex gets frustrated about something he's trying to do. Why are they being this way? Am I doing something wrong? Are they going to be like this as adults??? How much therapy will they need???????
So it was really, really gratifying to observe Alex yesterday as he interacted with all the people who took care of him. He was polite, and genuine, and comfortable with himself. He had no problem letting them know the prednisone tasted horrible, but he wasn't rude or difficult about it. The nurses and tech and doctor all seemed amused by his answers to their questions. He actually takes the time to think about the answer before he gives it (unlike oh…me sometimes), even when it's a simple question like "How are you feeling now?" He had a great time discussing his love of sushi and ribs with one of the nurses (it came up as a result of one of the rounds of hangman we were playing) – she (the nurse) loved both sushi and ribs, too, and they went back and forth listing which kinds of fish were their favorites. Later, when the same nurse offered him a popsicle after his second nebulizer treatment, he asked what kind they had. She wasn't sure, so she asked him what his favorite flavor was. Again with the thinking first. He finally said "Well…..my favorite is blue raspberry….but if you don't have that, I'll have lime….and if you don't have that, then cherry." They had cherry. And he was perfectly happy with that.
We left the hospital with a prescription for a new inhaler, a 5-day course of prednisone just to keep his little lungs in working order, and a glow-in-the-dark sticker that read "I've been x-rayed!" on it. As we left the building and headed to the car, we played our verb game, and I lost. He said "shoot" but I heard it (wrongly) as "chute" and said "ladder." Oh, it's always fun when mom loses. We played the noun game on the ride home, and I blanked out and while we were stopped at a light I said "…umm…" and was interrupted by lots of gleeful shouting and laughing from the back seat.
Alex is fine now. He's got a bit of a cough, but he had that before, and he went off to school his usual cheerful, low-key self. Yay.
…That's about it for the moment. I'll be back later with an ice cream post I'm working on. How was your weekend?