Jenni Gregory's Comics, Art and Stuff

The digital home of cartoonist Jenni Gregory

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A Thankful pre-Halloween

I love halloween. This year especially it means even more to me. I came THIS close to loosing the most important thing in the universe to me — my Barry. Barry was in a horrible accident coming home from work on Saturday.

I was on the phone with him and heard the whole thing. It was incredibly horrific. I lost contact with Barry for a conciderable amount of time…I could hear static (which turned out to be the car rolling over) and voices, but not a lot else.

As luck would have it a State Trooper was RIGHT beside him…in fact Barry tagged the Troopers front end and that was what sent him into a spin and roll overs…but I could hear the Trooper ask if he was Barry (Barry later told me the trooper found his nametag from Disney on the highway as he was making his way to him) and if he was ok.

Thank heavens my Mom was visiting from California and I was able to rush to the car and drive to fine him while she stayed with the kids. Unfortunately, Chloe was awake and knew something was horribly wrong. She went hysterical.

I knew Barry had to be on 192 somewhere. So I jumped in the car and drove up the road. I crested a hill and there were police lights everywhere. Fire engines, trooper lights…all flashing. It was blinding. In fact, I couldn’t see which side the accident was on (as it turned out, it was on the left side and I passed by our overturned truck, but couldn’t see for all the cars and lights).

Barry told me not to come over. So I parked as close as I could. And waited and waited. I tried to walk up, but he made me turn back and sit in the car.

Finally he called and told me to come over and pick him up. The truck was being loaded onto a flat bed to be towed. Thank heavens for guardian angels and seatbelts. I debated about posting some pictures on the site, but I don’t think Barry or I could stand to see them. Ever see a picture and it makes your blood run cold? Literally?

The Trooper told Barry that most people don’t survive a crash like that, let alone walk away from it. Barry has cuts and scratches all over–a lot of knicks on his head, and the worst of it seems to be his wrist and fingers as he gripped the wheel, and his thigh as the steering wheel crashed on it. But he’s here and he’s still mine.

Both of us are dealing with certain nasties that go on in your head after a horrible event…him–the slowmo movie that hits when you stop thinking about anything. Me…the what if’s and the ‘I’m never letting him out of my sight again’.

Strange thing…I was having a REALLY hard time going out since I was on bedrest for so long. REALLY hard time…and I’m the one that if I didn’t go out everyday someplace, went nuts. Now, it’s like I’ve turned into a hermit and have to pry myself out the door to go any place. Then this happened and I want to go out even less. Strange reaction.

But I’ve come to realize that we hold each other a little tighter and longer, appreciate our seatbelts A LOT more, and really look forward to the day we can leave the traffic of Orlando far, far behind.

I’m really tired and will write later about the wonderful family halloween we had.

posted by admin at 12:48 am  

Friday, October 20, 2006

Our day

Friday October 20, 2006

This is the 293rd day of the year–Do you realize there are 72 days remaining in 2006!?!

Also, a VERY Happy Birthday today to Barry’s Mom. She has been a saint. She and Barry’s Dad came down and stayed with us for a month and helped take care of me and watch the kids. She literally did everything and there is no way I can ever thank her enough. She truly was a god send during a really bad period.

We took Molly for her next blood test. She’s one courageous, strong, tough, kid.

Once again she had to get stuck twice…once in the crook of her elbow and another on the back of her hand. It’s not just tiny little needles where they draw a pin prick of blood…they draw about a full tablespoon.
Once again when the lab tech tried to draw blook from her inside arm, the vein rolled, so they tried and tried to dig around with the needle hoping to catch the vein…

She howled and tried to squirm away but me, the really nice nurse, Karen, and the lab tech were holding her down — AND she was swaddled. Molly sure put up a fight.

And here we are again faced with the weekend of waiting for the blood results. I’m sooooo hoping they go down. But the good thing is, Dr. Kahn made sure we got this part…it’s treatable and she should be fine even if her numbers come back high. I just hate the thought of her having all this blood taken once a week, special formula for the rest of her life –or at least until her brain stops growing. It’s not a fair way for a beautiful girl to start off.

