4th Birthday Photo Session

4th Birthday Photo Session

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Bilateral Myringotomy

Bilateral wha? wha? ...what?!?

**Welcome to our world!**

Today, the follow-up appointment with the ENT determined that Andi will need to have tubes put in her ears.  The name of the surgery is bilateral myringotomy with PE tube placement.
The placement of PETs is the most common out-patient surgery done in the United States.  ...(yeah, I'm totally copying the verbage from the after visit summary)...  The reason for placing PETs varies.  Sometimes it is to relieve a negative pressure in the middle ear which can cause future problems. Sometimes it is to remove fluid and allow the ear to aerate itself. Sometimes it is to cut down on the frequency and severity of ear infections.  (almost done copying the verbage...)  By placing the PETs, we [they] hope to allow an artifical (but very useful) way of ventilating the middle ear.  This allows the eustachian tube (the long paragraph above that I omitted from this post.) to literally calm down without an infection around to swell it  shut again. Hopefully, by the time the PETs fall out, the body's own eustachian tube is then able to take over the function of equalizing the middle ear pressure again.  80% of children who require PETs will only need one set. 

Andi's reason is because she chronically has fluid in her ears.  He's going to suck the fluid out and put the tube in, to help her ears drain and aerate.  One additional positive about getting this done, is that it could improve Andi's hearing in her good ear another 5-15 decibles...which would be huge on the scale of speech sounds.  We shall see.

Andi's surgery will be scheduled in the next couple of weeks. It doesn't require an IV or anything more than a gas mask that knocks her out, but, it's still a surgery.  He said it's a relatively quick procedure and it really only takes about five minutes to do his bit with the ears.

He also scoped her nose.  He said the passageways are still open, but they are small.  He's going to talk with their nose specialist about her small passages and  chronic runny nose and get back to me.  My guess is that person will want to take a gander, or they'll send us back up to the ENT surgeon at the hospital.  We shall see.

Sadly, Andi did not take a liking to this Dr. today. It's pretty funny, yet kind of sad that she hates all Dr's now.  She gets around them and more often than not, freaks out on them.  Screaming and crying... only calming when they go away.  I hope I don't start doing that too, as I totally understand her inclination.

Monday, August 29, 2011

A Weekend of Firsts!

We had a very, very busy weekend of fun and firsts!

First of all, we had a genius idea Friday night to get on ETSY and put 'g-tube' in the search field.  I found a woman selling a cummerbund similar to what I've been trying to create.  I told her in my purchase, that Andi's g-tube leaks awful.  She wrote back and said she had that problem with her daughter's g-tube and that problem resolved when they put in a mini-one button.  I've googled and will ask the powers that be about it.

Saturday, we ended up taking Andi back to the Oregon Zoo.  This time though, we took a picnic lunch and grubbed in the grass while Andi took a really good nap.  When she awoke, we started our exploration.  Andi made a few friends.

This trip to the zoo, we took Andi on her first choo-choo train!  She seemed to enjoy the trip through the forest.

After several hours at the zoo, we decided it was the weekend to take her to the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport.  So, we headed to the house to pack, pick up Mad, and secure us a hotel room.  We called about 20 places, and finally resigned ourselves to staying at the Proposal Rock Inn in Neskowin.  It's north of Lincoln City, which is home to one of two coast restaurants we know we like.  So, we headed into Lincoln City for dinner. Normally, we bring Andi into a restaurant environment in her car seat.  If she fusses, we hold her.  However, after holding her and resting her in her car seat, we got a wild hair and tried Andi in the restaurant high chair.  At first, she braced herself with a bit of fear in her eyes, then she made herself at home.