I learned this week that kids bounce. Yep. It’s official. We were over doing some printing at Thomas’ house. We’d been there quite a while. Fox and Chloe were running around and I was on the couch nursing Molly and watching a Franz Ferdinand video. All the sudden I hear this CRASH, THUDDDDD and WWWWWHHHHHHHAAAAAM!

I knew immediately what happened. Fox was falling down the stairs. I was on the move in time to see him squirming on the bottom step. I laid Molly on the couch–in hindsight not the brightest move on my part…and ran over to the top of the stairs to see Fox — least he was moving! I YELLED for Barry and tore down the steps to grab Fox. He was squalling, and clutching me and tensing his body…but he hadn’t broken anything…mainly I was worried about his neck.

Barry charged down out of the office and I met him at the top of the stairs. He grabbed Fox and ran his hands over his limbs to make sure he didn’t feel anything hanging of broken…he didn’t either.

10 seconds later, Fox is fine and back to normal.

Since we’ve decorated for Halloween, our house has been inundated with these nasty, huge, ugly roaches…also known as palmetto bugs. Anyway, I hate ’em! I guess they hitched rides on the boxes Barry carried down from the attic, but they are DRIVING me crazy.

The other night Chloe caught sight of one for the first time in the garage and pretty much went hysterical…gets that from me whenever I see bugs.

Chloe is generally pretty good about bugs…she loves her spider friend (this HUGE multi colored garden spider that is back by our porch), she LOVES butterflies and beatles…she thinks our local rhinoscerous beatles are pretty neat. But these roaches totally sent her screaming. It took me a while to calm her down and get her to stop shaking. Then Barry came home and she had to tell him all about it. She was terrified.

posted by admin at 4:15 pm  

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Goin’ to the doctors

Today we took Chloe for her 3 year check up, and Molly for her 2 week check up. It went fairly well. Ok, it turns out I lied to Chloe. I told her that she wouldn’t be getting any shots. Technically she didn’t. She got a TB test on her arm, and they pricked her finger to find out how her iron count was (12–the nurse said that was excellent).

Chloe was definitely a trooper. She let Dr. Kahn listen to her heart, look at her eyes, nose, and in her mouth. And even though she was really scared, she was a tough nut.

The nurses were really surprised when Chloe knew both what a stethoscope was, how to say it and how they wore it. They complimented her on her huge vocabulary. arry had to hold her down when they gave her the test on her arm, and they quickly pricked her finger before she knew what was going on. She whimpered, and cried…but REALLY briefly. We were really proud of her. As always.

Molly has gained a full pound!!! She was 8 lbs 3 oz when born, lost weight– 7 lbs, 10 oz, but today she was 8lbs 8oz! Whoohooo!! She also has grown an inch. She is now 21 inches long! She’s still in that really sleepy, lathargic stage. She sleeps pretty good–we have to feed her every 2-21/2 hours even at night. But we are thrilled with her growth!

Dr Kahn went over her results a little more with us. He was very positive–which is what we needed. He said her numbers on thephenylalanine were 4.6 and they want it to be 3 or lower. Her Tyrosine was 1.something which he said was fine. So our next step is a repeat of the blood work this friday back in Lakeland. We’ll get her numbers hopefully on Monday. He cautioned us that an Endocrinologist looks at the numbers first and if there’s a big problem (high numbers) will call him immediately, otherwise Dr Kahn will call us around 5:00 or so. Essentially the no news until 5:oo is good news.

If her numbers go up, we have to go to St. Petersburg, or Lakeland the next day. If they stay the same or go down, we’ll take it from there. We may or may not have to change her diet, or there may be nothing changed.
We asked if my drinking diet drinks contributes to her problem, but Dr Kahn said no. It’s genetic so my consuming my Dt Mt Dews has no effect. That was a relief, but I still think I need to stop drinking them. Drats.

So here goes waiting for Friday and then waiting for the results on Monday.

posted by admin at 8:05 pm  

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Going to the doctors

Today we took Chloe for her 3 year check up, and Molly for her 2 week check up. It went fairly well. Ok, it turns out I lied to Chloe. I told her that she wouldn’t be getting any shots. Technically she didn’t. She got a TB test on her arm, and they pricked her finger to find out how her iron count was (12–the nurse said that was excellent).
Chloe was definitely a trooper. She let Dr. Kahn listen to her heart, look at her eyes, nose, and in her mouth. And even though she was really scared, she was a tough nut.
The nurses were really surprised when Chloe knew both what a stethoscope was, how to say it and how they wore it. They complimented her on her huge vocabulary. arry had to hold her down when they gave her the test on her arm, and they quickly pricked her finger before she knew what was going on. She whimpered, and cried…but REALLY briefly. We were really proud of her. As always.
Molly has gained a full pound!!! She was 8 lbs 3 oz when born, lost weight– 7 lbs, 10 oz, but today she was 8lbs 8oz! Whoohooo!! She also has grown an inch. She is now 21 inches long! She’s still in that really sleepy, lathargic stage. She sleeps pretty good–we have to feed her every 2-21/2 hours even at night. But we are thrilled with her growth!
Dr Kahn went over her results a little more with us. He was very positive–which is what we needed. He said her numbers on thephenylalanine were 4.6 and they want it to be 3 or lower. Her Tyrosine was 1.something which he said was fine. So our next step is a repeat of the blood work this friday back in Lakeland. We’ll get her numbers hopefully on Monday. He cautioned us that an Endocrinologist looks at the numbers first and if there’s a big problem (high numbers) will call him immediately, otherwise Dr Kahn will call us around 5:00 or so. Essentially the no news until 5:oo is good news.
If her numbers go up, we have to go to St. Petersburg, or Lakeland the next day. If they stay the same or go down, we’ll take it from there. We may or may not have to change her diet, or there may be nothing changed.
We asked if my drinking diet drinks contributes to her problem, but Dr Kahn said no. It’s genetic so my consuming my Dt Mt Dews has no effect. That was a relief, but I still think I need to stop drinking them. Drats.
So here goes waiting for Friday and then waiting for the results on Monday.

posted by admin at 6:16 pm  

Monday, October 16, 2006

Results

We got Molly’s results from her pediatrician today. For Barry and I it was one LONG, stress filled weekend. I loved having a 2 days where I could do research on this crappy PKU thing. We’ve got a 1 in 10,000-20,000 shot depending on which site you visit. But Doctor Kahn gave us both good news and eh, could have been better news.
Molly’s PKU test numbers came back high. Her case can’t be a “confirmed case”of PKU yet. We have to go back to the Lakeland clinic Friday morning and take another blood test and see what those results show. Right now Dr. Kahn is saying she might have a minor case of PKU. But I don’t have to stop nursing her (YES!!!) and we don’t have to change anything…at least this week.
If her tests are higher, then we go to an endocrinologist. If they stay the same or go lower, we’ll see what our next step there will be.
But for right now we are concentrating on the fact that we had GOOD news this week.
We take both Molly and Chloe to see the doctor tomorrow. Molly because its her 2 week visit and she’ll get her first round of shots (damn) and Chloe for her 3 year visit. I don’t think Chloe will get any shots–I think the next round is when she turns 4.

posted by admin at 10:24 pm  

Friday, October 13, 2006

Friday the 13th

It lived up to it’s name.
It all started yesterday (Thursday) about 2:00pm I got a call from Molly’s pediatrician saying that her PKU tests came back abnormal and he wanted us to go to the All Children’s Clinic in Lakeland (about 30 minutes or so away) immediately for more tests. He said the nurse there would give me a call after he talked to her.
Barry was over at Thomas’ printing so I immediately got off the phone with the Dr. and in a teary panic called Barry to tell him he had to come home so we could take Molly over to the clinic. Wouldn’t you know our car decides to go belly up and we were in full blown panic–how were we going to get there?!? We couldn’t fit everyone in the truck and it certainly wouln’t be safe. Barry said to call some rental places, but I couldn’t because I had to wait for the nurse to call with more details.

Finally she calls…ok, it was one of those it seemed like an eternity but was PROBABLY not more then 15 minutes. She says that the courrier who takes the blood samples to the labs had left for the day. She said we COULD come to the clinic but then we’d just have to wait for results over the weekend anyway. She advised waiting until today (the 13th) and coming. I couldn’t sleep at all. Molly didn’t seem to want to sleep either. I’d just put her down and she’d wake up crying. So I’d try to nurse her again. Same thing. She’d doze off, then I’d put her down and just as I crawled into bed the crying would start. It was a long night. Luckily I planned on getting up at 6 anyway.