The next morning, we spent a bit of time on the beach and let Maddux enjoy a nice fresh water swimming hole he discovered. After that, we packed up the truck and headed south to Newport.  After standing in a huge line for a half-hour, we finally got through the entrance.  Andi is a big fan of the fishes in the aquarium.  She always seems totally mesmerized, that's why we thought the Oregon Coast Aquarium would be a lot of fun.  We were not disappointed.  She was very engaged and put her hands up to the glass, even chatted with the "fishies!"  I was going to video tape the chatter, but all the other kids were a bit too loud. The walk-through shark tunnel was pretty cool, but she didn't seem too excited by the sharks, just the bright colored fishies seemed to entice the chatterbox.  My favorite was all the times she waved "hi!" to the fish. 

After the aquarium, we went into town and had a super yummy lunch. 

Our only problem this weekend was the junk in Andi's lungs.  She's been puking almost every feed after coughing.  I'm guessing the junk in her lungs is making her gag when she coughs.  We had to go to the outlet store for not only a few warmer clothes, but for more blankets, as we'd gone through all of ours trying to clean her up.  It was a fun weekend, full of unforgettable firsts.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Living High On The Hog!

Today, we had our last dose of Augmentin, the antibiotic for the ear infection.  Unfortunately, Andi also came down with a cold this week.  Luckily, she's doing much better, and now is just fighting to get the junk out of her lungs.  Lil' beast won't nap again today... so, I figure, she MUST be feeling better. 

My super-duper friend-o-rama, Julio, lent me her sewing machine.  What an amazing difference it has made, in speed and helping me lay off my choice vocabulary.  I have been Martha fricken Stewart sewing Andi some cummerbunds.  Sadly, the six I made with the material I bought, are useless until she grows a few inches in the waist.  I failed to realize that the material was super stretchy... and so, they suck. So far, the best bet is a tight cotton flannel receiving blanket cut in half.  Better yet would be getting rid of the leaking disaster ... *insert crickets humming here.*  I just had to strip her high chair cover to wash it, again, because, she came off a quick bolus of pedialyte, and had a wet tush, because of the leak on the last feed.  **I'm way beyond, 'calgon!' here.**  G-Tube disaster continues.

In any case, last night I saw a baby girl in a restaurant.  Her Mom was walking her around, holding her hands above her... I don't normally ask, but last night, I asked, 'how old is she?'  "10 months!"  I think my jaw dropped to the floor.  I mumbled some stuff about Andi and why I was asking.  I asked, 'do you happen to know how much she weighs?'  I think she said 26 lbs or so.  She must've seen the look of shock or jealousy on my face because she added, 'she's in the 98% in weight.'  *editing my cussword*.  I found it depressing.  Andi's doing great... no doubt.  It's just every once in awhile you let a little bit of other's reality in and get a little b-slapped in the face.  It stings.  But then you dust yourself off, put on your big girl pants, pour an extra large glass of wine (...uhm, yeah, sometimes!) and then you get over yourself. 

Tonight it's O'Doul's.  Yep, another wild Friday night. Me. Bean. Mad. Laundry. O'Doul's. I'm sure everyone is just wishing they had it so good! 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Ear Infections

We saw the ENT the other day and he is treating Andi for ear infections.  You know it's bad when the pharmacist hands you the Augmentin and asks, 'wait, weren't you just on this?'  "Uhm, yep!"  We're to see him again in two weeks, to see if there's still a fluid build up in her ears.  He also might scope her nose, to see if he can determine why she has a chronic runny nose.  He said if the passageway has narrowed, her nose might not be able to drain properly. Andi also seems to be fighting off a bit of a cold.  She's been coughing and fighting with some thick saliva & a not uncommon, runny nose.

I've been pushing her feed, which is causing more leakage.  I checked the balloon in the g-tube and added an additional 3/4 ml of water.  Today, I pushed the speed of the feed a bit, and she's puked all three feeds.  No dice. 

Andi has discovered the outlet where the TV/electronics and surge protector plug into the wall.  She's attracted to it.  Sadly, she's more attracted to it than the weatherman.

Well, I just changed her outfit and she's rolled around on the floor for the past five minutes, and now her outfit is wet.  JOY!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Video Star

These were recently shot with my phone.

"Chatty Cathy!"