The kids were great about getting awakened so early. Fox was clinging to Barry as he took in in our room to get him dressed. Chloe woke up fine. I’d explained to her that today was a big testing day for Molly and we’d have to go to a new Doctors office for her. She fine when you explain things. I’m really proud of Chloe for so many reasons.

We wrestled everyone into the Cruiser to go pick up the rental car. It wasn’t far from home so we decided to come back to the house and switch car seats rather then leave the car at the rental place. Thanksfully the car Barry got (a Taurus) fit all 3 car seats. Then headed down to Lakeland.

We found the office. It was a really kid friendly place. The nurse I spoke with, Nancy, on Thursday met us at the reception area. She was so kind yesterday when we talked and I think she could tell from my voice she would be getting a basketcase Mom. She had taken most of my information yesterday so we got back pretty quickly.

Barry stayed in the reception area with the kids. I really wanted him to come back with us, but it would have done nobody any good.

Molly was brought back to a really nice lab area. We met the lady who would take her blood. I didn’t know what to expect. In the hospital for the tests, they pricked Molly’s heels. She still has the prick marks and I feel so bad. Because of my gestational diabetes, she had to get her heel pricked quite a few times so everytime I see her makrs or touch them, I feel like the worst Mom in history.

Anyway, we put Molly on the examination table and the nurse starts to examine her arm looking for a good vein. I wasn’t expecting that. Then they bring out a needle that looks like it goes to an IV. It’s connected via a tiny tube to a collecting vial.

The tech didn’t get the vein right on the first time, so it collapsed. Molly was howling. So they tried the other arm. The needle went right and the blood started into tube. I saw how much they were drawing and I must have blanched because Nancy said it was ok, it looked like more then it was. All in all it would be about a teaspoons worth of blood.

It was over soon and they stuck bandages on both spots. I think the bandages where bigger then Molly. She’s such a tough nut. She didn’t cry for long. Me…I cried a lot longer. I hated to think she was hurting. It isn’t fair.

The huge problem is now the waiting and worrying over the weekend.

I’ve been reading stuff on the ‘net on PKU. It’s scary, but hopeful. She’d have to go to the Doctors once a week for blood work. I keep thinking how are we going to be able to afford all these doctor bills? It’s mindnumbing. I keep thinking how I’d have to give up nursing her, how she has to be on a special diet for the rest of her life. I keep hoping the test comes back and there’s no problem.

I know when I talked to the doctor and the nurses you begin to rationalize and ask “what if…” questions…what if the machines read it wrong. What if I had too much Diet Mt Dew. What if she was too young to take the test…what if the test had gotten contaminated in my purse…so many things.

Now it’s just waiting and worrying until Monday. It’s hard to put Molly down. I just want to hold her. I think it’s more comforting for me then her. She just wants to sleep and eat. I just need her.

posted by admin at 9:18 pm  

Sunday, October 8, 2006

Here’s Molly!


So we had our Doctors appointment on Monday October 2nd. The Doctor came in kinda cheesily grinning and asked what are we doing that afternoon…Barry and I kinda looked at each other and shrugged…nothing really. Dr Reinoso got us scheduled for the induction about 10 hours ahead of time! We were supposed to go to the hospital at 1am the next morning. So we had to run home grab my bag and make it back to the hospital. We got there about 4pm. We got settled into a really lovely room. We had Fox at Celebration Hospital, but a year ago (ha!) it was on the 3rd floor. Now Maternity was on the 4th floor…the whole thing. The labor rooms were awesome…huge! They really were suites. And they had a plasma screen tv!

The good news also was when I got checked, I was dialated to 3cm so we hoped that labor wouldn’t be that long.

It took a long time for the new nurse to come to our room and get us started on pitocin. We were really amazed at how busy they were at the hospital. And with a lot of problem cases.

Anyway, one nurse tried about 5 pm to get an IV going, but it hurt like hell and she kept digging around trying to find a vein. So she gave up and waited for the next shift change. Dr. Lemert stuck his head in our room and watched the monitor and saw I had a contraction and asked if I felt that (I didn’t feel a thing! And I had no idea we were having contractions. I felt a few cramps earier in the day, but didn’t put two and two together–duh!) Then the doctor, Barry and I talked Science Fiction authors and books for the next half hour or longer. It was kinda surreal. I’m thinking let’s get this started and when will the IV get here and we’re discussing Niven and Asimov in the meantime.

Rene’ came over to be with us after she got off work. She was sooooo sweet. She gave me this basket filled with all the coolest stuff in the world: magazines, nail polish, nail polish remover, more magazines…and girlie stuff, too like Allure, and some crossword puzzles!!

We finally got the IV going about 7. In the meantime we just happened across Gunsmoke and watched that for a bit. It looked amazing on the plasma screen. I guess it took our minds off what was coming.

So the IV got started. And I started feeling crampy not long after. About 9 o’clock I asked the nurse if she thought it was too early for an epidural, cuz it was getting a bit rough. She and I had discussed pain options. I was clear…epidural. I told anyone and everyone. EPIDURAL!

the nurse checks me again an hour later. I’d dialated quite a bit more. The pain increased. A lot. So I asked again about the epidural. She said that she’d page the anesthesiologist. She left the room. I was laying on my side. All the sudden I felt this pressure. Intense pressure.

And then this…POP.

I gasped and both Barry and Rene’ were still and rather freaked out…I told them I think my water broke!! It had. It was the most bizzare feeling. The other two inductions I’d had my water broken for me by the doctors, so I didn’t know what to expect. The nurse checks me and is surprised now that I’ve gone from a stage 7 to 9 in less then an hour. I ask about the epidural again. It was massively hurting. She says the Doctor is held up with another case. I told her I needed SOMETHING! She leaves the room and comes back with something. I can’t remember what it was.

Barry comes over to me and is just standing by me holding my hand and stroking my face. I shudder to think how hard I squeezed his poor hand. That and the poor guy stood by me for the next 4 hours. Never sitting, never moving. Just talking softly, and just being there.

She injects it into my IV and says I might start to feel dizzy but I should feel like the pain has eased a bit. Well, things got a little blurry around the edges, I never felt dizzy, but the pain was still pretty intense. I asked again about the epidural and she brushes it aside. By this time, the pain is so freakish. At times it’s like this pressure. Then there were these band types of pain that literally radiated from my tummy and around my hips. It felt like fingers where prying my hips out and around. It really is hard to describe.

So for the next hour I’m trying desperately to keep from alternately crying and screaming. I try to concentrate on breathing. I imagine (yeah, this is stupid, but it helped) an alpine slide and Molly is coming down it, and I imagine the cool, and the greyness of a winter day (hey, I like winter what can I say). The nurse comes in again and checks me. All the sudden I feel like pushing! I beg her for the epidural…she says the doctor isn’t going to make it, and it’s too late. I’m crushed. I can’t imagine what’s coming next, and I tell Barry that I can’t do this. Like I have an option to go home.

Then the midwife comes rushing in, as do a horde of nurses. They get the bed all changed into the delivery table. It was weird. In a way I think watching all the bustling about helped get my mind off the pain for a minute. ONLY for a minute. I feel this intense pain and I couldn’t help but push. It’s like your body just takes over and it’s pushing on it’s own. Then the pain ebbs for a few minutes and the crew finishes getting ready and setting up this and that. I’m told to breathe deep and then PUSH with the next contraction. They compliment me on being a great pusher…where’s my damn epidural! The midwife tells me that she see’s the head and has to push the cervix aside and then we’ll really start to push. Yeah. Right. I still keep saying I can’t do this!

So then comes this push. and breathing and more pushing. The nurses tell me to grab my knees and that will help with it comes time to push. I couldn’t get comfortable and I was so scared of really breaking Barry’s hands even though I just wanted to hold them that I just grabbed the bed rails and squeezed and pushed. The pain is tremendous…it’s a burning feelings…think of it as the body adjusting to the head and shoulders of the baby as she makes her way out. Things gotta give way and sometimes things tear. The burn? That was tearing. When you have and epidural you DON”T feel that.