"Silly Bean"

"Cranky Pants & Ham"

LIfe With A Leaky G-Tube: cummerbund

I can't recall if I mentioned in an earlier post that the g-tube surgeon suggested we lay Andi down at a 30 degree angle to give her the g-tube feeds, as the solution to keeping it from leaking.  I said that those instructions bicker with other things we are to be working on, such as oral feeds, sitting up -- which works stomach and back muscles, and increases neck strength.  That also doesn't stop the leak from the next two hours which Andi is either rolling around on the floor, or working on different therapies - such as, sitting up.  Frustrated and baffled that my lowly liberal arts college bachelor degree sees that this isn't a solution, yet this surgeon with all his medical school & residency, and years of experience...thinks that this solution is going to fly?  I may have blond hair, but I'm definitely far from dumb.  I ain't buying this solution, as it's not a viable solution to fix this leaky disaster.

It still leaks.

My mother-in-law & sister-in-law were talking and came up with an idea, what about a cummerbund?  While we were in the Bahamas, Poppa B & Ginga fashioned themselves a cummerbund using a receiving blanket, and then wrapped it in a long strip from a roll of sticky Velcro tape.  It worked, and they cut the amount of laundry considerably.  However, it was rather bulky, and probably too warm for summer.  Sadly, it did not stop the steam rolling Bean from the confines of pillow surrounded sanctuary on the floor.  Nothing can confine the Bean.  So, when we were back in Alabama, Ginga & I went to the fabric store and picked out all sorts of cute fabrics.  We bought some iron-on squares of velcro.  It seemed the perfect plan.  They looked super cute.  However, they did not hold back the flood, and with washing, the velcro would lose its stick.  We cut a receiving blanket in half, and that seemed to trim the bulk.  We went back to the sticky velcro tape belt.  Today, I went to the store and picked up a hand-held stitching machine and sewed some velcro onto strips of receiving blankets.  So far, it seems to be working.  It's not as cute as the fabric with multi-colored "doggas" on it, but, we're on our way to dryer days!!!  At least, that's our hope!

So, we won't be feeding Andi at 30 degree angles, that's just not realistic when we have so many other things to work on and accomplish.  Plus, it doesn't save us from post-feed leakage.  So, I wave my favorite finger at that suggestion with a sarcastic smile.  'uhm, yea-ah!'

Monday, August 1, 2011


We've been on vacation...

Over a week ago, we got up at the hour I used to go to sleep during college. It was ridiculous, but we had an early Saturday morning flight.  It was 57 degrees in Portland that morning.  We flew from Portland to Atlanta, and then Atlanta to Montgomery.  We arrived around 6 p.m. that night, so, even though it's only a two-hour time change, it was an all-day event to get here.  Andi did great on the plane, and sadly, is growing accustomed to flying first class.  Daddy Bean and I are also finding coach most unbearable anymore.  Spoiled, we are.   The next morning, Daddy Bean & I got up at another most ridiculous hour and flew to Ft. Lauderdale, FL to start ourselves a glorious vacation, from life, and the Bean.  We met friends there and started what would be a six day adventure of doing nothing much in particular.  Our plan this vacation, 'do nothing!'  Usually, we go on vacation and it's 'go, see, do! Go! Go!! Go!!' and we come home even more tired and broke than when we left.  This time, we decided after the hard year we've had, we'd sit on the beach, or at the pool, and let ourselves decompress.  We spent two days in a mediocre hotel, away from the beach, sat at the pool and reacquainted ourselves with sunshine. I actually read one of my O Magazines, a first in easily two years, despite the monthly subscription. We spent a good hour sweltering at the beach there, but did not swim that day.  After two days in FL, we headed to Palm Beach (I'll spare you the four greasy used-car salesmen ordeal...although there are some good tidbits of humor to be found there...) and boarded the Bahamas Celebration cruise.  We set sail at 6 p.m. and enjoyed our one-night cruise to Grand Bahama island.  When we deboarded, we got on a bus and our driver gave us the island low-down on the 15 minute trip to our resort.  An hour in line later, we were finally checked-in.  No matter how long we stayed on the island, I don't think we'd ever adjust the glacial pace things are done there.  "Island Time" ... belch!