More pushing and then suddenly there’s this incredible feeling of burning, BURNING pain followed by…empty! and her head was out. Then another push…the pain still intense but lessening and her shoulders popped out and then she was pulled the rest of the way. The pain in my hips and tummy pretty much stopped immediately. Then these horrible shakes start in. My whole body starts trembling uncontrolled. The nurse tells me it’s the bodies reaction to stress. No duh! Stress, eh? Where was my damn epidural!?!

At some point between not being able to stop pushing and the head coming out, a nurse came up to chat with my midwife and told her another lady was asking for pain meds. The nurse further said that the lady was telling them to send her to another hospital if she didn’t get something. So in the midst of all this…I remember thinking DAMN…that’s what I neglected to threaten! But I also learned that there were other pain things they could have given me. I was cheesed…after the fact. AND there was no anesthesiologist still there.

Molly was out! She was here. I didn’t know why at the time, but Barry was oddly still as he was looking down at Molly. Turns out the cord was wrapped around her neck. Nobody was telling me anything, but nobody seemed distressed or worried. In fact the midwife gives Barry the sissors and tells hims to cut the cord. He was trying to back out of it because he was scared of the cord around her neck being so close to her face and that there might be a need to rush so he thought they might want to do it, but cut it he did.

Molly started softly crying and the nurses whisked her over to the infant table to check out her reflexes and run some tests. She got 8’s and 9’s on her APGAR test. But I didn’t hear a lot of crying. I kept asking Barry if she ok, if he could see her…he kept saying she was fine. And she was.

Barry made me laugh. He said he was in awe of me. Then he said that he was a little bit frightened of me. It cracked me up.

While all this was going on, the placenta was delivered…which was kinda like labor without the huge pain…just this sudden need to push…hard! Then the stitching began. Thank GOD for an injectible drug called lidocaine. I don’t know how you’d get stitches without it. 37ish stitches. Yep. Ouch.

Shortly after that, they brought Molly over to me and put her on my chest underneath the hospital gown against my skin. She was beautiful. Absolutely beautiful…in a newly born, lizard looking kinda way. She was wonderful to hold. She was eagerly looking around. I got to touch her and stroke her.

Molly has DARK hair…much to Barry’s chagrin. He pretty much thought it a sure thing that she’d look like Chloe and Fox and be really fair. But nope. She has beautiful hair and blue eyes. I don’t know if the eyes will stay blue. Most likely they’ll go hazel like her siblings.

We called Barry’s folks shortly after 2 am to let them know about Molly. Then we called Rene’…I con’t remember when she left the room. That’s all hazy. Things were starting to go down hill painwise at that point. But she was all happy.

I don’t remember what time we went sleep. We moved to a different room…much smaller but ok. No plasma screen tv. But what sleep we did get wasn’t for long. Molly wouldn’t stay asleep for nothing. She either wanted to nurse, or had to have her diaper changed. It was rough.

The hospital isn’t the most restful place to be. Every two hours they’d wake us up to take my blood pressure and test Molly’s blood. That was the most worrisome. Because of my having gestational diabetes we were concerned about diabetes in both her and Fox. Her blood sugars were REALLY low. For a baby they want sugars above 45. Her first one was 41. She would have to have sugar tests 7 more times before they’d let us go home. Her lowest was 38. And her highest was 74. Like with Fox, I hated, hated, hated each time they had to prick her tiny heel with the needle to draw blood. And when her sugar was low, they had to draw a little vial of her blood to get a more accurate reading. She had that done 3 times. That was really hard when she cried. I felt so low and so guilty.

Morning came and more blood pressure, temp checks, and blood sugar tests. Later in the morning Thomas came by. I had to work hard, but I actually got him to hold Molly AND I got pictures to prove it! It was funny.

Barry briefly went home and brought his parents and Chloe and Fox up to meet Molly. It was wonderful to watch Chloe meet her sister. She said exactly like we’d practised…she said “Welcome to our family, Molly”. She was eager to hold Molly. Fox was to interested in running around the room and pounding on things. My lunch had just been delivered and both kids tore into it. First to go was the broccoli, followed by the turkey sandwhich. I had to laugh at them. But it was wonderful to see our complete family.

posted by admin at 4:36 pm  

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