Our first day we spent at the pool.  A gloriously long pool, in three sections.  The main attraction was the infinity pool with the swim up bar (that never was tended), and that, is in fact, where we spent the majority of the day.  At one point, I lounged in a chair poolside, while the rest went to play in the ocean.  Next thing I knew, I was asleep in the lounge chair.  I can't remember the last time I relaxed so much.  The sun kisses my skin, the heat warmed my 10 months of rainy town, USA core, and I slept a relaxation level I haven't felt in a long, long time. They had a steal drum man playing throughout the afternoon, and so in addition to all the chatter surrounding us, we were surrounded by the good vacation tunes to remind us that we were indeed, on vacation.  The next day, we went to play in the ocean, pool, and did a bit of shopping as well.  Our friends went on a dolphin encounter, where they got to have dolphins swim around them.  We were hoping to do some snorkeling, but the water was so choppy both days that they wouldn't allow the boats out.  That night, we went to a Bonfire BBQ at another location.  When we boarded the bus to the bonfire, it was rather quiet.  It was a beach bonfire, all-you-can-eat BBQ, all-you-can-drink Bahama Mama's or Kamikaze's -- drinking was heavily encouraged by our super fun host, Michael Jackson -- whom honestly resembled Joe Jackson, in my opinion.  They played music, dancing, games, and relaxing under the stars.  It was a lot of fun.  When we boarded the bus back, the volume was deafening.  The bus driver was a character and had us singing songs like we were headed to summer camp.  It was hysterical. The next day we spent half of the day on the island, and we, once again, opted for beach & pool time.  We'd migrated to a quieter section of beach a bit down the property.  It was so nice & quiet.  Although we were sad to say goodbye to the island, we were starting to really miss our lil' Bean.  We breezed through Bahama customs with compliments on being prepared, and boarded the ship.  We quickly headed to our favorite location, the Sea Breeze Lounge.  It's a huge indoor bar and huge outdoor deck overlooking the back of the ship. We liked to sit in the lounge chairs and enjoy seeing where we've been.  A good analogy for what this vacation was for us.  We really examined where we've been this past year, and with our batteries recharged, we're amped to get cracking on the future. 

Andi did great for Poppa B and Ginga.  She now says 'Poppa', which is pretty dang cute.  There were no trips to the ER this time, but she definitely exhausted them both.  One funny story I must share was when they took her to church one night, and had her in the 'quiet room'.  The priest was speaking his sermon, and apparently, Andi kept saying, 'All Done!'  Which to me, is probably the funniest thing I've ever heard.  She also was doing raspberries for everyone.  Quite the entertainer.  The overall opinion is that Andi is getting closer to crawling.  She will roll along, and then get her legs up under her.  She also is able to hold her weight on her arms for a bit, even when I let go.  Now if only she'd take a nap... (insert grumble, grumble here!)  Some days she will, other days - like today, she absolutely refuses.  She is using the expression 'All Done!' all the time.  It's funny, for awhile.  I think she really does know what it means... it's pretty accurate when she uses it.  Like now, when she's desperately trying to get out of the swing (and fight sleep!)  Whiney pants fusses, grabs Froggy, settles into a different position, relaxes, fusses again, then promptly falls into sleepyland.  No joke.  Two hours after trying to get her down... she finally caves!!!!

Infinity pool with swim-up bar!

Aboard the Bahama's Celebration Cruise ship

Sunrise beach view of pool and hotel

Sunrise at the infinity pool

Sunrise at the beach!


Sunrise, with flare!

Sunrise, with more flare!

Rock wall

Jabba-The-Hut cloud

Sunrise beach view of the main hotel

Another sunrise shot



Main hotel lobby

Main hotel entrance

Our Hotel - this is the side we were on

Our hotel - beach view!

Bonfire BBQ - beach view


Bonfire - beach view